No Long Vowel Sounds In Tagalog

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Native-English speakers who want to try their hand (tongue actually) at speaking in Tagalog would do well to remember the following tip. There are no long vowel sounds in Tagalog. 

This means the Tagalog word 'Mabuhay' which roughly translates to "long live"  should never be pronounced as 'mah-boo-hay' with the last syllable pronounced with a 'long a' sound like 'hay' as in the term used to refer to grass that have been cut, dried, and stored for use as animal feed. The correct  pronunciation is 'mah-boo-high.' Remember the last syllable should be pronounced as 'high' just like the term used to refer to a state of sustained elation (probably because of smoking a certain variety of dried grass other than hay).

Incidentally, you should know that 'Mabuhay' is not really used by Filipinos in normal conversations. It is however commonly used in the context of tourism promotion in the Philippines. So while there is really no harm in using it moderation is recommended.

Going back to the original topic, here are some Tagalog words you can practice on. Remember, no long vowel sounds in Tagalog.

Check in later for actual pronunciations of these and other Tagalog words in audio format.

May Pera Ka Ba?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Here's a sample dialogue you can practice on. It's a conversation about money.

A: Hey man, do you have money?
A: Pare, may pera ka ba?

B: No. Why?
B: Wala eh. Bakit?

A: I was going to borrow some.
A: Manghihiram sana ako.

B: How much were you planning to borrow?
B: Magkano ba sana ang hihiramin mo?

A: Just a small amount.
A: Maliit lang.

B: How much exactly?
B: Magkano nga eksakto?

A: Can you lend me 500 pesos?
A: Kaya mo ba (ako pahiramin ng) 500 pesos?

B: Is that it?
B: Yun lang?

A: Yes.
A: Oo.

B: Ok here's 500.
B: Ok heto 500.

A: Thanks man.
A: Salamat pare.

note: words within parenthesis are optional

Tagalog Greetings

Monday, December 14, 2009

The following are basic Tagalog greetings.

  • good morning = magandang umaga
  • good afternoon = magandang tanghali (specifically for noontime) or magandang hapon
  • good evening = magandang gabi
  • welcome = mabuhay (not a literal translation though)

Be informed though that in most urban centers in the Philippines their English equivalents are more commonly used. Anyway, I'm providing you with these greetings to add to your collection of Tagalog phrases.

(more to come)

Tagalog Pronunciation

As a native speaker of Tagalog, I am only aware of five vowel sounds in Tagalog. If there are more I'd be happy to be corrected. As I pointed out somewhere in this blog I am not a language teacher so I will not even pretend to know everything about Tagalog. Whatever it is that I share here is just based on my practical experience with the language.

So, anyway, as I said, there are five vowel sound in Tagalog. These are:

  • a as in ah
  • e as in eh
  • i as in ee or bit
  • o as in bought or paw
  • u as in ooh or moo
And here they are as used in actual Tagalog words.

mabuhay = mah-booh-high
malakas = mah-lah-kahs
telepono = teh-leh-p(aw)-naw
umuulan = ooh-moo-ooh-lahn
itlog = eet-lawg
oo = aw-aw
hindi = heen-di

(more to come)

Tagalog Is Easy To Learn

Is Tagalog difficult to learn? It depends on what flavor of Tagalog you want. If it's the kind normally used for literary pieces then that would be a little too difficult to learn. But if you're interested in Tagalog that you can easily use to converse with Filipinos then you're in luck.

Conversational Tagalog is not all that difficult to learn.

Now a bit of disclosure here before you proceed. I am not a language teacher but I am a native speaker of Tagalog. What this mean is I will not bore you with too much technical information about the language. In all likelihood I may even commit the mistake of providing you with incomplete information. If I am unsure of what I'm talking about I will try to provide links to more authoritative sources. I leave it to you to check them out.