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Lead with Tagalog


"Thank you" sign in Tagalog

Why Learn Tagalog?

Learn the lingua franca of Filipinos around the world! Filipino is one of the two official languages of the Philippines (along with English), yet Tagalog is the lingua franca of Filipinos anywhere in the world and serves as a base for Filipino language. It is the language used for research, major works in literature, and Philippine films and songs.

Connect to a growing community in the U.S.!  With about a million Filipinos in the U.S., Filipinos comprise a significant minority.  According to the 2010 American Community Survey 1-year estimate, Tagalog is the second most commonly-spoken Asian language in the United States, and the fourth non-English language spoken in America.

Experience linguistic diversity within a single language! Tagalog has a very strong affinity with Malay languages (Bahasa Indonesia/Malay). The language has also incorporated a significant number of Spanish words and expressions due to more than 300 years of Spanish colonial rule. The language also includes words and phrases that are rooted in English and Chinese.

Adapted from Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Northern Illinois University

Scholarships and Grants

Philippines landscape with sea
Boren Awards

The Boren Awards enables undergraduate and graduate students to study in world areas underrepresented in study abroad. Boren Awardees may study in the Philippines with Tagalog as the language of study.

Fulbright Scholarship Program

The Philippine-American Educational Foundation (PAEF) is responsible for the administration of the Philippine Fulbright Scholarship Program. Grants and fellowships are available for both academics and professionals for study, research, and/or lecturing in the Philippines.

Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI) Scholarships

SEASSI, hosted by University of Wisconsin – Madison, is an eight-week intensive language training program for undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals, that offers a Filipino program for academic credit at the 1st , 2nd, and 3rd year levels. SEASSI offers three different financial aid opportunities to help fund studies at their summer institute.

Inquire also if your university offers U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships for the study of Southeast Asian languages!

Blogs & News Articles 

Vegetable stand in outdoor marketMeet Hannah, a Graduate Student Learning Tagalog & Marine/Environmental Affairs

This University of Washington grad student explains her motivation to learn Tagalog, and how she believes it will help with her career.

Tagalog is Now the Second Most Spoken Foreign Language in California

Did you know? Tagalog is the second most commonly spoken foreign language (behind Spanish) in California, Nevada, and Washington!

An Untranslatable Word for Pure Joy (video)

This untranslatable word, gigil, describes a feeling of being in the presence of something uncontrollably cute—and it provides some added insight into Filipino culture.

Do You Lead with Tagalog?

Share with us your language learning story on social media @LeadWLanguages.