Learn Tagalog 02 – Alphabet & Vowels

Filipino Alphabet

The modern Filipino alphabet is similar (not identical) to the Latin alphabet:

Latin a..b..c..d..e..f..g..h..i..j..k..l..m..n……..o..p..q..r..s..t..u..v..w..x..y..z
Filipino a..b..c..d..e..f..g..h..i..j..k..l..m..n..ng..o..p..q..r..s..t..u..v..w..x..y..z
Foreign-adopted ……c……..f………..j……………………q…………..v…..x…..z

Ethnolinguistic Note
The languages of the pre-Hispanic Filipinos did not have the consonants “c,” “f,” “j,” “q,” “v,” “x” and “z.” Even today you may hear many Filipinos pronounce “v” as “b” and “f” as “p.”

(The Spaniards first came in 1521 to what is now the Philippines, then came back in 1565 to stay. Before then, the ancestors of today’s Filipinos spoke and wrote languages similar to those in neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia.)

Filipino Vowels

Each Filipino vowel sound consists of only one sound.
Compare with English “a” as in “baby, which has two sounds: “bEIbi”
or English “o” as in “post”: “pOUst”
or, finally, English “i” as in “bike”: “bAIk.”

In this sense Filipino vowels are pure
like vowels in Spanish or Italian.

Pronounce every vowel as a separate sound.
There are no diphthongs in Filipino; diphthongs are vowel combinations pronounced as one syllable.

Pronounce as in English Example
a father Magandang umaga, good morning
e egg Nene
i each ibig, want
o long totoo, true
u food kukunin, will take

Ethnolinguistic Note
The languages of the pre-Hispanic Filipinos only had three vowels: “a,” “e/i” and “o/u.” Even today you may hear many Filipinos interchange “e” and “i,” and “o” and ‘u.”

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