1. Spelling and pronunciation
1.1 Alphabet
There are seven vowels in the Tboli alphabet and fifteen consonants.
1.1.1 Vowels
Since Tboli has two more vowels than are symbolized in the English alphabet, it is necessary to mark these two with an acute accent to make the seven distinctions: é and ó. In the table below, the first column lists the sounds that occur in Tboli written with the special phonetic symbols linguists use. The second column lists the way these sounds are written in Tboli, followed with an example of each sound both in English and Tboli:
English Tboli
/a/ a father ta ‘on top of’
/i/ i eat ti ‘foot’
/e/ é bet bé ‘grandmother, granddaughter’
/¶/ e the el ‘yes’
/o/ ó boat kóm ‘you(sg)’
/u/ u boot kut ‘us(du)’
/É/ o bought bot ‘throw-away’
1.1.2 Consonants
The consonants in Tboli are much the same as those in Filipino or English: b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, ng, s, t, w, y, and the glottal stop, which is written with a grave accent mark ( ` ) over the final vowel in a word where it occurs. Otherwise it is not written. When the glottal stop occurs with a word ending with either é or ó, the symbol for the glottal is simply added to the symbol already there: yê ‘mother’; yô ‘daughter-in-law’ (term of address).
1.1.3 Glottal stop
Syllables in Tboli begin with a consonant. In the absence of any other consonant a glottal stop will occur. Since it is predictable, glottal stop will not be written preceding a word beginning with a vowel or between vowels within a
4 Grammar Sketch
* The Grammar Sketch was condensed from A Pedagogical Grammar of Tboli (Forsberg, 1992), which is now out of print.
word. Glottal stop will be written at the ends of words where it is not predictable. Notice the placement of glottal in these examples.
[ˆeted] /eted/ eted ‘to deliver’ [ˆówóng] /óµóng/ ówóng ‘boat’ [se ˆel] /seel/ seel ‘floor’ [li ˆi] /lii/ lii ‘taboo’
[ngaˆ] /ngà/ ngà ‘child, offspring’ [gawiˆ] /gawì/ gawì ‘serving spoon’ [sdóˆ] /sdô/ sdô ‘pig’ [béˆ] /bê/ bê ‘don’t’