The Dynamic Filipino Language

Among the distinguishing features of our culture is the Filipino language which is an update of Tagalog. Filipino is a subject taught in schools to enlighten and unify our people.

Benefits of a National Language

Just imagine a country with 7,107 islands with over 150 recorded dialects. Without one language, Filipinos will be scattered, disunited and confused just like the Tower of Babel after God confounded the people’s one language. This only emphasizes the right move of choosing one national language to unify and strengthen the nation. A people of one language are powerful people that can cross even the most difficult barriers achieving what they want to do.

Tagalog-First National Language

Our first Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon, aptly known as the father of the national language, advocated choosing a common language for the country. In 1935 Tagalog bested seven other dialects such as Ilocano, Bicolano, Pangasinan, Pampango, Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Waray to be the official language of the country. Tagalog became one of the subjects taught in elementary and secondary schools.

hannah in school

Adoption of Filipino Language

Fifty-four (54) years later, or in 1987 Filipino was chosen as the official language. It has evolved from Tagalog, other native dialects and blending in some foreign words like computer, genio (genius), xylophone and cell phone among many others. On the other hand, some Filipino words found in English language are anahau, boondocks, capiz, carabao, tamarau and yo-yo.

Besides English from America, Spanish, Chinese and Malay words have been added to our national language.

Our new language recognizes the constant changes in the expressions of one’s feelings and ideas through words. It is flexible that it allows blending in of new words or alteration of existing words.

Abakada and Filipino Alphabet

Our Filipino alphabet supports the writing of our language.  Our abakada alphabet which also sounds our Tagalog language has twenty letters-five vowels and fifteen consonants. The famous Lope K. Santos instituted abakada. Now, our modern Filipino alphabet has increased to twenty-eight letters. These letters are:

a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, ñ, ng, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y and z.

alpahbet on the old style blac

English Alphabet-Photo credit: Kriss Szkurlatowski/

You will notice that it contains all of the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet with the addition of ñ and ng. This modern Filipino alphabet started with the adoption of Filipino as the official language in 1987.

Some Common Statements

A sample of some common statements with their Filipino translations are:

  • Good morning.                           Magandang umaga.
  • Good noon.                                 Magandang tanghali.
  • Good afternoon.                         Magandang hapon.
  • Good evening.                            Magandang gabi.
  • Thank you.                                  Salamat.
  • I love you.                                    Mahal kita.
  • Happy birthday to you.             Magandang kaarawan sa iyo.
  • God bless you.                             Pagpalain ka ng Dios.
  • Merry Christmas.                        Maligayang pasko.
  • Excuse me.                                   Mawalang galang po.
  • You are welcome.                        Walang anuman.
  • What is your name?                    Anong pangalan mo?

The Future of our Language

Filipinos work in almost all nations of the world. Our country is also getting noticed as a tourist attraction. This promotes human interactions and expressions in words. Filipino language is bound to have even more word additions and changes. 

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