Taglish (Philippines)

Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms

Roger M. Thompson, Filipino English and Taglish: Language Switching from Multiple Perspectives (John Benjamins, 2003). See Examples and Observations, below.


Taglish is a dialectal mixture of Tagalog (or Filipino) and English used by many speakers in the Philippines.

Tagalog, a Malayo-Polynesian language, is one of the major indigenous languages of the Philippines. Tom McArthur notes that the continuum between full English and full Tagalog "is sometimes represented as English-Taglish-Engalog-Tagalog." Taglish, he says, is used extensively "in local motion pictures and on radio and television" (The Oxford Guide to World English, 2002).

See Examples and Observations below. Also see:


Examples and Observations

  • "Taglish is the creation of educated Filipinos. It began its real growth with the adoption [in 1974] of the bilingual education policy, though [Bonifacio P.] Sibayan (1978b: 44) noticed Taglish being used in the late 1960s and [Elizabeth] Marasigan (1983: 7) noted that the first study of Taglish in newspapers appeared in 1967. For the most part, educated Filipinos rejected the Tagalog neologisms that had been created for the social sciences as being too cumbersome. They simply mixed the familiar English word into their Tagalog academic discourse. Their mixing of English and Tagalog, at first called halo-halo 'mix-mix,' Engalog, and then Taglish, spread rapidly from the classroom to the general populace through radio and television in much the same way that Tagalog had spread earlier. [Gregorio] Cedana (1981: 174) noted an upsurge of Taglish on television 'where strong emotional reactions, greater involvement, and a clearer apprehension of reality on the part of the viewer are demanded." Today nearly all educated Filipinos, including those in high places, use Taglish except in formal situations when only 'pure' English or 'pure' Tagalog may be used.

    "Mixing Tagalog and English is so widespread in Metro Manila that it is hard to say what the home language is since educated Manilans learn English as a second language in the home (Llamzon and Lee 1980). In essence, Taglish has become Filipino street English. Sibayan (1978b: 44) noted the emotional strain on teachers in high schools and colleges as Tagalog in the form of Taglish invaded domains once reserved for 'pure' English."
    (Roger M. Thompson, Filipino English and Taglish: Language Switching from Multiple Perspectives. John Benjamins, 2003)

  • Three Forms of Taglish
    "Taglish (or the equivalent but less common form of 'Engalog') takes three forms.

    "The first involves literal, word-for-word translations to English of the structure and phrases in Tagalog resulting in a peculiar idiom. This form of Taglish offers such standout expressions like . . . 'I don’t know to my mother' for leaving it up to mother. . . .

    "The second form of Taglish involves using both languages in a single sentence and sprinkling them liberally in paragraphs in an unrecognizable stew, allowing English-only speaking observers to somehow follow a debate, but not necessarily the point of a story. An imperfect example involves narrating an altercation with a partner relating to the discovery of infidelity: 'I made him sampal . . . tapos I left him.'

    "The third form of Taglish involves co-opting Tagalog words and transferring these to English, in the process altering their original meanings beyond recognition. . . .

    "'Gives' or 'drops' are installments to be made on a purchase of a handbag or a cell phone. The original Tagalog word is 'hulog' for partial payment which is then literally translated back to English as 'drop' or 'give.'"
    (A.R. Samson, "Language Fusion." BusinessWorld Online, October 27, 2013)

  • An Example of Taglish From a Movie Gossip Column
    "Donna reveals that since she turned producer in 1986, her dream was to produce a movie for children: 'Kaya, nang mabasa ko ang Tuklaw sa Aliwan Komiks, sabi ko, this is it. And I had the festival in mind when finally I decided to produce it. Pambata talaga kasi ang Pasko,' Donna says. ['That is why when I read the story 'Snake-Bite' in the Aliwan Comic Book, I told myself, this is it. . . . Because Christmas is really for children']."
    (Quoted by Tom McArthur in The Oxford Guide to World English. Oxford University Press, 2002)

  • An Example of Taglish From a Movie Review
    "As regards the American English often learned at mother's knee by phrase rather than with any real linguistic fluency, an expedient daily compromise is reached with 'Taglish,' a bastard hybrid used by broadcasters, government officials, anyone fancying themselves as at all sophisticated. The Tagalog carries the colloquial and comprehension element, the English the kudos. At its worst Taglish is mere pidgin-Filipino and pidgin-American, as witness this extract from a film review in the magazine Babae (Woman):
    Expected na something colorful ang presentations of awardees nang gabing iyon dahil sa emcee pa lang na sina Nova Villa at Rowell Santiago, expected na something to watch ang Annual Sining-Himig Award na ito. . . .
    The main purpose of this mindless stuff is not to convey information so much as make the reader feel she is 'where it's at' (another favorite Taglish phrase). On the other hand at its best Taglish can show an easy familiarity with both languages which often hinges around word-play, undoubtedly one of the hallmarks of relaxed and civilized man."
    (James Hamilton-Paterson, Playing with Water: Passion and Solitude on a Philippine Island. New Amsterdam Books, 1987)
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    Your Citation
    Nordquist, Richard. "Taglish (Philippines)." ThoughtCo, Mar. 3, 2016, thoughtco.com/taglish-philippines-1692455. Nordquist, Richard. (2016, March 3). Taglish (Philippines). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/taglish-philippines-1692455 Nordquist, Richard. "Taglish (Philippines)." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/taglish-philippines-1692455 (accessed November 24, 2017).