Welcome back for the next Learning Tagalog grammar video, which is about optional sound
changes or replaceable sounds.
Tagalog has a number of sounds that are not really fixed. Some of those sounds tend to
change, depending on what follows them. Other sounds are really
Let’s start with one that you may have already noticed: the /i/ sound changing
to /e/. This happens in the last syllable before a pause, for example,
at the end of a sentence.
mabuti (good) becomes Mabute.
mabait (friendly) becomes Mabaet.
hindi’ (which means no) becomes Hinde’.
Our next optional sound change is /e/ changing to /i/.
This often happens in the last syllable of the word, when it’s not followed by a
pause. In other words, when it’s immediately followed by another word. For
sige na (which means come on…) becomes sigi na.
Next we have /o/ changing to /u/. This happens when /o/ is
short and not followed by a pause.
ulo ko (which means my head)
becomes ulu ko.
Then there are the optional sound changes of /ai/, /au/ and /ay/.
kailan: which means when, is often pronounced
kaylan, keylan or
kaunti’: meaning a little, often becomes
may: meaning there is, often becomes
last series of optional sound changes are /diy/, /niy/, /siy/,
/tiy/ and /ts/.
You have diyan, which often becomes jan. It means there.
The word for coconut, niyog,
often becomes ñog. And
this n here, sounds like the /gn/ in lasagna.
He or she
in Tagalog, siya, often
Tiyan, often becomes chan,
and it means belly.
And kotse often becomes koche, and it means car.
That was it for pronunciation.
I’d like to mention that there’s an official spelling system with accents, which is
used in some Tagalog dictionaries. Unfortunately, we find this system
confusing, because the accents don’t mark individual sound changes. So instead,
we prefer to use underlines and apostrophes. For more information about the
system with accents, go to Appendix A in the grammar at:
In the next video, we’ll talk about the Tagalog linkers na and -ng.
Thank you for watching.
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