Bikol -um- infix

I was listening to a Bikol news program and I suddenly realised that the reporter Miles Mella used a conjugation of a Bikol verb that is supposedly regular but uncommon. The news was aired on March 11, 2016 by ABS-CBN Bikol and at 20:14 of the said video the verb was mentioned. Here is the sentence where such verb is embedded :“Propriedad, kawaran nin trabaho, asin buhay: pira sana ini sa manga nakataya kada may kasulo na tuminatama sa manga establicimiento de negocio.”

The more common conjugation of this verb is minatama, and below is the conjugation table:

  Common Regular Conjugation Pattern
Root tama tama ………  = Root
Irrealis NonProgressive tumama tumama …<um>
Irrealis Progressive matama tumatama2 R<um>……
Realis NonProgressive tuminama tuminama …<umin>
Realis Progressive minatama tuminatama1 R<umin>……

I check if i can find another verb of this same regular pattern (1)  and I came across “kuminakakan” from this site.

I believe it would be harder to find the second (2) regular conjugation as the Tagalog meaning intrudes.  

Existential Sentences and the Iraya particle Maki

I have come across this stub about the Iraya language in Mindoro and I just realized something while reading it: This language has an existential particle maki “have, there is/are”.

Now, that reminds me of Tagalog and Bikol particle may, which I think is cognate with the same particle and shows a deletion of the –k- in the middle of it: maki > mai > may. Somehow, I have a feeling that maki is [ma-] + [ki-].

This possible origin gives a special insight into the structure of existential sentences in these languages.

Other languages with Ing

In my post Samarnon Phrase Markers, Part 1, I mentioned that I am not familiar with other Warayan languages if they also employ the indefinite nominal marker ing. Now, I came across  Baybayanon, also called Utudnon, having this ing marker as shown in the examples provided by Carl Rubino in Utudnon, an Undescribed Language of Leyte.

There are three Baybayanon sample sentences that uses the ing marker from Rubino’s work:

(1) “How many siblings do you have?” (Bikol: Pira an saimo na tugang?)

Baybayanon Pila  (ka buok) in ímo bugto’?
  How.many   LIG piece NOM 2s.GEN sibling

(2) “Dogs are really good.” (Bikol: Marahay na gayo an manga ido.)

Baybayanon Maájo gajód in mga idú’.
  Good really NOM PL dog

(3) S/he sure sold a lot of eggplants. (Bikol: Dakol na gayo na talong an saiyang ipinabakal.)

Baybayanon Dúro’ gajód nga tayúng in íja gilíbud.
  Many really LIG eggplant NOM 3s.GEN REAL.sold


Additionally, Laurence Reid in Problems in the Reconstruction of Proto-Philippine Construction Markers, included the below table of languages with Definite and Indefinite distinction in the common nominative markers, showing that Porohanon language (what is called Camotes) also has this distinction:


Waray is called Samarnon in this blog. This brings to four the languages with ang vs. ing distinction: (1) Old Bikol, (2) Samarnon, (3) Baybayanon (or Utudnon) and (4) Porohanon (related to Masbateño). These other languages also uses ing but I can’t see usage of ang in the samples: Kamayo, Mandaya and Tausug.

Additionally, Carl Rubino said: "Unlike Waray, there is no past/non-past distinction with the definite case marking particles." This bolster my position that even in Samarnon, there is no tense distinction between ang and it, as opposed to what Zorc has written.

Nominal Markers of Filipino, Part 1

In my quest to identify which case markers to use for the Filipino conlang, I will use some of the previous studies done on Philippine-type languages as source materials. In this first part of the post, I want to set out the different grammatical cases of the Filipino conlang nominal markers.


As mentioned in Metonymy of Nang, these particles have various names, some named after a subset of their functions (case markers, case marking particles, determiners, articles, topic markers, common noun markers) and some names encompass other particles with different functions as well (construction markers,  phrase-introducing particles, specifiers, and proclitics). I will use another term mentioned in the same article, nominal marker, which I think captures their function exactly.

Grammatical Case – Malcolm Ross

In 1999 Malcolm Ross wrote The reconstruction of Proto-Malayo-Polynesian construction markers. I can’t find a copy online, but Daniel Kaufman in The Nominalist Hypothesis in Austronesian created a table based on it and shown below:


From the above table, we can see which grammatical cases are the most distinguished among the languages: NOM (4 times), OBL (3 times) , GEN (2 times) and ACC (once). We want to have a conlang that distinguish all four cases.

By 2006,  Ross published Reconstructing the Case-Marking and Personal Pronoun Systems of Proto-Austronesian and standardized the grammatical functions of each “set of case-marked labels similar to those used by Huang, et al. (1999)” so as to describe the languages faithfully and for these labels to be applicable cross-linguistically.

Case Description
NEUT free form with functions including DISJ, TPC, FRFOC and one or more core grammatical functions (i.e. of SBJ, AGT and PAT)
NOM free or clitic form serving as SBJ or VSBJ
GEN free or clitic form serving as AGT (in NAF) and often as PSRA or occasionally PSRN
PSR free form serving as PSRA and/or PSRN
ACC free form serving as PAT only
OBL free form serving as PAT and LOC (and sometimes in other peripheral functions)
LOC free form serving as LOC (and sometimes in other peripheral functions)

The other acronyms above are defined below as:

Label Scope Description
DISJ Information Structure marking of disjunctive, i.e. one-word answer
TPC Information Structure marking of fronted topic, often followed by a topic marker
FRFOC Information Structure marking of focus-fronted argument
PREDN Non-Verb Clause Functions marking of predicate noun
NSBJ Non-Verb Clause Functions marking of subject of nonverbal clause
AVSBJ Special Subject Functions marking of subject of actor-voice verbal clause
SBJ Special Subject Functions marking of subject of verbal and nonverbal clauses
VSBJ Core Verb Args marking of Subject of verbal clause
AGT Core Verb Args marking of agent argument of undergoer voice clause
PAT Core Verb Args marking of patient argument of actor-voice clause, third core argument of undergoer voice clause (e.g. patient when, say, a location or instrument is subject)
LOC Peripheral Args marking of location argument (‘at my place’, ‘from me’ etc), goal, source
BEN Peripheral Args marking of beneficiary argument
PSRA Possessor Functions marking of possessor adnominal (‘my’ etc) without a ligature
PSRN Possessor Functions marking of possessor nominal (‘mine’ etc; in some languages it also occurs adnominally with a ligature)

Notes on the above case–marked labels:

  1. OBL includes LOC and PAT functions together, which I don’t want in the Filipino conlang. I want nominal markers which make a distinction between LOC and PAT so we will not have the OBL case markers and have LOC and ACC nominal markers instead separately. The  ACC marker can be used for both PAT or BEN.
  2. I will retain the GEN nominal markers which marks AGT (in NAF sentences), PSRA and PSRN.
  3. NOM marks either the VSBJ only or also the NSBJ as well in a SBJ. I want the VSBJ only in a Filipino conlang.
  4. NEUT marks DISJ, TPC and FRFOC plus one or more core grammatical function. We want to exclude any core grammatical functions from this marking and add instead the PREDN and/or NSBJ in the conlang.
  5. To wrap up, we want a Filipino constructed language with NEUT, NOM, GEN, ACC and LOC case markers.

Looking at the Table 1 of Common Case Markers in Ross 2006, only Amis language (Sakizaya dialect) fits well with all 5 nominal cases that we want with no extra markers. The Amis data is presented below although we don’t know if the NOM and NEUT forms function as we want them to be.


For personal pronouns, reading Ross’s paper and looking for a Formosan language that matches the above requirements in function usage, we have the following summary:

  1. NEUT personal pronouns of Paiwan and Puyuma seems a close match to what I want, functioning as FOCFR, TOP, DISJ and nothing else. Saaroa and Bunun adds to these forms other uses like PAT use (na OBL + NEU) and PAT/AGT use ([k]i OBL + NEUT) respectively. For Amis its used for PREDN and TOP while Rukai just TOP. Mayrinax Atayal uses it for TOP, DISJ and PREDN but also uses for SBJ/AGT/PAT by prepending with iʔ NOM/OBL case marker, as BEN with prepended niʔ GEN, and  LOC by prepended kiʔ. Pazeh also uses NEUT for TOP and NSBJ but also for PAT and VSBJ. I don’t like the following for including core roles:  Kanakanavu (DISJ, AVSBJ), Tsou (VSBJ, PAT), Kavalan (FOCFR, TOP, SBJ) and Siraya (TOP, SBJ). No NEUT personal pronouns in Saisiyat and Thao. I want a NEUT form that marks DISJ, TOP, FRFOC and no other in the conlang. I’m still undecided whether NSBJ and/or PREDN should be marked as NEUT or NOM. If it’s  NEUT, then equational sentences’ subject and predicate might have different markers, and subject markers for verbal and non-verbal sentences would be different which I don’t want.
  2. NOM personal pronouns in Saisiyat, Saaroa, Paiwan, Rukai, Puyuma, Amis and Mayrinax Atayal are used for SBJ, while other Atayal dialects, Thao, Siraya, Pazeh, Kanakanavu and Kavalan  use it for VSBJ. Bunun has two NOM forms, one for VSBJ and another for SBJ (VSBJ and NSBJ). Tsou have combined NOM-GEN. I want a NOM form that marks only the VSBJ of verbal clauses.
  3. LOC personal pronouns for Pazeh seems to be pure LOC and can be optionally preceded with di LOC case marker and means “at my place, etc”. Saisiyat, Kavalan and Bunun have LOC forms that are distinct from ACC or PAT. Atayal LOC is merged with PAT/PSRN in an OBL marker, Paiwan’s LOC marged with PAT in an OBL marker, and Rukai’s LOC includes with PAT other peripheral roles in an OBL. In Sakizaya Amis, OBL only has PAT functions but has LOC as well in Nataoran and Central dialects. No mention of LOC forms in Thao, Siraya, Tsou, Kanakanavu, Saaroa and Puyuma. I want a pure LOC function distinct from other functions.
  4. ACC personal pronouns. Saaroa PAT is either ACC or OBL+NEUT. Pazeh and Tsou use the NEUT for PAT. Thao has two ACC forms, one used for PAT and the other for BEN. Kanakanavu PAT is merged with BEN in an OBL marker. Siraya and Kavalan’s ACC is only PAT. Sakizaya Amis ACC is PAT only, with other dialects PAT+LOC. Atayal’s PAT is merged with LOC and PSRN in an OBL form. Paiwan’s’ PAT is merged with LOC in an OBL. Rukai PAT is merged with other roles in an OBL. Bunun’s PAT is combined with AGT in a ACC-GEN marker. Saisiyat has distinct ACC and BEN forms. I want a ACC form that can function both as PAT or BEN.
  5. GEN personal pronouns in Pazeh has AGT and PSRN roles, and uses a ligature with PSRN to use it as PSRA. Atayal’s GEN includes AGT and PSRA, and has a separate PSRN forms from NEUT forms. Thao’s GEN is a combined AGT/PSRA/PSRN form. Siraya, Kanakanavu and Saaroa’s GEN is AGT/PSRA. Tsou’s AGT/PSRA is combined with NOM-GEN. Paiwan has two GEN forms, one for PSRA/AGT and one for PSRN/AGT. Puyuma has 4 forms for PSRA, PSRN, GEN as AGT and a GEN-OBL for AGT/PAT. Amis has 2 GEN forms, one for GEN/PSRA, the other for GEN/PSRA/PSRN. Bunun has two forms, with  PSR forms separate from GEN-ACC forms. Kavalan has separate forms for GEN (as AGT) and PSR (za+GEN). I want a GEN form that functions as AGT, PSRA and PSRN.

Although Paiwan, Puyuma and Amis have the right NEUT use, their NOM is used for both NSBJ and VSBJ, which I don’t want. Pazeh, Saisiyat, Kavalan and Bunun have LOC functions, but only Kavalan and Saisiyat have distinct ACC forms.

Although Kavalan has the right NEUT, NOM, ACC, GEN+PSR and LOC functions, I don’t like the forms themselves (LOC ending in –an, ACC prefixed with tima-, PSR prefixed with za-). For Sakizaya Amis which we mentioned earlier with the same 5 functions, the OBL also ends in –an (Central) or –anan (Nataoran/Sakizaya). Amis also does not have a distinct LOC form for personal pronouns, with Central and Nataoran dialects’ OBL a combined PAT and LOC which we don’t want. Amis’ Central dialect does not distinguish NEUT from NOM but instead just use the NOM forms. Siraya has 4 of the functions right (NEUT, NOM, GEN, ACC) but the ACC or OBL is also ending in –an. Pazeh has got 3 functions right (NOM, GEN, LOC) but its ACC (as PAT) and NEUT are combined in one form and the LOC form ends in –an. Kanakanavu has 4 forms (NEUT, NOM, GEN, OBL/ACC) right but the OBL also ending in –an and the OBL is derived from NEUT.

Formosan Nominative Nominal Markers

In Ross’ Reconstructing the Case-Marking and Personal Pronoun Systems of Proto-Austronesian, the Formosan data show two groups of languages where s– or k– are the formatives for NOM forms. He gave the Formosan forms of these nominal markers and he reconstructed the NOM forms as starting with *k-.

We’ll go over these languages in groups and check if we can show that k– is weak for NOM but stronger for ACC or OBL.

  1. The first group of languages (Saisiyat, Rukai, Bunun) have k– initial forms in (a) NOM and (b) either OBL or ACC,  in both personal and common nouns. (In Bunun the first of the pair is used after a vowel.)
    Common Nouns TOP NOM GEN ACC OBL LOC
    Saisiyat ka no [ka] ka no [BEN] ray
    Budai Rukai ku, ka ka, ku
    Takbanuad Bunun ka ki
    Personal Nouns TOP NOM GEN ACC OBL LOC
    Saisiyat (hi) ni hi ?ini kan, kala
    Budai Rukai ku, ka ki
    Takbanuad Bunun V=kat

    The most pertinent comment is that of Yeh (1991) stating that subject NPS occurs with ACC markers in Saisiyat: could it be the same reason why hi appears as ACC in Ross’ Table 2 although it is cognate with PMP NOM *si? In wikipedia, hi is NOM as well as ACC, so I put it in the NOM column as well above inside a parentheses.  Another noteworthy data about Saisiyat is that it retained the LOC d– initial in the form of ray

    Ross (2006) concluded when discussing about the forms that “there has been a merger of NOM and ACC forms in Saisiyat, followed by loss of NOM forms”, where he means the NOM k– forms were lost.  But the opposite scenario is also plausible, that the forms with s– initials were the ones lost in the NOM (The same can be said of Rukai and Bunun.) since the personal pronouns of Saisiyat below starts with kan- for OBL/LOC, a pattern found in a lot of Philippine languages and no NOM personal pronoun forms even starts with k– or s– which supports the alternative scenario. He himself said :”Since personal pronoun systems in Formosan languages often incorporate the case-markers more generally used in noun phrases, and it is impossible to interpret the histories of the pronouns without taking account of the case-markers….”

    Saisiyat Personal Pronouns OBL/LOC
    1st Singular kanman
    2nd Singular


    3rd Singular kansia
    1st Plural Inclusive


    1st Plural Exclusive kan-yami
    2nd Plural kan-moyo
    3rd Plural kanlasia

    Does it follow as well that the LOC (directional locatives?) kan/kala in the personal markers should instead be classified as ACC or OBL since they mark benefactives? That should make sense.

    But the presence of accusative, dative and possessive forms in the Wikipedia confuses things and we don’t know how these can be distinguished unless we get hold of some more Saisiyat sentences. In Budai Rukai, it’s the TOP markers that begin with ku- as well as its personal pronouns in NEUT or TOP (from Ross 2006):image

  2. Amis has a k– initial NOM marker in the common nouns but not in the personal noun markers. What is noteworthy is that the NOM personal nominal marker ci is cognate with PMP *si, thus supports s– initial. Common ACC t– initial markers are different from NOM markers, unlike personal markers where ACC seems to be derived from NOM through affixation. (See table below. Sakizaya Amis has a Definiteness distinction (D) in common nouns and number distinctions in personal nouns.)
    Common Nouns TOP NOM GEN ACC OBL LOC
    Sakizaya Amis u
    +D: kiya
    +D: iya
    +D: [nu]niya
    +D: tiya
    Personal Nouns TOP NOM GEN ACC OBL LOC
    Sakizaya Amis S: ci
    P: ca
    S: ni
    P: na

    Amis NOM personal pronouns though overwhelmingly show k– (from Ross 2006), with the ACC/OBL showing t– initial which I think is cognate with s– initial forms. image

    But Amis personal noun NOM marker form ci is cognate with that of Paiwan ti and  PMP *si, which conflicts with its  personal pronoun formative k-. More languages support s– formative for NOM personal markers and k– in the OBL/ACC case. Additionally as Ross himself said: “An examination of the data in Appendix B shows a number of cases in which a new NEUT or NOM set has been formed by preposing a case-marker to an existing pronoun set. A transparent instance appears in Amis (B.12), where the old NOM set has become the NEUT set, and a new NOM set has been created by preposing the NOM common case-marker to the new NEUT set.”

  3. Atayal seems to be a different case since although the NOM ku starts with k-, the whole syllable is retained in the GEN and OBL forms of the common nouns like a base where a prefix is added, so we can’t generalize that NOM has k– form or case marked and starts with k– as opposed to other grammatical cases starting with C-. All we can say is that the form ku is originally NOM. But this can’t be used to show that there was a movement from ACC to NOM of k– forms as well. In personal marker forms, k– initial forms function as LOC and not as NOM. Mayrinax Atayal has a Specificity distinction (+SP/-SP).
    Common Nouns TOP NOM GEN ACC OBL LOC
    Mayrinax Atayal +SP: ku?
    –SP: a?
    +SP: nku?
    –SP: na?
    +SP: cku?
    –SP: cu?
    Personal Nouns TOP NOM GEN ACC OBL LOC
    Mayrinax Atayal i? ni? i? ki?

    Wulai Atayal’s personal pronouns though have a clear s– formative in the NOM (from Wikipedia).  image

    Cross-referencing with Sakizaya/Nataoran Amis common markers or personal markers with Wulai Atayal’s NOM pronouns, Sakizaya Amis’ OBL pronoun seems to have an obvious origin, and that Sakizaya Amis’ OBL pronouns could be originally NOM pronouns.

    Sakizaya/Nataoran Amis LOC Common Marker Sakizaya Amis ACC  
    Singular Peronal Marker
    Wulai Atayal NOM Pronouns Sakizaya Amis OBL Pronouns
    1s. i / [i]an cian saku?, mu, ku? [i] takuan
    2s. i / [i]an cian su? [i] tisuan
    3s. i / [i]an cian [i] cira-an
    1p (incl.) i / [i]an cian ta? [i] titaan, [i] kitaan
    1p (excl.) i / [i]an cian sami [i] taman
    2p. i / [i]an cian simu [i] tamuan
    3p. i / [i]an cian [i] tuhn-an
  4. Saaroa’s ka according to Radetzky (Ross 2006) is from a demonstrative grammaticized as a definite marker in all contexts, which implies that it does not only serve NOM cases.
    Common Nouns TOP NOM GEN ACC OBL LOC
    Saaroa a, ka na
  5. Pazeh doesn’t have personal markers too, but its forms actually look like they were originally the personal noun forms. Although its common noun marker starts with k-, its personal pronouns don’t start with either k– or s– either and there is no definitive NOM or LOC/ACC/OBL consonant initial formative for the personal pronouns.

    Common Nouns TOP NOM GEN ACC OBL LOC
    Pazeh ki ni o di

From the above languages with k– in NOM, we can see that k– support is weak for it to be reconstructed as NOM marker onset. Now we come to languages where NOM is cognate with s-.

  1. Siraya has s– onset for NOM and k– onset ACC (see Saisiyat above as well) for common noun ACC markers, with the NOM ta form seemingly cognate with s– and k– form as OBL. But Siraya NOM ta is both used for for common and personal pronouns. Siraya’s GEN na does not mark agentive of genitive, so was excluded from here.
    Common Nouns TOP NOM GEN ACC OBL LOC
    Siraya ta ki tu
    Personal Nouns TOP NOM GEN ACC OBL LOC
    Siraya   ta     -ang  
  2. Thao and Kanakanavu share the same marker for both NOM and OBL, in both languages they begin with s-, a model similar to Saisiyat above.

    Common Nouns TOP NOM GEN ACC OBL LOC
    Thao sa sa tu
    Kanakanavu s[u]a, si s[u]a na

    Thao, Kanakanavu and Saaroa don’t have personal markers. Thao’s personal pronouns don’t start with either s– or k– and there is no definitive NOM or LOC/ACC/OBL consonant initial formative for the personal pronouns, but Kanakanavu’s Personal pronoun focused suffixed forms starts with k-. Are these NOM or OBL/ACC forms? image      Thao and Kanakanavu sharing the same marker for both NOM and OBL that begin with s- (hi) for common nouns is similar to Saisiyat for personal nouns.

  3. Paiwan’s common noun marker ta which is cognate to s– is OBL and not NOM just like in other Meso Philippine languages. But its OBL personal pronouns all starts with k– (from Ross 2006) as well as the personal markers. Notable is the loss of LOC and possible TOP markers, with OBL functioning both as ACC and LOC in personal pronouns.
    Common Nouns TOP NOM GEN ACC OBL LOC
    Paiwan a nua tua, ta, tu
    Personal Nouns TOP NOM GEN ACC OBL LOC
    Paiwan S: ti
    P: tia
    S: ni
    P: nia
    S: cay
    P: c(a)ya


  4. Puyuma does not have s– initial NOM markers but shows k– onsets in the OBL. Ross said that another dialect, Nanwang has lost the GEN forms, but it is clear from the data that even Tamalakaw has lost its GEN as well (-D-SP & +D) with OBL taking over their function, although its not complete, with kana –D+SP still not used as GEN. Tamalakaw distinctions Indefinite Specific and Indefinite nonspecific corresponds to Nanwang Definite and Indefinite, with Tamalakaw Definite ni looking like its derived from a GEN marker, like Pazeh GEN ni.
    Common Nouns TOP NOM GEN ACC OBL LOC
    Tamalakaw Puyuma +D: ni
    –D+SP: [i]na 
    –D-SP: a
    +D: nina
    –D+SP: —
    –D-SP: za
      +D: nina
    –D+SP: kana
    –D-SP: za
    Personal Nouns TOP NOM GEN ACC OBL LOC
    Tamalakaw Puyuma   S: i 
    P: na
    ni kani

    Puyuma OBL personal pronouns (Ross 2006) all starts with kan-:


To sum up, support for NOM s– onset in personal marker forms is from Saisiyat ACC hi, Paiwan NOM ti, Amis NOM ci, and PMP NOM si personal noun markers and from the NOM personal pronouns of  Wulai Atayal. On common marker forms, support comes from Siraya, Kanakanavu and possibly Thao.

From the data above, its possible that the changes that happened to the common noun markers are the following, based solely on their phonetic form.

  1. NEUT/NOM/GEN/LOC > ∅, ACC > NOM/ACC: Saisiyat, Rukai and Bunun lost their NEUT and NOM markers, with the ACC markers expanding to NOM. Rukai and Bunun lost their GEN and LOC, while Saisiyat GEN also used as OBL for benefactives.
  2. NEUT/GEN/ACC > ∅, NOM > NOM/ACC : Thao, Kanakanavu and Siraya lost their NEUT and GEN, with Thao and Kanakanavu further losing their ACC and being taken over by NOM.  Both Thao and Siraya has LOC with t- while Kanakanavu has n-.
  3. NEUT/NOM/LOC > ∅, ACC > NOM/ACC , NEUT > OBL/LOC : Amis and Pazeh  lost their NOM markers, with the ACC markers doing double duty as well as NOM function.  Furthermore, Pazeh lost the NEUT function of the NEUT form, being used instead for OBL. Amis LOC is from NEUT, with the ACC t- form seemingly cognate with Thao and Siraya LOC t-.
  4. NOM/ACC/LOC > ∅, GEN > NOM , NEUT > LOC : Puyuma lost its NOM, ACC and LOC,  the GEN becoming NOM and the NEUT becoming LOC. It created new forms for use in both GEN and OBL.
  5. NEUT > ∅, NEUT > LOC : Atayal lost its NEUT, reformulated its NOM, GEN and OBL, and derived the LOC from a NEUT.
  6. NEUT/GEN/ACC/LOC > ∅, NEUT > NOM , GEN > OBL : Saaroa lost its NEUT, ACC and LOC, with one of their NEUT moving to take on one of NOM functions, and GEN losing its function to take on OBL.
  7. ACC(OBL?)/LOC > ∅, NOM > OBL, NEUT > NOM : Paiwan lost its  ACC (OBL?) and LOC, and its NOM move to become one of the OBLs, NEUT lost its NEUT function and move to NOM. It has additional OBL of t- onset. It formed additional GEN and OBL.

Note these common direction of changes:

  1. ACC > NOM/ACC – happened in Saisiyat, Rukai, Bunun, Thao, Kanakanavu, Siraya, Amis and Pazeh.
  2. NEUT > OBL or LOC – happened in Amis, Pazeh, Puyuma and Atayal
  3. NEUT > NOM – happened in Saaroa and Paiwan
  4. NEUT > ∅ – happened in Saisiyat, Rukai, Bunun, Thao, Kanakanavu, Siraya, Amis, Pazeh, Atayal and Saaroa.
  5. LOC > ∅ – happened in Saisiyat, Rukai, Bunun, Amis, Pazeh, Puyuma and Saaroa and Paiwan

Why was there a movement in Amis, Pazeh,  Saisiyat, Rukai and Bunun  from ACC/OBL to NOM of k-, while Paiwan, Thao and Kanakanavu from NOM to ACC/OBL of s-?  Were Paiwan, Thao and Kanakanavu influenced by the loss of LOC d– forms? It didn’t affect Amis, Rukai and Bunun.

Grammatical Case – Laurence Reid

A much earlier study on these markers is Laurence Reid’s Problems in the Reconstruction of Proto-Philippine Construction Markers in 1978, where he used a 5-way distinction to label the different cases of construction markers (nominal markers in this post) in Philippine languages, descriptions of which are provided below:

Acronym Label Description
TOP Topic Mark the predicative NP in an equational sentence, as well as a topicalised NP
NOM Nominative Marks the subject of the sentence
GEN Genitive The case form which marks the Agent of a ‘passive’ verb or Experiencer, which throughout the Philippines also marks the Possessor in a possessive construction.
ACC Accusative The case form that typically marks an indefinite Object in an unembedded sentence. In such languages, a definite object is either subjectivalised or reinterpreted as a kind of a Locative and marked with a Locative case form.
LOC Locative Marks for location and direction, plus the definite object of unembedded sentence.

He used the above to identify 6 determiner systems in Philippine languages:

Type TOP NOM GEN ACC LOC Example Languages


B Blaan, Ilokano
2 A B C Agta, Bontok, Kalinga, Balangaw
3 A B C Tagalog, Hiligaynon, Tagbanwa, Batak, Mamanwa, Mansaka, Subanon
4 A B C D Kapampangan, Maranao, Cebuano
5 A B C D Inibaloi, Pangasinan
6 A B C D E Ivatan, Itbayaten, Amis

Notes on the above table:

  1. Type #2 and Type #5 are similar, in that the ACC and LOC share the same marker. The only difference is the introduction of a separate TOP marker in Type #5 in the common markers for the only 2 languages in this type. Example languages are those found in Northern Philippines, and Reid said its pretty widespread among Cordilleran languages.
  2. Type #3 and Type #4 are similar in that LOC and GEN or ACC have distinct markers, the  only difference is the presence of a separate marker for indefinite objects in Type #4. Example languages are those found in Central Philippines (Visayas, Central and Southern Luzon, Northern and Eastern Mindanao).
    • I have an objection with Hiligaynon being classed as Type #3. In the example provided, Cebuano is of type #4, with ug as the separate ACC marker for indefinite object. Yet Hiligaynon, classed as Type #3, has a similar indefinite object marker sing, and there could be a few more Meso-Philippine languages with such definite/indefinite distinction in the GEN, like Samarnon (hin), Romblomanon (ning), Bisakol (sin) and Bikol (nin).
    • Another objection is that these indefinite markers are used not just for indefinite ACC but also for indefinite GEN, so there is actually no separate ACC marker from GEN in Cebuano, Samarnon, Romblomanon, Bisakol and Bikol but instead separate definite vs. indefinite GEN-ACC markers. I haven’t studied Kapampangan (yang) or Maranao much so can’t conclude that there is no Type #4 separate from Type #3. As Reid said, this type occurs in only a few languages.
    • Maranao ACC seems to have the same form as that of Ivatan ACC. This is discussed in NOM.
  3. The difference between Types #2/#5 and #3/#4 is that according to Reid, the indefinite object or ACC is marked as GEN in Types #3/#4 but LOC in Types #2/#5. Both groups mark the definite ACC as LOC. It is unclear if in Type #1 the LOC also marks the definite objects or ACC but would assume it does.
  4. Type #6 has Ivatan as the sole representative, has possible rearranged its nominal markers. 
    • Its NOM ?u is from the NEUT form.
    • It has a separate indefinite ACC common marker su which I think came from an original NOM with Pangasinan, Kallahan and Maranao providing NOM common marker examples.
    • Its GEN common nu marker is also used to mark NEUT.
    • Its ACC also marks manner phrases.
    • Although Reid mentioned that the Amis system is similar to Type #6 of Ivatan, its only a superficial similarity. Sakizaya Amis’ NEUT and GEN forms are not identical, and Amis LOC form is derived from NEUT.
    • Ivatan might not be a single language but two with Itbayaten as a separate language and not a dialect. These languages border Formosan languages in the far north of the Philippines.

In “A Brief Syntactic Typology of Philippine Languages” (2003), Lawrence Reid with Hsiu-chuan Liao described the same 5 cases as below:

  1. Topic (TOP) – marks the definite, non-cased NP constituent which acts as the theme of the construction. definite noun (as predicate),  topic (fronted noun phrase, or theme),
  2. Nominative (NOM) – marks the least indispensable complement of a basic predication (the subject of the sentence, predicate NP of an equational sentence), and the one that is most likely to undergo deletion under conditions of coreference in a relative clause, whether transitive or intransitive.
  3. Genitive (GEN) – marks the noun phrases that are the Correspondents (or ‘possessors’) of possessed nouns and the Agents of passive transitive constructions.
  4. Locative (LCV) – location, direction, time NPs, purpose expressions, means (instruments) and correspondents (2nd complement of s dyadic intransitive clause).
  5. Oblique (OBL) – marks indefinite nouns that are the 2nd complement of dyadic intransitive constructions.

Reid concluded

“It is probable that Proto-Philippines did not distinguish between determiners which mark Topic and Nominative NPs. It is also probable that these were distinct from those which marked the Genitive and Locative NPs. It is also probable that the determiners which marked Genitive and Locative NPs were different from each other since no Philippine language uses the same case form for these two NPs. Whether Proto-Philippines had an Accusative form distinct from both the Genitive and Locative, or whether it was the Genitive form or the Locative form which marked indefinite object is unclear.”

Grammatical Case – Raleigh Ferrel

There is another study on nominal markers done by Raleigh Ferrel “Construction Markers and Subgrouping of Formosan Languages” which I have not really look into yet.

Nominal Marker Case Forms

I want the nominal markers to be monosyllables in the form CV, just like most of existing forms in the various languages. I want the onset consonant to mark the grammatical case, with uniform onset consonants cross-cutting usage in common vs. personal/proper names, definiteness and distance distinctions in the same grammatical case.

These  initial consonants were mentioned by Joseph Finney in The Yap Language: Whence and How?:

“These monosyllables all begin with members of a small set of initial consonants: zero, n, k, s, t and (not in Formosa) d. Though PCMs (prepositions and case markers) are notorious for having multiple meanings and for shifting meaning, each of these initials has kept an old core meaning to a remarkable degree. Those with zero initial serve as the unmarked Case 1, ofter called nominative, absolutive, subject or focus. There is also a locative with initial zero. Those with initial n– (Case 2) are typically genitive (“of”), and in many languages serve also as the marked agent, the Doer that is not the syntactic subject, in constructions called passive or ergative. The particles with initial k, t, d, and s may all have originated as allatives (“to”, “toward”), and we’ll call them Case 3. The Case 3 forms compete with with one another in various languages and survives in niches.”

Our forms will be the following:

A. Genitive Form

Reid said that there is general consensus that *ni is the case form for Genitive. And Malcolm Ross said: “The distribution of initial consonants is not chance. Most obvious is that GEN markers usually begin with n-, a long recognised fact.”.

n– initial forms is also prevalent not just in nominal markers but also in personal pronouns in the GEN case. Since it is generally agreed that GEN starts with n-, there is no need to discuss it further here.

B. Locative Form 

What is the form of the Locative case marker? Although Reid said that it is either di or sa, I think di has more evidentiary support. He also mentioned in The Early Switch Hypothesis: Linguistic Evidence for Contact between Negrito and Austronesians :

“Although di occurs in many languages with various other case making functions, it is as a locative common noun marker that it is reconstructible for Proto-Philippines. This is the function it has in Bilaan in the very south of the Philippines, and although it has been replaced in most other Philippine languages by some other locative markers, it is retained in languages throughout the Philippines as the initial formative of locative demonstratives.”

Some more reasons to suppose that the LOC marker should start with d-:

  1. Looking at the various case marker / determiner systems (Reid 1978), it seems that those where the LOC functions solely as Locative has the form d-. These include Type 1 (Blaan di) and Type 6 (Ivatan du/di). Ilokano’s  ɥiti seems to be like Amis in having ɥi. Types 2, 3, 4 and 5 have no pure locative case markers and their markers starts with either k-, s-/t- or ɥ-. Type 2 and Type 5 combine in one case form both the Accusative (definite and indefinite objects) and Locative functions. Although Type 3 and Type 4 has separate Locative, this is also used to mark definite objects of non-embedded transitive clauses. The nominal markers with a Locative function in these types (2,3,4,5) must have been originally from other case forms.

    Common Noun Markers

    Language Type TOP NOM GEN ACC LOC
    Ilokano 1 ti ɥiti
    Bilaan 1 ɥi di
    Ivatan 6 nu ɥu nu su du
    Itbayaten 6?4?          
    Amis 6 ɥu ku nu tu ɥi [….an]

    Personal Noun Markers

    Language Type TOP NOM GEN ACC LOC
    Ilokano 1 ni ken ni
    Bilaan 1 ku, kane
    Ivatan 6 si si ni di
    Itbayaten 6?4?   i ni si di
    Amis 6 ɥi ci ni   ɥi ci
  2. Demonstratives have prefixed di– or starts with d-
      here there(proximal) there
      Ilokano ditoy dita
      Tagalog dine diyan
      Tiruray dini diyaqan diyoq, diyoqo
  3. Di is a generic locative marker in Malay and other languages. Traditionally called a preposition in Malay, some examples are found in here, here and here.
Malay English Tagalog Bikol Conlang
di sini here dito, dine digdi dini
di sana/situ there, over there doon duman ditu
di dalam inside, in sa loob sa laog di leog
di luar outside sa labas sa luwas di lubas
di tepi at the side sa tabi sa gilid di tebi?
di antara between sa gitna sa tahaw di tahaw
di tengah in the middle sa gitna sa tanga? di tanga?
di bawah below, downstairs, beneath, under sa baba sa baba di baba?
di atas above, upstairs, on top sa taas sa taas di taas
di puncak on top of sa ibabaw sa ibabaw di babaw
di belakang behind sa likod sa likod di likod
di depan/hadapan in front, before sa harap sa atubangan di harap
di seberang across (the street) from sa ibayo sa balyo di ballo
di sebelah next (door) to, beside sa kabila sa kataid di kabila
di samping beside sa tabi sa kataid di tebi
di Indonesia in Indonesia sa Indonesia sa Indonesia di Indonesia
di rumah at home sa bahay sa harong di baley / barong
di meja on the table sa mesa sa lamesa di mesa
di gelas in the glass sa salamin sa salming di salming
di hospital at hospital sa hospital sa hospital di hospital
di dalam rumah inside the house sa loob ng bahay sa laog kang harong di leog nang baley
di luar mobil outside the car sa labas ng kotse sa luas kan kotse di labas nang koce

Paranan also has di marker (di balay “to the house”, di Manila “to Manila”). Some of the languages with di markers mentioned above are Ivatan, Itbayaten, Blaan, Malay, Casiguran Dumagat and Paranan.

For the LOC forms starting with s-/t- or k-, see the discussion under Accusative Form.

C. Accusative Form 

What should be the Accusative form? The ACC function comes out marked either as:

  1. Marked separately (Types #4 and #6)
  2. Combined with LOC (Types #2 & #5)
  3. Combined with GEN (Type #3)
  4. Combined with NOM and GEN (Type #1)

Since we have already settled the LOC and GEN forms that we will use in the conlang (d– and n– respectively), which might also be the form in the proto language, we can use the rest of the LOC or GEN markers for those markers with combined LOC & ACC (Types #2 & 5) or GEN and ACC (Type #3 & 4) to find out which ACC form to use.

For Type #3 and Type #4 determiner systems where the LOC forms do not resemble the LOC d- forms but still uses LOC forms for definite objects, we will postulate that they have lost their original LOC forms that starts with d-, with the ACC forms expanding to cover the normal LOC functions as well as the traditional ACC function (definite objects of unembedded sentences) but losing the indefinite objects to the GEN forms. The same can be said of Types #5 since the same nominal marker is used for both ACC (indefinite objects) and LOC (definite objects and locations) . In Types #3, #4 and #5, there are two competing consonant onsets, k– and s( or t-). The reasons I favour k rather than s– as onset consonant for ACC are:

  1. Central Philippine languages are the only ones with s– in the OBL, LOC/ACC, or ACC/GEN, with the only exception of Subanon, which is geographically beside Central Philippine languages (Cebuano, Hiligaynon). It should also be noted that sa might have come from saŋ, with Cebuano GEN sa from what is cognate to Hiligaynon, Samarnon, Bisakol GEN saŋ, and Tagalog, Hiligaynon, Cebuano, Samarnon, Bisakol LOC sa from what is cognate to Mansaka LOC saŋ.

    Sa also seems to function as a prefix, since it can be preceeded by ang/an and ng/nin~kan in Tagalog/Bikol respectively.

    Common Noun markers

    Mansaka 3 yaŋ n s
    Tagalog 3 ɥaŋ n sa
    Hiligaynon 3 ɥaŋ s sa
    Cebuano 4 ag sa ug sa
    Subanon 3 ɥog nog sog
  2. The languages with k– in LOC for common and personal markers cover all the example languages except Subanon and Inibaloi. This personal marker LOC is used for human definite objects.

    Common Noun markers

    Kapampangan 4 ɥiŋ n yaŋ k
    Tagbanwa 3 ɥiaing ɥit kat
    Batak 3 tu ɥit kat
    Mamanwa 3 ya na ka
    Maranao 4 su u sa ku
    Inibaloi 5 say ɥi ni (su) ni
    Pangasinan 5 say so na ed

    Personal Noun Markers

    Tagbanwa 3 si ni ki
    Maranao 4 si ɥi ki
    Tagalog 3 si ni kay
    Hiligaynon 3 si ni kay
    Batak 3 si ɥi kay
    Mansaka 3 si ni kay
    Mamanwa 3 si ni kan
    Kapampangan 4 ɥi n k
    Cebuano 4 si ni k
    Subanon 3 si ni ?
    Inibaloi 5 si nen (su) nen
    Pangasinan 5 si nen kinen
  3. For Bilaan which is a Type #1 language and has retained the older LOC marker for common nouns, the  LOC marker for personal nouns starts with k-. It is noteworthy what Reid said:

    Bilaan does not mark any personal noun except a (directional) Locative, which is marked with either /ku/ or /kane/.

    I interpret directional locatives as Accusatives when applied to ACC objects. Ilokano also has LOC personal marker that starts with k– (see above).

We will postpone discussion of Types #2 and 6 ACC forms (ɥ– and s-) until the NOM section.

D. Neutral Form

Reid concluded that there is probably no separate marker for Topics. I would assume that his reason for this are that there are no distinct forms for NEUT:

  1. Types #1 to #4 have forms that function both as NEUT and NOM
  2. Type #6 has forms that function both as NEUT and GEN.
  3. Type #5 has a NEUT form which is derived from the NOM.

However, the only Philippine-type language to have a uniform distinction between the NEUT and NOM is Amis ( ∅- initial for NEUT and k- for NOM) in both the nominal markers and personal pronouns. Reid has mentioned Amis in his work but he only noted its similarity to Ivatan’s determiner system type #6. Malcolm Ross (2006) has identified two reasons below for reconstructing the NEUT forms different from the NOM forms, and with the NEUT starting with ∅- initial (my ɥ– initial):

“The case labels of the reconstructions follow fairly obviously from the data, except for the assignment to NEUT of forms consisting of a vowel only. This assignment is based on two facts. First, many modern languages have a NEUT vs. NOM distinction in pronouns, and it is likely that this distinction occurred in Proto Austronesian. Second, although only one modern Formosan language, Amis, maintains this distinction in its case-marking paradigm, I have assumed that the Amis distinction between *∅- NEUT and *k- NOM reflects a PAn distinction: this helps explain why both forms occur in the NOM paradigms of modern languages. Two languages which no longer reflect the NEUT/ NOM distinction in their case-markers retain it in their personal pronouns, and the NEUT pronouns are marked by reflexes of PAn *i NEUT:PS:S: Pazeh i- and P-Puyuma *i- (see Appendices, §B.1 and§B.11.)”

So we will use the Amis model to have ɥ initial nominal markers in the Neutral form. Referring to the Amis table above, we will notice that all the common noun markers share the same vowel ( –u) and personal markers share the same vowel (-i).  In our conlang, we are going to have the same pattern. Thus the forms for NEUT common noun and personal noun is similar to current Maranao GEN ɥu/ɥi forms. Also note that in Bikol and Samarnon, there is definiteness and distance distinctions, so this will need to be carried here as well.

As a result, the current NOM markers in a lot of languages like “ang”( Tagalog, Sugbuhanon,  Hiligaynon) “an” (Bikol, Samarnon) and “ing”  (Kapampangan) will become NEUT marker here.

E. Nominative Form

What is the form of the Nominal Case marker? We have 3 alternative initial consonants for NOM.

  1. One is Ross’ proposed kwhich we have assigned as the ACC form onset consonant
  2. ɥ– or those that starts with a vowel, as Reid calls them, and we have assigned as the NEUT form onset consonant.
  3. sis supported by the data from personal case markers, where Reid said that *si is a fairly confident reconstruction.

So what are the things I can use as basis for positing a s– initial formative for NOM case”

  1. Data from Formosan languages which I have described above.
  2. Kalinga has si for ACC-LOC common marker which could come from a NOM common marker si. Additionally, Inibaloi and Pangasinan has say as NEUT/TOP marker, which as Reid himself said could be from sa + NOM i, boosting a possible s– initial for NOM case.
  3. In Reid, Binukid Manobo has common noun starting with s-, with only Bangon and Ilianen Manobo with k– initial forms in the NOM case.
  4. That a s– initial NOM common marker can migrate to an ACC is shown by Ivatan ACC su marker.



In Ross (2006), there is no Philippine language in the samples provided but his table indicated a reconstruction by Reid (1978) where the common noun NOM starts with either k– or ɥ– . I will now disregard that and suppose that s– in the initial formative for NOM case..

Filipino Conlang Nominal Markers

The nominal markers of the Filipino conlang will then be:

ɥ- s- n- k- d-

In the second installment of my post, I will outline the other semantic features to be incorporated in the Filipino conlang.

Samarnon Phrase Markers, Part 2

This is a continuation of Part 1.

The Nominative Phrase Markers: IT vs. AN

In part 1 we learned from Chris Sundita that the difference between it and an is that the former is a definite non-past marker, the later is a definite past marker. And he further clarified (in the other  thread we mentioned) from whom he got this information although he does not agree in full:

Dr. Zorc, in his dissertation from the 70’s, puts the three into indefinite (in) & definite (an & it) categories. I agree with that so far. But he further puts the definite ones into temporal categories; an for past and it for non-past which doesn’t seem consistent to me. I mean an in non-past circumstances and it in past situations….it appears to refer to something really specific.. While an is somewhere in between. Kind of general, I guess. I think the difference between an and it is something like the difference between Tagalog ang & yung. But, again, not entirely sure….an is also used to express something that is "anaphorically" known without regards to time.

One of the users, sumoroy1998, who is a native speaker wrote that he is not conscious he is making temporal distinction:

Although Chris’ summary more or less gives a rough sketch of the different nuances in the different articles. it is the most precise, an is a definite article but slightly less precise (and occasionally used in temporal classifications) while in is the indefinite article (the English equivalents of in are "a, an") So "Ano it iya kinaka-on" and "Ano an iya kinaka-on" are similar in meaning but there is only a slight nuance that makes them distinct. The closest equivalent I can think of is the difference between "that thing" and "the thing."

One more thing though about something that Chris brought up, namely the so-called temporal classifications. As a native speaker I’m not consciously aware of making a distinction between non-past and past when using it in the place of an. But I can think of the following examples where I can guess Dr. Zorc came up with these classifications:  Didto an tawo (The man WAS over there) vs.  Didto it tawo (The man IS over there)

And he speculates about its origin:

While on this subject, I came across an excerpt of Norberto Romualdez Sr.’s 1908 "Bisayan Grammar" (a grammar of Waray-Waray to be exact) which by a happy coincidence deals a little bit on this subject. Interestingly Romualdez only lists 2 articles: in as the indefinite article and an for the definite article. No mention of it was given, but I’m guessing he considered it an abbreviation of iton–Tagalog yun or English THAT instead of a separate definite article. Another possibility is that an was the original definite article and it was a latter development. Personally though I’m inclined to agree with the latter linguists like Zorc who classify it as a definite article, since it‘s usage is better described as a definite article rather than an abbreviated pronoun. (It’s true though that iton can be abbreviated as it).

I think that native speaker’s intuition about its usage is very revealing that he is not making any temporal distinctions! Just from this, I would provisionally conclude that Zorc and Sundita erred. it is similar to Tagalog yung, English THAT and Bikol si/su. Also, it does not show up in the Samarnon online bible.

Edit: While reading’s frequency list for iton (rank 51), ito (rank 56) and it (rank 17), I realized how this tense distinction can arise. These words are demonstratives (“this or that”) such that its referent can only be referred to if physically present and as such will give off a present tense reading; an on the other hand is tense neutral, and if contrasted with it, will get a past tense reading since that semantic space is unoccupied by it.

HIN & HAN :Genitive, Oblique or Objective Phrase Markers?

While reading Sentence Patterns of the Ten Major Philippine Languages by Ernesto Constantino, I noticed some unusual usage of the two Samarnon phrase markers hin/sin and han/san: they seem to translate to Tagalog, Hiligaynon, Romblomanon and Bikol sa in some of their usage. Sugbuhanon can’t be included there since it has merged these two (sa and sang) into one sa so would be difficult to get examples unless we are looking for the indefinite og.

Here’s my attempt to classify the usage of han/san, hin/sin and ha/sa in Samarnon. I changed the original orthography from that used by Constantino for 2 phonemes: N to ŋ and q to ɥ. The thematic relation column refers to that of the nominal phrase marked with han/san, hin/sin or ha/sa in the sentence or sentence fragment shown. Check the Wikipedia the definition for thematic relations if you’re not familiar with them. A quick note on the difference between Patient and Theme is that the Patient does not remain intact while the Theme does and instead is changing in state, position or condition. For Verbal Focus, check the Seasite for definitions and examples in the related Tagalog language. The verbal focus location includes direction and time as well.

A. Uses of han/san that agrees with Tagalog, Bikol

Sentence Fragment Thematic
Verb Affix Used Verbal Focus
9 nagswirti han ɥalkaldi Agent mag> AF (Actor)
21 ginkaɥun han bataɥ Agent <on NAF (Object)
22 pinalit han ɥuilitawu Agent <on NAF (Object)
23 hinatag han ɥasindiru Agent <on NAF (Object)
24 ɥinutud han tawu Agent <on NAF (Object)
26 hinatagan han ɥasindiru Agent <an NAF (Location)
25 pinalit han ɥulitawu Agent i> NAF (Conveyance)
27 ginhatag han ɥasindiru Agent i> NAF (Conveyance)
28 ginpaŋutud han tawu Agent ipang> NAF (Conveyance)
34 ginpakaɥun han daraga Agent ipa> NAF (Conveyance)
30 ginkaswirti han kunsihal Agent ka><on NAF (Object)
32 ginpakaɥun han daraga Agent pa><on NAF (Object)
33 ginpahusay han prinsisa Agent pa><on NAF (Object)
29 kinamatyan han hadiɥ Experiencer ka><an NAF (Location)
93 kahusay han daraga Possessor ka> Exclamative

Notes on the above table:

  1. Use of han in Sentence #9 seems to be wrong here and should be ɥan instead, and possibly explains why this sentence is the only Actor focus (AF) example there.
  2. Sentence #93 is not a verbal clause, so would not have a Verbal Focus.
  3. Sentences #25, 27, 28 and 34 all indicate that the prefix i> can be dropped by Samarnon (and Hiligaynon, Sugbuhanon, Tausug and Ilokano) in some of the conjugations, since both Tagalog and Bikol have i>. This needs to be checked further as it does not conform to the book Encyclopedia of the World’s Major Languages: Past and Present or the Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World where i> conjugations does not show any i> being dropped, unless those charts were based only on those verbs that have retained i> in Samarnon.
  4. Compared with both Tagalog and Bikol (ika>, Conveyance Focus), Samarnon in sentence #29 uses a different affix (ka><an, Location Focus) just like Sugbuhanon and Hiligaynon. This sentence has reason as the topic of a verb. This was also done on Sentence #25 by Sugbuhanon, Hiligaynon, Tausug and Ilokano when the topic is the beneficiary.
  5. In summary, han/san is used for either Agent or Experiencer (depending on the root word and affix) of a verb in Non-Actor Focus (NAF) affix, or additionally with a Possessor if its a possession clause.
  6. Can hin/sin be used for Agent or Experiencer of a verb in Non-Actor Focus (NAF) affix, or additionally with a Possessor if its a possession clause? In Bikol, these are possible, so I would suppose that these are also possible in Samarnon.

B. Uses of hin/sin that agrees with Tagalog, Bikol

Sentence Fragment Thematic
Verb Affix Used Verbal
2 kinmaɥun hin maŋga Patient <um> AF (Actor) Divalent
5 ɥinmutud hin kahuy Patient <um> AF (Actor) Divalent
103 kaɥun hin damuq Patient <um> AF (Actor) Divalent
17 nagpakaɥun hin karni Patient magpa> AF (Actor) Trivalent
18 nagpagabut hin ŋipun Theme magpa> AF (Actor) Trivalent
20 nagpahusayay hin baduɥ Theme magpa><ay AF (Actor) Trivalent
3 pinmalit hin bukad Theme <um> AF (Actor) Quadrivalent
4 hinmatag hin bugas Theme <um> AF (Actor) Trivalent
28 ginpaŋutud hin kahuy Patient ipang> NAF (Conveyance) Trivalent
32 ginpakaɥun hin karni Patient pa><on NAF (Object) Trivalent
24 ɥinutud hin sundaŋ Instrument <on NAF (Object) Trivalent
25 pinalit hin bukad Theme <on NAF (Object) Quadrivalent
26 hinatagan hin bugas Theme <an NAF (Location) Trivalent
109 yayabuhan hin tubig Theme <an NAF (Location) Trivalent

Notes on the above table:

  1. In sentence #103, hin damuq  has a Patient semantic relation even if damuq is an adjective since the object has been dropped while its adjective modifier was retained.
  2. Some of the other verbs (#17,#18,#20,#28,#32) become trivalent with the addition of pa>, pang>, pag>. “Buy” is semantically already quadrivalent or tetravalent. The roots give, cut and pour are semantically trivalent.
  3. To sum up, if the verb is in Actor Focus, the nominal phrase semantic relation is Patient or Theme depending on verb semantics. If the verb is in Non-Actor Focus, the nominal phrase is a Patient, Theme or Instrument depending on the verb and nominal phrase semantics.
  4. Is it possible,
    1. if the verb is in Actor Focus (AF), for the nominal phrase as
      1. Agent or Experiencer to be marked with hin? I don’t think this is possible, see my comment on #9 above using han. If actor-focused, actor topics are by definition marked with ɥan or ɥin. Possessor can use hin or han.
      2. Patient or a Theme to be marked with han? This can also be tested in Bikol since the language makes a definite-indefinite distinction, unlike Tagalog, and I can think of sentences that do use a definite marker for a patient/theme of a verb in Actor focus. The answer is yes but the patient or theme has to have a modifier that restricts its scope.
    2. if the verb is in Non-Actor Focus (NAF), for the nominal phrase as
      1. Patient, Theme or Instrument to be marked with han? This can also be tested in Bikol since the language makes a definite-indefinite distinction, unlike Tagalog, and I can think of sentences that do use a definite marker for a patient/theme of a verb in Actor focus. The answer is yes but the patient or theme has to have a modifier that restricts its scope.

C. Uses of ha/sa that agrees with Tagalog, Bikol

Sentence Fragment Thematic
Verb Affix Used Verbal Focus Verb Valency
48,65,73 ɥadtu ha bukid Location n.a. Existential n.a.
49 waray ha bukid Location n.a. Existential n.a.
87 may tawu sa balay Location n.a. Existential n.a.
88 waray tawu ha balay Location n.a. Existential n.a.
4 hinmatag ha makililimus Direction (Recipient) <um> AF (Actor) Trivalent
17 nagpakaɥun ha ɥiduɥ Direction (Recipient) magpa> AF (Actor) Trivalent
8 nakigswirti ha ɥalkaldi Direction (Comitative) makipag> AF (Actor) Divalent
23 hinatag ha makililimus Direction (Recipient) i> NAF (Conveyance) Trivalent
27 ginhatag ha makililimus Direction (Recipient) i> NAF (Conveyance) Trivalent
34 ginpakaɥun ha ɥiduɥ Direction (Recipient) ipa> NAF (Conveyance) Trivalent

Notes on the above table:

  1. The first 4 sentence fragments are non-verbal clauses, so verbal affix and valency will not be applicable, and the nominal phrase has a Location semantic role.
  2. In verbal clauses, it can also be Location role if the nominal phrase refers to a place, otherwise its role becomes Direction.
  3. It should be noted that Recipients are special kinds of Direction role or the goal or endpoint of the direction of ownership or possession change.
  4. In summary, the nominal phrase is either a Location or Direction/Goal of the verb.
  5. Changing the phrase marker from ha/sa marked Recipients to either han/san or hin/sin makes the nominal phrase the Theme (#4) or Patient/Affectee (#17,#8) in AF verbs, or the Agent (#23,#27,#34) in NAF verbs.

D. Uses of han/san and hin/sin that is different from Tagalog, Bikol

Sentence Thematic
Verb Affix Used Verbal Focus Verb Valency
3 pinmalit hin bukad ɥan ulitawu para han daraga Affectee <um> AF (Actor) Quadrivalent
22 pinalit han ɥuilitawu ɥan bukad para han daraga. Affectee <on NAF (Object) Quadrivalent
45 para han daraga ɥan bukad. Affectee n.a. Equational n.a.
72 bukad ɥan para han daraga Affectee n.a. Equational n.a.
46 tuŋud han prisidinti ɥan nutisya. Subject Matter n.a. Equational n.a.
7 namatay ɥan hadiq hin tibi. Manner/Cause/Reason/
ma> AF (Undergoer) Monovalent

Notes on the above table:

  1. Affectee is a cover term for beneficiary and maleficiary.
  2. There are two types here:
    1. Sentences #3,#22,#45,#72,#46 involve prepositions “para” and “tungud”, and in Samarnon “han” is used while “sa” is used in Tagalog and Bikol.
    2. #7 is not a preposition.
  3. The Thematic role of Condition, if the subject of the sentence, is marked on the verb with ka><an, implying something that is with the Experiencer.

Apart form hin/sin and han/san, Constantino has Samarnon examples that uses “nin”, which is a Bikol and Romblomanon marker. In Sentence #9, han might be a misprint and could be ɥan. These facts makes me think that his sample sentences has not been thoroughly checked.

  Samarnon Bikol
16 Nagpatuɥuk hiya nin bataw. Nagpahibiɥ sya nin ɥakiɥ.
59 Hiya ɥan nagpatuɥuk nin bataɥ. Sya ɥan nagpahibiɥ nin ɥakiɥ.
9 Nagswirti ɥan kunsihal ŋan han ɥalkaldi. Nagɥulay ɥan kunsihal saka ɥan ɥalkaldi.

The second to last table summarizes the instances of han/san and hin/sin that I think are a bit different from Tagalog and Bikol, but the sample sentences are too few to make any robust conclusion. So lets check out some online Bible examples.

Some more Online Examples

As I’ve done in the past, I’ve used the online version of the Bible in these languages to look out for more instances of han/san and hin/sin in Samarnon with different usage. As these are different translations, some of the sentences don’t match up, yet it is really important that the verb has the same focus or even affix to be comparable, so I have re-casted some of the sentences to a parallel structure although its not done yet for Hiligaynon. Some grouped examples taken from the first four chapters of Matthew are in the following tables.

A) The nominal phrases marked with han/hin in Samarnon refer to a Purpose, Cause or Reason. Its not possible to replace the marker sa in Tagalog and Bikol with ng or nin/kan respectively.

Matthew Samarnon Hiligaynon Bikol Tagalog
2:2 kinmanhi kami hin pagsingba ha iya nagkari kami sa pagsimba sa iya nagdigdi kami nganing sambahon siya.
nagdigdi kami sa pagsimba saiya
naparito kami upang siya’y sambahin.
naparito kami sa pagsamba sa kanya
2:18 Nagtangis hi Raquel tungod han iya mga anak Si Raquel nagahibi tungod sa iya mga kabataan Pinagtangisan ni Rachel an mga aki niya
Nagtangis si Rachel manungod sa mga aki niya.
Tinatangisan ni Raquel ang kaniyang mga anak
Tumangis si Raquel tungkol sa kanyang mga anak.
4:4 Nabubuhi an tawo diri la hin tinapay, kundi han tagsa nga pulong nga ginyayakan han Dyos. Indi lamang sa tinapay mabuhi ang tawo, kundi sa tagsa ka pulong nga ginahambal sang Dios. Bakong sa tinapay sana nabubuhay an tawo, kundi sa lambang tataramon na minagikan sa ngoso nin Dios Hindi sa tinapay lamang mabubuhay ang tao, kundi sa bawa’t salitang lumalabas sa bibig ng Dios.

B) The nominal phrases marked with han/hin in Samarnon refer to a Manner. This is normally in preposition form. Tagalog and Bikol have similar structure in the last 2 examples ( sa + preposition + definite genitive case marker ) and it can’t be said to be a straightforward counterpart of Samarnon.

Matthew Samarnon Hiligaynon Bikol Tagalog
1:19 nakahunahuna hiya hin pagbaya kan Maria hin hilom la ginpakamaayo niya ang pagbiya sa iya sa tago lang nag-isip siyang suhayan ini sa hilom
nag-isip siya nin pagbaya ki Maria sa hilom sana.
nagpasiyang hiwalayan siya ng lihim
nagpasiya siyang paghiwalay kay Maria ng lihim lang.
3:16 hinkit-an ni Jesus an Espiritu han Dyos nga nakunsad sugad hin sarapati nakita niya ang Espiritu sang Dios nga nagkunsad subong sang isa ka pating nahiling niya an Espiritu nin Dios na naghilig arog sa salampati nakita niya ang Espiritu ng Dios na bumababang tulad sa isang kalapati
2:12 Ginpahimangno hira han Dyos pinaagi hin inop Ginpaandaman sila sang Dios sa damgo Pinatanidan sinda nin Dios sa pangatorogan pinagsabihan sila ng Dios sa panaginip
1:22 matuman an iginyakan han Ginoo pinaagi han manaragna mapamatud-an ang ginhambal sang Ginoo paagi sa propeta maotob an sinabi nin Kagurangnan sa paagi kan propeta maganap ang sinalita ng Panginoon sa pamamagitan ng propeta
2:15 Nahinabo ini basi matuman an iginsiring han Ginoo pinaagi han manaragna Ini nahanabo agod matuman ang ginsiling sang Ginoo paagi sa propeta Nangyari ini tanganing maotob an itinaram nin Kagurangnan sa paagi kan propeta upang maganap ang sinabi ng Panginoon sa pamamagitan ng propeta

C) The nominal phrases marked with han/hin in Samarnon refer to a Beneficiary treated as Direction/Goal. This is normally in preposition form using “para”. Its not possible to replace sa in Tagalog and Bikol with ng or nin/kan respectively.

Matthew Samarnon Hiligaynon Bikol Tagalog
3:3 Andama niyo an dalan para han Ginoo Amana ninyo ang alagyan para sa Ginoo Andama an dalan para sa Kagurangnan Ihanda ninyo ang daan ng Panginoon
Ihanda ninyo ang daan para sa Panginoon

D) The nominal phrases marked with han/hin in Samarnon refer to a Patient/Theme/Recipient treated as a Direction/Goal. In the 2nd example, sa can be replaced with ng (Tagalog) or nin/kan (Bikol) if there is no nominal phrase with such a marker already.

Matthew Samarnon Hiligaynon Bikol Tagalog
1:25 Jesus an iginngaran ni Jose han bata ginhingalanan ni Jose ang bata nga Jesus
sarong aking lalaki na nginaranan niyang Jesus
Jesus an inginaran ni Jose sa aki.
tinawag niya ang kaniyang pangalang JESUS.
Jesus ang inginalan niya sa bata.
2:20 patay na an mga nagdudumot han bata patay na ang mga nagahingabot sa kabuhi sang bata
gadan na an mga naghomang gumadan sa aki nangamatay na ang nangagmimithi sa buhay ng sanggol.
patay na ang nangagmimithing pumatay sa sanggol.

E) The nominal phrases marked with han/hin in Samarnon refer to a Instrument. sa can be replaced with ng (Tagalog) or nin/kan (Bikol) if there is no nominal phrase with such a marker already.

Matthew Samarnon Hiligaynon Bikol Tagalog
3:11 magbubunyag ha iyo han Espiritu Santo magabautiso sa inyo sa Espiritu Santo mabunyag saindo sa Espiritu Santo sa inyo’y magbabautismo sa Espiritu Santo

F) The nominal phrases marked with han/hin in Samarnon refer to a Point of Reference/Origin/Source. Its not possible to replace sa in Tagalog and Bikol with ng or nin/kan respectively.

Matthew Samarnon Hiligaynon Bikol Tagalog
1:21 magtatalwas hiya han iya katawhan tikang han ira mga sala. magaluwas sia sang iya mga tawo sa ila mga sala. ililigtas niya an saiyang banwaan sa saindang mga kasalan.
nagliligtas siya kan saiyang banwaan sa saindang mga kasalan.
ililigtas niya ang kaniyang bayan sa kanilang mga kasalanan
nagliligtas siya ng kaniyang bayan sa kanilang mga kasalanan
3:7 makakalikay kamo han tiarabot nga kasina han Dyos makapalagyo kamo sa kaakig sang Dios nga madali na lang mag-abot makakadulag kamo sa maabot na padusa nin Dios upang magsitakas sa galit na darating
makatakas kayo sa darating na galit ng Dios.
3:10 Andam na an parakol hin pagpulod han kahoy ha iya mga gamot Ang wasay handa na sa pag-utod sang kahoy sa iya gid puno andam na an patok sa pagputol kan gamot kan mga kahoy ngayon pa’y nakalagay na ang palakol sa ugat ng mga punong kahoy
Handa na ang palakol sa pagputol ng kahoy sa kanyang mga ugat.
2:16 sumala han iya nahibaroan tikang han mga bisita han takna han pagpakita han bitoon suno sa tion nga iya nahibal-an sa mga dumoloaw sosog sa naaraman niya sa mga mago manongod kan oras nin pagtunga kan bitoon alinsunod sa panahon ng kaniyang maingat na pagkasiyasat sa mga Pantas na lalake.
3:12 Dara niya an iya nigo hin pagpalid basi an uhot mahilain han tipasi Ginauyatan na niya ang iya inugpahangin sa pagpain sang tinggas sa upa May dara siyang saligsigan nganing saligsigon an gabos na inani
Dara niya an saiyang nigo nin pampapalid nganing an uhot mailain sa tipasi.
Nasa kaniyang kamay ang kaniyang kalaykay, at lilinisin niyang lubos ang kaniyang giikan
Dala niya ang kanyang “??” ng “??” upang ang ay “??” maihiwalay sa ipa.
3:4 Hinimo hin buhok hin kamelyo an kan Juan panapton ng bayu ni Juan nahimo sa bulbol sang kamelyo An gubing ni Juan gibo sa mga buhok nin kamelyo Si Juan nga ay nananamit ng balahibo ng kamelyo
Ang damit ni Juan ay gawa sa balahibo ng kamelyo.

G) The nominal phrases marked with han/hin in Samarnon refer to a Location, and naturally can only be marked with sa in Hiligaynon, Bikol and Tagalog. The only exception is possibly Matthew 2:11 due to the semantics of the verb. Note that the blue phrase markers in Matthew 3:5 are not the correct counterpart since the expression used in Hiligaynon, Bikol and Tagalog are different, so need to be re-stated.

Matthew Samarnon Hiligaynon Bikol Tagalog
2:11 Sinmulod hira han balay Nagsulod sila sa balay Paglaog ninda sa harong
Naglaog sinda sa harong.
nagsipasok sila sa bahay
3:5 tikang han ngatanan nga katunaan nga harani han Salog Jordan halin sa mga duog sa palibot sang suba sang Jordan.
an mga nag-eerok sa mag-ibong kan Salog nin Jordan
hale sa gabos na daga na harani sa salog Jordan.
ng buong lupain sa palibotlibot ng Jordan
mula sa lahat ng lupain na malapit sa ilog Jordan
3:16 Han kabunyagi na kan Jesus, hinmawas hiya han tubig Sang mabautisohan na si Jesus, nagtakas sia Kan mabunyagan na si Jesus, naghawas siya tolos sa tubig At nang mabautismuhan si Jesus, pagdaka’y umahon sa tubig
4:1 gindara hi Jesus han Espiritu ngadto han kamingawan si Jesus gindala sang Espiritu sa desierto dinara si Jesus kan Espiritu Santo duman sa kalangtadan inihatid ng Espiritu Santo si Jesus sa ilang
4:5 Niyan gindara hiya han Yawa ngadto han Baraan nga Syudad, ngan ibinutang hiya didto han gihahataasi nga atop han Templo Dason gindala sang Yawa si Jesus sa Balaan nga Siyudad kag ginpatindog sa pinakamataas nga bahin sang templo Dangan dinara si Jesus kan Demonyo sa Jerusalem an Banal na Syudad asin pinatindog sa atop kan Templo Nang magkagayo’y dinala siya ng diablo sa bayang banal; at inilagay siya sa taluktok ng templo
4:8 gindara hiya han Yawa ngadto hin gihahataasi nga bukid gindala pa gid sang Yawa si Jesus sa isa ka mataas nga bukid dinara si Jesus kan Demonyo sa sarong halangkawon na bukid dinala siya ng diablo sa isang bundok na lubhang mataas
4:18 nagtutunod han ira pukot didto han lanaw nagaladlad sang ila sahid sa pagpangisda Nag-iitsa sinda kan hikot sa tubig inihuhulog ang isang lambat sa dagat
Naghuhulog  ng kanilang lambat sa dagat.
4:23 nagtutdo hiya didto han ira mga sinagoga nagpanudlo sa mga sinagoga Nagtukdo siya sa mga sinagoga nagtuturo sa mga sinagoga nila



I was able to show example sentences where Samarnon uses han/hin for thematic relations beyond the usual genitive case usage in Tagalog, Bikol and Hiligaynon, including Location and Direction/Goal (Patient/Theme/Recipient/Beneficiary), which is a significant find.

Since I don’t really speak Samarnon and I don’t have Samarnon native speaker to consult, it is difficult to make a definitive conclusion on the range of case that Samarnon hin/sin and han/san mark. We have to replace the hin/sin and han/san of the sample Samarnon sentences with ha/sa to be able to do that. But data do suggest that it marks genitive case (like in Tagalog, Bikol and Hiligaynon) plus also oblique case normally reserve for ha/sa.

Does this mean that in Samarnon, (1) the genitive case can be used in lieu of the oblique case but not vice versa, or (2) the genitive case has a wider scope in Samarnon with the oblique case having a narrower scope? If the second case is correct, how is the usage of oblique case marker ha/sa different from the genitive case markers since they seem to have overlap in being used for Location and Direction/Goal, among other cases?

Lastly, could this Samarnon data (interchangeability between the oblique phrase marker sa and san) point to them having a common origin, in that the the oblique marker sa is derived from the genitive marker san, in the same way that Sugbuhanon genitive case marker sa is derived from san? Samarnon is know for dropping word endings, like:

nakon nak
akon ak
aton at
kita kit
kamo kam
imo im
ako ak

Although the above words are different in that they went from two syllable word to one syllable, there might be a single syllable Samarnon word that also underwent the same change if, arguably, la “just, only, alone, no more” is shortened from Tagalog, Bikol, Hiligaynon and Sugbuhanon lang, where last nasal was dropped, possibly like han/san > ha/sa.

Until we meet a Samarnon native speaker, our original question (Hin & Han: Genitive, Oblique or Objective Phrase Markers?) remains unanswered.

Samarnon Phrase Markers, Part 1

I first noticed Samarnon phrase markers in Chris Sundita’s blogpost “Waray Waray articles” describing Samarnon’s supposed 3 nominative phrase markers.  I have listed them below (with coloured background) with the addition of personal  markers and oblique case. Chris said the genitive is formed by prepending s or h to the nominative forms.

  Nominative Genitive Oblique
Definite Past an san or han sa or ha
Indefinite in sin or hin sa or ha
Definite Non-Past it sit or hit sa or ha
Personal si or hi ni kang

Most Philippine languages distinguish phrase markers only on (1) grammatical case and (2) Personal (Personal proper nouns) vs. Non-Personal (Common nouns plus Nonpersonal Proper nouns). Tagalog would be the most familiar example with its phrase markers found here. The fact that Samarnon has two other phrase markers in both the nominative and genitive makes it really interesting to study.

In this first part, I will only explore the nominative markers in and an. I kind of does not agree with Chris saying that an is definite past and it definite non past but that would be a topic of another blogpost.

The Nominative Phrase Markers: IN vs. AN

Continuing from Chris Sundita’s blogpost, he said that Samarnon uses in regardless of tense whether past, present or future. Furthermore, this thread says Samarnon’s in is indefinite and it’s less frequently used nowadays but the following sentence is still frequently heard according to a native speaker:

Adi in bata.
Here PM-Indef. child.
English     A child is here.

That thread also mentions reasons for its lower frequency, such as that it’s possible that alternate constructions are being used now in lieu of the indefinite phrase marker, or that definite pronouns are more frequent as subjects. My guess is that apart from those reasons, Samarnon is surrounded and being influenced by languages that have no such distinctions or has dropped them; as a result, the Jehovah’s Witness Bible does not have it, probably a reflection of what is spoken in the more urban areas. Yet, it is still one of the more conservative languages. I quote Jason Lobel :

Old Bikol had both *in ‘ NOM. NONREF’ and *nin‘ GEN.NONREF’, while *in also has cognates in Waray-Waray and other Warayan languages, in Tausug, and in the Kamayo dialect of Barobo town.

From that quote, we can say that Bikol used to have the distinction in vs. an. I’m not too familiar with other Warayan languages (Baybayanon, Kinabalian, Gubatnon) or the Mansakan languages south of Samarnon (Kamayo, Mansaka or Mandaya) or other Southern Bisayan languages (Surigaonon, Tausug or Butuanon) if they still distinguish an vs. in. From the materials that I have read in Tausug, it has in but has no an, so makes no distinction like Samarnon. This is the same situation in Kapampangan which has ing only and no ang.

That Waray thread pointed a few Samarnon resources online, like the quite in-depth Samarnon grammar by Lloyd Cromer in this page but there is no mention in Cromer of in or even used it in the sample sentences. This other page has no instance of use or discussion of in apart from Sundita’s and Cromer’s.  I am still in the process of locating these other works on Samarnon mentioned in the thread:

  1. Textbook used by Christian missionaries at Divine Word University(?)
  2. “Waray-English Dictionary” by George Dewey Tramp Jr. (1995)
  3. 70’s dissertation by Zorc. (Zorc, David Paul. The Bisayan Dialects of the Philippines: Subgrouping and Reconstruction. Canberra, Australia: Dept. of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, 1977. maybe?)
  4. "Beginning Waray-Waray" by John and Ida Wolff (1967)

Another resource which I found online is Norberto Romualdez Sr.’s 1908 "Bisayan Grammar" which discussed Samarnon’s phrase markers on page 7 to 9. Although Romualdez called it Bisayan, he was referring to the Samarnon language as the introduction said he is “one of the highest authorities on the Samareño dialect”. According to Romualdez,

“these articles do not change in gender.  Articles have two cases: nominative and objective. The objective case covers all the different cases used in other languages after the nominative, that is to say, the genitive, dative, accusative and ablative cases.”

The phrase markers he discussed were:

  Nominative Objective
  Singular Plural Singular       Plural
Definite an an mga san (or han) san (or han) mga
Indefinite in in mga sin (or hin) sin (or hin) mga

With regards to the use of the definite and indefinite phrase markers, he said:

The definite article [an “the”], as well as the indefinite [in “a”], is used in Bisayan in the same manner as its equivalent in English. The definite article, however, is sometimes used before proper nouns, and it is very often used before the demonstrative and possessive pronouns.

#1 Nacanhi an bata. The boy/girl has come.
#2 Nacanhi in bata A boy/girl has come.
#3 An Dyos macagagahom. God is omnipotent.
#4 An ini nga bucad This flower.
#5 An akon calo. My hat

The indefinite article, when needed at the beginning of the sentence, is replaced by the phrase “usa nga" So, if we wish to say "a boy came yesterday," we should not say “in bata nacanhi cacolop” but ”usa nga bata nacanhi cacolop”.

This phrase usa nga is not a perfect article, but it has the character of an adjective, even when used as an article. Therefore, both the indefinite in and the phrase usa nga may be used in the same sentence. So, we can say, changing the regular order of the last sentence:

#6 Nacanhi cacolop in usa nga bata. A boy came yesterday.

My understanding of in is that it is dropped if fronted in the sentence or sentence initial, rather than being replaced with “usa nga”. He said the definite article is very often used before possessive pronouns, but on page 101 he said the indefinite marker is also used before possessive pronouns:

The definite article is sometimes used before proper nouns, and frequently before the demonstrative and possessive pronouns. The indefinite article is sometimes employed before the possessive pronouns.

#7 Macanhi in acon sangcay A friend of mine will come.

He has provided other sample sentences elsewhere:

  Page No. Samarnon English
#8 8 An nagtotoon, nahababaro. He, who studies, learns.
#9 8 An mga nagtututdo ha aton They who teach us.
#10 9 An can Juan guinsurat What John wrote
#11 32 ¿Guinsorat mo na an balos? Have you already written the answer?
#12 32 ¿Hain an basahon? Where is the book?
#13 34 An guiaamayi mo gid an natauag ha imo It is your very father who calls you.
#14 38 An ica upat ca bahin The fourth part.
#15 52 An bala’y nga guintitindog ni Pedro, daco. The house that Peter builds is big
#16 52 An basahon nga ihinatag mo ha acon cacolop. "The book which you gave me yesterday’?
#17 53 ¡Cadamo hin im nganga! How many things you ask or talk!
#18 53 An guinquiquinahanglan mo an pag-ilob, diri hibaro. What you – need is patience, not science.
#19 54 Bisan ano in buhaton mo, hisasabotan co. Whatever you do I’ll know it.
#20 54 ¿An ano nga cabayo in buot mo? Which horse do you like?
#21 55 Bisan hin’o in ada, pacanhia. Whoever is there, let him come.
#22 55 ¿Hain hini nga mga calo in imo? Which of these hats is yours?
#23 58 Surata an acon ngaran Write my name.
#24 88 Hi Pedro amo an tag-iya hini nga balay Peter is tin- owner of this house.
#25 91 Diri hiya nacacagsurat, cay damo in buhat He cannot write, because he is busy.
#26 91 Naicahorolog an bunga The fruit is about to fall.
#27 100 An guinquiquinahanglan ta amo an pag-orosa What we need is union.
#28 102 An bata nga tinmauag ha acon The boy who called me.
#29 102 An cabataan nga tinmauag ha acon The boys who called me.
#30 102 An bata nga tinauag co The boy called by me.
#31 103 An pag-aram hin maopay amo an catungdanan han bata. To learn well is the duty of a boy.

From the examples he provided, we will notice that an is used when the noun referent is

  1. Restricted to a subset of referents using
    • a demonstrative (#4,)
    • a possessive pronoun (#5,#9,#13a,#18a,#23,#27a),
    • a possessive expression (#10)
    • an ordinal number (#14)
    • an expression that singles out the referent (#15,#16,#24,#28,#29,#30) or
    • an expression that limits its application (#13b,#31a, #31b)
  2. Already known to the the discourse participants
    • as common knowledge (#1,#3,#26).
    • is implied by the question as specific instance of a referent (#11,#12)

The use of an in #8, #18b (pag-ilob) and #27b (pag-orosa) with generic or universal referent is a bit odd, but could be another instance of use when referent is common knowledge as indicated by personal pronouns (#18b, #27b).  As a matter of fact in the Samarnon Bible if these are not subjects, these normally get marked with sin/hin to indicate indefinite meaning, and san/han if with restricting expressions: Mark 9:19 has a possessive pronoun (pag-ilob ko) so the definite an is expected, while Eph 1:10 and Rom 5:3,4 have demonstratives. The exception is 2 Thes 3:5 which uses hin even if with restrictive clause.

  Samarnon Bikol
Eph 1:10 Ini nga kaburut-on amo an pag-urosa han ngatanan nga mga binuhat ha langit ngan ha tuna Ining kabotan iyo an pagsararo sa gabos na manga linalang sa langit asin sa daga.
Rom 5:3,4 kay maaram kita nga dida han pag-antos aada an pag-ilob, dida han pag-ilob aada an pagpahimuot han Dyos huli ta aram ta na diyan sa pag-antos yaon an pagkamatinios, diyan sa pagkamatinios yaon an pagpaogma(?) sa Dios,
2 Thes 3:5 bantaron han Ginoo an iyo mga kasingkasing hin pag-ilob nga ginhatag ni Cristo. Dagdagan(?) nin Kagurangnan an saindong mga puso nin pagtios na ilinatag ni Cristo.
Mark 9:19 Tubtob san-o an pag-ilob ko ha iyo? Sagkod nuarin an pagtios ko saindo?
1 Cor 12:12 mga butang nga ginbuhat dida hin pag-ilob ha butnga niyo mga bagay na ginibo diyan nin pagkamatinios sa tanga nindo
2 Thes 1:4 Ipinaparayaw namon an iyo pagpadayon hin pag-ilob ngan pagtoo Ipinag-oorgulyo niamo an saindong pagpadagos nin pagtios asin pagtubod
2 Tim 2:12 Kon magpadayon kita hin pag-ilob kun magpadagos kita nin pagtios
James 1:3 pagpakita ito nga nahibaro kamo hin pag-ilob. pagpahiling ini na nakanood kamo nin pagtios.
Rev 3:10 Tungod kay gintipigan mo an akon sugo hin pag-ilob Huli ta sinunod mo an sakong sugo nin pagtios.

Its use in #20 is even more unusual since the word “ano” (what) does not make “cabayo” (horse) less generic or set it apart from the more common knowledge, and this sentence I suppose may be expressed instead without an: “¿Ano nga cabayo in buot mo?” or possibly “¿In ano nga cabayo in buot mo?” as this looks like an equational sentence. Nevertheless, I have found in this page a similar Samarnon expression “An pakahibaro han kamatuoran mahitungod han kamatayon nabulig ha aton nga masabtan an ano nga iba pa nga katutdoan han Biblia?” and here “Sa ualay an ano (anano?) nga pamnalibad, pumasugut ang mga malolo’ nga mga guinicanan ni Lucia sa iya matahum nga caisipan, cag sang malapit na ang adlao sang pagpacasal sa ila,”  and here  “Kada grupo maghihimo hin rhythm o ritmo o bisan ano nga sayaw gamit an ano nga instrument sakub hin 3 ka minuto.” Also “an ano nga” has a puzzling meaning to me of “whatever” or “whichever”!

In is used when :

  1. The referent is generic or has not been focused on distinct from rest of other similar referents
    • an unmodified referent (#2)
    • a single interchangeable instance of a referent (#6)
    • even if with possessive pronoun if its indistinguishable from similar referents that the expression does not apply. (#7,#20)
  2. The referent is a complement of an indefinite or indeterminate expression
    • Bisan ano (#19)
    • Bisan hin’o (#21)
    • Hain hini (#22)
    • a referent with a complement with “mass-like” or collective characteristics, like many, a lot, etc. (#17,#25)

Samarnon Bibles

Other possible resources online where we can see actual usage are the Samarnon bibles online. There are two Samarnon bibles online that we can look at: the Jehovah’s Witnesses version (can be downloaded here) seems to lack the in phrase marker, while the other, Samareno Popular Version, (can be accessed here) is chock-full of them.

We’ll take the book of Matthews and check a few usage of in in there.

1) Referring to an unmodified referents, even if with action, location or source expressions, that is non-specific in context.

Verse Clause or Phrase
Mat 2:18 “Binati in tingog ha Rama, tingog hin mapait nga pagnguyngoy ngan pagtangis.”
Mat 3:17 “Ngan nagsiring in tingog tikang ha langit”
Mat 4:11 “ngan nagkaabot in mga anghel ug nagtimangno kan Jesus.”
Mat 5:8 “Palaran adton maglinis in kasingkasing, kay makakakita hira han Dyos!”
Mat 5:32 “kon in lalake makigbulag han iya asawa hin bisan ano nga pasangil”
Mat 5:41 Kon in sondalo magpirit ha imo hin pagdara han iya kasangkapan sulod hin usa ka kilometro
Mat 7:4 kon aada pa in nabalabag ha iyo kalugaringon nga mata?
Mat 7:16 Binuburo ba in ubas tikang hin kasapinitan, o in igos tikang hin niyutiyo?
Mat 9:5 Hain in masarusayon
Mat 11:9 Tinuod, nasiring ako ha iyo, hinkit-an niyo in labaw pa hin manaragna.
Mat 12:41 Nasiring ako ha iyo, hahani yana in labaw pa kan Jonas!
Mat 12:42 nasiring ako ha iyo, hahani yana in labaw pa kan Solomon!
Mat 17:5 linambongan hira hin masilaw nga dampog, ngan nagsiring in tingog tikang han dampog.
Mat 13:4 inmabot in mga tamsi ngan pinanuktok an mga binhe.
Mat 13:57 Gintatahod in manaragna bisan diin gawas han iya kalugaringon nga bungto
Mat 14:26 “Iini in murto,” nagsiring hira, ngan ginmoliat hira tungod hinkahadlok.
Mat 15:5 Kundi nagtututdo kamo nga kon in tawo may-ada niya sadang magamit hin pagbulig han amay o iroy niya.
Mat 15:14 kon magtutugway in buta hin igkasi buta, mahuhulog hira nga duha ngadto hin kali.
Mat 17:14 dinmaop kan Jesus in tawo, linmuhod ha iya atubangan.
Mat 19:3 Kinmadto ha iya in mga Parisiyo ngan nagsari hin pagbitik ha iya pinaagi hinpagpakiana, “Natugot ba an aton Balaod nga in lalake makigbulag han iya asawa, hinbisan ano la nga pasangil?”
Mat 19:17 “Kay ano nga napakiana ka man ha akon kon ano in maupay?
Mat 19:21 maaangkon mo in mga manggad ha langit
Mat 19:23 Nasiring ako ha iyo, magkukuri in riko hin pagsulod han Ginhadian han Langit.
Mat 23:16 Kon magsumpa in tawo pinaagi han Templo,
Mat 23:18 Kon magsumpa in tawo pinaagi han altar diri hiya mapipirit pagtuman han iya saad
Mat 23:19 Hain in labaw ka importante, an halad, o an altar ba nga naguuray han halad?
Mat 23:20 Sanglit kon nagsusumpa in tawo pinaagi han altar
Mat 23:21 kon nagsusumpa in tawo pinaagi han Templo,
Mat 23:22 kon nagsusumpa in tawo pinaagi han langit,
Mat 23:24 Ginsasara niyo an langaw tikang han iyo irimnon kundi gintutulon niyo in kamelyo!
Mat 23:34 ipadadara ko ha iyo in mga manaragna, mga makinaadmananon
Mat 24:40 Hito nga panahon, duha ka tawo in magtratrabaho ha uma:
Mat 24:41 Duha nga babaye in maggigiling hin pagkaon:
Mat 26:21 Susumatan ta kamo, usa ha iyo in maglilingo ha akon.
Mat 26:55 Tulisan ba ako nga kinmanhi man kamo dara in mga espada ngan mga balbag hin pagdakop ha akon?
Mat 26:74 Dida dayon tinmugaok in manok
Mat 27:24 bangin la mahinabo in kasamok, kinmuha hiya hin tubig,

2) Referring to a single referent but non-specific (in usa nga/ka/ha/han + referent).

Verse Clause or Phrase
Mat 1:20 “samtang ginhunahuna niya ini, pinmakita ha iya in usa nga anghel han Ginoo pinaagi hin inop
Mat 1:23 “Magbuburod in usa nga uray nga daraga ngan mag-aanak hin lalake, ngan tatawgon hiya nga Emmanuel”
Mat 2:6 “kay magawas tikang ha imo in usa nga pangulo nga magpapakaupay han akon katawhan nga Israel.’”
Mat 2:13 “pinmakita kan Jose ha inop in usa nga anghel han Ginoo ngan nagsiring”
Mat 2:19 “pinmakita kan Jose pinaagi hin inop didto ha Ehipto in usa nga anghel han Ginoo.”
Mat 8:2 Hinmarani ha iya in usa nga sanlahon,
Mat 8:19 Dinimaop ha iya in usa nga magturutdo han Balaod ngan nagsiring
Mat 9:2 Gindara ngada ha iya hin pira ka tawo in usa nga lulid nga nahigda.
Mat 9:18 hinmarani ha iya in usa nga Judiyo
Mat 12:22 Gindara ngadto kan Jesus in usa ka tawo nga buta ngan ngula
Mat 12:26 Sanglit, kon in usa nga hugpo han ginhadian ni Satanas makikig-away ha lain nga hugpo ni Satanas
Mat 12:47 Niyan nagsiring kan Jesus in usa han mga tawo didto
Mat 18:2 Gintawag ni Jesus in usa nga bata ngan ginpatukdaw niya ha atubangan nira
Mat 18:24 nga dad-on ha iya in usa nga makalilisang kadako han iya utang.
Mat 22:35 Ngan in usa ha ira nga magturutdo han Balaod karuyag magbitik kan Jesus pinaagi hin pakiana.
Mat 26:14 Kinmadto han mga puno han kapadian in usa han dose nga mga tinun-an,
Mat 26:51 Hinmulbot ha iya espada in usa han mga kaupod ni Jesus
Mat 26:69 Hinmarani ha iya in usa han mga babaye nga surugoon han Labaw nga Padi ngan sinmiring
Mat 27:48 Dinmalagan dayon in usa ha ira, kinmuha hin espongha
Mat 27:57 Han kulopay na, inmabot in usa nga taga-Arimatea nga ginngaranan kan Jose.
Mat 28:2 kinmunsad tikang ha langit in usa nga anghel han Ginoo, ginkaliding niya an sada nga bato,

3) Referring to two or indeterminate number of referents that are non-specific.

Verse Clause or Phrase
Mat 4:18 “Samtang naglalakat hi Jesus ha baybayon han Lanaw han Galilea, hinkit-an niya in duha nga magbugto nga mangirisda”
Mat 4:21 “Nagtipaunhan hiya ngan hinkit-an niya in duha pa nga magbugto
Mat 18:19 kon in duha ha iyo dinhe ha tuna magka-uyon hinpangaro hin bisan ano nga butang
Mat 21:1 Ginpauna ni Jesus in duha han iya mga tinun-an
Mat 27:38 iginraysang liwat nira ha kros in duha nga mga tulisan upod kan Jesus
Mat 8:1 Linmugsong hi Jesus tikang hin pungtod ngan nagsunod ha iya in damo kaupay nga mga tawo.
Mat 11:2 ginpakadto niya kan Jesus in pira han iya mga tinun-an.
Mat 22:23 Hito manta nga adlaw kinmadto kan Jesus in pira nga mga Sadusiyo.
Mat 28:11 binmalik ha syudad in pira han mga sondalo nga nagbantay han lubnganan

4) Referring to nominals that are not distinguished/set apart from among others, even if with description expressions.

Verse Clause or Phrase
Mat 2:1 “Waray pag-iha, nagkaabot ha Jerusalem, tikang ha sinirangan, in mga tawo nga batid hin kamaaram bahin han kabitun-an
Mat 5:14 “Diri matatago in bungto nga gintindog ha bawbaw hin bukid.”
Mat 8:21 Nagsiring liwat in lain nga tinun-an, “Tugoti gad ako hin pag-oli anay hin paglubong han akon amay.”
Mat 8:24 Han nakaturog hi Jesus, tigda la nga inmabot in makusog nga alipuros ha lanaw
Mat 9:16 kay nakakagisi han daan nga panapton in sugad nga tangkop
Mat 12:7 Diri ko karuyag in mga mananap nga halad, kundi an pagkalooy.
Mat 12:25 Diri mag-iiha in nasod nga nagkakabahinbahin ngan nag-aaruaraway.
Mat 12:43 Kon nagawas in maraot nga espiritu tikang hin tawo
Mat 13:54 Diin man niya kuhaa in sugad nga kinaadman?
Mat 15:30 Hinmarani ha iya in kadam-an nga mga tawo nga nagdara hin mga piay.
Mat 17:27 hiaagian mo ha sulod han iya baba in kwarta nga igo hin pagbayad han akon
Mat 19:2 Sinmunod ha iya in kadam-an nga mga tawo ngan didto gintambal niya hira.
Mat 21:2 hiaagian dayon niyo in hinigtan nga asno upod an iya nati.
Mat 22:11 hinkit-an niya in tawo nga waray magbado hin bisti para hin pagkasal.
Mat 22:24 Kon mamatay in tawo nga waray niya anak,
Mat 23:5 Kitaa hin kahalapad nga mga banda diin aada in mga sinurat nga bersikulo han kasuratan nga ibinutang ha ira mga agtang ngan mga butkon!
Mat 24:24 Kay mapakita in buwaon nga mga Mesiyas ngan buwaon nga mga manaragna
Mat 25:20 Kitaa! Aadi liwat in lain nga singko mil pesos nga akon pinakabuhian.’
Mat 25:22 Aadi liwat in dugang nga dos mil pesos nga akon pinakabuhian.
Mat 26:7 hinmarani ha iya in babaye nga may dara nga tibod nga alabastro nga puno hinmahal nga pahamot.
Mat 27:32 iginkatapo nira in tawo nga ginngaranan kan Simon nga taga Cirene
Mat 27:60 Niyan ginpakaliding niya in dako nga bato ngadto han ganggang hin pagtakop han porta han lubnganan,
Mat 9:9 Han naglalakat hiya ha dalan, hinkit-an niya in tawo nga parasukot hin buhis nga ginngaranan kan Mateo (???)

(5) Referring to nominals or complements of the equational sentence with “mass” or collective meaning, thus generic.

Verse Clause or Phrase
Mat 4:25 Damo nga mga tawo in nagsunod ha iya tikang ha Galilea ngan ha Decapolis.
Mat 7:22 Pag-abot han Adlaw han Paghukom, damo in masiring ha akon,
Mat 8:11 damo in maabot tikang ha sinirangan
Mat 9:37 Damo in aranihon kundi gutiay la in mga mag-arani.
Mat 13:17 Damo nga mga manaragna ngan damo nga mga tawo han Dyos in karuyag pagkita han iyo kinikita
Mat 19:30 Kundi damo in mauorhe nga nag-uuna yana, ngan damo in mauuna nga nauorhe yana.
Mat 26:60 bisan kon damo in dinmaop ngan nagsumat hinmga buwa mahitungod ha iya.
Mat 27:55 Damo in kababayen-an nga nagkikinita tikang ha hirayo.
Mat 8:16 gindara ngadto kan Jesus in damo nga mga tawo nga sinasangkayan hin yawa.
Mat 9:10 inmabot in damo nga mga parasukot hin buhis ngan mga tinamay
Mat 12:15 Sinmunod ha iya in damo nga mga tawo.
Mat 24:5 Kay makanhi ha akon ngaran in damo nga mga tawo ngan masiring, ‘Amo ako an Mesiyas!’ ngan malilimbongan in damo nga mga tawo.
Mat 24:11 Niyan maabot in damo nga buwaon nga mga manaragna ngan damo an malilimbongan nira.
Mat 25:21 itatapod ko ha imo in damo nga salapi.
Mat 25:23 Tungod kay nasasarigan ka hin pagpakabuhi hin gutiay nga kwarta, itatapod ko ha imo in damo nga salapi.
Mat 26:47 Upod niya in damo nga mga tawo nga may dara nga mga espada ngan mga balbag.

(6) Referring to indefinite complements (pronouns, interrogatives, etc.).

Verse Clause or Phrase
Mat 6:27 Hin-o man ha iyo in makakapahilaba han iya kinabuhi hin bisan pira la ka tuig pinaagi han iyo pagkinabaraka?
Mat 17:25 Hin-o in nagbabayad hin mga kabaraydan o buhis ngadto han mga hadi hini nga kalibutan?
Mat 19:25 Hin-o man ngay-an in matatalwas?
Mat 19:27 Ano man in amon maangkon?

(7) Referring to negated referents (thus not applying to any referents).

Verse Clause or Phrase
Mat 5:45 Kay hiya in waray pinalabi, kay hiya an nagpapasirak han adlaw ug nagpapauran ngadto han mga magtadong ngan mga makasasala.
Mat 6:30 Kon ginpapanaptonan han Dyos an mga banwa ha kapatagan nga buhi yana, ngan pagkabuwas sinusunog ha hudno, kamo pa in diri?
Mat 7:11 asay pa ba an Amay niyo ha langit in diri humatag han mag-upay nga mga butang hadton mga nangangaro ha iya!
Mat 5:18 “samtang aada pa an langit ngan an tuna waray bisan usa nga tulbok ug usa nga bagis in paparaon dida han Balaod, ngada han katuman han ngatanan.”

From the Bible sentences, there are examples that break Romualdez’s claim that in can’t start a sentence, like Mat 5:32, Mat 5:41, Mat 15:5, Mat 12:26, Mat 22:35 and Mat 18:19, where in immediately starts the sentence after a conjunction ngan “and” or kon “if”.

It should be pointed out that definiteness can’t be differentiated from indefiniteness just by the presence of particular words or arrangement of such words. Check the summary of my search about definiteness as explained by linguists.

We can show contrast of its use with an, where to be definite, the only requirement is that the additional descriptive content is just enough to be able to identify that subset out of the set of all generic objects. We will not get all instances of an in Matthew, but just the first 2 chapters.

(1) Unmodified definite NP, where the definite NP has anaphoric use, or its referent is clearly specific from context.

Verse Clause or Phrase
Mat 1:23 An Dyos aanhi upod ha aton”
Mat 2:1 han panahon nga hi Herodes an hadi.
Mat 2:4 “Diin ba matatawo an Mesiyas?”
Mat 2:8 pamilnga niyo hin maupay an bata
Mat 2:11 hinkit-an nira an bata upod hi Maria nga iroy niya Binuksan nira an ira mga dara
Mat 2:13, 20 dad-a an bata ngan an iroy niya
Mat 2:14, 21 gindara niya an bata ngan an iroy
Mat 2:16 Duro an kapungot ni Herodes han pakasabot niya Nagsugo hiya nga pamatayon an ngatanan nga kabataan nga kalalaken-an mga dapit nga may duha ka tuig an panuigon
Mat 2:20 "kay patay na an mga nagdudumot han bata.”

(2) Modified definite nominal, where the modification is thru a possessive pronoun  or a complement of such.

Verse Clause or Phrase
Mat 1:11,12,16 an iya kabugtoan
(an iroy nira amo hi XXX)
an iroy niya amo an asawa anay ni Urias
Mat 1:16 Jose nga nangasawa kan Maria, an iroy ni Jesus nga ginngaranan nga Mesiyas.
Mat 1:18 Sugad hini an katawo ni Jesu-Cristo.
Mat 1:25 Jesus an iginngaran ni Jose han bata.
Mat 2:15 "Gintawag ko an akon Anak tikang ha Ehipto."
Mat 2:12 sanglit nangoli hira ngan lain nga dalan an ira gin-agian.
Mat 2:16 Duro an kapungot ni Herodes han pakasabot niya Nagsugo hiya nga pamatayon an ngatanan nga kabataan nga kalalaken-an mga dapit nga may duha ka tuig an panuigon
Mat 2:17 Dida hini natuman an iginsurat ni Jeremias nga manaragna nga nasiring

(3) Modified definite nominal, where the modification is thru a demonstrative expression, or a complement of such.

Verse Clause or Phrase
Mat 1:1 Amo ini an pagkasunodsunod han mga kaapoy-apoyan ni Jesu-Cristo
Mat 1:11,12,16 amo ini an mga kaapoy-apoyan

(4) Modified definite verbal nominal, with definite genitive expression or possessives / demonstratives.

Verse Clause or Phrase
Mat 1:22 Nahinabo ini ngatanan basi matuman an iginyakan han Ginoo pinaagi han manaragna nga nasiring,
Mat 1:24 gintuman niya an iginsugo ha iya han anghel han Ginoo
Mat 2:16 Duro an kapungot ni Herodes han pakasabot niya Nagsugo hiya nga pamatayon an ngatanan nga kabataan nga kalalaken-an mga dapit nga may duha ka tuig an panuigon
Mat 2:5 “Amo ini an iginsurat han manaragna
Mat 2:6 diri ka gud amo an giuubosi han mga bungto han Juda;
Mat 2:15 Nahinabo ini basi matuman an iginsiring han Ginoo pinaagi han manaragna

(5) Modified definite nominal, where the modification expression consists of as much words as needed to identify and restrict the referents to the right subset.

Verse Clause or Phrase
Mat 2:2 “Hain ba an natawo nga bata nga hadi han mga Judiyo?
Mat 2:3 nabaraka hiya pati an bug-os nga Jerusalem.
Mat 2:4 Gintirok niya an ngatanan nga mga puno han kapadian ngan mga magturutdo han Balaod,
Mat 2:7 iginpatawag ni Herodes hin hilom an mga kamag-araman nga tikang ha sinirangan. Hinbaroan niya tikang ha ira an untop nga takna han pagpakita han bitoon.
Mat 2:10 Nakita nira an amo ngahaw nga bitoon nga hinkit-an nira ha sinirangan.
Mat 2:16 Duro an kapungot ni Herodes han pakasabot niya Nagsugo hiya nga pamatayon an ngatanan nga kabataan nga kalalaken-an mga dapit nga may duha ka tuig an panuigon
Mat 2:22 hi Arquelao nga anak ni Herodes, amo an sinmaliwan nga hadi han Judea

In the next instalment, I will explore it as a definite present/future marker, as well as some unusual usage of han and hin when compared with Hiligaynon san/sin, Bikol kan/nin, Sugbuhanon sa/og, Romblomanon ng/ning and Bisakol san/sin.


What is Definiteness?

I have to read a number of works to better understand definiteness and indefiniteness, which can’t be decided purely by the presence or absence of certain words or their arrangements. So here’s a summary to lay out the defining characteristics of (in)definiteness. I have quoted heavily from these works which are all publicly viewable, and in no way would like to show having originality of these ideas.

Definiteness is signalled (from Heusinger) thru:

  1. Proper nouns or names – “refers to exactly one individual, namely the bearer of the name. The reference is purely conventional since no internal part of the expression points or gives any relation to its bearer. proper names are highly context dependent.” This is marked differently in Philippine languages.
  2. Personal pronouns -  “either as deictic or as anaphoric. In the absence of any linguistic context, the pronoun refers to an object that must be in some way prominent in the context or “easy to access”. This deictic interpretation of the pronoun is licensed if the pronoun is accompanied by a demonstration or if the non-linguist context contains some prominent or salient object. Background knowledge may play an important role, too. A pronoun is interpreted anaphorically, if it refers to an object that has been already introduced into the discourse.”
  3. Possessive constructions – “denotes exactly the object that fulfills the property that is expressed by the common noun and that further stands in a certain relation to the object that is denoted by the modifier. This relation can be determined by the lexical material of the head noun if it is a functional concept. If the head noun does not denote a functional concept, but rather a sortal one, the relation is usually the possessor relation.” John’s car is that object that is a car and has a certain relation to John, which is
    probably the car that John owns.
  4. Demonstratives – “refer to an object only if the linguistic utterance is accompanied by a non-linguistic demonstration or ostension. They identify their referent by combining a demonstrative action with descriptive information about the referred object.”
  5. Definite NPs – signalled in English by the articles a, the, and zero article. “They refer to their objects not by convention but due to their descriptive content and further information, like our shared background knowledge or contextual information about the place and time of utterance.” Has the following usage:
    1. Anaphoric linkage – the definite NP refers to an object that is explicitly introduced by the linguistic context. Thus, definiteness is based on the principle of coreference.””Once upon a time, there was a king, … and the king …”
    2. Relational Dependency – “the definite NP refers to an object due to another already mentioned object in the discourse. It establishes a relation to a mentioned object in discourse. Since nothing else than the relation is expressed the relation itself must unequivocally determine exactly one object. The relational concept of an definite NP must be lexically determined.” “I bought a new car. I had to change the motor.”
    3. Situational Salience – “the situation or the non-linguistic context delivers additional information to single out the referent.  This non-linguistic context can consist in the shared background knowledge or in the actual circumstances.” “The train left two minutes ago.
    4. Uniques – “nouns whose lexical content is such that only one object can fit it.  A unique can consist in a noun that expresses a functional concept, i.e. a concept that gives exactly one value for each argument, like “the sun”, “the time”. It can also consist in a complex nominal expression that due to its meaning refers only to one object (in the relevant context) like the first man on the moon.”

We will refer to various studies already done to summarize the distinction between the two with respect to so-called articles in English (a, the, zero article), like:

  1. Uniqueness Theory – According to Russel, definiteness marking (a) asserts the existence of the NP, and (b) this NP is not more than one, like the center of the solar system. Russell’s example “The king of France is bald” is found to be nonsensical and uninterpretable. Another example provided by Abbott: “That wasn’t a reason I left Pittsburgh, it was the reason.
    • This is refuted by Strawson who pointed out that existence is merely presupposed and not asserted.
    • Donnellan also refuted that the definite is quantificational but rather either referring or non-referring (attributive).
    • Hawkins also pointed out the problem of incomplete description, where  the descriptive content of the definite NP [ e.g. “the glass” (on the table) ] is insufficient to identify a truly unique referent and not existing in other entities on a universal scale, so he tried to remedy this using “pragmatic sets” or a pragmatically reduced context in which referents are to be evaluated for their uniqueness, but Lewis provided a counter-example “The dog got in a fight with another dog. – I’ll have to see to it that the dog doesn’t get near that other dog again.”, in which he said the definite NP is the most salient in the domain of discourse, according to some contextually determined salience ranking.
    • Other sentences called recall sentences were also furnished that break the non-uniqueness of NPs that they can be understood to be indefinite instead: “Towards evening we came to the bank of the river.” (Christophersen), “Take the elevator to the sixth floor and turn left.” (Berner and Ward), “The boy scribbled on the living room wall.” (Du Bois). Abbott defended this by saying these sentences  can be explained in terms of location. I think these are situationally definite.
    • This also neglects plural and mass nouns, which Hawkins addressed by proposing inclusiveness – the  NPs are unique but only in reference to the whole set: “Bring the wickets in after the game of cricket.”,I must ask you to remove the sand from my gateway.” “In the case of singular NPs, their inclusiveness is restricted to the one member that constitutes the set.”
  2. Familiarity Theory – According to Christophersen, definiteness marking is associated with some kind of previous knowledge by the hearer. This familiarity with the NP can be on both the speaker and hearer, or can be introduced thru text as a previously introduced indefinite NP (explicit contextual): “I live next to a scientist. The scientist keeps to himself though.” or thru non-textual basis, (implicit contextual): “The book is so ridiculous – the author must be crazy.” or (situational) “For instance, upon mounting a bus, one can talk of the driver, the passengers, the seats and so on.
    • According to Heim, “definites must be used to refer back to a familiar discourse entity, where familiarity is satisfied when an entity has been either explicitly introduced into the discourse (strong familiarity) or implicitly introduced by the context (weak familiarity)”.
    • Its been  shown that familiarity is not a sufficient condition and can be used on unfamiliar referents: “What’s wrong with Bill? Oh, the woman he went out last night was nasty to him.”(Hawkins) or “If you’re going into the bedroom, would you mind bringing back the big bag of potato chips that I left on the bed?” (Birner and Ward). I think the definite NP here is unique.
    • In “The book is so ridiculous – the author must be crazy.”, Birner and Ward presses that since most books typically have one author, this is more in favour of uniqueness theory.
    • Birner and Ward also give an example where familiarity is insufficient: “Professors Smith and Jones are rivals in the English Department, and each of them has received a major grant for next year. The other members of the department are very excited about the grant.” Although the definite NP was mentioned as an indefinite NP beforehand, it did not resolve the confusion as to which grant is being referred to in the definite NP.
    • Familiarity is also problematic for definite NPs that are non-referential (pick out a referent) but are predicational (denote a quality or characteristic): “Chan is a scientist. Chan is the leader.” (Declerk), Familiarity can’t account for the definiteness (“the leader”) and indefiniteness(“a scientist”).
    • This was remedied by expanding familiarity to identifiability by Lyons:”They’ve just got in from New York. The plane was five hours late.”  “Using an expanded form of previous knowledge (linguistic or non-linguistic), one is able to identify the plane. It may necessitate going beyond a one-to-one association between a referent and its recognition (in the loose sense of the word).” This is said to be effective for contextual and situational definiteness.
    • Recall sentences are both problematic for familiarity and identifiability, so Du Bois proposed the curiosity principle: “a reference is counted as identifiable if it identifies an object close enough to satisfy the curiosity of the hearer”.
    • This becomes discourse familiarity to Heim and Kamp who anaphoricly linked a definite NP to an already introduced or ‘familiar’ discourse referent.
    • This is the origin of Löbner relational theory and  Lewis’ salience theory.
  3. Mixed theories
    • Hawkins – definiteness is the (a) ability of the referent (or referents) to be located in some shared set of objects between the speaker and hearer, and (b) being the totality of the objects or mass within this set which satisfy the referring expression. This looks like a combination of inclusiveness and familiarity. This is also called the Location Theory. 
    • Abbott – definite NPs are firstly unique, but needs to be enriched/refined by the pragmatic context, in the sense of P-sets à la Hawkins (1991). “the use of the definite conveys to the addressee that they ought to be able to determine a unique referent from the description used plus contextual or background information, whether or not they had prior acquaintance with it”.  I think her explanations for non-unique definite NPs are forced, especially for “The contestant gave the wrong answer and had to be disqualified.”
    • Lyons -  definiteness has to do with whether or not a referent is familiar or already established in the discourse – thus identifiability rather than inclusiveness. “(the definite) by itself does not identify, but “invites the hearer to exploit clues in the … context to establish the identity of the referent”. Lyons proposes that definiteness is a grammatical category (of identifiability) and not a semantic/pragmatic category, which explains its variability.
  4. Relational Theory – According to Löbner, “the definite article has no lexical meaning, but just indicates the way the reference is established, namely that the expression refers non-ambiguously.” He merges anaphoric and situational use as pragmatic definite and relational use as semantic definite: “Semantic definites refer unambiguously due to general constraints; Pragmatic definites depend on the particular situation for unambiguous reference. An NP is semantic definite if it represents a functional concept, independently of the particular situation referred to. An expression is inherently functional if it needs a further argument to refer to an object.” The definiteness is considered as a local property of the link between the head and its argument. “He was the son of a poor farmer.”
  5. Salience Theory – According to Lewis, “consider the sentence ‘The door is open’. This does not mean that the one and only door that now exists is open; nor does it mean that the one and only door near the place of utterance, or pointed at, or mentioned in previous discourse, is open. Rather it means that the one and only door among the objects that are somehow prominent on the occasion is open. An object may be prominent because it is nearby, or pointed at, or mentioned; but none of these is a necessary condition of contextual prominence. So perhaps we need a prominent-objects coordinate, a new contextual coordinate independent of the other. It will be determined, on a given occasion of utterance of a sentence, by mental factors such as the speaker’s expectation regarding the things he is likely to bring to the attention of his audience.” “It is not true that a definite description ‘the F’ denotes x if and only if x is the one and only F in existence. Neither is it true that ‘the F’ denotes x if and only if x is the one and only F in some contextually determined domain of discourse. The proper treatment of description must be more like this: ‘the F’ denotes x if and only if x is the most salient F in the domain of discourse, according to some contextually determined salience ranking.” Sample sentence: “The pig is grunting, but the pig with floppy ears is not grunting.” Two individuals with the same property are introduced into the discourse. However, the definite NP should unambiguously refer to one object even if no functional concept plays a role, since pig and dog are sortal concepts (except one would claim a functional concept from situations into objects of the mentioned kind).
  6. In other words, a definite NP refers to the most salient object in the discourse that fits the descriptive content, and such salience ranking “depends on the context, i.e. it is not global in the sense that each expression gets its referent for global constraints nor it is local in the sense of Löbner, since once established it can keep its ranking during the whole discourse if there is no other salience changing expression.” Heusinger added two other ideas into this:

  1. The Prague school’s (Sgall et al. 1973, 70) dynamic view of the information expressed in a sentence. In this approach, the “stock of shared knowledge” or repertoire [of objects, relations etc., K.v.H.] common between the speaker and the hearer is the set of potential referents for definite expressions, which is divided into background and foreground information or relative activation (in the sense of being immediately ‘given’, i.e. easily accessible in memory). Wherever its position within the salience hierarchy depends on encyclopedic knowledge, context information and thematic structure of the sentence. Different ways of shifts in a discourse model (“hearer’s image of the world”) shift in different ways, like mere mentioning of an element in that “stock of shared knowledge” brings it into the foreground of the stock, thus the last mentioned element is more in the foreground than the elements mentioned before, its foregrounding recedes if it is not supported by some specific recent moments due to the given situation. “This view differs from Lewis’ concept in that salience is regarded as a property of the cognitive discourse model, rather than as a property of the discourse such. Furthermore, it concentrates on the use of pronominals rather than on the analysis of definite NPs.”
  2. The AI approach of Grosz & Sidner (1985, 3), where the general discourse model consists of three components: “a linguistic structure, an intentional structure, and an attentional state….The third component of discourse structure, the attentional state, is an abstraction of the participants’ focus of attention as their discourse unfolds. The attentional state is a property of discourse, not of discourse participants. It is inherently dynamic, recording the objects, properties, and relations that are salient at each point in the discourse.” “In contrast to the Praguian approach, this structure does not depend on the hearer or speaker, but it is a property of the context (like in Lewis’ view). Webber (1983, 335) distinguishes between the act of reference by the speaker, and the referential behavior of expression in a certain discourse: That is, “referring” is what people do with language. Evoking and accessing discourse entities are what texts/discourses do. A discourse entity inhabits a speaker’s discourse model and represents something the speaker has referred to. A speaker refers to something by utterances that either evoke (if first reference) or access (if subsequent reference) its corresponding discourse entity.”
  3. According to Heusinger, the situational use is central to definite NPs by incorporating contextual information using a salience hierarchy into the representation of definite expression, where “each context can be associated with an ordering among the elements of subsets of the domain of discourse. The definite NP the F denotes the most salient F according to the situation i… the context crucially contributes to the interpretation of the definite NP by forming a salience hierarchy among the potential referents. It is assumed that each context can be associated with an ordering among the elements of subsets of the domain of discourse. The definite NP the F denotes the most salient F according to the situation i . This representation completes the ideas of discourse representation theories by producing a more comprehensive picture: a definite NP is not only linked to an already introduced discourse referent, it is rather linked to the most salient discourse referent of the same kind so far.”
  4. Robert’s Retrievability and Incomplete Descriptions states that “In previous work (Roberts 2003) I argued for a revision of the classical Russellian treatment of definite descriptions, proposing instead that they conventionally trigger two presuppositions, one of weak familiarity (a form of anaphoricity) and a second I called informational uniqueness. These are the informational counterparts of Russellian existence and uniqueness, respectively. In other work, I argued that these same presuppositions are central to the meaning of pronouns (Roberts 2004) and demonstratives (Roberts 2002). Now I show that the general Gricean view of discourse sketched here permits a simplification of that theory: The uniqueness effect observed in certain contexts follows from Retrievability, with no need to stipulate even informational uniqueness.” He describes it as “In order for an utterance to be rationally cooperative in a discourse interaction D, it must be reasonable for the speaker to expect that the addressee can grasp the speaker’s intended meaning in so-uttering in D….When we understand the interpretive effects of Retrievability in conjunction with an anaphoric theory of definites, there is no need to stipulate uniqueness for any of these kinds of NPs. The general requirement of Retrievability of an aphoric antecedents will suffice to account for uniqueness effects, when those arise…In interpreting a definite, an addressee must determine exactly which antecedent the speaker intends, out of all those familiar to the interlocutor. The NP’s descriptive content is a both a constraint on and a clue to the intended antecedent (which must also satisfy that content). Antecedents are not NPs per se, but discourse referents — as that notion is spelled out in the Heim/Kamp/van der Sandt theories.  What is important for salience is not just that something be in the immediate visual field of the addressee, perhaps as directed by deixis, but that s/he be
    attending to it, hence that it be Relevant to her immediate goals and associated intentions. So long as the descriptive content of a definite NP, along with what is predicated of it, is sufficiently rich to uniquely determine one element in the interlocutors’ QUD – limited attentional field, in accordance with Attentional Masking and the Descriptive Content Condition, there is no sense that the NP’s
    descriptive content is incomplete.
  1. Salience is a partial order of the elements of DR (the set of Discourse Referents), determined by the degree to which those entities would be immediately in the attentional field of anyone cooperatively paying attention to that context.
  2. Factors in a salience ranking in discourse include the following, themselves ranked in descending order of importance: (1) High perceptual salience in the situation of utterance. (2) RELEVANCE to the evident current purposes of the interlocutors, especially the QUD (cf. Grosz & Sider 1986) (3) Coherence, reflected in felicitous rhetorical relations in a relevant strategy of inquiry, with consequent relations between thematic roles in the two utterances (Kehler 2009) (4) Relative recency (Terken & Hirschberg 1994).
  3. Attentional Masking Hypothesis: The search for an anaphoric antecedent among the accessible discourse referents proceeds as follows: Look first to the most salient entities, then to all those that are less salient but still Relevant, and finally to all elements of DR, the domain reflecting all familiar entities in the Common Ground. The antecedent is the first discourse referent you encounter which is informationally unique among the discourse referents ranked at its level of salience in satisfying the NP’s descriptive content (while being plausible in view of what is predicated of the NP).
  4. Descriptive content condition: To guarantee Retrievability in using a definite NP, a speaker should choose one whose descriptive content is just sufficiently rich to uniquely identify the intended discourse referent among all those which are at least as salient. ”
  • Other examples:
    1. Jane entered the cafe and looked around. She sat down. The table was slightly wobbly.
    2. The cat is in the carton. The cat will never meet our other cat, because our other cat lives in New Zealand. Our New Zealand cat lives with the Cresswells. And there he’ll stay, because Miriam would be sad if the cat went away.
    3. In the cafe, an angry toddler threw around his spaghetti near where he was sitting. After he left, the waitress came and wiped the tables.
  • A study concluded that definiteness is not primarily based on salience. The same study concludes that uniqueness and previous mention effects are not driven by general salience-based processes that would also be instantiated by visual salience, but operate independently. The study noted that “Although the cases Lewis (1973:114ff; 1979) discussed are cases where the salience of a referent arises from the utterance situation, rather than from the linguistic structure of discourse, the notions of salience that were developed with some success in subsequent work (Ariel 1985, Gundel et al. 1993, Grosz et al. 1995, von Heusinger 1995, Roberts 2003, and many others) have remained limited to linguistic discourse parameters… If a general notion of salience could be developed that covers such cases of visual salience and could also substitute for anaphora and uniqueness, we would
    be pretty close to a general notion of definite reference.” But the study did mention a caveat: “But with no theory of such a mechanism in place the general salience hypothesis is hard to test. What is feasible, however, is an experimental comparison of the contributions that uniqueness and anaphora make towards the identification of DRE referents and the contribution that purely visual salience in the utterance situation makes…. The experiment will perhaps not yet permit any conclusions about salience in general , but it will be informative at least with regard to the interaction of visual salience with anaphora, and uniqueness….Our results thus seem to suggest that salience is considered only after anaphora and uniqueness have failed to identify a suitable referent.” This experiment failed because salience is a property of the discourse in situ. The discourses in the test pertaining to salience failed to provide the most salient object in the text or answer the question “which one?”  among the other similar objects, thus textually ambiguous or vague. Uniqueness is a form of salience. 
  • A similar study by Ahern and Stevens has a different conclusion, that uniqueness is salience by proving that uniqueness (maximally unique object or unique under the greatest number of descriptions) is the primary factor when interpreting ambiguous definite NPs: “We have provided a direct comparison of definite and indefinite descriptions. By allowing a period of temporary ambiguity we were able to isolate the contribution of definiteness to interpretation. Eye movements during this period of ambiguity suggest that the online interpretation of definite descriptions is guided by uniqueness. When processing definites, but not indefinites, subjects look reliably more toward the candidate referent that is unique under the greatest number of descriptions. These results suggest a role of uniqueness not only in theoretical models, but also in processing behaviors. However, it remains unclear whether uniqueness is exactly the right notion to capture the full range of semantic and psycholinguistic generalizations. Rather, one could posit based on our results that salience, and not uniqueness, plays a special role in interpreting definite descriptions. After all, what we have dubbed the “maximally unique” referent is also the most salient possible referent within its category in that it stands out or “suggests itself”, to echo Schelling (1960). Perhaps interpretation of the definite article triggers an online search for the most salient appropriate referent. ..Uniqueness typically confers a particular kind of salience on a potential referent, and maximal uniqueness a privileged sort of salience. Future research may be brought to bear on whether uniqueness and salience should be distinguished, and on what role these notions play in both psycholinguistic and theoretical analyses of definiteness.”
  • Ward, Ahern and Heyden demonstrated that "The felicity of both the definite and indefinite embedded NP suggests that neither (weak) familiarity nor uniqueness per se accounts for article choice in the case of attributive-possession NPs(APNPs)…What is relevant for the (in)definiteness of an APNP is whether its referent is interpreted as a typical or atypical member of its class….When uniqueness is not satisfied, participants rely significantly on the atypicality of the referent, the more atypical the referent (as judged by the participants themselves), the more likely it is to be realized with a definite APNP. We propose that atypical APNPs are being interpreted more as object-denoting, while typical APNPs are being interpreted more as property-denoting (Partee ’87).
  • I think the Salience Theory has more explanatory power than the Uniqueness Theory, especially as outlined by Roberts. To summarize:

    1. Selection by Differentiation Theory– Definite marking is the selection of a limited set of objects among many similar or identical objects, and this is can be achieved by being differentiable from all possible similar or identical objects (individually for singular and collectively for generic referents) so that the hearer is able to figure out the intended referent. The definite marked NP is distinguished from the indefinite by selecting and restricting its members.
      • Indefinite marking indicates the genericity and commonality of all referents, and may be further marked individually (singular) or in totality (plural). The speaker shows the scope of possible referents. Definite marking indicates the selectability and differentiability of a few referents, and the speaker has already chosen or done the selection from among the many.
      • Selection or restriction is done in a number of ways alone or in combination:
        1. Numerical Sufficiency: limiting the NP meaning numerically : singular count noun for a unique referent, plural count or non-count nouns for the exhaustive totality of referents.
        2. Contextual Saliency: the first to satisfy the descriptive content from the saliency hierarchy.
          1. Body parts (situational): “Mary banged herself on the forehead.” (the one that got banged, defaults to Mary’s head, otherwise will have restrictive clause.)
          2. Immediate surroundings (situational): “The roses are very beautiful” (those in the garden they’re at)
          3. general knowledge (situational): “the Prime Minister” (the one currently in the applicable country)
          4. referents presented as if “familiar, though they have had no previous introduction (textual/situational):  “All this happened more or less. The war parts anyway, are pretty much true” (those that the storyteller has chosen to talk about)
          5. anaphoric reference-direct (textual): “John bought a TV and a video recorder, but he
            returned the video recorder.
            ” (the one he bought)
          6. anaphoric reference-indirect (textual): “John bought a bicycle, but when he rode it one of the wheels came off.”  (those of the bicycle.)
        3. Restrictive Clauses – mixes contextual saliency and numerical sufficiency through additional words to enhance retrievability.
          1. logical use: “When is the first flight to Chicago tomorrow?” (the one that’s unique)
          2. cataphoric reference: “The girls sitting over there are my cousins.” (situational)
      • Selection may refer to unique individual or to the whole class. Some languages may not use definite marking here.
        1. Uniques.
        2. Generic – identifies “the class as represented by its typical specimen”. Using indefinites will (a) focus too much on the lack of specificity if single referent, (b) focus too much on many referents if the sense requires a single referent, (c) there is no plural indefinite for generics, or (d) the singular is preferred for its ease of understanding. I think this is language specific, at least in English.
          1. sporadic reference:  “My sister goes to the theatre every month.
          2. A great deal of illness originates in the mind.” , ”the monkey is a curious animal”, “Some people sit for hours in front of the television.
          3. adjectives denoting the whole class. These does not have plural generics: ‘the rich and the poor’ ,  ‘the Atlantic’ , ‘the Chinese’  (denoting nationality)
          4. In many idioms: ‘kick the bucket’, ‘grab the bull by its horns