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Best App to Learn Tagalog - FINAL 23

Did you know that Tagalog is the fourth most-spoken language in the United States, right after English, Spanish, and Chinese? Plus, over 45 million people speak Tagalog as a first language globally! 

Whether you plan to travel to the Philippines or you simply want to communicate with friends or family who grew up speaking Tagalog, using an app offers an affordable and accessible way to learn this popular language.

Learn Tagalog grammar, pronunciation, alphabet, and more with the best apps to learn Tagalog(Filipino). We’ve tried and tested various Tagalog resources like apps, courses, tutors, games, and others to help you decide what fits your learning style and needs and narrow down your choices.

In this article, we highlight the best apps to learn Tagalog by resource type, then we’ll give you a list of the best apps to learn Tagalog, how to use them, and lastly, answer some frequently asked questions about Tagalog apps.

Resources for Learning Filipino

If you’re completely new to the Filipino language, the best place to start learning is probably with a language course.

There are many online Filipino courses to get you started. With these self-paced online options, you can learn virtually anywhere. Most of them have a matching app for easy access from your smartphone or tablet.

Tagalog Courses and Apps

Popular language-learning platforms, Duolingo, Babbel, and Busuu, don’t have Filipino yet — but don’t despair. There are still several solid choices for Filipino courses online.

Ling Learn Languages

For a similar learning experience to Duolingo, consider Ling Learn Languages. Rather than getting a push from a green owl, you’ll be encouraged to learn by simian Master Ling. The lessons and exercises have familiar aesthetics, down to the progress bar at the top and the appearance of the buttons. Earn Banana Points and hints as you progress through each lesson.

Through multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank dialogues, spelling drills, and sorting out scrambled sentences, you’ll start to pick up on Filipino phrases and sentence structure. Take a quiz at the end of a lesson, or practice what you learn by choosing the Chatbot feature to select dialogue responses in context. You can learn using your web browser or a mobile app.

The free trial allows you to work through an introductory lesson, which teaches you a few number words, along with basic words such as “man,” “woman,” “boy,” and “girl.” There’s a second free lesson, in which you’ll learn some verbs and simple sentence construction.

A subscription to Ling Learn Languages opens up all Filipino lessons, from absolute beginner’s level to advanced. It will also give you access to the lessons for nearly sixty other languages.


Part of the Innovative Language family of products, FilipinoPod101 offers limited, free lifetime access to some of its lessons. You’ll be asked to choose your level of Filipino and to complete a long placement test called a Diagnostic. (If you don’t know any Filipino at all, the Diagnostic can get tedious.)

Once you get through the diagnostic, you can start on the free lessons. True to its name, FilipinoPod101 uses a podcast format to introduce new topics. Each podcast-style lesson is accompanied by a transcript, plus a set of notes on the topic, and a comments section where you can ask questions and see answers to other questions.

Once you complete the foundational lessons on pronunciation, grammar, and the writing system, you’ll progress to learning Filipino phrases and vocabulary. At this point, the lessons will include dialogues, vocabulary lists with sound clips, and lesson notes that discuss grammar. You can also skip around to try different topics, marking lessons complete as you finish them so you don’t lose track of what you’ve already covered.

FilipinoPod101 incorporates several review tools into this lesson structure. Create flashcards, add words to your personal word bank for later review, or get more exposure to the words in the lesson through a vocabulary slideshow.

At the premium level, you can get personalized, one-on-one lessons with a FilipinoPod101 teacher, plus tailored lessons and a series of comprehensive assessments.

You can save 25% on a subscription to FilipinoPod101 by using the coupon code ‘ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES’.

Rosetta Stone

Well-known language program Rosetta Stone offers Tagalog lessons. Since Rosetta Stone teaches everything through the target language, there are no explanations of grammar or syntax. The idea is that you will grasp these concepts intuitively, just like you did when you learned your native language as a child. Rather than translations, Filipino words are matched with photographs. This approach can be especially good for visual learners.

Rosetta Stone’s “TruAccent” technology is supposed to rate your Filipino accent, based on a slew of native speaker recordings. While it works well sometimes, you might find that its assessments are not always accurate.

If you’re on the fence about making the investment in the Rosetta Stone program, you can easily start a free, three-day trial just by entering your email address and a password.

Customize your experience according to your learning level and your goals. You can also focus on your preferred learning modality:

● Reading/writing

● Speaking/listening

● Reading/writing/speaking/listening combined


Memrise has a gamified learning approach that can get you off to a quick start with Filipino vocabulary. Its Tagalog 101 – Basic Phrases (with Audio) course will teach you two dozen of the most basic words and phrases. The audio quality is consistently good, even though the course is just an appetizer that gets you ready for more intense learning.

There are numerous other Filipino language courses on Memrise, with different lengths and varying quality. Some courses have poor audio or lack audio altogether. Nonetheless, Memrise’s spaced repetition feature will help you to memorize vocabulary words — and you’ll get a variety of word matching, fill-in-the-blank, and other exercises to keep it interesting.

Mango Languages

Mango Languages, often available as a free resource through your local public library, primarily focuses on Filipino for tourists. The final two chapters explore some more advanced conversational concepts.

The Mango Languages teaching style involves introducing the language through short dialogues, which are then broken down into their component elements and used as linguistic building blocks.

For example, you might first learn how to say, Magandang umaga (Good morning.) You’ll then learn the words hapon (afternoon) and gabi (evening), swapping them into the construction you learned for “good morning.”

One nice feature of Mango Languages is the slider that lets you switch between the figurative and literal translations of various phrases. This helps you get a better feel for the Filipino language.

Mango Languages also intersperses vocabulary lessons and grammar tips with bite-sized cultural notes.

Learning Tagalog

Those who enjoy a thorough, highly structured approach to language learning might consider the Learning Tagalog course.

While it might not work for all budgets, this course will give you a well-organized, in-depth, methodical way to learn to learn Filipino. The authors included an extensive grammatical section, as well as cultural notes to help you better understand the Philippine people.

Before you take the plunge into the paid version, peruse the sample course book, or try a free online lesson. The Learning Tagalog course is available in several formats, including online, ebooks or print books with MP3s, or audio only.

Pimsleur and Glossika

Speaking of audio courses, both Glossika and Pimsleur have Filipino language lessons. Both courses will get you to speak early and often, although neither course will explicitly teach you Filipino grammar.

Pimsleur’s lessons tend to be more suitable for beginners. Both the regular and Premium plans have reading lessons, in addition to the speaking and listening exercises for which Pimsleur is best known. The Premium plan has value-adds such as flashcards, quizzes, and cultural information. The Pimsleur plans are available on a subscription model.

If you’ve already learned some Filipino, Glossika might be a better choice for you. You can take a placement test to determine your level in Filipino before you begin with the lessons.

While it lacks the cultural context that some of Pimsleur’s lessons provide, Glossika will give you lots of listening and speaking practice. The accompanying written materials and exercises leave something to be desired, but the spaced repetition on the audio exercises helps reinforce what you’ve learned.

Glossika is a bit pricier than Pimsleur. You might want to do a free trial of Glossika and a free trial of Pimsleur to see which you prefer before making the investment in either one. Both free trials will give you seven-day access to their respective language programs.

Teach Yourself Filipino (Free Audio Course)

A free audio course option is the English-Filipino (Tagalog) Beginners Audio Book: Teach Yourself Filipino from Global Publishers Canada. It’s available through Spotify.


If you’re looking for a self-paced, instructor-led course, Udemy hosts several highly-rated Filipino courses. When you purchase a Udemy course — often at a deep discount, such as 70% off — you’ll get lifetime access to it, including any updates that the instructor later makes.

Tagalog for Travelers, as the name indicates, goes over all the basic vocabulary you’ll need as a tourist in the Philippines.

● Taught by a native Filipino, Learn Conversational Filipino (Tagalog) explains nuances such as intonation and its effect on meaning. This course aims to take you to the A2 level of fluency in Filipino, based on the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR).

● The New Approach to Learn Filipino/Tagalog Step-by-Step course includes grammar lessons along with vocabulary, pronunciation, common expressions, and cultural insights.


Language learning software maker L-Lingo presents ten free online Filipino vocabulary lessons for beginners, with English translations and audio clips. You can sign up for a seven-day email-based course, which includes vocabulary words, phrases, grammar, and language learning tips. The material in the email course is delivered via Excel spreadsheets and PDFs.

There’s also a premium plan that gives you access to 105 structured Tagalog lessons. The premium plan features quick tips, infographics, articles, and a mobile app.

L-Lingo’s lessons are supposed to be for beginners. However, you might do better if you’ve learned a few basic words before you begin their course.

L-Lingo has a similar setup to Rosetta Stone, in that new words are taught in an immersive way. Rather than seeing English translations, you’ll only see the Filipino words and corresponding pictures.

Unlike Rosetta Stone, however, you won’t be given multiple, dynamic exposures to each word before the L-Lingo starts quizzing you.

Tagalog Tutor Marketplaces and Language Exchanges

These platforms will streamline your search for Filipino conversation partners and tutors.

Filipino Language Exchanges

Tandem, Speaky, and Hello Talk are three language exchange apps that you can use to find Filipino-speaking partners from around the world. Just be aware that you might encounter a few users who mistake these platforms for social or dating apps.

Filipino Tutors

If you’d like one-on-one help with your Filipino language skills, try language tutor marketplaces such as italki or Verbling.


In addition to a language Q&A section and the chance to meet potential conversation partners, you can find both amateur tutors and teaching professionals on italki. When you take lessons through italki, you have a choice of using italki Classroom or a video chat app such as Skype.


Verbling is a little more expensive than italki — but its tutors are all professional teachers. Verbling uses a slick, in-house video platform to ensure that your tutored lessons have quality audio and video.

Language Apps, Games, and Quizzes

Practice your Filipino skills with these quizzes, games, and exercises.

Apps to Learn Tagalog


The Drops app is an offbeat, fun way to learn Filipino in five-minute daily sessions. Forget tedious typing and just swipe your way through these gamified lessons.

Simply Learn

Simya Solutions’ Simply Learn Tagalog, available for Android or iOS, includes native speaker audio, flashcards, and quizzes to gauge your learning.

Nemo Tagalog

Nemo Tagalog is an entertaining way to practice your Filipino vocabulary in a free-spirited way, without following a lesson plan. It’s designed to be used in brief spurts throughout the day. You can choose whatever topics you’d like to study from a categorized list, then quiz yourself on your retention of new words.

Exercises, Games, and Quizzes

Digital Dialects

Language games site Digital Dialects hosts a series of Filipino language games. Test your knowledge of numbers, colors, animals, fruits and vegetables, and other vocabulary in Filipino.


Quiz site Sporcle has an array of Filipino/Tagalog language quizzes. They cover various topics, such as colors, numbers, and adjectives.


Targeted at intermediate and advanced learners, Clozemaster uses fill-in-the-blank sentences to assess your mastery of Filipino vocabulary. Challenge yourself with context clues via app or web browser.


Flashcards have long been a go-to tool for language learners. Try these virtual flashcard decks, accessible through the web or mobile apps. Avoid carrying a bulky flashcard deck or accidentally dropping some of your vocabulary words on the floor. You won’t even need to shuffle your flashcards — it’s all automatic!


Anki is a custom flashcard creation tool. In addition to Android and iOS apps, Anki is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Use Anki to create your very own Filipino flashcards or choose from the best of nearly twenty pre-made Filipino/Tagalog flashcard decks:

●       Top 2000 Words 2.0 deck (includes audio)

●       Tagalog Top 4000 Vocabulary deck (with sound clips and pictures)

You can modify any existing deck to better suit your learning needs. There’s a little bit of a learning curve with Anki, but it’s highly customizable and effective.

Language-learning website hosts a flashcards section with the Top 1,000 Tagalog words, popular vocab, Rosetta Stone Tagalog, and more. The flashcards have audio clips so you can hear the words pronounced. Test your audio comprehension by selecting the audio-only mode.

If you create a free account on the site, you also get access to shared flashcard sets — and you can even create your own custom flashcards.

Other resources, such as daily listening practice videos, a Tagalog Reader Tool, and online lessons, are accessible to registered users.


Cram has a very similar flashcard setup to The Cram flashcards offer bonus features such as tests and games.

With over 4,300 Filipino flashcard decks freely available for study, you can start flipping virtual cards immediately.

Cram flashcard decks are all user-contributed, so the quality may vary wildly. Preview all the cards in any given deck to find flashcard sets that seem useful.

This Cram flashcard set is extensive and keeps the definitions simple. Several of the words in this deck, such as binato (hit with a rock), ganti (revenge), and preso (prisoner) seem like something out of Orange is the New Black. Nonetheless, the deck includes many ordinary, everyday terms such as baybaying dagat (seashore), madaling araw (dawn), bantog (famous), and gulay (vegetables).

Create a free account to make your own card decks. Custom decks can be generated easily, in two ways:

●       import a list of Filipino words and definitions from a spreadsheet, or

●       simply type in the words and definitions you want to add.

Cram gives you a third (virtual) side that you can use to display a hint. Cram has a matching app, available on both iOS and Android platforms.


Learning site Quizlet has numerous Filipino language flashcard decks. A few of these are enhanced with pictures and English translation, making them ideal for beginners.

Many sets teach Filipino vocabulary with Filipino definitions. The all-Filipino decks would be better for intermediate or advanced learners.

The site also boasts a variety of related exercises, such as flashcard-based spelling and writing drills. Use the words in any flashcard deck to play games such as Match.

Podcasts, YouTube Channels, and Blogs for Learning Filipino

Resources such as videos, podcasts, and blogs boost cultural understanding and language comprehension for Filipino learners at all levels.

Podcasts for learning Tagalog

Podcasts can be a wonderful tool for improving your auditory comprehension in Tagalog. The Talk Tagalog podcast is a solid resource for beginning Filipino learners. It includes Show Notes with detailed explanations of the material in each broadcast.

In addition to this list of Filipino podcasts for learners at all levels, intermediate and advanced learners might also be interested in these podcasts:

Thru the Bible Tagalog is a mix of Filipino scripture and music.

KalyeSpeak – Learn Filipino teaches the casual, contemporary language with an extra helping of slang. Lower intermediate learners will appreciate the repetition of phrases for practice.

● Fans of horror and true crime can explore the darker side of the language with the Wag Kang Lilingon (Don’t Turn Around) podcast. The episodes are labeled in English, but the content is in (sometimes explicit) Filipino.

The Linya-Linya Show on Spotify is in Filipino peppered with English; it’s more of a Taglish experience than strictly Filipino/Tagalog. If you’re interested in learning the popular Taglish idiom, this lighthearted show about Pinoy life can be a good resource.

YouTube Channels

With a mixture of cartoons, grammar and vocab lessons, and cultural tidbits, these YouTube channels make learning Filipino entertaining.

Filipino Cartoons for Language Learning

Animated cartoons are a fun, easy way for beginners to learn basic concepts. Filipino For Kids explores topics such as farm animals, zoo animals, and parts of the body. The channel also features folk tales and children’s songs. The material is glossed with English subtitles and narration.

Filipino Fairy Tales has rapidly paced narration. However, there are English subtitles to help you follow along.

Kids World has much slower narration than the Filipino Fairy Tales channel, but no subtitles.

Tagalog Grammar, Vocabulary, and Pronunciation

Want to skip the kids’ stuff and go straight for pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary?

FilipinoPod101’s Learn Filipino Free channel is multifaceted and frequently updated. Learners in a hurry can take advantage of the “Filipino in Three Minutes” series. Deepen your cultural knowledge with “Filipino Holidays.” The channel not only introduces new words and their cultural context but strengthens your listening and reading skills with video playlists targeted at beginning, intermediate, and advanced learners. There are also videos covering learning strategies, so you can optimize your time and learn Filipino more effectively.

Justin Collins has about a dozen videos about learning Filipino, which he produced for his now-defunct site. Many of them cover basic grammar and pronunciation; a few of them give general advice on language learning. The visuals, while not slick, are extremely clear and understandable. The audio quality is consistently good. Justin’s explanations are logical and accessible.

Precy Anza’s Learn Tagalog & Ilocano channel brings you grammar, vocabulary (including “Word of the Day” videos) and cultural insights. There are also playlists with Tagalog songs and Taglish vlogs.

Learn Tagalog with Fides is a frequently updated channel with dozens of videos. In addition to English, the videos are glossed in French. Fides’ videos include a series on verb conjugations, topic-specific vocabulary, a few songs, and even an original Filipino story. The videos are arranged nicely into playlists, including Tagalog for Kids, Conversations, and Lessons (which delve into grammar).

For more intensive grammar and pronunciation studies, try Talk to Me in Tagalog. This channel offers extensive lessons on verbs, adjectives, and sentence structure, as well as other topics such as pronunciation and vocabulary. In the Philippine Trivia & Fun Facts playlist, you’ll find over fifty Filipino tongue-twisters, which will challenge your reading and pronunciation skills.

Best Apps to Learn Tagalog

Some of the best apps to learn Tagalog include Pimsleur’s Tagalog app, FilipinoPod101, and Italki. The great thing about using apps to learn a new language is that you can tailor your experience to your linguistic goals.

The great thing about using an app to learn Tagalog is that you always have your phone with you and you can sneak in regular study sessions throughout the day.

This is great because the tricky thing about learning the beautiful Tagalog language is that it does not share any linguistic roots with English. This means that you need to find a good app to help you learn new grammar and lots of new vocabulary.

Pimsleur Tagalog

Pimsleur’s app-based Tagalog course provides a comprehensive introduction to the language, including conversation practice, grammar lessons, and speaking practice using voice-activated software. The course focuses on core vocabulary and lets you develop conversational skills early on.

Outside of a classroom setting, Pimsleur offers one of the most comprehensive and clear ways to learn Tagalog for someone who likes structured learning. The app primarily offers audio lessons designed to use both active listening and spaced repetition to help you permanently learn new language concepts. 

Each audio lesson lasts 30 to 60 minutes and begins with a conversation in Tagalog. This immersion technique builds both your listening comprehension and pronunciation skills. After the conversation, the instructor will explain grammar concepts in English, and encourage you to engage with the lesson and repeat important phrases out loud.

That said, if you consider yourself a visual learner, you may struggle with the audio lessons in the Pimsleur app. Plus, the app does have a fairly high monthly subscription fee of $19.95, though you can check out a free trial for seven days to see if you mesh with the app!


FilipinoPod101 has a unique podcast-like approach to teaching a language. The course offers an extensive library of video lessons and transcripts you can download, focused on all kinds of topics, from basic grammar to phrases you need on a flight to the Philippines. 

You can choose to follow a recommended pathway through the podcast-style lessons or forge your own pathway by selecting the lessons that sound most interesting to you. The app also offers access to special resources like vocabulary lists and flashcards.

Self-directed learners will enjoy FilipinoPod101 more than a person who likes a structured learning program. The other potential downside to this app is that it does not have interactive elements like games or direct speaking software. The instructors use a lot of English in the videos, which does not give you an immersive learning experience.

You can access the app at varying rates ranging from free with limited access to $23 per month for premium access.


The Drops app features over 2,000 Tagalog words and promises to teach you this wealth of vocabulary through a fun, gamified process. Plus, the program will tailor the vocabulary you learn to your specific goals, such as travel vs work.

Drops works best as a complement to a separate language learning program, as it only focuses on vocabulary. But it is a great and entertaining way to quickly boost your bank of essential Tagalog words.

In a fun twist, Drops offers the chance to use the app for free for five minutes a day. However, if you want to use this vocabulary tool consistently, you may want to pay the premium subscription fee of $13 per month.


If you already mastered the basics of Tagalog and you need an app to help you build on that foundation, you may want to try Clozemaster. This unique app uses a fill-in-the-blank structure to help you learn new Tagalog words in the context of complete sentences.

This vocabulary tool features thousands of Tagalog words. After you learn a new word, you will notice that the app presents that word multiple times over a week or so, giving you carefully spaced repetitions to help you permanently remember the word in context.

The only downside to Clozemaster is that it works better for an intermediate learner because you do have to already know how to read Tagalog at a basic level to perform the fill-in-the-blank activities.

You can try up to 30 sentence challenges a day for free, or subscribe to the app for $8 per month.

Mango Languages

Mango Languages offers a structured course designed for a complete beginner, covering Tagalog vocabulary, pronunciation, and essential phrases. Each lesson provides a cultural and grammar note, but the program does not focus heavily on grammar. 

It does include a direct speaking option to help you learn to pronounce words in Tagalog. The app has a great interface and each lesson includes interactive activities to make learning feel more like playing a game. You will also find helpful quizzes at the end of each lesson.

Mango makes a great choice if you want to quickly master some basics ahead of a trip to the Philippines. However, if you want an in-depth understanding of the language to become fully fluent, you will want to look into a more comprehensive course.

You can access one lesson in Mango for free to see if you like the app. After that, Mango charges a subscription of $6.67 per month.


If you enjoy a Duoling-style approach to language learning, you may want to give Ling a try! This gamified app uses silly but fun rewards and the option to challenge other users within the app to make learning competitive and fun. 

A unit in Ling features four short lessons focused on vocabulary or grammar, followed by a speaking activity and then a quiz/review component. The speaking activity does use voice recognition software to provide feedback on your pronunciation. Within each lesson, you can also engage with a chatbot to test your knowledge.

While Ling incorporates over 1,000 Tagalog words and does provide a quick, fun way to learn vocabulary, you may want to use it as an additional tool rather than as a foundation in the language. It does not focus heavily on grammar or on reading and writing, but it will get you up to speed on basic conversation tools quickly.

You can access Ling for $8.99 per month, or check out a seven-day free trial.


One of the keys to gaining fluency in a new language is finding ways to practice real conversation, and the Italki app can deliver that! Instead of featuring in-app lessons or activities, Italki provides access to hundreds of Tagalog tutors. 

The benefits of choosing a tutor through this app include knowing that you will work with a qualified instructor, and also the flexibility of finding a tutor who can work with your schedule. 

In fact, you can filter your tutor search by preferring only tutors who come from a particular language or narrow your search by the kind of lesson you want, such as grammar vs conversation.

Outside of living in a Tagalog-speaking community to fully immerse yourself in the language, working with a tutor one-on-one is one of the fastest ways to build your conversational fluency.

Individual tutors within Italki do charge different rates, so look for one you can afford. Rates can range from only $10 for a half hour to over $60.


If you like the idea of conversation practice but you don’t want to hire a personal tutor, you can find several apps designed simply to connect you with native speakers of another language. 

Tandem works a lot like a dating app, pairing your skills and native language with the skills and native language of someone who speaks the language you want to learn. You fill out a profile and the app matches you with possible conversation partners in a safe virtual environment.

In the app, you can converse through texting, audio call, or live video, depending on your conform level and the skill you want to practice.

The free version of Tandem gives you access to conversation partners, but you can also pay $13.99 per month to access Tandem Pro, which allows you to do a more in-depth search for conversation partners.

Learn Tagalog by Dulabhasa

Learn Tagalog is an app created by native Tagalog speakers intended to teach you colloquial, everyday Tagalog for easy conversation. It comes from the Dulabhasa Review Center, a group that helps students prepare for entry exams for Filipino University.

Lessons offer audio recordings from a native speaker, some grammar basics, and an introduction to many key phrases and slang terms.

You can access the introductory levels of the app for free, but later lessons require a $15/month subscription fee.


If you want an app to help you memorize Tagalog vocabulary, you may want to try Memrise. Memrise uses a sleek, flashcard-like structure to build your pool of Tagalog words and phrases. The app does not really serve as a language course, but it can make a great additional resource to boost your vocabulary.

Just like Pimsleur, Memrise functions on the spaced repetition system theory, meaning that it teaches you a new word, moves on, and then cycles back to the word in carefully spaced time intervals. This helps your brain build a new neural connection and permanently remember the new word.

Memrise does offer short video lessons as well. You can even select how much time you want to spend using Memrise per day, and the app will tailor the lessons accordingly!

You can access many lessons and a lot of the vocabulary flashcards in Memrise for free, but if you want full access you do have to commit to a monthly subscription of $8.49.

Rosetta Stone Tagalog

Do you consider yourself a visual learner? If so, you may get the most out of Rosetta Stone’s Tagalog app. Rosetta Stone uses a multiple-choice matching structure to intuitively teach you words and concepts in Tagalog. It offers a gentle introduction to Tagalog for a complete beginner and will teach you a lot of words in a visual way.

The program also uses direct speaking software, meaning that you can say a word or phrase and get feedback on your pronunciation.

However, you will find it hard to learn grammar concepts because Rosetta Stone does not use any English to teach or explain the differences between Tagalog and English. All the lessons and activities use full immersion in Tagalog instead. 

It is also worth noting that the Rosetta Stone Tagalog app uses formal language, rather than the colloquial terms you will encounter in a real-life conversation.

Rosetta Stone has a subscription fee of $44.99 for three months, though you can test out a free three-day trial first to see if you like the program.

Tips on How to Use Apps to Learn Tagalog

If you found an app or two that sounded perfect for you in the list of the 11 best apps to learn Tagalog, you may also want some tips to help you make the most of your language study. Check out the top five tips on how to use an app to learn Tagalog here!

Use Apps Intentionally 

One of the keys to using an app to learn Tagalog is to use the app intentionally, knowing upfront what you want to get out of it. For example, some apps like Pimsleur provide a comprehensive introductory course to give you a foundation in Tagalog. Others use flashcards or games to quickly teach you Tagalog vocabulary but do not really explain how the language works.

Likewise, some apps feature voice recognition software that can help you develop an authentic accent and correct pronunciation. Others go a step further, and connect you to Tagalog speakers for real conversation practice.

Ultimately, you know best what skills you need to focus on as you learn Tagalog–pick an app that will help you build that skill! You may even want to mix and match several apps, choosing one for your grammar basics, another for conversation practice, and so on.

As a pro tip, you may want to focus on the basics first. Knowing a set of core vocabulary words and simple grammar will give you a strong foundation, enabling you to springboard up to more fun apps that offer conversation practice or games later on.

Brush Up Your Highschool Spanish 

While Tagalog does not share any linguistic roots with English, Spanish, or any Romance language, it does feature thousands of loanwords from Spanish. The reason for this is unfortunately quite sad because the Philippines endured over five hundred years of Spanish occupation. Spanish actually served as the official language of the nation during this era.

The silver lining is that if you already speak Spanish–or even if you remember the years of high school Spanish you took as a teenager–you will have a big leg up in learning modern Tagalog because it features so many words borrowed from Spanish. In fact, Tagalog contains as many as 4,000 loanwords from Spanish! This makes up close to a third of the Tagalog language today.

Even if you do not speak Spanish, you may recognize many Tagalog loanwords from Spanish because English and Spanish do have common linguistic roots.

Get a Grasp on Grammar

Tagalog grammar operates very differently from English grammar. You will want to find an app that does a good job explaining Tagalog grammar concepts. This will help you learn how to speak Tagalog, and to understand what someone says to you during a conversation.

You will need to learn a lot of verb conjugations and the verbal aspect, which means picking a different verb in a sentence based on the subject. Plus, Tagalog uses pronouns in a different way than English does–you often pick a pronoun based on the action performed in the sentence.

This does not mean you need to spend hours pouring over a boring grammar textbook. Plenty of apps like Pimsleur or Mango Languages will teach you simple grammar concepts one lesson at a time!

Commit to Consistent Study 

Committing to consistent daily or at least weekly study in the app you choose is the best way to build fluency in Tagalog. Of course, this tip holds true for any method you pick to learn a new language–consistency is key!

But it matters even more in a language like Tagalog that does not share many similarities with English. The Foreign Services Institute, or FSI, rates Tagalog as a level four, fairly difficult language for English speakers to learn. It typically requires 44 weeks or a total of 1,100 hours of dedicated study to reach basic fluency.

Listen to Learn

Another tip for getting the most out of your Tagalog app is to focus on any listening activities in your lessons. When you switch from slowly pronouncing words or phrases in your app to having a real-life conversation with someone speaking Tagalog, you don’t want to find yourself overwhelmed by the flow of words and phrases!

Use listening comprehension activities to train your ear and your brain to recognize sounds that you don’t hear in English. Tagalog actually uses fewer phonemes, or distinct sounds, than English–English has about 36 distinct sounds, while Tagalog uses 21. In particular, Tagalog uses fewer vowel sounds than English. 

On top of this, the stress patterns in Tagalog can change the ways words or phrases sound, and you learn that best from listening to native speakers.

FAQs About the Best Apps to Learn Tagalog

Does Duolingo Have a Tagalog Course?

Currently, Duolingo does not offer a Tagalog course. Similar apps like Busuu which uses a strong game-like approach also do not yet feature Tagalog. If you love the gamified aspect of Duolingo, you may want to try Ling, Drops, or Memrise.

What is the Best Way to Learn Tagalog? 

The best way to learn Tagalog is to live with native speakers for several months and force yourself to listen, speak, and even think in Tagalog! Since we can’t all afford that immersive learning method, you can do your best to replicate it through useful apps that provide conversation partners and listening activities.

As a bonus, consider checking out the free app Jungo Pinoy, which is a streaming service for Filipino movies and TV shows. Watching Filipino movies may not actually teach you Tagalog, but it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the sounds of the language.

Besides speaking practice, you should look for an app, in-person class, or online course that teaches you Tagalog grammar, as this will help you understand the language. Tagalog grammar is so different from English grammar that you will struggle to just “pick up” sentence structure from listening and speaking.

Can You Learn Tagalog for Free?

You can learn Tagalog for free in many different ways, like downloading a free app like Memrise or Tandem, or finding out if your community center or local community college hosts conversation nights in Tagalog.

Of course, the advantage of using a paid Tagalog app or course like Pimsleur is that you get a step-by-step, comprehensive introduction to the language. If you put together your own Tagalog learning program piecemeal based on whatever you can find free, you have to figure out for yourself if you covered all the basics of the language.

If you do choose to put together your own free learning program, make sure it covers all your bases. Find a resource that focuses on grammar, a way to practice real conversation in Tagalog, and an audio resource to train your listening comprehension ability.

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