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.

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