The 9 Best Books to Learn Tagalog Fast and Easy

Gardenia Reynoso Last updated on May 22, 2023

Langoly is supported by our readers. We review products independently, but we may earn affiliate commissions if you buy through links on this page. As an Amazon Associate, Langoly earns from qualifying purchases. Please read our full disclosure for more information.

Tagalog is a language that has many benefits if you can speak it. You may not know how to start your learning journey, but don’t worry; we’ve got your back. We compiled the top Tagalog books in this article so you can start studying right away.

Best Books to Learn Tagalog

Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a quarter of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by the majority. It’s one of the most spoken languages in Asia. As the basis for Filipino, the national language of the Philippines, learning Tagalog has numerous benefits, including personal, economic, and cultural advantages. 

How Long Will It Take You To Learn Tagalog?​

What is your current level?

Upper Intermediate

What level do you want to reach?

Upper Intermediate

How many hours will you study each day?

0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4
Try calculator again See result
Some result

Learning Tagalog can have a significant impact, especially for those who have connections to the Philippines or the Filipino community. If you have Filipino heritage, learning Tagalog allows you to connect with your roots and communicate more effectively with family members.

For travelers in the Philippines, learning Tagalog can make your experience more immersive and enjoyable. By understanding the language, you can engage in more authentic conversations, navigate the country easier, and appreciate the subtleties of Filipino culture that are often lost in translation.

For businesses, understanding the local language is important for effective communication and relationship-building with Filipino partners and clients. Additionally, the Philippines is an attractive destination for foreign investment due to its strong economic fundamentals. Learning Tagalog can help businesses better understand the local market and connect with native Tagalog speakers.

What Are The Best Books To Learn Tagalog?

Learning a new language can be an exciting and challenging experience. With increasing globalization and cultural exchange, interest in learning languages like Tagalog has grown over the years. There are a growing number of resources, including books. The ones on this list focus on a different aspect of language learning such as grammar, speaking, and vocabulary.

Let’s take a look at the 9 best books to learn Tagalog and how they can help you make significant progress to your language skills.

Best Overall Tagalog BookElementary Tagalog
Best for BeginnersTagalog for Beginners: An Introduction to Filipino
Best for GrammarEssential Tagalog Grammar
Best for Reading PracticeTagalog Short Stories for Beginners
Best for Learning QuicklyBasic Tagalog: Learn to Speak Modern Filipino/ Tagalog
Best for ConveniencePocket Tagalog Dictionary
Best for Speaking PracticeThink in English and Speak in Tagalog Like a Filipino
Best for TravelEasy Tagalog Phrase Book
Best for VocabularyTagalog Picture Dictionary

Elementary Tagalog

Best Overall Tagalog Book

Elementary Tagalog is a comprehensive textbook that offers an all-around approach to learning the language. This book covers all aspects of Tagalog, like grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. It provides a variety of activities, exercises, and dialogues for practice. The content is divided into 24 lessons in 8 units, each focusing on a specific topic such as family, community, food, travel, health, leisure, and more.

The book includes an accompanying audio CD, which allows you to practice listening and pronunciation skills, and cultural notes to help you understand the social, economic and historical aspects of Filipino society. Many reviewers loved that the CD that comes with the book helps review and reinforce the information provided in each chapter. See what you think about the book here.

Key Features

  • 8 units that focus on everyday situations
  • A vocabulary list in each lesson
  • Active learning activities with answer key

Tagalog for Beginners is an excellent resource for those starting to learn the Filipino language. The author, Joi Barrios, is a renowned linguist and educator, and this book reflects her extensive knowledge and expertise in teaching Tagalog. The book is designed as a self-study tool and focuses on the basic grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structures necessary to communicate in Filipino. The content is presented in a clear and concise manner, with various examples and exercises to reinforce learning. The online audio recordings help to improve listening skills and pronunciation.

Additionally, the book includes cultural notes and practical information about the Philippines, giving the learner a broader understanding of Filipino culture and context. Overall, Tagalog for Beginners provides a solid foundation for anyone starting on their Tagalog language learning journey. See what you think about the book here.

Key Features

  • Comprehensive self-study tool to begin learning Tagalog
  • Online audio recordings
  • Notes on the Tagalog language and history

Essential Tagalog Grammar

Best for Grammar

Essential Tagalog Grammar offers a thorough and in-depth exploration of Tagalog’s grammatical features. The book covers the language’s phonetics, morphology, syntax, and semantics. These features are explained using clear and straightforward language, making them accessible to learners at all levels. Essential Tagalog Grammar offers lots of practical examples focusing on everyday, informal Tagalog, accurate definitions and translations key grammar concepts, and pronunciation marks.

Also, it comes with audio recordings of Tagalog sounds, and extensive alphabetical lists of noun, verb and adjective affixes, useful for building vocabulary. Most reviewers thought it was very comprehensive and had clear and well-presented explanations. See what they think about the book here

Key Features

  • Clear, simple, and concise explanations
  • Accurate definitions and translations
  • Audio recordings of Tagalog sounds

Tagalog Short Stories for Beginners

Best for Reading practice

Tagalog Short Stories for Beginners is an engaging resource that helps you practice reading and comprehension skills in Tagalog. This book contains 20 short stories written in simplified language, specifically designed for beginners. Each story is accompanied by a vocabulary list, comprehension questions, and a summary in English, which allows learners to check their understanding of the story. 

The stories also provide valuable insight into Filipino culture and everyday life, making the learning experience more enjoyable and meaningful. Overall, Tagalog Short Stories for Beginners is an innovative and effective tool for improving reading skills in Tagalog.

Key Features

  • Funny, interesting, and thought-provoking stories based on real-life situations
  • List of the most relevant vocabulary involved in each lesson
  • Practice questions in Tagalog

Basic Tagalog is an introductory textbook designed for beginners who want to learn Tagalog through a structured and systematic approach. The book is divided into 44 lessons, each covering a specific topic or grammatical concept, with accompanying exercises to reinforce learning. One of the key strengths of this book is its emphasis on conversational Tagalog. You can find lots of manga-like comics and everyday expressions that helps you to quickly develop your speaking skills and have conversations with native speakers.

The author incorporates cultural notes throughout the book, providing learners with valuable insights into Filipino customs, traditions, and social etiquette. This enhances the learning experience and helps learners understand the cultural context and nuances of the language. This book can be used by anyone, but it’s targeted to beginners with no prior knowledge of the language.

Key Features

  • Contemporary dialogues, vocabulary, and grammar notes
  • Online audio recordings
  • Additional bilingual dictionary

Pocket Tagalog Dictionary

Best for Convenience

The Pocket Tagalog Dictionary is a compact and user-friendly resource designed to help learners expand their Tagalog vocabulary. This dictionary contains 3,000 words, including commonly used words and phrases, as well as grammar points and pronunciation guides. A major advantage of this dictionary is its size and portability, making it ideal for learners who wish to study on the go or use it as a quick reference.

The author includes numerous example sentences and idiomatic expressions, which help learners understand the context in which to use specific words or phrases. The Pocket Tagalog Dictionary is meant to be a reference, not a standalone resource for learning the language. It’s best used in conjunction with other language-learning materials or courses.

Key Features

  • 3,000 most common words in Tagalog
  • Tagalog–English and English–Tagalog sections
  • Information on Tagalog grammar

Think in English and Speak in Tagalog Like a Filipino is a unique language learning book that aims to help learners think in English and then translate their thoughts into fluent Tagalog. The author argues that this approach is more effective than traditional language learning methods because it uses the learner’s existing knowledge of English grammar and vocabulary to facilitate quicker and more efficient learning.

The author presents a series of practical exercises and drills that target different aspects of Tagalog, such as verb conjugation, sentence construction, and vocabulary acquisition. The book also covers essential grammar rules and provides a comprehensive list of common expressions and phrases used in everyday conversations. Some learners found the translation-based approach challenging because it requires a strong command of English grammar and a solid understanding of Tagalog syntax to be effective while others considered this method a simpler way to learn the language. See what you think about the book here.

Key Features

  • 40 lessons on diverse topics
  • Essential grammar and vocabulary
  • Learn the formula of how Tagalog sentences are formed

Easy Tagalog Phrase Book

Best for Travel

Easy Tagalog Phrase Book provides language learners with practical phrases and expressions that can be used in everyday conversations in the Philippines. The book is organized into 27 chapters, each focusing on a different theme or topic, such as greetings, colors, food, transportation, and weather. The organization allows you to easily find the phrases you need for specific situations.

One of the strengths of the Easy Tagalog Phrase Book is its emphasis on situational language learning. Each chapter begins with a brief introduction to the topic, followed by a list of useful phrases and expressions, complete with English translations and phonetic transcriptions. The phrases are then used in short dialogues that show their usage in context. Another strength of “Easy Tagalog Phrase Book” is its focus on pronunciation. The book includes a comprehensive pronunciation guide that explains the sounds of Tagalog.

Key Features

  • Detailed guide on how to pronounce vowels and consonants
  • Over 1,500 common phrases in Tagalog
  • Phonetic pronunciations for every word

Tagalog Picture Dictionary

Best for Vocabulary

Tagalog Picture Dictionary helps you build your Tagalog vocabulary through visual learning. The book is divided into 40 thematic categories, ranging from animals and plants to occupations and sports. Each category has illustrations that depict the objects, actions, and concepts associated with the theme. The illustrations are accompanied by the corresponding Tagalog words, along with their English translations and phonetic transcriptions.

The book helps you learn tons of new vocabulary. With more than 1,500 words and phrases, the book provides learners with a solid foundation in Tagalog vocabulary. The thematic organization of the book also makes it easy to focus on specific topics of interest or relevance to their needs.

Key Features

  • Hundreds of color photographs
  • 1,500 Tagalog words and phrases
  • Example sentences showing how the words are used

Why You Should Use Books For Learning Tagalog

Books have long been a valuable resource for language learning, offering a structured and comprehensive approach to acquiring vocabulary, grammar, and cultural knowledge. Here are a few ways in which books can aid in learning Tagalog. First, Tagalog grammar books provide clear explanations and examples of sentence structure, verb conjugation, and other essential components of the language.

Additionally, vocabulary books offer a systematic approach to acquiring new words and phrases, often grouped by topics. Also, reading books written in Tagalog, such as novels, short stories, or news articles, can help learners improve their reading comprehension, expand their vocabulary, and gain a better understanding of the language’s idioms and phrases.

Books often include information about Filipino culture and provide valuable context for understanding the language and the people who speak it. By learning about the cultural background of Tagalog, you can better appreciate the language.

How To Use Books To Learn Tagalog

One of the most effective ways to learn Tagalog is by using books designed to teach the language. For beginners, it’s important to select books that offer clear explanations, examples, and exercises designed for your level. You can use several books at the same time to achieve the best results. 

The most effective way to learn a language is through a combination of learning grammar rules and vocabulary, and using the language in context and interaction with native speakers. By combining these methods, learners can develop both accuracy and fluency in Tagalog. This can be achieved through interactive books, language courses, tutoring sessions, or even online language exchange platforms where learners can practice with native speakers.

Furthermore, motivation and consistency play a significant role in language learning success. Setting realistic goals, creating a study plan, and incorporating various resources (such as apps, podcasts, and movies) can help you stay motivated. Additionally, regular practice and exposure to the language are necessary for long-term retention and improvement.

Best Books To Learn Tagalog: Final Thoughts

Learning Tagalog offers a range of personal, economic, and cultural benefits to individuals and businesses alike. Books can serve as an invaluable resource in the language learning process, providing grammar and vocabulary knowledge, reading practice, and cultural context. By utilizing books as a tool for learning Tagalog, one can deepen their understanding of the language and enhance their connection with the Philippines and its people.

Best Books To Learn Tagalog: FAQ

What’s the best book to learn Tagalog?

The best book to learn Tagalog is Elementary Tagalog because it has comprehensive coverage of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, as well as cultural information. The book is divided into 24 lessons in 8 units, each focusing on a specific topic such as family, community, food, travel, health, leisure, and more.

What is the easiest way to learn Tagalog?

The easiest way to learn Tagalog is with a high-quality textbook. You can also benefit by using self-study materials, language exchange programs, and immersion experiences. Each method has great advantages, so a combination of resources is likely to yield the best results. By customizing your learning experience and staying motivated, you can overcome the challenges of learning Tagalog and achieve proficiency in this rich and fascinating language.

What is a good way to learn Tagalog?

A good way to learn Tagalog is is through self-study materials, such as textbooks, language apps, and online resources. Self-study allows for flexibility in terms of time and pace, as learners can study whenever and wherever they want. Language exchange programs are also a popular way to practice speaking and listening skills.

How long does it take to learn Tagalog fluently?

According to the  Foreign Service Institute (FSI), a native English speaker needs around 1,100 hours of study to achieve professional proficiency in Tagalog. However, individual factors may influence the actual time needed to learn the language. A dedicated learner can expect to see significant progress with consistent effort and the right learning strategies.

Check out this Fluency Calculator to see how much time it will take you to learn Tagalog.

Gardenia Reynoso

Gardenia Reynoso is a content writer and translator from Lima, Peru. She loves connecting with people from other cultures and learning new languages. She had the opportunity to travel to different countries and received a scholarship to work and study in South Korea. She also enjoys dancing and playing the piano.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with (*). Comments are moderated and may not publish immediately.

Have you tried this product? How would you rate it?