Major Languages in the Philippines

The Philippines has a diverse culture. An archipelago of about 7641 islands, it has a plethora of religions, cultures, and practices. Apropos of that, there are up to 187 languages spoken in this nation. Every language has its origin, dialect, and history with this country. A lot of them are native indigenous dialects that are spoken in small regions and populations. The major languages of the Philippines are Filipino and English.

1. Filipino

Filipino Language (Source

Filipino is an official and the national language of the Philippines. It is an Austronesian language and is the first language for over two-thirds of the population. This language's origin is owed to Tagalog- an indigenous language spoken by one-fourth of the Philippines population. Filipino language in itself has a lot of variations and forms in the country. With small changes and grammatical differences, it is spoken all over the nation with everyone's personal touch. It is also taught in schools and accepted as a general form of communication.

Filipino Translation Guide

Yes - Oo (Oo oo)
No - Hindi (hin dee)
Hello - Kamusta (kammu sta)
Thank you - Salamat (salaa mat)
GoodBye - Paalam (paa laem)
Help - Tulungan (tuloongan)
Please - Pakiusap (pakki usap)
Do you speak English? - Nagsasalita ka ba ng ingles? (nag sasa litaka banag inglis)
I don’t understand - Hindi ko maintindihan (hindiko maen tin dihan)

2. English

English and Filipino language on Rizal's Execution Site (Source)

English is another official language of the Philippines. It is taught in schools, and various variations of the same are used in casual and official interactions. English was first introduced to the Philippines in 1762 by the British, but that didn’t last very long. Philippine English was formed during the American colonization with the introduction of public education in English. Presently, it is spoken nation-wide in some variation. Case in point, Taglish (Tagalog-infused English) is spoken greatly as a second language. As a tourist, you can communicate conveniently in English as most of the locals are bilingual.

3. Indigenous Languages

There are up to 182 native languages spoken in the Philippines. Most of them belong to the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian family. The languages are mutually intelligible, i.e., they are related to each other and can be understood without any specific tongue's prior education.

A. Tagalog

Tagalog Language (Source)

As mentioned above, Tagalog is the origin language for Filipino. The native Tagalog is still spoken in the Luzon region, Metro Manila, Bicol Region, and Bangsamoro. There is no definite dialect of the language- it has informal dialectology in separate regions. There are four main dialects- Northern (exemplified by the Bulacan dialect), Central (including Manila), Southern (exemplified by Batangas), and Marinduque. Tagalog serves as the lingua franca of the country.

B. Cebuano

Distribution of the Cebuano Language in the Philippines (Source)

Cebuano is the most spoken native language in the southern Philippines. It primarily flourishes in Central Visayas, parts of Eastern Visayas, and most of Mindanao. It is the lingua franca of Central Visayas and originated from the island of Cebu. It is majorly spoken by various Visayan ethnolinguistic groups (primarily the Cebuanos).

Cebuano Translation Guide

Yes - Oo (Oo oo)
No - Dili
Hello - Kumusta (kummu sta)
Thank you - Salamat (salaa mat)
GoodBye - Panamilit
Help - Tabang
Please - Palihug
Do you speak English? - Nagsulti ka ba og ingles?
I don’t understand - Wala ko kasabot

C. Ilocano

Ten Commandments in Ilokano Language (Source

Ilocano is the third most spoken native language of the Philippines. It is majorly spoken in northwest Luzon, the Babuyan Islands, the Cordillera Administrative Region, the Cagayan Valley, the northern parts of Central Luzon, Mindoro, and some areas in Mindanao. Ilocano has its own writing system originated by the Ilokano people, known as the Kur-itan script. Ilocano has an affluent background in the literature about folklore and mythology of the religions in the Philippines.

Ilocano Translation Guide

Yes- Wen
No- Saan
Thank you- Agyamannak apo
Goodbye- Kastan
I don’t understand- Saanko a maawatan/matarusan

4. Hiligaynon

The Ten Commandments in the Hiligaynon Language (Source)

Hiligaynon is a Bisayan language, majorly spoken in Western Visayas and Soccsksargen by the Hiligaynon people. There are about 9.3 million native speakers of this language. It is slightly influenced by Spanish and is written in the Latin script. Since it is very much spoken in Iloilo and Negros Occidental (regions in Western Visayas), Hiligaynon is sometimes referred to as Illongo. Illongo is specifically used to refer to the Hiligaynon-variation spoken in Iloilo.

Hiligaynon Translation Guide
Yes- Huo
No- Indi
Thank You- Salamat
Help me- Buligi ako
I don’t know- Wala ko kabalo

The Philippines is well-versed in its languages. Most of them are mutually intelligible, and tourists can easily get by with the use of English.

This post was published by Pranjali Jain

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