Baybayin (Alibata) uses 17 basic symbols and 3 of these symbols are vowels a, i, and u. Each of the 13 basic consonants uses the “a” sound like ka, ga, nga and so on. Distinct markings known as “kudlit” are used to modify the sounds of the symbols. These markings could be a dot, an arrowhead or a short line. Usually, dots are being used. When you see a distinct marking or “kudlit” above the symbol, which means that the basic consonant uses the “i” sound so that makes it ki, gi, ngi, and so on. When a kudlit is placed below a symbol, the basic consonant uses the “u” sound like ku, gu, ngu.
In tagalog scripts, each of the symbols used represents a complete syllable which is not the case with the Latin alphabet that uses symbols to represent a sound or phoneme. Also, in alibata, the symbols can only represent 2 kinds of syllables. It can represent a single vowel (V) or a consonant and a vowel (CV). With words that uses the CVC type, the last consonant is dropped thus it takes the form of a CV so a word like mas becomes ma. Take note that “ng” is considered as 1 consonant.
So, if you want to transform words into alibata symbols, you have to remember that basic rule of V and CV type syllables.
Now, let’s try translating some tagalog words into alibata script.
“Ako ay isang pinoy”
This is easy to translate in alibata and it wouldn’t become difficult to understand what the alibata scripts mean once translated back to tagalog. With this sentence, the only letters being dropped once translated would be “y” from ay, “ng” from isang and “y” from pinoy. So once translated to alibata, it would then sound as “a ko a i sa pi no” and following the symbols used for these syllables, you would get
The final consonants are being dropped thus; there is no VC type so “ay” in the former sentence sample follows the V type syllable. How the ancient Filipinos add the final consonants is unknown. The missing final consonants make the translation of alibata difficult to the untrained eyes. But certain clues as to what the grouped symbols signify would give the person an idea of what the missing consonants are. So, that means it is easy to translate tagalog words to alibata but it takes some training to translate alibata to tagalog