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Tagalog / Filipino

PhilippinesBackground and status

Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a quarter of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by the majority.  Its standardised form, officially named Filipino, is the national language and one of two official languages of the Philippines, the other being English.  It is spoken by approximately 64 million Filipinos (96% of the native population).

Tagalog is also spoken worldwide, in the United States, for example, it is the fourth most-spoken language at home with almost 1.5 million speakers, behind Spanish, French and Chinese.

Growth and usage

The Philippines has a system of mother-tongue based multilingual education.  Instruction is conducted primarily in a student's mother tongue until at least grade three, with additional languages such as Filipino and English being introduced as separate subjects no earlier than grade two.  In secondary school, Filipino and English become the primary languages of instruction, with the learner's first language taking on a secondary role.

Because of the influence of the English language, a ‘third’ language has developed.  It has been dubbed Taglish and Englog  - a name referring to the mix of English and Tagalog. The amount of English vs. Tagalog varies from the occasional use of English loan words to outright code-switching where the language changes in mid-sentence. Users typically use Filipino or English words, whichever comes to mind first or whichever is easier to use.  For example:

"Magshoshopping kami sa mall. Sino ba ang magdadrive sa shopping center?"

"We will go shopping at the mall. Who will drive to the shopping center?"

Although it is generally looked down upon, code-switching is prevalent in all levels of society; however, city-dwellers, the highly educated, and people born around and after World War II are more likely to do this.

The practice is common in television, radio, and print media as well.  Advertisements from big companies like Wal-Mart and McDonald's, all have contained Taglish.

The Language Inc. Team

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