Differences between Tagalog and Filipino

What is Tagalog?

Tagalog refers to an Austronesian language spoken primarily in the Philippines. It is the basis for the standardized form of the Filipino language and serves as the foundation for the national language of the Philippines. Historically, Tagalog has been a key language in the archipelago and played a significant role in shaping the linguistic landscape of the region.

The roots of Tagalog can be traced back to the Malayo-Polynesian languages and have been greatly influenced by interactions with various cultures, including Chinese, Spanish, Malay, and Arabic. Over time, it has evolved, absorbing loanwords and cultural nuances that reflect the rich history of the Philippines.

What is Filipino?

Filipino, on the other hand, is the official national language of the Philippines. The term “Filipino” was adopted as the national language in the 1935 Constitution, and it was initially based on Tagalog. In 1959, the language was further developed and enriched, incorporating elements from other Philippine languages. The goal was to create a language that would be inclusive of the diverse linguistic heritage of the country.

Differences between Tagalog and Filipino

  1. Scope and Inclusivity:
    • Tagalog: Originally, Tagalog referred specifically to the language spoken by the Tagalog people in the central part of Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines.
    • Filipino: Filipino, being the national language, is more inclusive. It incorporates vocabulary and expressions from various Philippine languages, recognizing the cultural diversity of the archipelago.
  2. Standardization:
    • Tagalog: Historically, Tagalog served as the basis for the standardized form of the language used in literature, education, and media.
    • Filipino: The national language, Filipino, represents a more standardized and modernized version, with efforts to be more inclusive of regional linguistic variations.
  3. Evolution and Enrichment:
    • Tagalog: Tagalog has evolved over centuries, absorbing influences from different cultures and regions within the Philippines.
    • Filipino: Filipino has been intentionally enriched with words and expressions from various Philippine languages, acknowledging the linguistic diversity of the nation.
  4. Official Status:
    • Tagalog: Historically, Tagalog was the language that gained prominence in official documents and communication.
    • Filipino: Filipino is now the official language of the Philippines and serves as a unifying force among the diverse linguistic groups in the country.


In essence, while Tagalog is a specific language with historical and cultural roots, Filipino represents a broader and more inclusive linguistic identity that embraces the richness of the Philippines’ diverse linguistic landscape. The evolution from Tagalog to Filipino reflects a conscious effort to foster national unity while celebrating the unique languages and cultures that contribute to the vibrant tapestry of the Filipino identity.

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