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Sunday, October 26, 2008

The History & Language Called "Tagalog"

History

The word Tagálog is derived from tagá-ílog, from tagá- "native"+ ílog "river." Little is known about the history of Tagalog due to the absence of written records prior to the arrival of the Spanish inPhilippines Mapthe Philippines in the 16th century. The first book in Tagalog was Doctrina Cristiana published in 1593. The first grammars and dictionaries of Tagalog were created by Spanish clergymen during the 300-year Spanish occupation of the Philippines.

Tagalog is one of the major languages of the Republic of the Philippines and functions as its lingua franca. It is spoken in central and southern Luzon, in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, and on some of the other islands. According to the Philippine Census of 2000, 21.5 million people claim Tagalog as their first language.Ethnologue puts the number somewhat lower at 15 million. It is estimated that 50 million Filipinos speak Tagalog as a second language. Tagalog is also spoken in Canada, Guam, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and USA. It is the sixth most-spoken language in the US and the lingua franca of Filipinos anywhere in the world. It is also the language of major literary works, of films, and of the media.

Tagalog became the official languageof the Philippines when they gained independence from the United States on July 4, 1946. From 1961 to 1987, Tagalog was also known as Pilipino. In 1987, the name was changed to Filipino. Since 1940, Tagalog has been taught in schools throughout the Philippines. Today, it is the only one of over 160 Philippine languages taught in schools.

Many Filipinos fluent in English frequently switch between Tagalog and English for a variety of reasons. This mixed language is called Taglish. It is more common among educated city dwellers than in rural areas. Frequent contact between Tagalog and Spanish during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines has resulted in Philippine Creole Spanish known asChabacano.

There are four major mutually intelligible dialects of Tagalog.

Click on the MLA Interactive Language Map to find out where Tagalog is spoken in the United States.


[Taken from Languages of the World.]


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