How Many Letters Are In The Tagalog Alphabet

Did you know that the Tagalog alphabet has undergone significant changes over the years? While most people are familiar with the modern version of the Tagalog alphabet, it might surprise you to learn that there used to be a different set of letters. So, how many letters are in the original Tagalog alphabet?

How Many Letters Are In The Tagalog Alphabet In Order

The primary objective of this essay is to analyze the historical evolution of the Tagalog alphabet, exploring its fascinating trajectory.

 Get ready to dive into a world of linguistic transformations and discover why knowing about the original Tagalog alphabet can shed light on our cultural heritage.

How Many Letters Are In The Tagalog Alphabet

The Tagalog alphabet and the Filipino alphabet are closely related but have some differences:

Tagalog Alphabet (Traditional):

  • The Tagalog alphabet consists of 20 letters.
  • It does not include some letters found in the English alphabet, such as C, F, J, X, and Z.
  • It primarily uses letters common to the Latin script, like A, B, D, E, G, H, I, K, L, M, N, NG, O, P, R, S, T, U, and W.
  • This alphabet has been used for traditional Tagalog.

Filipino Alphabet (Modern):

  • The Filipino alphabet consists of 28 letters.
  • It includes the 20 letters from the traditional Tagalog alphabet.
  • Additionally, it incorporates eight letters borrowed from Western languages (C, F, J, Ñ, Q, V, X, Z) to accommodate words and names from foreign languages.
  • Filipino is the national language of the Philippines and uses this expanded alphabet.

It’s important to note that the grammatical structure, verbal affixes, pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, and linkers of Tagalog and Filipino are largely the same. The difference primarily lies in the inclusion of additional letters in the Filipino alphabet to accommodate loanwords and names from other languages.

The traditional Tagalog alphabet consists of 20 letters. Here is the list of these letters:

  1. A
  2. B
  3. D
  4. E
  5. G
  6. H
  7. I
  8. K
  9. L
  10. M
  11. N
  12. NG
  13. O
  14. P
  15. R
  16. S
  17. T
  18. U
  19. W
  20. Y

How Many Letters Are In The Tagalog Alphabet In Order

The traditional Tagalog alphabet consists of 20 letters, and they are typically arranged in the following order:

  1. A
  2. B
  3. K
  4. D
  5. E
  6. G
  7. H
  8. I
  9. L
  10. M
  11. N
  12. NG
  13. O
  14. P
  15. R
  16. S
  17. T
  18. U
  19. W
  20. Y.

These letters are used to write and represent words in the Tagalog language.

What Is The Original Tagalog Alphabet?

The original Tagalog alphabet, also known as the Baybayin script, is an ancient script used by the Tagalog people of the Philippines prior to Spanish colonization. It is not based on the Latin alphabet used today. Baybayin has its own set of characters representing syllabic sounds.

The Baybayin script originally consisted of 17 basic characters representing the following syllabic sounds:

  1. A
  2. BA
  3. KA
  4. DA
  5. HA
  6. GA
  7. LA
  8. MA
  9. NA
  10. PA
  11. SA
  12. TA
  13. WA
  14. YA
  15. LA
  16. SA
  17. A.

Each character represented a combination of a consonant sound and the vowel “A.” Additional marks, called kudlits, were added to change the vowel sound associated with each character. It’s worth noting that Baybayin was primarily used for inscriptions rather than for everyday writing or documents.

The Tagalog script evolved, and the Latin script, which is used today, was introduced during Spanish colonization. The current Tagalog alphabet, as mentioned earlier, consists of 20 letters, and it is based on the Latin script.

How To Learn Fast Tagalog Letters

Learning the Tagalog alphabet can be a rewarding experience, and here are some tips to help you learn it quickly:

Understand the Alphabet Structure:

  1. Start by understanding the structure of the Tagalog alphabet.
  2. Recognize that it has 20 letters, which are different from the English alphabet.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the letter names and their sounds.

Use Learning Resources:

Find online resources, textbooks, or mobile apps designed for learning Tagalog. These resources often provide lessons and exercises for learning the alphabet. Look for videos or audio recordings that can help you practice pronunciation.

Flashcards: Create flashcards with Tagalog letters on one side and their names or sounds on the other. Regularly review these flashcards to reinforce your memory.

Practice Writing: Write down the Tagalog alphabet multiple times. This will help you get familiar with the characters and their shapes.

Mnemonic Devices: Create mnemonic devices or associations to remember the letters and their sounds. For example, you can associate “A” with “apple” or “B” with “banana.”

Learn Common Words: Start with common Tagalog words that use the alphabet letters. This will not only help you learn the letters but also build your vocabulary.

Practice with Native Speakers: If possible, practice with native Tagalog speakers. They can guide pronunciation and correct any mistakes you make.

Online Communities: Participate in virtual language learning groups or online forums that facilitate interactions among those seeking to acquire proficiency in Tagalog, enabling the opportunity to seek guidance, pose inquiries, and receive assistance from fellow language learners.

Consistency: Consistency is key. Dedicate a specific amount of time each day or week to learning the Tagalog alphabet. Regular practice will help reinforce your knowledge.

Cultural Context: Learn about the cultural and historical context of the Tagalog alphabet. Understanding its origins and significance can make the learning process more engaging.

Seek Feedback: Don’t be scared to ask for comments from teachers or native speakers. Constructive feedback can help you improve your pronunciation and writing skills.

Use Technology: Consider using language learning apps or software that offer interactive lessons and quizzes for learning the alphabet.

Remember that learning a new script takes time and patience. Be persistent in your efforts, and over time, you will become more comfortable with the Tagalog alphabet.

Conclusion Points 

In conclusion, the Tagalog alphabet consists of 20 letters. These 20 letters are organized in a specific order and are used to write the Tagalog language. The original Tagalog alphabet, known as the Baybayin script, consisted of a different set of characters.

It is important to note that the original Tagalog alphabet has evolved, and the modern Filipino alphabet is now based on the Latin alphabet. Understanding the number of letters in the Tagalog alphabet and its origins can greatly enhance one’s understanding and appreciation for the rich linguistic history of the Philippines.

Explore further into this fascinating topic to delve deeper into the intricacies of the Tagalog language and its written form.


1. How many letters are in the Tagalog alphabet?

The Tagalog alphabet consists of 20 letters.

2. What are the letters in the Tagalog alphabet in order?

The Tagalog alphabet, in order, is A, B, K, D, E, G, H, I, L, M, N, NG, O, P, R, S, T, U, W, Y.

3. Is there a difference between the traditional and modern Tagalog alphabets?

Historically speaking, yes. The traditional Tagalog alphabet, known as Baybayin, consists of 17 characters, while the modern version includes additional letters.

4. What is the original Tagalog alphabet?

The original Tagalog alphabet is called Baybayin and was used before Spanish colonization introduced Latin-based writing systems.

5. Can you provide an example of a word written in Baybayin?

Sure! The word Malaya, which means free in English, can be written as ᜋᜎᜌ᜔.

6. Are all the sounds present in spoken Tagalog represented by letters in its alphabet?

No. Some sounds like /f/ and /v/ do not have specific characters but can still be expressed using combinations or borrowed words.

7. Are there any diacritical marks used in the Tagalog alphabet?

Yes. Diacritical marks such as accent marks (tuldík) and cedilla (pamuáng) can be used to modify certain consonant sounds.

8. Can I use Baybayin to write modern Filipino texts?

While it is possible to use Baybayin for modern Filipino text, it is not commonly practiced today, and most Filipinos use the Latin-based alphabet instead.

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