Appendix:Tagalog pronunciation

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This appendix lists how the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) corresponds to Tagalog pronunciation in Wiktionary entries.


IPA Tagalog Allophones Example English approximation Notes
/a/ a [ɐ] (usually in unstressed syllables) ama father
/e/ e [i] eroplano bed (American English accent) Most commonly perceived as /ɛ/.
/i/ i [e] (in final syllables), [ɪ] (in unstressed syllables anywhere except final) ipis machine
/o/ o [o], [ʊ], [u] (before /m/ and a /b/ or /p/), /ow/ (usually in Batangas) relo soul (American English accent) May also be interpreted as /ɔ/.
/u/ u [ʊ] upo flute Often lowered to /ʊ/ in unstressed positions. [ʊ] before [m] followed by [b] and [p] usually becomes [u] (e.g. kumbensiyon, kumpisal).


IPA Tagalog Allophones Example English approximation Notes
/aj/ [aɪ̯] ay /ej/ (usually in Batangas) bahay ice, light Sometimes reduced to [e].
/aw/ [aʊ̯] aw /ow/ (usually in Batangas Tagalog) sayaw out (General American) Sometimes becomes [oː].
/ej/ [eɪ̯] ey keyk pay Usually in loanwords and proper nouns. Sometimes allophone of /aj/ in Batangas Tagalog.
/iw/ [ɪʊ̯] iw sisiw kiwi
/oj/ [oɪ̯] oy, uy baboy boy
/ow/ [oʊ̯] o limot sole Only in Batangas Tagalog, as allophones of /aw/ and /o/.


Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar/dental Post-alveolar/palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal /m/ /n/ /ɲ/ /ŋ/
Stop /p/, /b/ /t/, /d/ /k/, /ɡ/ /ʔ/
Affricate (/t͡s/) (/t͡ʃ/), (/d͡ʒ/)
Fricative /s/ (/ʃ/) /h/
Approximant /l/ /j/ /w/
Rhotic /ɾ/
IPA Example Notes
/ʔ/ oo, pag-ibig, batà the catch in uh-oh Implied in the onset of words beginning with vowels. Marked as a hyphen when it occurs between a consonant and a vowel. Final glottal stops are marked using a circumflex (if syllable has stress) or grave (if stress is on the penultimate).
/b/ bagay, Victor best Can represent ⟨b⟩ (most words) and ⟨v⟩ (new loanwords and proper nouns).
/d/ daw do Often becomes /ɾ/ in native vocabulary in Teresa-Morong Tagalog except where in beginning of syllable in words with /l/. Historically an allophone of /ɾ/
/d͡ʒ/ diyan, udyok, jam, Jacob (English-derived given name), Gerald joy Where spelled as ⟨dy⟩ or ⟨diy⟩, can be realized as [dj] in slow or rural pronunciation. As ⟨dy⟩, ⟨g⟩, ⟨j⟩, in respelled English loanwords, can be realized as [dz] or [ʒ]. Represented by ⟨j⟩ in new loanwords from all other languages except those from Spanish.
/ɡ/ gatas, Guimaras gold Becomes [ɰ] or [ɣ] (as in g in Spanish amigo) between vowels, e.g. tigas ([tɪˈɰas] or [tɪˈɣas]).
/j/ yelo you
/k/ keso, Caloocan, Quezon scan /k/ between vowels usually become [x] (the sound of ch in Scottish English loch), e.g. yakap [ˈjaxɐp] or at word onset as the consonant cluster [kx], e.g. keso [ˈkxeso].
/l/ lata lamb Depending on the dialect, it may be dental/denti-alveolar or alveolar (light L) within or at the end of a word. It may also be velarized (dark L) if influenced by English enunciation.
/m/ madre mate
/n/ asin need In names borrowed from Spanish, it may assimilate to [m] before labial consonants (e.g. /m/ in San Miguel, /p/ in San Pedro, and /f/ in Infanta).
/ɲ/ kanya, niyo, Niño canyon Represents both the phonetic realization of native cluster niy and digraph ny (phonemically: /nj/), and the phoneme of ñ (in proper nouns)
/ŋ/ ngipin singer /ŋ/ becomes [m] before /m/ and /b/, which is reflected in contemporary spelling. It also tends to become [n] before dental consonants. Also represented by n before /k/, /ɡ/, or rarely, /h/ in some Spanish-derived loanwords or proper nouns, e.g. Cuenca, ingrato, San Jose, kongreso.
/p/ piso, Filipino, Ifugaw span Can represent both ⟨p⟩ (most words) and ⟨f⟩ (new loanwords and pronouns). ⟨f⟩ may be pronounced /f/, but tends to assimilate with /p/, which reflects in spelling of most loanwords (except proper nouns).
/ɾ/ pader water (North American/Australian) Traditionally allophone of /d/ (see above) in Old Tagalog. /d/ between vowels usually, but not always, become /ɾ/. Now pronounced in free variation as [r ~ ɾ ~ ɹ], especially in loanwords and proper nouns of foreign origin.
/s/ sugat skew
/ʃ/ siya, kasya shine Can be realized as [s] by rural speakers. When spelled ⟨siy⟩ or ⟨sy⟩, can be realized as a pair, [sj], in slow speech.
/t/ tamis stand
/t͡s/ tatsulok, kutsara cats Also allophone of [t͡ʃ] in rural speech, and can an be realized as a consonant pair [ts] as well.
/t͡ʃ/ tiyak, tseke, kutsara church Where spelled as ⟨tiy⟩ or ⟨ty⟩, can be pronounced as /tj/ in slow or rural speech.
/w/ lawak wait


Tagalog uses a stress accent combining stress and/or final glottal stops to distinguish homographs. Stress is implied in the penultimate (second to last) syllables. Vowels are lengthened in open syllables when stressed, except in final positions, but as Tagalog has no phonemic vowel length, they are implied by the stress symbol.

Common spelling Default stress Ultimate stress (vowel with acute or pahilis) Ultimate stress and final glottal stop (vowel with circumfix or pakupya) Final glottal stop (vowel with grave or paiwa)
baba baba (father) babâ (below) babà (chin)
baka baka (cow) baká (maybe)
bata bata (bathrobe) batâ (act of persevering) batà (child)
bayaran bayaran (to pay) bayarán (for hire)
labi labî (remains) labì (lip)
pito pito (whistle) pitó (seven)
sala sala (sin (from Proto-Malayo-Polynesian); living room (from Spanish)) salá (interweaving of bamboo slats) salâ ((noun) physical defect; (adjective) filtered) salà (filtration; filter; sieve)