Home » Filipino History » Similarities between Spanish and Tagálog

Similarities between Spanish and Tagálog

Bahador Alast is known in YouTube for making videos of people of different nationalities and cultures who compare similarities between their respective native tongues. Last Christmas, he uploaded a video titled “Similarities Between Spanish and Filipino”. It features two young women: Claudia from Perú, whose first language is Spanish, and; Joan from Filipinas, whose first language is Tagálog.

It is fun watching the reaction of these two young ladies whenever they discover that many of the words that they use daily in their respective languages are actually the same. It has to be considered, though, that both are out of the loop when it comes to their respective countries’ shared heritage (both Filipinas and Perú are daughters of Spain: Filipinas was a captaincy general while Perú was a viceroy). Unbeknownst to many, of the 30,000 root words found in Tagálog, more or less 5,000 of them are Spanish — and we are just talking here about root words, not words! In addition, both Spanish and Tagálog are phonetic languages, truly a perfect match!

But it’s not just Tagálog that was augmented by Spanish. In fact, the languages of all Hispanized (Christianized) ethnolinguistic groups benefited as well from this linguistic infusion caused by more than three centuries of Spanish rule.

Filipino is considered as the national language of Filipinas. The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino teaches us that it is a standardized variety of the Tagálog language. But linguistically, there is really no difference between Filipino and Tagálog. The issue even became controversial especially among other ethnolinguistic groups in Filipinas that are not Tagálog speakers, and I agree with them. That is why I no longer refer to Tagálog as Filipino (in the same manner that I refuse to call my country Philippines or Pilipinas). Tagálog is simply a majority language in Filipinas. Other than that, I already pointed out in a speech last year what the true Filipino national language should really be.

This fun video by Alast can serve as an introduction of sorts for Filipinos, Tagálogs in particular, who are in search of their national identity from a historico-linguistic point of view.

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