Brief Introduction of Tagalog

Tagalog is an Austronesian language with about 57 million speakers in the Philippines, particularly in Manila, central and southern parts of Luzon, and also on the islands of Lubang, Marinduque, and the northern and eastern parts of Mindoro. Tagalog speakers can also be found in many other countries, including Canada, Guam, Midway Islands, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, UK and USA.

Tagalog used to be written with the Baybayin alphabet, which probably developed from the Kawi script of Java, Bali and Sumatra, which in turn descended from the Pallava script, one of the southern Indian scripts derived from Brahmi. Today the Baybayin alphabet is used mainly for decorative purposes and the Latin alphabet is used to write to Tagalog.

The name Tagalog derives from tagá-ílog, which means “resident beside the river”. Little is known of the history of the language before the arrival of the Spanish in the Philippines during the 16th century as no eariler written materials have been found.

The earliest known book in Tagalog is the Doctrina Cristiana (Christian Doctrine) which was published in 1593. It was written in Spanish and Tagalog, with the Tagalog text in both Baybayin and the Latin alphabet.

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