Tagalog Spelling System Using Diacritical Marks

An official spelling system that uses diacritical marks for indicating long vowels and final glottal stops was introduced in 1939. Although it is used in some dictionaries and Tagalog learning materials, it has not been generally adopted by native speakers.

The system divides words into four types based on stress and the presence or absence of a final glottal stop.

word type

characteristics

system using diacritical marks

system used in this book

malumay

  • stress on penultimate syllable

dalaga

sarili

matahimik

dalaga

sarili

matahimik

malumi’ (`)

  • stress on penultimate syllable
  • glottal stop at end of word

batà

talumpatì

dambuhalà

bata’

talumpati’

dambuhala’

mabilis (´)

  • stress on final syllable

isá

malakí

bulaklák

isa

malaki

bulaklak

maragsa’ (ˆ)

  • stress on final syllable
  • glottal stop at end of word

sampû

butikî

salitâ

sampu’

butiki’

salita’

word type

malumay

characteristics

  • stress on penultimate syllable

system using diacritical marks

dalaga

sarili

matahimik

system used in this book

dalaga

sarili

matahimik

word type

malumi’ (`)

characteristics

  • stress on penultimate syllable
  • glottal stop at end of word

system using diacritical marks

batà

talumpatì

dambuhalà

system used in this book

bata’

talumpati’

dambuhala’

word type

mabilis (´)

characteristics

  • stress on final syllable

system using diacritical marks

isá

malakí

bulaklák

system used in this book

isa

malaki

bulaklak

word type

maragsa’ (ˆ)

characteristics

  • stress on final syllable
  • glottal stop at end of word

system using diacritical marks

sampû

butikî

salitâ

system used in this book

sampu’

butiki’

salita’

In addition to the above:

Any stressed syllables other than the penultimate and final syllables are indicated by an acute accent (´).

system using diacritical marks

system used in this book

sásama

páaralán

nagsásalitâ

sasama

paaralan

nagsasalita’

This book does not use the spelling system using diacritical marks as the system is quite confusing.

Note:

1. The final glottal stop of malumi and maragsa words only occurs before a pause, such as at the end of a sentence. When not followed by a pause, the final glottal stop is replaced by vowel elongation.

2. The stress on, or vowel elongation in, the final syllable of mabilis and maragsa words is optional when followed by a pause. When not followed by a pause, there is no vowel elongation in the final syllable of mabilis words. In the case of maragsa words, there is final vowel elongation, since it replaces the final glottal stop.

See also: Long vowels (stress) and glottal stops (p. 17).

Tagalog grammar bookThis is the free online edition of Essential Tagalog Grammar: A Reference for Learners of Tagalog
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