Vocabulary (Review)

Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript


Alisha: What are some Filipino tongue twisters?
Danilo: And are many Filipino words hard to pronounce?
Alisha: At FilipinoPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following scenario: Sasha Lee is interested in tongue twisters. She asks her friend, Juan Jimenez, to tell her one:
"Teach me a tongue twister."
Sasha Lee: Turuan mo ako ng isang pilipit-dila.
Sasha Lee: Turuan mo ako ng isang pilipit-dila.
Juan Jimenez: Nakakapagpabagabag.
Alisha: Once more with the English translation.
Sasha Lee: Turuan mo ako ng isang pilipit-dila.
Alisha: "Teach me a tongue twister."
Juan Jimenez: Nakakapagpabagabag.
Alisha: "Worrisome."

Lesson focus

Alisha: In this lesson, you will be learning some Filipino tongue twisters and, after that, some Filipino words that are tough to pronounce. It can actually be a lot of fun to try and meet the challenge of pronouncing these! You could, for instance, try saying them faster and faster without making a mistake, or perhaps you could compete with a friend to see who can say them the fastest without making a mistake. Tongue twisters are a great way to work on your enunciation and pronunciation when learning a new language and they can improve your vocabulary too! In the dialogue for this lesson, you already heard one tongue twister. It was
Danilo: nakakapagpabagabag.
Alisha: In a way, this word includes all aspects of what we are doing in this lesson because not only is it a tongue twister, but it is also a word that is tough to pronounce. It is an adjective and it refers to something that causes uneasiness, agitation, or anxiety, which is kind of apt seeing as trying to pronounce it might cause some anxiety. The nearest English translation of it is "worrisome."
In this lesson, we will repeat each tongue twister with a pause after each one, just so that you have a chance to practice them yourself. And, without further ado, let's get started!
Here's the first tongue twister. Try to repeat it after you hear it. We'll give you a few seconds. Listen carefully to where the accents fall because that will help you when you try to speed up. It sounds like this:
Danilo: Bababa ba?
Alisha: [PAUSE] Here, it is again.
Danilo: [SLOWLY] Bababa ba?
Alisha: [PAUSE] It also helps to understand the individual components of some tongue twisters, and this one is a good candidate for this approach. For instance, the word
Danilo: Baba
Alisha: means "down," and the word
Danilo: Bababa
Alisha: means "going down." The final
Danilo: ba,
Alisha: at the end, is a question particle. The whole question then is "Going down?" or "Is it going down?" Now that you understand all the parts, it's a bit easier to comprehend and, therefore, pronounce the whole. For this initial tongue twister, we'll give you one more opportunity to hear it, just to illustrate this principle. See if you can hear all the parts this time.
Danilo: [SLOWLY] Bababa ba?
Alisha: [PAUSE] One can actually extend this tongue twister by adding an answer to the question. It sounds like this:
Danilo: Bababa!
Alisha: which means "Going down! ." The extended tongue twister then would be
Danilo: Bababa ba? Bababa!
Alisha: Because there is really only one repeated syllable in the whole conversation, this is a relatively easy tongue twister. Let's now attempt something a little more challenging. This one means "seventy-seven white sharks" and it sounds like this:
Danilo: Pitongput pitong puting pating.
Alisha: [PAUSE] Let's hear that again.
Danilo: [SLOWLY] Pitongput pitong puting pating.
Alisha: [PAUSE] If you still think that was easy, here's one that will really challenge you. It means "Monico is fixing the engine of Monica's Minica" and it sounds like this:
Danilo: Minimikaniko ni Monico ang makina ng Minica ni Monica.
Alisha: [PAUSE] And one more time, just to be sure you have it.
Danilo: [SLOWLY] Minimikaniko ni Monico ang makina ng Minica ni Monica.
Alisha: [PAUSE] In case you're wondering what a "Minica" is, it's a small car made by Honda that dates back to the nineteen seventies. It sounds a bit like "mini car," but we can't confirm that it is based on any English words. There are, of course, many tongue twisters in Filipino, and we certainly can't talk about them all in this lesson so I highly recommend that you learn as many as you can on your own. As I mentioned previously, learning them is very useful in terms of acquiring new vocabulary as well as increasing your ability to pronounce and enunciate Filipino words. And they can be fun, of course!
Practice Section
Alisha: Let's review what we heard in this lesson. I will say the target sentence in English, then you should respond by saying the sentence out loud in Filipino. Danilo will then model the correct answer. Listen to him carefully, with the focus on pronunciation, and then repeat.
The first sentence is "Teach me a tongue twister."
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Danilo: Turuan mo ako ng isang pilipit-dila.
Alisha: Did you get it right? Listen to Danilo again, and repeat.
Danilo: Turuan mo ako ng isang pilipit-dila.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Danilo: Turuan mo ako ng isang pilipit-dila.
Alisha: The second sentence is "Worrisome."
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Danilo: Nakakapagpabagabag.
Alisha: How did you do this time? Again, listen to Danilo and repeat.
Danilo: Nakakapagpabagabag.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Danilo: Nakakapagpabagabag.
Cultural Insight
Alisha: Lastly, let's talk about some words in Filipino that are tough to pronounce. These are really fun to say out loud. Maybe you'll think so too. The first one is
Danilo: kumukutikutitap.
Alisha: This one means "twinkle." Can you imagine trying to sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in Filipino? A challenge, for sure. The next word you will hear means "astounding." It sounds like this:
Danilo: kagilagilalas
Alisha: If you can pronounce that on the first try, then your ability to pronounce Filipino words is probably pretty astounding. When some people try to say it, it just sounds like croaking noises. Speaking of "croaking," let's end with a word that means just that—"croaking"—as in the sound a frog makes. The word is:
Danilo: kumakalabukab
Alisha: This one comes along with an even more challenging tongue twister. Try this on for size:
Danilo: Palakang Kabkab, kumakalabukab, kaka-kalabukab pa lamang, kumakalabukab na naman.
Alisha: It means "A Kabkab Frog, croaking, it was just croaking, now it's croaking again." I would ask Danilo to repeat it, but he's still trying to untie his tongue. And that's why they call them tongue twisters! I hope you enjoyed this lesson. Remember to find and practice as many tongue twisters as you can.


Alisha: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Danilo: Paalam.
Alisha: See you soon!