Filipino Alphabet

Letters of the Filipino alphabet in the Philippines

The Filipino alphabet, otherwise known as the Modern Filipino alphabet, is the alphabet used in the Filipino language of the Philippines today. Filipino is the national language of the Philippines and is based on the Tagalog language.

The Filipino alphabet has 28 letters. It replaced the Tagalog abakada, which only had 20 letters. In this new Philippine alphabet, new letters were introduced, including c, f, j, ñ, ng, v, x, and z.

These new letters embody the goal of the Filipino language to be more inclusive of other native Philippine languages, whose sounds were not represented in the Tagalog abakada. These additions also make the modernization of the Filipino language faster and easier, particularly when borrowing words from the English, Spanish, and other international languages.

Evolution of the Filipino Alphabet

Baybayin

Pre-Hispanic Era: Before 1500s

Philippine writing system before Spanish colonization

Before the Spaniards colonized the Philippines, the natives already had a writing system called Baybayin.

Spanish Alphabet

Spanish Colonial Era: 1500s to 1898

Spanish alphabet used in the Philippines during Spanish colonization era

During the Spanish colonization, Filipinos adopted the Spanish alphabet.

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ABaKaDa

American Colonization to Independence: 1940 to 1987

Tagalog alphabet to replace Spanish alphabet in the Philippines

The abakada is an indigenized Latin alphabet created for the Tagalog language.

Filipino Alphabet

Today: 1987 to Present

Philippine alphabet that replaced Tagalog abakada alphabet

The 1987 Constitution replaced the abakada (which was based on the Tagalog regional language) with the Filipino alphabet, one that is more inclusive of other native Philippine languages and whose orthography makes it simpler and easier to add borrowed words from English, Spanish, and other foreign languages.

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