Tagalog Alphabet: An Easy Guide To The 28 Letters

tagalog alphabet

There’s more to discover about the Philippines than just its outstanding scenery! Today, let us explore the Tagalog alphabet to help you recognize words instantly and pronounce them like a local. At the end of the day, having the ability to understand at least the basic letters can help you navigate the country in style. Fortunately, this topic is straightforward to learn. If you are ready for that, then let’s get it on!

Filipino Language: Overview

Just like the islands of the Philippines, there are also several languages and dialects you can hear when traveling around the country’s regions. You may listen to a Tagalog word similar to a Malay or Spanish word. The Malay, Chinese, and Spanish colonization profoundly influenced the Filipino language. Aside from them, the Japanese and Americans also played a significant role in conceptualizing the Filipino language.

The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino stipulated that the national language of the Philippines is ‘Filipino‘ and the lingua franca of Filipinos. Aside from that, Filipino dialects are also used in different parts of the country. These dialects may differ in how they are pronounced (also known as ‘punto‘), but the writing system is still the same.

3 Filipino Writing Systems

There are three Filipino writing systems and alphabets in the country. The first one is the Baybayin or Alibata, which is the earliest form of writing and the pre-colonial writing script in the country. The ancient people in the country used the Baybayin during the 16th and 17th centuries.

The second one is the ‘Abakada‘ or the Pilipinong Alpabeto, used from the 1930s until 1976 when the country was introduced and adapted the Latin alphabet. This writing system was influenced by the former American colonists from their English Alphabet. It has 20 letters, including ‘ng,’ and the letters c, f, j,q, v, x, and z are excluded.

The last one is the Modern Filipino Alphabet, which is the same as Abakada, but the letters c f j ñ q v x, and z are added.

Below are examples of the Filipino writing system and Filipino Alphabet:

1. Baybayin Script

baybayin chart filipino alphabet

Baybayin is a precolonial and ancient Brahmic writing system that was used in the Philippines until the 17th century when the Latin script was introduced.

2. Abakada Alphabet

The Abakada alphabet was developed by the writer and senator of the Philippines, Lope Santos Y Canseco. The alphabet is a version of the Latin script specifically created for the Tagalog language, as it represents its sounds.

Abakada LetterPronunciation
AA
BBa
KKa
DDa
EE
GGa
HHa
II
LLa
MMa
NNa
NGNga
OO
PPa
RRa
SSa
TTa
UU
WWa
YYa
table 1.1

3. Modern Filipino Alphabet

The Modern Filipino Alphabet takes the 20 letters from Abakada and adds eight new consonants (c f j ñ q v x and z) for 28 letters. Check out table 1.2 below for more information.

What Is The Modern Tagalog Alphabet

girl reading tagalog

The Modern Filipino Alphabet or Tagalog Alphabet (Makabagong Alpabetong Pilipino) is the current and official alphabet used today. It started in the year 1976 to align it with the international standard.

It has 28 letters, and the writing system and pronunciation are pretty similar to the English Alphabet.

LettersPronunciationIPARemarks
A aey/a/ 
B bbi/b/ 
C csi/k/, /s/Used for foreign words. Sometimes replaced by the letter K.
D ddi/d/ 
E ei/e/, /i/ 
F fef/f/, /p/Used for foreign words. Sometimes replaced by the letter P.
G gdzi/g/,/dʒ/, /h/ 
H heyts/h/ 
I iay/i/, /e/ 
J jdzey/dʒ/, /h/Used for foreign words
K kkey/k/ 
L lel/l/ 
M mem/m/ 
N nen/n/ 
Ñ ñenyi/ɲ/ 
Ng ngendzi/ŋ/ 
O oo/o/,/u/ 
P ppi/p/ 
Q qkyu/k/Used for foreign words.
R rar/ɾ/ 
S ses/s/ 
T tti/t/ 
U uyu/u/, /o/ 
V vvi/v/, /b/Used for foreign words. Sometimes replaced by the letter B.
W wdobolyu/w/ 
X xeks/ks/Used for foreign words.
Y yway/j/ 
Z zzi/z/, /s/ 
table 1.2

Vowels

There are five vowels or patinig in the Tagalog Alphabet, which is the same as the English alphabet.

A a, E e, I i, O o and U u

Consonants

The remaining 23 letters are consonants or katinig in the Tagalog Alphabet.

Is The Tagalog Language Hard To Learn?

Since the Filipino language (specifically Tagalog) is similar to the English alphabet, it is not hard to learn. The Tagalog words have the same sounds and writing system, and some are adapted to foreign words from other countries. Moreover, Tagalog speakers and other native speakers of dialects in the country are known to be among the greatest English speakers in South-East Asian countries.

Do you want to discover and learn the Tagalog Language? Learning Filipino words is like learning English, so there’s no reason to find Tagalog hard to understand. If you are passionate about this language, try the best learning language application to help you achieve this goal by downloading Ling app.

Master Tagalog With The Ling App

The Ling app is a user-friendly language learning application that can help a beginner achieve language proficiency and improve a specific target language. Providing a fun way of learning a new language, like interactive games (quizzes and flashcards), a language learner can expand their vocabulary in a much more exciting way in just 10 minutes per day. It also offers 60+ different foreign languages aside from Tagalog. There are also informative blog posts and language learning app reviews that you can read and discover.

Hurry! Download the Ling app from App Store or Google Play now and start a new way of learning!

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