The first step in learning how to speak Tagalog is to pronounce the name of the language correctly. Proper pronunciation of "Tagalog" will also teach would-be speakers some of the key features of the languange, such as correctly pronouncing the "a." Tagalog, like many other languages, can be learned through constant immersion, studying the way native speakers speak the language, and using the language as frequently as possible.
One of the best ways to start learning how to speak or understand Tagalog is to subscribe to The Filipino Channel, or TFC. Many cable providers offer this service for less than $15 a month, or up to $30 a month for Tagalog channel packages. The Filipino Channel has a few programs that can teach people who want to learn how to speak the Filipino national language, whether by children's programming or by watching interesting soap operas. By listening to the language daily and by imitating the speakers on television (who are usually a mixture of expats and native Filipinos), you could learn Tagalog just as easily as if you lived in the Philippines.
Another good way to learn how to speak Tagalog is to visit the Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Here, Tagalog is the main language spoken. If you travel to other parts of the Philippines, you will encounter various dialects that may or may not sound like Tagalog. These dialects can be more difficult to learn than Tagalog. If you stay within Manila and surrounding areas, you will be surrounded by people speaking in Tagalog, which will encourage you to make use of any Tagalog phrases that you know how to say.
Moreover, if you read Tagalog books and magazines, you can get a feel for the language formally and informally. Slang is often used in daily conversation, so, as with all languages, don't expect to speak Tagalog as it is always written. Spoken languages are usually more informal than when written.
Finally, take a class, speak to native Filipinos, or buy a software program that can gauge your pronunciation and understanding of basic vocabulary. Making use of your knowledge of the language will help you retain the information better. Learning Tagalog is like learning any other language. And what's more, if you know English, Filipinos like to mix Tagalog with English, so you will have an even easier time learning the language.
Learning to read, write, and speak Tagalog is a process that involves many elements, such as blending cultures and immersing one's self in a new world. However, the process is also exciting and helps you gain new insight and knowledge that may help you in the future.