Tagalog is an Austronesian language with about 57 million speakers in the
Philippines, particularly in Manila, central and southern parts of Luzon,
and also on the islands of Lubang, Marinduque, and the northern and eastern
parts of Mindoro. Tagalog speakers can also be found in many other countries,
including Canada, Guam, Midway Islands, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, UK and USA.
Tagalog used to be written with the Baybayin alphabet, which probably developed
from the Kawi script of Java, Bali and Sumatra, which in turn descended from the
Pallava script, one of the southern Indian scripts derived from
Brahmi. Today the Baybayin alphabet is used mainly
for decorative purposes and the Latin alphabet is used to write to Tagalog.
The name Tagalog derives from tagá-ílog, which means
"resident beside the river". Little is known of the history of the language before
the arrival of the Spanish in the Philippines during the 16th century as no eariler
written materials have been found.
The earliest known book in Tagalog is the Doctrina Cristiana
(Christian Doctrine) which was published in 1593. It was written in Spanish
and Tagalog, with the Tagalog text in both Baybayin and the Latin alphabet.
Type of writing system: syllabic alphabet in which each consonant has an
inherent vowel /a/. Other vowels are indicated either by separate letters,
or by dots - a dot over a consonant changes the vowels to an /i/ or
and /e/, while a dot under a consonant changes the vowel to /o/ or /u/.
The inherent vowel is muted by adding a + sign beneath a consonant. This
innovation was introduced by the Spanish.
Direction of writing: left to right in horizontal lines.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)