In this post we'll look at the best apps to learn the Filipino language Tagalog.
Tagalog is an official language of the Philippines and is spoken by millions of people across the world. Many learn the language to dive deeper into Filipino culture, connect with love ones, or perhaps gain a deeper appreciation for his or her heritage.
Whatever your reason for learning Filipino, a great app will help you reach your learning goals. But before we get into our list of apps, let's talk a little bit about what makes app good for learning Tagalog.
What makes a great app for learning Tagalog?
It doesn’t gloss over Filipino grammar
Some of the trickiest parts of the Filipino language revolve around grammar. For starters Filipino verbs conjugate, meaning they have different forms based on who or what is performing the action (if you’ve taken Spanish or French you'll be familiar with this).
Also Tagalog uses something called the verbal aspect, meaning that different verbs can be used to describe a particular action. Which verb is used will depend on whether or not the given action happened already, is happening at the moment, or will happen in the future.
There are a lot of other aspects of Filipno grammar that differ from English, but this isn’t an article on grammar so we won’t dive into them here. Suffice to say a good Tagalog app should cover grammar and explain it well. Simply learning phrases won’t be enough to understand the language.
It develops your Filipino listening skills
The Tagalog language uses combinations of vowels and consonants that sound strange to foreign ears. Many new learners feel like native speakers talk at 100 mph. Needless to say listening comprehension is an important part of learning any foreign language, and Tagalog is no different.
A good Filipino learning app will help you develop your listening skills in the language, so that you can understand Tagalog when it’s spoken.
Our choices for best Tagalog learning apps
Here are our top choices for apps to learn Filipino. All apps listed are available for both Android and ios.
Free lifetime account, or premium from $4 per month
15 minutes a day
Filipinopod101 is one of the largest and most comprehensive resources available for learning Tagalog. The app features audio lessons in the form of podcasts. Each podcast lesson is built around an actual Tagalog conversation. Your lesson hosts will help you break down difficult grammar, explore important vocabulary, and even share cultural insights as well.
In addition to the podcasts lessons there, Filipinopod101 also features video lessons, listening comprehension activities, reading lessons, phrase lists, pronunciation guides, Filipino-English dictionary, and more!
Most of the podcast lessons require a paid subscription (starting at $4 per month). However there is a free lifetime account that gives you access to some free podcast lessons, and many of the Filipino learning resources.
If you’re at all interested in learning Tagalog, then Filipinopod101 is definitely worth looking at.
$150 per level
30 minutes a day
Pimsleur is an audio based course developed to help you practice spontaneously speaking in your target language. It’s the audio course I know of that does this. Pimsleur is effective and develops your speaking and listening skills because of its unique prompt-response-correct method.
Each Pimsleur lesson will teach you a series of phrases in Tagalog. Then through the lessons you will be asked to answer questions, or ask your own questions in Tagalog. You have a limited amount of time to respond before Pimsleur gives you the right answer. This process trains your brain to think in Tagalog.
Pimsleur Tagalog also walks you through Filipino pronunciation and breaks down words into syllables so you can learn to say them correctly.
The only downside of Pimsleur is that there are only two course levels available in tagalog (for other languages Pimsleur has as many as five levels). This means you’ll be able to learn the basics of Tagalog using Pimsleur.
$5+ per hour (varies between teachers)
30 minute or 1 hour lessons
The Italki app is an online marketplace where you can purchase one on one video lessons with language teachers from around the world.
There are currently over 80 Filipino Tagalog teachers on the app. In my opinion one on one language lessons are one of the best and quickest ways to learn a foreign language. Thus Italki is a great option for anyone serious about learning the Filipino language.
*with a purchase of $20 or more. After your first purchased lesson is completed a credit of $10 will be added to your account
Learn Tagalog by Dalubhasa
21 free categories, then $15
Up to you
Learn Tagalog is an app created by the Dalubhasa Review Center (an organization that helps students with Filipino University entrance exams). The app teaches basic grammar and vocabulary. The first two levels of the app are free. Any levels higher than that will require a paid subscription. The app is available on the Google play store and the Apple store.
Language Drops Tagalog (Filipino)
Some free lessons, then from $3 per month
15+ minutes a day
Language Drops teaches vocabulary though a gamified method like puzzles and word games. The app takes a visual approach to language learning as it teaches you vocabulary with images.
Language drops works well for basic Filipino words and phrases, and it can make a fun and novel addition to your Filipino learning regime. There is both a paid and free version available for the app.
Tagalog is a beautiful language within a fascinating and wonderful culture. While there are less language learning resources for it, than for other more popular languages, the apps in this list will be enough to get you on your feet and talking.
Different people have different learning styles. What app works for one person may not be ideal for another. I recommend you try out a few of the mobile apps on this list and see which one works best for you.
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