Filipino alphabet

The Modern Filipino alphabet (Filipino: Makabagong alpabetong Filipino), otherwise known as the Filipino alphabet (Filipino: alpabetong Filipino), is the alphabet of the Filipino language, the official national language and one of the two official languages of the Philippines. The Modern Filipino alphabet is made up of 28 letters, which includes the entire 26-letter set of the ISO basic Latin alphabet, the Spanish Ñ and the Ng digraph of Tagalog. It replaced the Pilipino alphabet of the Fourth Republic. Today, the Modern Filipino alphabet may also be used as the alphabet for all autochthonous languages of the Philippines and in writing Chavacano, a Spanish-derived creole.

In 2014 the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino released a new guidelines for the orthography, which answers the previously known phonemic representation problems in some Philippine languages and dialects.


The letters are called títik or létra that represents a spoken sound. It is made up of patínig or bokáblo and katínig or konsonánte which is vowels and consonants in English respectively. The Alpabetong Filipino is made up of 28 letters pronounced the same with English, except for Ñ /enje/.

Letters Name Phonemic Values Notes
A a ey /a/
B b bi /b/ sometimes indistinguishable with v
C c si /k/, /s/ used in loan words from Castilian
D d di /d/
E e i /e/, /i/ pronounced as a schwa when used with an umlaut, like Mëranaw
F f ef /f/, /p/ sometimes indistinguishable with p
G g dyi /g/, /dʒ/, /h/
H h eyts /h/
I i ay /i/, /e/
J j dyey /dʒ/, /h/ used in loan words from Castilian, Arabic like masjid
K k key /k/
L l el /l/
M m em /m/
N n en /n/
Ñ ñ enye /ɲ/
Ng ng endyi /ŋ/
O o o /o/, /u/
P p pi /p/ sometimes indistinguishable with f
Q q kyu /k/ used in loan words from Castilian
R r ar /ɾ/
S s es /s/ sometimes indistinguishable with z
T t ti /t/
U u yu /u/, /o/
V v vi /v/, /b/ sometimes indistinguishable with b
W w dobolyu /w/
X x eks /ks/
Y y way /j/
Z z zi /z/, /s/ sometimes indistinguishable with s


The Abakada or the previous alphabet in the early 20th century has fewer consonants. In the middle of the century the letters where added and later on reduced. By the release of the Ortograpiyang Pambansa in 2014, the eight previously not added letters are officially named, C, F, J, Ñ, Q, V, X, Z. This is a radical change to add these letters to modernise the writing system and to preserve the sounds that were found in the native languages of the Philippines. The letters F, J, V, and Z are very important to give proper respect to the sounds found in some of these languages, including Ifugaw and Ivatan.

Examples of the added letters:

Words Language Meaning
alifuffug Itawes whirlwind
safot Ibaloy spider's web
falendag Tinuray a kind of flute that is covered with a leaf when played through the mouth
feyu Kalinga a pipe made from reeds
jambangán Tausug plants
masjid Tausug, Mëranaw from Arabic mosque
julúp Tausug bad behaviour
avid Ivatan beauty
vakul Ivatan a kind of a head covering made from a certain kind of grass
kuvat Ibaloy war
vuyu Ibanag meteor
vulan Ibanag moon
kazzing Itawes goat
zigattu Ibanag east


Before Spain conquered the Philippines, most languages in the Philippines had three vowels, /a/ /i/, and /u/. Spain introduced many words and added /e/ and /o/ in the long run. However, even in modern times, /i/ and /e/, and /u/ and /o/ are still interchangeable (eg. "pangit", "panget"), and when stressed, /e/ and /o/ are sometimes even diphthonized to /ai/ and /au/.


Since the conception of the Abakada, Lope K. Santos introduced the diacritics, namely Pahilís (´), acute, Paiwâ (`), grave, and Pakupyâ (^), circumflex, each of which is usually added above the vowel of the final syllable in a multi-syllable word.

Pahilís symbolizes stress or prolongation (mabilís). Paiwâ symbolizes a glottal stop (mayumì) in an unstressed syllable. Pakupyâ symbolizes a stress and glottal stop (maragsâ). Paiwâ, Pahilís, and Pakupyâ correspond, respectively, to the second, third, and fourth accents, mayumì, mabilís, and maragsâ. The first accent, malumay, has no diacritic. (Paiwâ means grave, though the word "paiwâ" itself uses a circumflex A because of its maragsâ accent.)

malumay (slow) malumay, bote, marami, taoStress is on the penultimate syllable.
mayumì (slow & stopped)paiwâ (grave)`batà, togè, mayumì, maluhòStress is on the penultimate syllable. Words with this accent always end with a vowel and a glottal stop.
mabilís (fast)pahilís (acute)´Bataán, mabilís, guló, balútStress is on the last syllable.
maragsâ (fast & stopped)pakupyâ (circumflex)^paiwâ, naihî, kulôStress is on the last syllable. Words with this accent always end with a vowel and a glottal stop.

In 2014, the Commission on the Filipino Language introduced the Patuldók na E, Ëë or umlaut e. This symbolizes the schwa sound in many native languages in the Philippines, one of which is Mëranaw, previously spelled as Maranao or Meranao.

See also

External links

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