SOAS University of London

SOAS Language Centre

Tagalog at SOAS Language Centre

Tagalog (Filipino) belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family. Officially called ‘Filipino’ in its standardised form, it is the lingua franca of the Philippines, spoken by some 28 million Filipinos natively, whilst a great many have it as a second or third language. Tagalog is spoken in many countries as a result of the considerable out-migration of workers from the Philippines.

The word 'Tagalog' is derived from taga-ilog ('river dweller'). It is related to some of the 175 languages of the Philippines, such as Ilokano, Visayan and Kapampangan.

American occupation of the Philippines, preceded by more than three centuries of Spanish rule, had influenced the Tagalog language profoundly. There are more than 4,000 Spanish words and root words which now form part of the Tagalog lexicon. The phenomenon known as Taglish, an informal mixture of Tagalog and English, can be heard in everyday conversation amongst Tagalog speakers.

Interest in learning about Filipino culture is growing steadily in the UK. There are an estimated 250,000 Filipinos living in the UK, and the second and third generation Filipino-British are demonstrating an interest in the learning or maintenance of Tagalog. Moreover, research and tourism offer strong motivation in learning this language.

SOAS LC offers the following courses in Tagalog:

Tagalog Beginners