Replaceable Tagalog Vowel Sounds

Some vowel sounds in native words can be replaced under certain conditions.

change

example

alternative pronunciation

meaning

from /i/ to /e/

lalaki  

lalake  

man, male

from /e/ to /i/

sige na  

sigi na”  

come on, please…

from /o/ to /u/

total  

tutal”  

after all, anyway

change

from /i/ to /e/

example

lalaki  

alternative pronunciation

lalake  

meaning

man, male

change

from /e/ to /i/

example

sige na  

alternative pronunciation

sigi na”  

meaning

come on, please…

change

from /o/ to /u/

example

total  

alternative pronunciation

tutal”  

meaning

after all, anyway

When the changes usually occur:

1. From /i/ to /e/: when /i/ is in the final syllable of a native Tagalog word that is followed by a pause*

example

altern­ative pronun­ciation

meaning

Gabi.

Gabe.”

Evening.

Itlog.

Egg.

Abril.

April.

Gabi na.

It’s already dark.

example

Gabi.

altern­ative pronun­ciation

Gabe.”

meaning

Evening.

example

Itlog.

altern­ative pronun­ciation

meaning

Egg.

example

Abril.

altern­ative pronun­ciation

meaning

April.

example

Gabi na.

altern­ative pronun­ciation

meaning

It’s already dark.

2. From /e/ to /i/: when /e/ is in the final syllable of a word that is not followed by a pause*

example

altern­ative pronun­ciation

meaning

Sige na.

Sigi na.”

Come on, please.

Sige.

OK.

Perlas.

Pearl.

Eleksyon.

Election.

example

Sige na.

altern­ative pronun­ciation

Sigi na.”

meaning

Come on, please.

example

Sige.

altern­ative pronun­ciation

meaning

OK.

example

Perlas.

altern­ative pronun­ciation

meaning

Pearl.

example

Eleksyon.

altern­ative pronun­ciation

meaning

Election.

3. From /o/ to /u/: when /o/ is short (unstressed) and not followed by a pause*

example

altern­ative pronun­ciation

meaning

Ano pa?

Anu pa?”

What else?

Botika’.

Butika’.”

Drugstore.

Biyolin.

Biyulin.”

Violin.

Ano?

What?

Bola.

Ball.

example

Ano pa?

altern­ative pronun­ciation

Anu pa?”

meaning

What else?

example

Botika’.

altern­ative pronun­ciation

Butika’.”

meaning

Drugstore.

example

Biyolin.

altern­ative pronun­ciation

Biyulin.”

meaning

Violin.

example

Ano?

altern­ative pronun­ciation

meaning

What?

example

Bola.

altern­ative pronun­ciation

meaning

Ball.

* pause – e.g. comma, period

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