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Kumusta ka? If you’re trying to learn Tagalog, trying to find the best way to learn can be complicated. Although it’s one of the most spoken languages in the world, there aren’t that many high-quality ways to learn. This guide helps take the guesswork out of it and compiles some of the most effective ways to learn Tagalog. No matter what your learning style is, you’re sure to find a resource on this list that will help you learn Tagalog quickly.
Tagalog, along with English, is the official language of the Philippines. But only a quarter of the population speaks it as a first language! Most of the population speaks it as a second language. With over 82.3 million speakers, it’s one of the most spoken languages in Asia.
Tagalog belongs to the Austronesian language family and is closely related to other languages like Malagasy, Javanese, and Malay. Because of the country’s history and location, Chinese, Spanish, and English have all influenced the Tagalog language.
But it’s not just spoken in the Philippines. Because so many Filipinos live and work abroad, 24 million people speak Tagalog in other countries. So there’s interest in other places like Saudi Arabia, Canada, and the US to learn the language. No matter what country you live in, this guide shows you the most effective ways to learn Tagalog.
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Table of Contents
The best way to learn Tagalog fast and effectively is to use a variety of study methods. One book, app, or course can’t cover every topic necessary to learn a language so using different methods will help you understand every aspect of the language. For example, a book can help you learn grammar and sentence structure, but taking a class with an online tutor will help you improve your speaking.
Below you’ll find the 6 best ways to learn Tagalog.
Language apps are a fun and convenient way to learn Tagalog. You can practice anywhere that you can use your phone. Most apps have interesting features, such as games or ways to track your progress to motivate you to study. Some have complete courses that cover all parts of the language, while others teach specific skills such as vocabulary. The three apps on this list, Pimsleur, Mondly, and Drops are effective options for learning Tagalog.
Pimsleur is the best language app to learn Tagalog because you speak Tagalog from the first lesson. The lessons focus on conversations and pronunciation. In each lesson, you listen to a conversation between native speakers and learn what they said and how to say it. Because the lessons are completely audio, you can listen and practice wherever you go. You can try Pimsleur for free for 7 days or read more about it in this Pimsleur review.
Mondly is a great choice for Tagalog beginners because the lessons are short and simple. They help you learn basic vocabulary and grammar to navigate everyday situations. The app is flexible because you can complete the lessons in any order and study what interests you. It also makes it easy to track your progress to see how fast you’re learning. You can try Mondly with a free 7-day trial or read more about it in this Mondly review.
Drops is the best app for learning Tagalog vocabulary. You can choose what to study from the large selection of vocabulary topics. Each lesson has interesting and unique animations to help you remember the word. You can use Drops for free for 5 minutes every day, or try the 7-day free trial. If you’d like to learn more about it, you can read our Drops review.
Online Tagalog courses are useful if you prefer a structured way to learn. The courses are laid out with a clear path to follow so you always know what to study next. Some courses are designed for self-study, while others include a mix of live classes with independent learning. Tagalog for Beginners, Tagalog.com, and Learning Tagalog are well-developed courses that can fit your learning style and budget.
Tagalog for Beginners is an online course available on the Udemy platform. It’s for complete beginners and you don’t need to know any Tagalog before starting the lessons. The goal is for you to be able to have a basic conversation by the end of the course. It has a 4.5/5 star rating and almost 2,000 students have registered for this course. You can check out a course preview video to see if you like it. You can also read more about the entire platform in this Udemy review.
Tagalog.com is an extensive website that offers both free and paid material for Tagalog learners. There are many resources available like lessons, a dictionary, forums, flashcards, and more. You have the option to pay for live 1-on-1 or group lessons. There’s material for complete beginners all the way to advanced, so there’s something for everybody. You can take a look at everything they have available on their website.
Learning Tagalog has 3 different courses that will take you from complete beginner (A1) to intermediate (B1). Each lesson has a dialogue in Tagalog. They break down each phrase and teach both the literal translation and the more natural translation. Since native speakers recorded the audio, you can hear the correct pronunciation and imitate it. You can try the first lesson for free to see if you like the Learning Tagalog course.
Taking classes with a teacher is one of the most effective ways to learn Tagalog. But finding an in-person teacher can be difficult and costly. Now, there are many platforms available that can connect you with a teacher for online lessons. You can take classes on your schedule from the comfort of your home. Italki, Preply, and Verbling have hundreds of Tagalog tutors that are available to teach you. They are secure platforms so you know your personal information and payments are safe.
Italki is an online language learning platform that connects you with native Tagalog teachers. Teachers create their own curriculum so you can focus on exactly what you want to study. There are over 200 Tagalog teachers to choose from and you can use different filters like location, availability, and price. Most teachers offer a discounted trial lesson so you can see if they fit your learning style. You can also read more in this italki review.
Preply is a platform that’s very similar to italki. You can search for a Tagalog tutor that teaches online classes. There are currently 122 Tagalog teachers available. You can look at each teacher’s profile to watch their intro video, see their schedule, and read past student reviews to see if you want to take lessons with them. On Preply, you can take as many free trial classes as you want until you find a teacher that you like. You can learn more about the platform in this Preply review.
Verbling is another quality platform to find an online Tagalog teacher. You’re sure to get a qualified instructor because Verbling only hires teachers with previous teaching experience. You can search the teachers’ profiles to find one that you like, and use filters to find a teacher that works with your schedule and budget. Most teachers let you take a free trial class to see if they are a good fit. You can also read more about it in this Verbling review.
Using a book to learn Tagalog is a traditional, yet effective, method. Books have in-depth explanations and you can use them anytime and anywhere. If you’ve taken a language class before, chances are you’ve used a book. But they are also helpful for self-study. They offer detailed grammar explanations and practice, as well as show how the language is correctly spoken. Tagalog for Beginners, Essential Tagalog Grammar, and Tagalog Short Stories for Beginners are popular choices with great reviews on Amazon.
Tagalog for Beginners is a useful choice for complete beginners or travelers. It focuses on Tagalog used in everyday situations. It also gives a history of the language and important info for understanding Filipino culture. There are additional online audios to hear how Tagalog is spoken. Many people who purchased the book are using it to learn Tagalog to speak to family members. You can read what other reviewers thought about the book here.
Essential Tagalog Grammar is a reference book filled with clear and concise explanations of the most important Tagalog grammar topics. It’s filled with thousands of examples and tables to make each topic understandable. It’s best for learners that already have a base knowledge of Tagalog and want to use the book to clear up any doubts about the language. You can read reviews and see if this book is right for you here.
Tagalog Short Stories for Beginners has 20 entertaining stories that teach Filipino culture and help you practice Tagalog. Each story has a summary in Tagalog and in English, a vocabulary list, and a set of questions to test your understanding. People who purchased the book thought that it wasn’t meant for complete beginners and is better for intermediate and above. You can read more about what they thought about the book here.
YouTube videos are a fun way to practice Tagalog listening and comprehension skills. Some channels imitate a classroom setting and teach typical grammar and vocabulary topics, while others create content in Tagalog so you’re learning about language and culture at the same time. The YouTube channels on this list are some of the best options to listen to how Tagalog is actually spoken.
Fides is a high school teacher in France and teaches Tagalog through conversational videos. Her videos are in completely in Tagalog but have English and Tagalog subtitles. The videos are usually short so you can watch a few every day, and there are even some videos geared toward children. You can check out all her videos on the Learn Tagalog with Fides YouTube channel.
Filipino Fairy Tales has animated videos that are narrated entirely in Tagalog with English subtitles. The language is spoken at a normal speed so, although it’s simple language, it would be better for learners that already have some knowledge of Tagalog. While it’s geared towards children, any Tagalog learner will benefit from listening and watching the stories. Check out their many videos on the Filipino Fairy Tales YouTube channel.
The Pinoy BK Channel has hundreds of videos with songs in Tagalog for kids. The host of the video is energetic and sings slowly and clearly. You’re sure to have the songs stuck in your head for the rest of the day! There are different playlists like Taglish songs (songs in a mix of Tagalog and English), Disney, and Christmas songs. All videos have subtitles in Tagalog so it’s easy to follow along. You can listen to the songs on the Pinoy BK YouTube channel.
Podcasts are an excellent way to practice listening and comprehension in Tagalog. Since they are audio-based, you can listen anywhere you have access to your phone. Podcasts can cover a wide range of topics, from teaching simple vocabulary words to explaining intricate cultural topics. FilipinoPod101, Go Filipino, and The Kool Pals are excellent podcasts with many episodes available to listen to.
FilipinoPod101 is an app and online platform that has hundreds of podcast-style lessons. Some teach important language topics like grammar and vocabulary, and others focus on Filipino culture. Each lesson has extensive notes, and there are also tons of vocabulary lists and other practice activities available. You can try FilipinoPod101 for free for 7 days. You can also read more about the parent company in this Innovative Language review.
Kris Andres started the Go Filipino podcast to teach anyone interested in learning Tagalog. His lessons start from the very basics, he explains words and phrases in English and then you practice the Tagalog pronunciation. His lessons are quite extensive, ranging from 10-50 minutes, and are targeted toward beginners. You can listen to the Go Filipino podcast for free on Spotify.
The Kool Pals podcast is a show that features 5 filipino comedians. They talk about a wide variety of topics including pop culture, recent events, and more. It's completely in Tagalog so it's best for learners that already have a strong grasp of the language. The Kool Pals podcast is one of the most popular amongst native Tagalog speakers. There are over 400 episodes, and each one is over an hour long, so there's plenty of content available for you to hear how Tagalog is actually spoken.
Finding the right language tool for you can seem overwhelming, and I hope this article has helped guide you to an option that works for you. Whatever way you choose to learn, if you dedicate the time necessary and stick with it, you’ll find that learning Tagalog can be a fun and rewarding experience. Good luck!
Want to learn more? Check out our Tagalog resource page.
According to the US Department of State, it takes about 1100 class hours to learn Tagalog. But this isn’t an exact number. How fast you can learn Tagalog depends on other factors, such as your natural ability to acquire languages and if you already speak another Austronesian language.
To see how long it will take you to learn Tagalog, check out this fluency calculator.
To learn Tagalog quickly, you’ll need to dedicate a lot of time to studying and practicing. It’s important to be consistent and study every day, or at least a few times every week, so you don’t forget what you already learned and can constantly improve.
There are many ways to learn Tagalog at home, such as taking an online course, using a book, or a language app. One of the most popular ways is to use a language app, such as Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone. You can start with the basics and quickly build a foundation in Tagalog. There are also many books available on Amazon that are designed to help you self-study the language.
Tagalog is considered a difficult language for English speakers to learn. This is because it has significant linguistic differences. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! With dedication and the right study tools, you can make steady progress in learning the language.
You can reach an advanced level of Tagalog by studying with a high-quality resource such as a textbook or language app. But if you want to become completely fluent, you’ll need to interact with native Tagalog speakers. You can take online conversation classes with a Tagalog tutor on a platform like italki, or use an app such as Tandem that can connect you with a language exchange partner.
There are quite a few resources available if you want to learn Tagalog for free. There are language apps such as FilipinoPod101 and Drops, that offer some of their content for free. You can also find resources online, like YouTube channels and podcasts that are completely free.