Close
 


Syllabicating Filipino Words

Mark Complete

Keep In Mind:
Filipino words are pronounced the way they are syllabicated.
a.) Double vowels should always be pronounced separately. ("oo" is pronounced "oh oh", not "oo").
b.) Remember that “Ng/ng” is considered to be one letter in the Filipino alphabet.

In speaking the Filipino language words are syllabicated, or broken down by syllable in a slightly different way than in English. How you break apart syllables when speaking has a significant impact on your accent and how clearly you speak the language.



Be sure to read the explanations below, but with this lesson it's really important to do the drill exercises associated with this lesson. The explanation can be difficult to internalize, but after doing the drills for a while the pattern will start to become second nature.

Four Syllable Patterns

To help you in articulating words properly in the Filipino language, it is useful to know the 4 different kinds of syllables. All Filipino syllables fall into one of these four patterns.

The idea of how a word is broken into syllables is important for good pronunciation.

The matching pattern will be highlighted in BLUE in the examples below.


1.) The single vowel syllable ( V ):
This pattern is typically only used at the very beginning or end of a word, or after a glottal stop:
Markup
Examples:
amá Play audio #396
a-má = V-CV
tao Play audio #18154
ta-o = CV-V
una Play audio #8455
u-na = V-CV
ulán Play audio #642
u-lán = V-CVC
Markup
Examples:
ama Play audio #396
a-ma = V-CV
tao Play audio #18154
ta-o = CV-V
una Play audio #8455
u-na = V-CV
ulan Play audio #642
u-lan = V-CVC
2.) The consonant-vowel syllable ( CV )
Markup
Examples:
tao Play audio #18154
ta-o = CV-V
ulo Play audio #640
u-lo = V-CV
tubig Play audio #639
tu-big = CV-CVC
sakáy Play audio #627
sa-káy = CV-CVC
Markup
Examples:
tao Play audio #18154
ta-o = CV-V
ulo Play audio #640
u-lo = V-CV
tubig Play audio #639
tu-big = CV-CVC
sakay Play audio #627
sa-kay = CV-CVC
3.) The vowel-consonant syllable ( VC )
Markup
Examples:
antók Play audio #626
an-tók = VC-CVC
unggóy Play audio #625
ung-góy = VC-CVC
* note: ng = 1 letter
ambón Play audio #624
am-bón = VC-CVC
mabaít Play audio #638
ma-ba-ít = CV-CV-VC
Markup
Examples:
antok Play audio #626
an-tok = VC-CVC
unggoy Play audio #625
ung-goy = VC-CVC
note: ng = 1 letter
ambon Play audio #624
am-bon = VC-CVC
mabait Play audio #638
ma-ba-it = CV-CV-VC
4.) The consonant-vowel-consonant syllable ( CVC )
This pattern is most commonly found at the end of a word.
Markup
Examples:
tulog Play audio #623
tu-log = CV-CVC
sabón Play audio #433
sa-bón = CV-CVC
araw Play audio #15213
a-raw = V-CVC
bulaklák Play audio #379
bu-lak-lák = CV-CVC-CVC
silangan Play audio #657
si-la-ngan = CV-CV-CVC
* note: ng = 1 letter
Markup
Examples:
tulog Play audio #623
tu-log = CV-CVC
sabon Play audio #433
sa-bon = CV-CVC
araw Play audio #15213
a-raw = V-CVC
bulaklak Play audio #379
bu-lak-lak = CV-CVC-CVC
silangan Play audio #657
si-la-ngan = CV-CV-CVC
note: ng = 1 letter
A couple notes on how to break apart Filipino words into syllables:

 
Note that there are no 4-letter syllables in the Filipino language. So "kumusta" would never be pronounced as "ku-must-a". (Correct: "ku-mus-ta")

 
When possible, don't use patterns with two consonants or vowels in a row ( CCV, VCC, CVV or VVC syllables ). So "tatlo" should not be "ta-tlo" because "tlo" is a CCV pattern. (Correct: "tat-lo"). "aaral" should not be "aar-al" because "aar" is a "VVC" pattern (Correct: "a-ar-al").

 
Typically, you should syllabicate using two letter CV or VC syllable patterns if possible. Use the single V pattern or three letter CVC pattern only when necessary to stay within the syllabication rules.

Double Vowels

There are many Filipino words that contain two or even three vowels in a row. When pronouncing these words, each and every vowel gets pronounced separately! This is different than in English, where multiple vowels are often pronounced as a single sound.

For example, in the English language, the double "o" in the word "look" is pronounced like how the letter "u" would sound. However in the Filipino language "loók" is broken into two syllables and pronounced as lo-ók.

Here are more examples of Filipino words with double vowels. Follow the Filipino syllabication rules as you try to read and pronounce them.
Markup
Examples:
doón is syllabicated as do-ón
Play audio #414 Play audio #459
paano is syllabicated as pa-a-no
Play audio #416 Play audio #457
nauuhaw is syllabicated as na-u-u-haw
Play audio #14224
daán is syllabicated as da-án
Play audio #415 Play audio #458
saán is syllabicated as sa-án
Play audio #413 Play audio #460
maaari is syllabicated as ma-a-a-ri
Play audio #2559
Markup
Examples:
doon is syllabicated as do-on
Play audio #414 Play audio #459
paano is syllabicated as pa-a-no
Play audio #416 Play audio #457
nauuhaw is syllabicated as na-u-u-haw
Play audio #14224
daan is syllabicated as da-an
Play audio #415 Play audio #458
saan is syllabicated as sa-an
Play audio #413 Play audio #460
maaari is syllabicated as ma-a-a-ri
Play audio #2559

Confused? Don't Worry! Run through our Syllabication Drills on this web site, and soon syllabication the Filipino way should become quite easy and natural to do after a while.


Mark Complete

Next: Extra Credit: Syllabication Drill

Section Home:
Filipino Language Pronunciation & Spelling