UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Synchronic analysis of tagalog phonemes Yap, Fe Aldave


The title "A Synchronic Analysis of Tagalog Phonemes" as defined in the introduction, is the object of this study. It attempts to give a purely synchronic description of the phonemic system of the Tagalog language as spoken by the present investigator who has made herself the informant for this investigation. The purpose is to shape this material into the form of a useful introduction and a sound orientation for students of general linguistics, or linguists interested in the Philippine national language. The phonemes of Tagalog are analyzed in terms of the formula:* [formula omitted] Unit refers to the phoneme. There are 21 segmental phonemes in Tagalog. They are classified and their patterns are established on the basis of the distinctive features by which they stand in contrast with each other. Among consonants there are two main dimensions of phonemic contrast: point of articulation and manner of articulation. A further contrast of voice versus breath exists in the stop phonemes only. The main distinctive features of Tagalog vowels involve two-dimensional contrasts in height and advancement of the tongue. There are other, subsidiary, features like lip-rounding, tenseness and laxness of the tongue, length, etc. Such contrasts are here represented by schematic diagrams: *Pike, Unit (U) = Contrast (C), Variation (V) and Distribution (D). This information i n capsule was explained by Prof. R. Roe of the SIL in a seminar at the University of the Philippines in 1964. [formula omitted] (i) Tagalog Consonant Pattern [formula omitted] (ii) Tagalog Vowel Pattern These phonemes have allophones which are either in complementary distribution or in free variation. The variations of phonemes within given morphemes are here considered to be morphophonemic alternations. The basic syllable structures of Tagalog are CV and CVC, e.g. tubig/túbig/’water’. Tagalog words represented orthographically with a final vowel may end with either /?/ or /h/ which is not reflected in the writing system. The two are in contrastive distribution? Thus, bata /báta?/'child' vs. bata /bátah/’bathrobe’. Consonant clusters occur in all positions. Initial clusters may be summarized in the following formula: C=Consonant, C₁C₂=the first and second C, C₂=s 1 r w y, C₁=t if C₂=s, C₁=p b k g if C₂=1, C₁=p b t d k g if C₂=r, C₁=any C except w y if C₂ =w or y These clusters may be illustrated in the following examples: tsa/tsah/'tea', klase /kláseh/'class’, diyan /dyan/'there', kwento /kwéntoh/'story', etc. Suprasegmentally, Tagalog has three kinds of stress: primary /´/, secondary /ˋ/ and weak (unmarked); three levels of pitch: /1/, /2/ and /3/, reading from low to high; and two terminal junctures: "single bar" /|/ and "rising” juncture /↑/. Stress plays an important role in Tagalog and it is a distinctive phenomenon which conveys meaning. Stress is correlated with length. The following pairs of words are distinguished only by stress or length: baga/bá:ga?/'lungs’ and baga/bá:gah/’ember' vs. baga/bagá:?/ 'abscess' and baga/bagá:h/'interrogative marker'. The scope of this study does not include a detailed presentation and analysis of Tagalog suprasegmental features. Many interesting problems concerning the suprasegmental phenomena remain unsolved. The solution to these problems is left for later study.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.