About the Tagalog Language
Approximately one-hundred and seventy languages are spoken in the Philippines, eight of which are considered major. Tagalog is the most widely-spoken with approximately 24 million native speakers. Most Tagalog speakers live in the southern part of Luzon, the largest Philippine island. More than one third of this population lives in the metropolitan area of Manila, the Philippine capital.
Tagalog is also spoken as a second or third language by almost the total population of the Philippines. Several dialects of Tagalog are spoken in different regions, but the dialect spoken in Manila dominates the Philippine media and is the dialect taught in the Pimsleur course.
Following a mandate of the 1935 Philippine Constitution, the National Language Institute was established in 1936 for the “study of Philippine dialects in general for the purpose of evolving and adopting a common national language based on one of the existing native tongues.” Tagalog was recommended as the basis for this national language, and in 1987 the Philippine Constitution stipulated that this language be called “Filipino.” Filipino is primarily based on Tagalog, and is sometimes described as a standardized dialect of Tagalog.
Although initially unpopular among non-Tagalog speaking Filipinos, Filipino has been established through the educational system and mass media, as the lingua franca in the Philippines and abroad.
Ten percent of the nearly 90 million Philippine population works abroad. There over one million Tagalog speakers in the United States. It is the second most commonly-spoken Asian language and the sixth most commonly spoken non-English language in the United States. It is also a significant minority language in Canada, Guam, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Tagalog is written using the Latin alphabet.
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