Pilipino vs Tagalog: What’s the Difference?

The Philippines has an “official” language being English and a “national” language known as Filipino or Pilipino.

As for the official language, many highly educated Filipinos speak it very well and my wife, who has college education, is one of those who speak it seamlessly and effortlessly but, like almost all Filipinos, cannot avoid replacing the letter v with b and the letter f with p.

Most Filipinos whom I know, especially the taga-probinsya (or the taga-bundok) who don’t have that much of a higher education, speak a rather barok na uri ng Taglish at best, especially if they have been working as domestic helpers in my country for many years and they haven’t been practicing the English they learned while in school in the Philippines for years.

What about the “national” language or Pilipino?

Pilipino is basically Tagalog but, as far as I can understand, it is supposed to be the Tagalog spoken in Metro Manila and in the close proximity of it.

The Tagalog I hear from my wife and her relatives and friends when they communicate in a formal setting is basically identical to the written Tagalog of books, magazines and newspapers and that is, I assume, what Pilipino is, namely formal Tagalog stripped of its regional variations.

What I noticed the first time I visited the Philippines (and what I also notice when I hear my wife and her relatives speak informally) is that, if you only travel like 50 km away from Manila, the Tagalog people speak is a bit different from the language spoken in Metro Manila and that is where Tagalog and Pilipino differ.

For example, in the Tagalog spoken in San Ildefonso Bulacan (my wife’s town), the word dito meaning here is dine. The word rito becomes rine.

The word ito or this becomes ire and ganito becomes ganire.

Magparoot-parito or to walk about becomes magparoot-parine.

What this tells me is that proper Tagalog and Pilipino are one and the same while the informal Tagalog spoken sa kabukiran in some neighboring provinces is something else.

It is more or less the same here in Italy: we have standard Italian, which derives from the dialect of Tuscany, and we have huge variations in other regions, and if a foreigner who studies Italian came dine sa Roma, he would notice that the gap between the Roman dialect and standard Italian is much bigger than the gap between the dito and the dine that you can hear when you go from one part of the Katagalugan (the Tagalog speaking area) to another.

So, based on what I have gathered, Pilipino and Tagalog (the real and standard form) are the same thing and they only differ when people introduce regional variations.



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