The vibrancy of Filipino as a language

What is Internet in Tagalog?

We mentioned to all members and users that our online translation service is not in Tagalog but in Filipino (Pilipino).

It has now become obvious from Mr Renato Perdon’s “The Making of a National Language” why it is so. While Tagalog is the basis of the development of Pilipino (now Filipino) in the 70s, the fact still remains that the latter is a language on its own. The two are distinct and different from each other.

Tagalog still remains Tagalog. Filipino (Pilipino) on the other hand consists of words integrated from the various Philippine dialects as well as from foreign languages.

For example, consider the following figures:

Based on Mr Perdon’s research, the official dictionary issued in 1991 by the Commission on Filipino Language had about 55% of the words integrated into Filipino coming from the major dialects in the Philippines, namely: Bicol (301 words), Cebuano (526 words), Hiligaynon (564 words), Ilocano (122 words), Kapampangan (51 words), Pangasinan (82 words), Old Tagalog / Tagalog (8,463 words), and Samar-Leyte (459 words).

There are also 328 Tausug words, 222 words from the Maranao dialect, 99 words from Maguindanao, 23 words from Samal, 16 words from the Tingian, 12 words from Isneg and another 12 words from Tagbanua.

On the influence of foreign languages, Mr Perdon has also reported that:

Spanish words account for 5,210 words followed by English (1,907), Chinese (232), Malay (176 words), Latin (70), French (46), Sanskrit (29), Arabic (28), German (25), Mexican (20), and Japanese (13).

There are also 7 words each from the Indonesian and Italian languages, 2 words each from the Argentinian, Australian, Hawaiian, Javanese and Swish languages. One word each came from Aztec, Czechoslovakian, Finish, Greek, India, and Russian languages.

Such is the vibrancy and dynamism of Filipino as a language. We will not be surprised if these days, the number of English words have increased. For how do you translate the contemporary words, especially those related to the Internet and other areas of information technology, in Filipino?

Has anyone started looking for the exact equivalent of the following common words: Internet, modem, web site, browser, email, upload, download, hyperlink, toolbar?

We will not be surprised to know that in Tagalog there are none! But in Filipino there are. The equivalent words are the native words — except that these are spelled in a manner that is distinctly Filipino! Example? Try web sayt for web site, brawser for browser, and tulbar for toolbar.

(This article was originally posted Dec 3, 2002 at emanila*plaza, emanila*pilipino)

Romy Cayabyab is the publisher of


  1. Joyce Tan says

    May I ask for your opinion?
    How could you say that Filipino language can stand out from the others. For example, if Filipino is a color, how can it stand out from the hues?

    Thank You very much!

    Sincerely Yours,
    Joyce Tan

  2. eugene codiamat says

    it’s no different than other languages that grow, words are invented. there’s no dialect in the philippines that
    stand alone; they’re interrelated. i’m pangasinan yet i can find pangasinan in manguindanoa, in tagalog, even igorot dialects…so this is not a new process. i could translate those words ask; however it might not be acceptable:

    email- sukat
    computer- kahaw
    modem – paskat
    website- kukat
    browser- katlip
    toolbar- gakat
    virus – keta
    power points- tulning
    mouse- sanyo
    some of these words i’m using it already
    go to pangasinan and ask them about “ketab” or “linat”
    (i did these long time ago)

    it’s a trend for any language to grow either by invention
    adoptation etc. one reason filipinos are in demand abroad is
    they have good command of english language.
    (sorry sangguni-ang pambansang wika;just a thought of translaton)

    • R Tanglao says

      Exactly the point of the writer. The Taglish version is more understood like toolbar = tulbar, internet = internet, website = websayt………


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