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If the infinitive has the affix um , the first syllable or the first two letters of the root word will be repeated. If the infinitive has the affixes ma , mag and mang , change it to na , nag and nang and repeat the first syllable or first two letters of the root word. If the infinitive has the affixes in or hin and the root word starts with a vowel, put the affix at the start and repeat the first syllable or first two letters of the root word. If the infinitive has the affixes in or hin and the root word starts with a consonant, make the affix into an infix and repeat the first syllable or first two letters of the root word.

If the infinitive has the affix um , remove the um and repeat the first syllable or first two letters of the root word. If the infinitive has the affixes ma , mag and mang , retain it and repeat the first syllable or first two letters of the root word. If the infinitive has the affixes in or hin , retain it and repeat the first syllable or first two letters of the root word. This states that the action has just been completed before the time of speaking or before a specified time. Usually the prefix ka is used and the first syllable or the first two letters of the root word will be repeated.

The central feature of verbs in Tagalog and other Philippine languages is the trigger system , often called voice or focus. In its default unmarked form, the verb triggers a reading of the direct noun as the patient of the clause. In its second most common form it triggers the noun as the agent of the clause. Other triggers are location, beneficiary, instrument, reason, direction, and the reciprocal. Verbs with affixes mostly suffixes are also used as nouns, which are differentiated by stress position. The agent-trigger affixes are -um- , mag- , man- , and ma-.

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The difference between mag- and -um- is a source of confusion among learners of the language. Generally speaking there are two main distinctions among many; mag- refers to externally directed actions and -um- for internally directed actions. However this isn't writ law for these affixes; there are exceptions for example, mag-ahit means to shave oneself while umahit means to shave someone. The locative trigger refers to the location or direction of an action or the area affected by the action.

The benefactive trigger refers to the person or thing that benefits from the action; i. The instrumental trigger refers to the means by which an action is performed. The reason trigger refers to the cause or reason why an action is performed. The directional trigger refers to the direction the action will go to.

The reciprocal trigger refers to the action being done by the subjects at the same time. The subject is usually compound, plural or collective. Tagalog verbs also have affixes expressing grammatical mood ; Some examples are indicative , potential , social, and distributed. While Tagalog nouns are not inflected , they are usually preceded by case-marking particles. These follow an Austronesian alignment , also known as a trigger system, which is a distinct feature of Philippine languages.

There are three basic cases: direct or absolutive , often inaccurately labeled the nominative ; indirect which may function as an ergative , accusative , or genitive ; and oblique. The direct case is used for intransitive clauses. In transitive clauses using the default grammatical voice of Tagalog, the direct marks the patient direct object and the indirect marks the agent , corresponding to the subject in English. In the more marked voice the reverse occurs, with the direct marking the agent and the indirect marking the patient.

Because the base form of the clause is superficially similar to the passive voice in English, this has led to a misconception that Tagalog is spoken primarily in the passive voice. It is also superficially similar to ergative languages such as those of Australia, so Tagalog has also been analyzed as an ergative language. However, the English passive clause is intransitive, and likewise in ergative languages one of the voices forms an intransitive clause, whereas in Tagalog both voices are transitive, and so align well with neither nominative—accusative languages such as English nor with ergative languages.

One of the functions of voice in Tagalog is to code definiteness , analogous to the use of definite and indefinite articles in English. When the patient is marked with the direct case particle, it is generally definite, whereas when it is marked with the indirect case it is generally indefinite. The oblique particle and the locative derived from it are similar to prepositions in English, marking things such as location and direction.

The case particles fall into two classes : one used with names of people proper and one for everything else common. Like nouns, personal pronouns are categorized by case. As above, the indirect forms also function as the genitive.

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Sinulatan ako ng liham. Genitive pronouns follow the word they modify. Oblique pronouns can take the place of the genitive pronoun but they precede the word they modify. It survives in other Tagalog dialects, particularly those spoken in the rural areas. The inclusive pronoun tayo refers to the first and second persons. It may also refer to a third person s. The second person singular has two forms. Example: English: "What's your name? According to Sabbagh, [6] Tagalog has two major types of adjectives. The passive adjectives and the ma- adjectives.

Adjectival passives generally form a larger paradigm with transitive verbs. In contrast, ma- adjectives are related to intransitive verbs. Adjectival passives and ma- adjectives also have distinct morphological and phonological characteristics. Firstly, ma- adjectives are prefixed with ma- while passive adjectives are always unaffixed. Next, the stress on ma- adjectives are either penultimate second to the last syllable or ultimate last syllable while the stress on passive adjectives are always ultimate.

Other affixes denote different meanings. Modifiers alter, qualify, clarify or limit other elements in a sentence structure. They are optional grammatical elements but they change the meaning of the element they are modifying in particular ways. Examples of modifiers are adjectives modifies nouns , adjectival clauses, adverbs modifies verbs and adverbial clauses.

Nouns can also modify other nouns. In Tagalog, word categories are fluid: a word can sometimes be an adverb or an adjective depending on the word it modifies. If the word being modified is a noun, then the modifier is an adjective, if the word being modified is a verb, then it is an adverb. For example, the word 'mabilis' means 'fast' in English.

The Tagalog word 'mabilis' can be used to describe nouns like 'koneho' 'rabbit' in 'konehong mabilis' 'quick rabbit'. In that phrase, 'mabilis' was used as an adjective. The same word can be used to describe verbs, one can say 'tumakbong mabilis' which means 'quickly ran'. In that phrase, 'mabilis' was used as an adverb. The Tagalog word for 'rabbit' is 'koneho' and 'ran' is 'tumakbo' but they showed up in the phrases as 'koneho-ng' and 'tumakbo-ng'.

Tagalog uses something called a "linker" that always surfaces in the context of modification. Tagalog has the linkers -ng and na. In the examples mentioned, the linker - ng was used because the word before the linker ends in a vowel. The second linker, na is used everywhere else the na used in modification is not the same as the adverb na which means 'now' or 'already'.

Seeing the enclitics -ng and na are good indications that there is modification in the clause. These linkers can appear before or after the modifier. The next sections discuss the distribution of linkers in different contexts adjectival, adverbial, nominal and clausal modifiers. It is an adjunct to an XP and requires a complement XP.

It is an adjunct because modifiers are optional but adds meaning to a phrase. It needs a complement because by itself, it is no longer a modifier. It needs either the word being modified or the modifier as a complement. In Tagalog, when a noun composes with an adjective, adverb or another noun in attributive position, a linker is obligatory.

The linker na demonstrates that the adjective 'maganda' 'beautiful' is modifying the noun 'bahay' 'house'. The linker na is used instead of -ng because the noun preceding the linker, 'bahay' 'house' ends with a consonant. Without the linker na , the phrase is ungrammatical as shown in 1b. There is no modification because the linker is missing: the adjective 'maganda' is not modifying 'bahay'.

The tree shows the grammatical phrase in 1a. AP adjectival phrase 'maganda' is a complement to Mod modifier na because the linker needs the adjective to modify NP noun phrase 'bahay'. In the previous example, the noun came before the adjective. In this example, the adjective came before the noun. Despite the order being different, the meaning is the same.

The linker -ng is still needed to show that there is modification, that 'maganda' beautiful is modifying 'bahay' house. The linker -ng is used in this example because the word before the linker, 'maganda' ends with a vowel. Without the linker -ng , the phrase is ungrammatical as shown in 2b. In 2b , there is no modification because the linker is missing.


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It is just like listing the words 'house' and 'beautiful'. The following tree shows the grammatical phrase in 2a. The tree is very similar to the tree in 1a except that this time, NP 'bahay' is the complement and AP 'maganda' is in the specifier position of NP. However, if the adjective appears in predicative position, linker is prohibited.

It is when the property of being 'beautiful' is ascribed to the 'house' using a verb.

In other words, when an adjective is a predicate. If you add a linker, it results into an ungrammatical sentence as shown in 3b. When the verb is assigning the adjective to the noun, a linker should not be placed. The symbol! The tree shows the grammatical phrase in 3a.

AP 'maganda' is assigned to 'bahay' by the verb 'ang' and ModP is not included. The distribution of the linker is similar in adverbs and modifier nouns. We can easily replace the adjective in the examples with an adverb and the noun with a verb to turn it into a context of adverbial modification. The examples can be replaced with the adverbial phrases 'tumakbong mabilis' or 'mabilis na tumakbo' which both means 'ran quickly'.

If the adjective and the noun are replaced with two nouns, it will turn into nominal modification.

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The examples can be replaced with phrases that have nominal modifiers like 'babaeng doktor' 'woman, who is a doctor' and 'doktor na babae' 'woman-doctor'. The same linkers na and -ng are used and they pattern the same way in adverbial and nominal modification: linkers are obligatory in attributive position but are prohibited in predicate position. Linker is also obligatory when a clause is modifying a word. In 1a , the linker -ng is needed for the clause 'binili ni Maria' to modify 'libro'.

The linker -ng is used because ' libro' ends with a vowel. Similar to the other types of modifiers, a linker is needed to say that the clause is modifying the noun. It's not based on any real information except for selective biased examples — it just boils down to ego and pride. Filipinos seem more modest as a culture and this can only benefit the learner from a language learning perspective.

This encouragement is a crucial part of how your story in progressing in the language will go. Everybody told me right from the start that I'll do well in this mission, whether they knew my background or not. If you take on Tagalog, Filipinos will patiently and enthusiastically listen to you as you try and constantly remind you how much you are progressing, even when you just start with pleasantries. NOT having this in other languages slows you down tremendously, whether it really has complex grammar, tones etc. So if you've chosen to learn Tagalog, you start off on the right foot immediately just for picking a culture that will be so receptive to you trying!

One of the first things you should realise is that it's simply inaccurate to think that the Philippines has one unifying language. There and later in my travels I met Filipinos who couldn't speak Tagalog. They could understand it and recognise it, but several of my friends actually used their own language with people from their part of the country or English with Tagalog speakers. The Philippines has had a complicated history and one aspect of that in the last half of the 20th century was to pick the language spoken in Manila as the national language.

In non-Tagalog parts of the country you will see the language in advertisements and you'll hear it on TV or in some offices, but people on the street don't use it at all. The choice wasn't so clear cut — there were actually technically more Visayan speakers than Tagalog ones when the decision was made, and this continues to cause frustration in Visayans.

If you don't plan on living in a Tagalog speaking part of the country then I'd suggest that you start with the local language immediately instead. Finding a suitable place to live that used Tagalog was actually a challenge for me and slowed down my progress dramatically! Some of the most interesting parts of the country just don't use it.

However, presuming you are living in Manila or a surrounding Tagalog region, Tagalog can be a fun language to learn! But technically, Tagalog doesn't even exist! What you really want to know is Taglish. In the Philippines though, English has such a huge influence that you simply can't avoid it when speaking Tagalog. An academic will find a way to invent an obscure word to replace an English equivalent, but nobody will actually use this word. In many cases locals would scratch their head and give up after asking many of their friends when I asked if there was a Tagalog translation of an English term.

This is not just for expected word borrowings which pretty much every language in the world has done too from English in recent times , but the conversation just flows in and out of English a.


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For example, I found this amusing exchange from a lady fed up with her jealous friend:. Jealous na jealous sa akin iyan pero, no reason naman. I don't even look at her boyfriend dahil sa alam ko masyadong possessive siya. Sobrang pagka-possessive talaga. Nayayamot na ako. This is an extreme example, and I think it can be misleading how much English is used when you hang out with certain people — especially those in upper classes who prefer English or went to an English speaking school. I don't think they even realise that they are doing it. Rather than being a sneaky marketing trick to make you feel it's less than it is, this is actually a translation of use of lang in Tagalog after quantities.

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Since I was in the Philippines for such a short time I didn't quite figure out a way to decide which end of the scale to aim for in the long run. If you watch presenters on MTV Philippines for example, this is the balance they tend to reach. This is the approach I took and it was less pressure to say everything in Tagalog, and actually sounded pretty natural and was less of a shock coming from a white guy than when I came out with full Tagalog phrases.

Despite all the English which will actually be much less when you hear particular people. If you listen to Tagalog radio, even if you speak fluent Spanish, you will have a very hard time keeping up with the non-English and even getting the gist of it in most cases. Having said that, speaking Spanish did indeed make a huge difference. Since most Filipinos nowadays don't actually speak any Spanish although of course there are exceptions , they were surprised by how much vocabulary I knew or could guess. Here's a pretty long list of examples of Spanish words in Tagalog. While words are spelled differently, you will recognise many of them instantly when spoken.

Since Tagalog doesn't have an f sound, it's replaced with a p. So the months of the year and days of the week have been taken from Spanish, but it's better to say Pebrero for example. Numbers can also be used from Spanish, English or original Tagalog but it depends on context.

Tagalog numbers are for basic counting two apples, five people , Spanish would be used for times a las kuwatro and English in prices. If you don't speak Spanish, then you can still get a great head start from thousands of words like this -syon and others that you will recognise with no work. After getting a head start with the English you already know and the extra Spanish vocabulary, you'll be glad to hear that native Tagalog won't pose that much of a challenge.

Good dictionaries or language books will indicate where the stress lies in each word which might not correspond to the word it was borrowed from, e. Tagalog is written phonetically and as it would be pronounced in English.