Consonant

The Tagalog consonants are b, d, k, g, h, l, m, n, ng, p, ( ' ), r, s, t,
w,
and y. Ng represents the velar nasal, and the apostrophe ( ' ) represents the glottal stop. The charts below show the articulatory description of the consonant sounds

Sounds/Positions

Labial Dental Palatal Velar  Glottal
Stops, voiceless

p

t

--

k

'

Stops, voiced

b

d

--

g

--

Fricatives, voiceless

--

--

s

--

h

Nasals, voiced

m

n

--

ng

--

Lateral, voiced

--

l

--

--

--

Flap, voiced

--

r

--

--

--

Semi-vowels, voiced

w

--

y

--

--

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Click on the audio icon to listen to the consonant sounds in the following pairs of words:

spkr.gif (282 bytes)  p / b

lapis

(pencil)

labis

(too much)
spkr.gif (282 bytes)  t / d kutkot (scratch)

kudkod

(scrape)
spkr.gif (282 bytes)  k / g titik (letter) titig (stare)
spkr.gif (282 bytes)  k / ' balik (return) bali' (broken)
spkr.gif (282 bytes)  h / ' hipon (shrimp) 'ipon (save)
spkr.gif (282 bytes)  s / h sipag (diligence)  hipag (sister-in-law)
spkr.gif (282 bytes)  m / n masa (masses) nasa (desire)
spkr.gif (282 bytes)  n / ng nayon (town) ngayon (now)
spkr.gif (282 bytes)  n / l nayon (town) layon (purpose)
spkr.gif (282 bytes)  d / r dilis (kind of fish) rilis (railroad)
spkr.gif (282 bytes)  l / r balat (skin) barat (stingy)
spkr.gif (282 bytes)  w / y wari' (seems) yari' (finish)

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The Glottal Stop

The glottal stop is produced when the glottis (the opening between the vocal chords) is tightly closed, stopping the air coming from the lungs. It contrasts with other consonants in Tagalog as shown by the following examples (click on the audio icons to listen):

spkr.gif (282 bytes) bata
(bathrobe) 
spkr.gif (282 bytes) bata'
(child)   
spkr.gif (282 bytes) batay
(based on something)
spkr.gif (282 bytes) baga 
(ember)
spkr.gif (282 bytes) baga' 
(lungs)
spkr.gif (282 bytes) bagay
(object)


The glottal stop is generally not indicated in conventional spelling. Words beginning with a vowel in written form, when pronounced in isolation, actually begin with the glottal stop. A sequence of vowels actually has the glottal intervening between them, as in aalis ['a'alis] "will go."  When the stop occurs between a consonant and a vowel, conventional spelling represents it with a hyphen, as in nag-aaral [nag'a'aral] "studying."

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The Consonant Ng

Ng occurs in word-initial, -medial, and -final positions. English also has the consonant ng, but it only occurs at the end of words like sing and ring. On the other hand, in Tagalog ng can occur at the beginning, middle, or end of a word. Because English speakers are only accustomed to ng in the word-final position, they may have difficulty pronouncing ng when it occurs at the beginning or middle of a word. Click on the audio icons to listen to the following examples:

   spkr.gif (282 bytes) word-initial

   spkr.gif (282 bytes)   word-medial

    spkr.gif (282 bytes)   word-final

ngayon 
(now)

ngiti 
(smile)

ngipin 
(tooth)

langit 
(heaven)

hangin 
(air)

bangin 
(cliff)

magaling 
(good)

singsing 
(ring)

kinang
(sparkle)

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bulletP, T, and K

These consonants are never aspirated in Tagalog, even in word-initial position. Click on the audio icons to listen to the following examples:

 

Sounds

word-initial word-medial word-final

spkr.gif (282 bytes) p

ulap
(clouds)
lapis 
(pencil)
palay
(rice)

spkr.gif (282 bytes) t

guhit
(draw)
bata'
(child)
tatay
(father)
spkr.gif (282 bytes) k balik
(return)
bakal
(iron)
kamay 
(hand)

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bulletThe Consonant R

This sound in Tagalog is a tap. It is produced with the tip of the tongue slightly tapping the alveolar ridge (the area above the teeth or the gum ridge).  Click on the audio icons to listen to the following examples:

spkr.gif (282 bytes) word-initial

spkr.gif (282 bytes) word-medial

spkr.gif (282 bytes) word-final

rito
(here)

roon
(there)

riles
(railway)

aral
(to study)

pera
(money)

pero
(but)

lugar
(place)

andar
(to run)

altar
(altar)

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bulletThe Consonant L

This sound in Tagalog is produced with the tongue flat from the tip to the back with the tip touching the back of the upper teeth.  Click on the audio icons to listen to the following examples:

spkr.gif (282 bytes)word-initial spkr.gif (282 bytes)word-medial spkr.gif (282 bytes)word-final
langit
(heaven)

lupa
(earth)

limot
(forget)

alay
(offering)

kaluluwa
(soul)

balot
(to wrap)

bukal
(spring)

sanggol
(baby)

butil
(grain)

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bulletT, D, N, and S

These sounds in Tagalog are produced with the tongue tip at the back of the upper teeth.   Click on the audio icons to listen to the following examples:

      Sounds   word-initial   word-medial   word-final

spkr.gif (282 bytes) t

tayo
(we)
atay
(liver)
apat
(four)

spkr.gif (282 bytes) d

dahon
(leaf)
duda
(doubt)
tulad
(similar)

spkr.gif (282 bytes) n

nayon
(village)
sana
(hoping)
saan
(where)

spkr.gif (282 bytes) s

sulat
(letter)
asin
(salt)
landas
(path)

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bulletOther Tagalog Consonants

The consonants h, b, g, m, y, and w are similar to the corresponding sounds in English.  Click on the audio icons to listen to the following examples:

Sounds

word-initial word-medial word-final

spkr.gif (282 bytes) h

hangin
(air)
bahay
(house)
---

spkr.gif (282 bytes) b

buhay
(life)
taba'
(fat)
alab
(fire)

spkr.gif (282 bytes) g

guhit
(drawing)
bago
(new)
hulog
(fall)

spkr.gif (282 bytes) m

mula
(since)
kamay
(hand)
alam
(to know)

spkr.gif (282 bytes) y

yari
(made of)
saya
(skirt)
kulay
(color)

spkr.gif (282 bytes) w

wari
(seem)

awa
(pity)

ikaw
(you)

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