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 to learn more Tagalog words and vocabulary through the Filipino alphabet, then let’s get it on!

Tagalog Alphabet: 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. You can also learn the Tagalog alphabet with the Ling app. It’s free to download from Google Play and the App Store.

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 LetterPronunciationExample WordSound
AAhAso (Dog)
BBaBaboy (Pig)
KKaKahon (Box)
DDaDamo (Grass)
EEhElepante (Elephant)
GGaGalaw (Movement)
HHaHalaman (Plant)
IEeItlog (Egg)
LLaLaso (Ribbon)
MMaMata (Eye)
NNaNais (Want)
NGNgaNgipin (Tooth)
OOhOras (Time)
PPaPatay (Dead)
RRaRampa (Ramp)
SSaSaging (Banana)
TTaTao (Human)
UUhUbas (Grapes)
WWaWalo (Eight)
YYaYaman (Wealth)
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.

girl reading tagalog alphabet

What Is The Modern Tagalog Alphabet

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 Tagalog writing system and pronunciation are pretty similar to the English Alphabet.

A aey/a/ 
B bbi/b/ 
C csi/k/, /s/Used for foreign words. Sometimes replaced by the letter K.
D ddi/d/ 
E eih/e/, /i/ 
F fef/f/, /p/Used for foreign words. Sometimes replaced by the letter P.
G gdyi/g/,/dʒ/, /h/ 
H heyts/h/ 
I iay/i/, /e/ 
J jdyey/dʒ/, /h/Used for foreign words.
K kkey/k/ 
L lel/l/ 
M mem/m/ 
N nen/n/ 
Ñ ñenye/ɲ/ 
Ng ngendyi/ŋ/ 
O oow/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

Tagalog Vowels

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

Tagalog VowelPronunciationSound
A aah (as in “father”)
E eeh (as in “bet”)
I iee (as in “see”)
O ooh (as in “go”)
U uoo (as in “food”)
Table 1.3

Tagalog Consonants

The remaining 23 letters are consonants or katinig in the Tagalog Alphabet. You may refer to Table 1.2 for more information.

How Do You Say Alphabet In Tagalog?

The Tagalog word for alphabet is alpabeto.

Don’t confuse it with the official name of the Tagalog script which is abakada!

Frequently Asked Questions About The Tagalog Alphabet

How Many Letters Are In The Tagalog Alphabet?

There are 20 letters in the Tagalog alphabet.

How many letters are in the Filipino alphabet?

There are 28 letters in the Filipino alphabet which is now the official alphabet of the Philippines. It has replaced the previous Tagalog alphabet.

How do I learn the Tagalog alphabet?

We recommend using the Ling app to learn more about the Tagalog alphabet. It has short lessons for writing, speaking, listening, and reading. You can also use the Ling app to read about culture notes and grammar lessons about Tagalog.

Filipino Language: An 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 Filipino writing system is still the same.

Is The Tagalog Language Hard To Learn?

Since the Filipino language (specifically the Filipino alphabet) 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 Southeast Asian countries.

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

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