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Tagalog, with the stress on the second syllable, is the national language of the Philippines. As far back as 1937 Tagalog, originally confined to southern Luzon, was made the country’s official language and given the new name of Pilipino. Its study has been strongly encouraged by the government, and it is now the language of instruction in most Philippine schools. As a result more than three-fourths of the country’s population of 75 million is now able to speak it, despite the fact that it is the mother tongue of only about 20 million.
Tagalog is a member of the Austronesian family of languages. The three centuries of Spanish rule in the Philippines left a strong imprint on the vocabulary. Mesa (table), tenedor (fork), papel (paper), and asero (steel) are only a few of hundreds of Spanish words in Tagalog. The English word boondocks comes from the Tagalog word for “mountain,” bundok.
Authorized from the original edition of The Languages of the World 3rd edition by Keneth Katzner published by Routledge, a member of the Taylor & Francis Group.
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