Articles tagged:


Baybayin – A Writing System

Fri 27 February 2009

I wrote my essay about writing systems on Baybayin, the script in use by the Tagalogs when the Spanish came:

Baybayin is a writing system that was in use by the Tagalogs in the Philippines when the Spaniards colonized the area. It is a syllabic writing system, meaning that each symbol represents a syllable. The base symbol represents a syllable ending with an ‘a’ sound. Modifiers, called kudlit, could be added to the symbol to change the vowel sound from an ‘a’ to an ‘e’ or ‘i’ (when placed above) or to an ‘o’ or ‘u’ (when placed below). (The Tagalog speech does not make much distinction, if any, between ‘e’ and ‘i’. It also does not make much distinction between ‘o’ or ‘u’.) Knowledge of how baybayin was used is incomplete. Baybayin seems to be an insufficient system for representing Tagalog. The rules are such that only CV syllables can be written even though Tagalog allows for more complex syllable structures (e.g. CCV, CVC, etc.) A Spanish priest was known to have added an additional modifier to the system to allow for trailing vowels, thus allowing CVC type syllables. Works in baybayin have not survived the ages, partly due to the tropical climate that caused written works to rot, partly due to the active efforts of the Spanish to remove the ancient script in favor of a Roman-based alphabet. By the 17th century, baybayin had been replaced.

These essays are really not that hard. It makes me wonder what the heck is wrong with that one girl in my class who just seems to be cutting and pasting her entries from Wikipedia. Everybody else seems to be actually writing their own stuff.

Page 1 / 1