What's the Fuss with the Letters D and R

One thing that you'll notice as your Tagalog reach higher and higher levels is the perennial question on whether to use the D sound or R sound in building some Tagalog words. This problem arises when the letter D is used in the formation of other words that may have a related meaning and yet an altogether different concept. There are definite rules as to when the letter D becomes R but a few of these can be considered outdated. As you know, the native speakers don't always follow the rules and so it would be best to ask a native speaker how she would express something that is on your mind.

Audio: Click on the Play button below to hear the native
Filipino speaker read the sentences correctly.

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Be that as it may, I try here to give you a sort of snapshot of the current situation and point out some tendencies to build words and phrases and even sentences that would be meaningless and totally unacceptable. I will start each discussion with a root word that includes the letter D and from there create new words that will show how the sound of the letter D is transformed into the R sound and consequently change the spelling of the new word.

First of all. I would like to tackle the demonstrative pronouns that use the letter D such as dito, diyan and doon. For me, using the R counterparts of these words, it seems to me, had been out rightly ignored. Very, very few people are using rito, riyan and roon so for all practical purposes, you would be safe in using the D words always. Here are some examples.

Ilagay mo dito ang flower vase. Put the flower vase here.
Diyan ka na lang matulog. Just sleep there.
Nandoon sa labas ang mga aplikante. The applicants are there outside.

But, let me caution you with some troublesome word permutations that can throw you off-balanced.

Pumarito ka! Come here!
Papariyan kami mamaya. We're coming over in a little while.
Pumaroon siya sa laot. He went out to the sea.
Paparito daw ang kuya ko bukas. I heard that my older brother is coming here tomorrow.

Now, let's go to other troublesome words. For each of these root words, I will make up other words and try to see how the D sound had been transformed into the R sound.

Dumating - To Arrive

Nagdatingan ang mga bisita kahapon. The guests arrived yesterday.
Naghahanda na ang mga bata para sa Paskong darating. The children are already preparing for the Christmas that is to come.

Dapat - Should

Dapat tayong manalig sa Diyos. We should have faith in God.
Siya ang karapat-dapat na maging pangulo ng bansa. He should be the one to be the president of the country.

Dukutin - To get from a pocket

Ang hirap dukutan ng bulsa ng pantalon ko. It's difficult to get something from the pocket of my pants.
Magingat kayo sa mandurukot! Beware of pickpockets!

Magdasal - To Pray

Tinuturuan niya ang bata kung paano magdasal. She is teaching the child how to pray.
Ang pagdarasal ay isang mabuting kaugalian. Praying is a good custom.

Dagat - The Sea

Ang mangigisda ay pumalaot sa dagat. The fisherman went out to the sea.
Mahirap sukatin ang lawak ng karagatan. It's difficult to measure how wide the sea is.

Magdusa - To Suffer

Ang buhay ay mayroong saya at dusa. Life has both happiness and suffering.
Magdusa ka! You suffer!
Siya ay kasalukuyang nagdurusa sa piitan. He is currently suffering in prison.

Daan - Way

Dadaan daw ang parada dito. They say the parade will pass this way.
Meron pa kayang ibang paraan? I wonder if there is any other way.

Kapatid - Brother or Sister

Kasama kong umalis ang kapatid ko. I left together with my sister.
Ang kapatiran ay isang malayang samahan. The brotherhood is a free association.

Tamad - Lazy

Ang taong tamad ay hindi nagtatagumpay. A lazy person does not succeed.
Ang katamaran ay dapat nating iwasan. We should avoid laziness.

Palad - Palm

Mapapalad ang mga batang tinuturuan ng kanilang magulang. Lucky are the children that are being taught by their parents.
Ang lahat ng tao sa mundo ay may kani-kaniyang kapalaran. All people in the world have their own fortune.

Bayad - Payment

Sino ang magbabayad ng kinain natin? Who will pay for the food we ate?
Ang mabigat na parusa ay nagsilbing kabayaran sa kanyang kasalanan. The severe punishment served as payment for his sin.

Tulad - Similar

Ang iyong bag ay katulad ng sa akin. Your bag is similar to mine.
Ang mga taong tamad ay di dapat tularan. Lazy people should not be imitated.

So there you have it, the troublesome issue of the Tagalog D and R sounds. The rules on when the D sound converts into the R sound can be found in the grammar books. What I have shown you are the dynamics on how the D sound converts into R when the words are transformed into something related but entirely a different concept.

This has been another supplementary lesson on learn more Tagalog. Until the next time, have good day and thanks for listening.