11 Shocking Hard-To-Pronounce Tagalog Words


Wondering what are the hard-to-pronounce Tagalog words like ‘nakakapagpabagabag’? Here’s a quick and helpful list for you!

Filipino is the national language of the Philippines. On the other hand, Tagalog is one of the languages in the Philippines, where the national language is based. Unlike the English language, Filipino doesn’t have other distinct sounds for every Filipino alphabet. So, you have to remember that the pronunciation in the Filipino language is really simple; the spelling is how you pronounce it.

But of course, some words are hard to pronounce, especially if your first language is English. Even if the rules of pronunciation of common Filipino words are pretty straightforward, there are other things that you should consider in learning pronunciation, such as the accent, tone, intonation, diction, and more. So, in this blog, we will learn about hard-to-pronounce Tagalog words that you can add to your vocabulary.

Hard To Pronounce Words In The Filipino Language

Learning the pronunciation of Filipino words is not that hard. They are too straightforward. But of course, for a non-native speaker, there are hard-to-pronounce words. Here are some hard-to-pronounce Tagalog words and their English translations that you can use when conversing with your Filipino friends.

The Most Emotionally Disturbing (Or Upsetting) Thing – Pinakanakapagpapabagabag-damdamin/ Pinakanakapagpapabagbag-damdamin

Example Sentence: Ang pagkamatay ni Maria Clara ang isa sa pinakanakapagpapabagabag-damdamin sa nobelang El Filibusterismo. (The death of Maria Clara is one of the most emotionally disturbing scene in the novel El Filibusterismo.)

If the longest word that appears in the major dictionary in English is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, in the Filipino language, it is “pinakanakapagpapabagabag-damdamin.” It is one of the most tongue-twisting words and can be difficult to pronounce for English beginners. However, its significance is crucial since it demonstrates the strength of the Filipino people’s language. It came from the root word “bagabag” which means “to disturb, cause distress or worry.”

Disturbing Or Worrisome – Nakakapagpabagabag

Example Sentence: Nakakapágpabagabag ang ginawa mo. (What you did is very disturbing.)

The word “nakakapagpabagabag” is one of the famous tongue twisters in the Filipino language, but it is an adjective. This Filipino word means “disturbing or worrisome.” It is also one of the Filipino words that are hard to pronounce; that’s why you rarely hear Filipinos using it in daily conversations.

Twinkling – Kumukutikutitap

Example Sentence: Kumukutikutitap and mga bituin sa langit. (The star is twinkling in the sky.)

The Tagalog word “kumukutikutitap” means “twinkling”. It is usually used when talking about stars and lights. You’ll often hear this word during the Christmas season because there’s a song that uses this word.

Astounding – Kagilagilalas

Example Sentence: Kagilagilalas ang mga talentong ipinakita ng mga Pilipinon sa mundo. (The talents that Filipinos show to the world today are astounding.)

Kagila-gilalas came from the word “gilalas,” which means “astonishment or amazement.” “Kagila-gilalas” is one of the deep Filipino words to describe the astounding feeling you feel.

Rumbling – Dumadagundong

Example Sentence: Narinig ko ang dumadagundong na kulog. (I heard the rumbling thunder.)

The next hard-to-pronounce Filipino word is “dumadagundong”, and its English translation is “rumbling, or a make a deep and loud sound.” It is usually used to describe a loud or rumbling sound like thunder, explosion, and more.

Commercial – Patalastas

Example Sentence: Maraming patalastas ngayon sina Donny Pangilinan at Belle Mariano. (Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano have a lot of commercials today.)

The next word is “patalastas,” which means “commercial” in English. It’s one of the hardest Tagloag words to pronounce because of the letters used. If you find it hard to pronounce it, just pronounce it by syllables first.


Going down? – Bababa ba?

Example Sentence: Bababa ba? Kukunin ko muna ang gamit ko. (Are we going down? I’ll just get my things.)

You might find it hard to believe, but this is actually a sentence in the Filipino language that means “Going down? or Are we going down?”. It came from the word “baba,” which means “down” the one syllable of “ba” added, in the beginning, is used to indicate that the action is yet to happen (future tense). Lastly, the word “ba” is a particle added to phrases when asking a question.

Flowers – Bulaklak

Example Sentence: Bumili ka ng bulaklak sa Araw ng mg Puso. (Buy flowers on Valentine’s Day)

Even if it is only a short word, it is still one of the hardest words to pronounce in the Filipino language. The word “bulaklak” is the Filipino word for the English word “flower”. It is pronounced fast with no pause or stop between syllables.

Unbelievable – Di kapani-paniwala

Example Sentence: Di kapani-paniwala ang mga kuwento niya tungkol sa multo. (His stories about ghosts are unbelievable.)

The word “‘di kapani-paniwala” means “unbelievable” in English. The hyphen between “kapani” and “paniwala” is used to separate words that are being repeated. It also indicates a partial stop or a pause in pronunciation.

A Particle That Pluralizes Count Noun – Mga

Example Sentence: Ang mga Pilipino ay likas na matulungin. (Filipinos are naturally helpful.)

The word “mga” is surprisingly hard to pronounce. If you look at it, you might not have any idea how to pronounce it because it is composed of two consonants consecutively and a vowel. It was originally spelled as manga, but with the development of the Filipino language, it was changed to the shortened version “mga”. A lot of foreigners are finding it hard to pronounce this particle.

Of – Ng

Example Sentence: Ito ang simula ng pelikula. (This is the ending of the movie.)

The last word is similar to the previous one. It is only composed of two consonants with no vowels, that’s why it is a mystery how to pronounce it if you’re not a Filipino. But, the pronunciation of this word is simply “nang”. But, in the Filipino language, there is a different meaning of “nang,” so please be aware of that.

Having A Hard Time With The Pronunciation? Ling Got Your Back!

Learn Tagalog With The Ling App

After learning these new words, you might still have a lot of Filipino words that you’re finding hard to pronounce. But don’t worry because Ling app can do the magic for you. With Ling app, not only you can learn different words and vocabulary but, you can also learn correct pronunciation and grammar rules and explore Filipino culture.

With well-developed features such as audio recordings, speech recognition technology, fun and engaging lessons, and informative blog posts, you’ll surely have a meaningful language-learning journey. You’ll be able to develop your language skills, such as reading, writing, speaking, comprehension, and more. So, say goodbye to the hard times, and start your first Tagalog lesson with Ling app now.

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