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Difference between Tagalog and Filipino

Difference between Tagalog and Filipino

When hearing the term Tagalog, a lot of people often think it is interchangeable with Filipino. However, that’s not exactly correct. Although both terms refer to languages spoken in the Philippines, there are differences between Tagalog and Filipino that many people don’t know about. In this blog post, we’ll explore the nuances between these two Philippine languages — what makes them distinct and how they relate to each other. Through understanding their similarities and differences, you can more fully appreciate both Tagalog and Filipino language culture! Let’s dive in now on this fascinating topic!

What is Tagalog?

Tagalog is one of the major languages in the Philippine Islands. It is widely spoken by a majority of Filipinos, making it the largest native language within the country. Tagalog has a rich literary history and is an official language alongside English according to the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Tagalog has influences from both Spanish and English sources such as phonology, grammar, vocabulary, and others. Tagalog enjoys worldwide recognition due to its growing popularity and large diaspora spread across all continents. In spite of its relatively modern form, Tagalog proudly embodies the deep cultural values and traditions of Filipino culture.

What is Filipino?

  • Filipino is a term that categorizes those with Filipino ancestry, culture, and heritage. Filipino people are the descendants of Austronesian-speaking peoples who migrated from Taiwan during prehistoric times, eventually settling in the Philippine archipelago.
  • Filipino culture has a mix of Spanish and American influences due to the country’s history of colonization by both empires. Filipino food is one of the most well-known aspects of Filipino culture; traditional Filipino cuisine mixes spices, herbs, and fish with vegetables, often creating dishes that are sweet, sour, or salty all at once.
  • Filipino music combines native instruments with influences from Asia and Europe while Filipino art has its roots in ancient indigenous forms such as carvings, sculptures, and textile weaving. Filipino society is founded on values around family life and community relationships, making it an inclusive culture that will remain relevant for generations to come.

Difference between Tagalog and Filipino

Tagalog and Filipino are two closely related languages spoken in the Philippines.

  • Tagalog, the language of the Tagalog people, is native to the area around Manila in Luzon, while Filipino is a standardized version of Tagalog based heavily on Tagalog grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary.
  • Despite these similarities, there are also distinct differences between Tagalog and Filipino including small variations of syntax and pronunciation, as well as differences in some words used and meanings.
  • Additionally, Tagalog is used mainly in informal settings whereas Filipino is mainly used for formal communication such as with media or government documents.

Both Tagalog and Filipino are an important part of Philippine culture, but their unique characteristics mean they serve different purposes from one another.


There are numerous differences between Tagalog and Filipino, the two most prevalent languages in the Philippines. However, at their core, both languages are designed to communicate effectively. As a result, whether you choose to learn Tagalog or Filipino (or both!), you will be able to communicate with the majority of people in the Philippines.

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