Habitual Affix Marag-

I’ve come across “Dupaningan Agta: Grammar, Vocabulary, and Texts” (2008) by  Laura Robinson and I’m happy to read about one of the affixes she found in Dupaningan Agta, a habitual affix with the forms marag- and parag-  but no completive aspect form (narag-). I suppose this affix is a combination of pag- and –Vr- infix : p<ar>ag-.

This affix is an Actor Focus Affix, just like mag-, mangag-, mang- in that the “semantic actors of the verb are in the nominative case”. When used with a negative, it has the meaning of never having done the action specified by the verb.

Furthermore she said

“it does not take any other voice affixes, and it is likely that the m- derives historically, or at least by analogy, from the actor voice infix <um>…The prefix marag- optionally co-occurs with CVC- reduplication, probably under the influence of Ilokano, which uses CVC- reduplication with the comparable prefix manag- “.

Some uses of the affix are illustrated:

Dupaningan Agta marag-esbu       i       wadi                =mi                 =aye
HBT    -urinate   DEF  younger.sibling=1PL.EXC.GEN= PROX.SPC
English This younger sibling of ours urinates frequently.
Dupaningan Agta maraghen=kami              =bi    =la     a   he    a   talon
HBT-stay  =1PL.EXC.NOM=also=just  LK here LK place
English We live here in this place.
Dupaningan Agta awan =bi     a   maragdegus  ha    baybay
NEG   =also LK HBT-bathe      OBL  ocean
English He has never bathed in the ocean.’
Dupaningan Agta ma-nakam  =ak            =noman  kona   i       maragtakaw  =a
ADJ-thought=1SG.NOM =ASRT    say      DEF HBT-steal       =SPC
English “I am thoughtful,” said the thief.’
Dupaningan Agta marag-an      -anteng   ha    dilan =aya
HBT    -REDUP-fear       OBL  path = MED.SPC
English ‘He is afraid of walking on that path.’
Dupaningan Agta p<in>utad  -ø  =[na]          i      pusad  na   anak=a     [i     bakas        =aya          a    marag-aplos]

<CMPL>cut-PV =3.SG.GEN DEF navel   GEN child =SPC DEF old.woman= MED.SPC LK HBT-massage

English That midwife cut the child’s umbilical cord.
Dupaningan Agta ito  i-sulet   =na           i      kurinnat hidi   ha   urah   maraggatang hidi  a    rabon
it   TV-trade=3SG.GEN DEF money    PL    OBL  rice    HBT-buy         PL    LK  bird.nest
English These he will trade for money and rice to the bird nest buyers.
Dupaningan Agta i       ibay              =di           =heya  a    maragnagen  ha   Cherles
DEF Ilokano.friend=3PL.GEN=SPC    LK  HBT-name     OBL Charles
English Their Ilokano friend named Charles.


When used as a nominal prefix, it has a meaning of occupation, which reminds me of the Tagalog way of forming occupation nouns, by prefixing mag- to the reduplicated verb. It is not mentioned in her work if Dupaningan Agta distinguishes progressive aspect but it seems it does not, as in the Aspect section, she has a sample of sentence that has ongoing action but has no morphological mark for Progressive Aspect, just  the Incompletive Aspect. She further states that “The difference between future, present, and past progressive must be made either with adverbs or be recoverable from the context.”. Although she mentions options to mark ongoing actions,  those involve different verb affixes altogether with their own incompletive vs completive aspect distinctions (a) CVC reduplication on maka-/naka- assumed to be borrowed from Ilokano, and  (b)  (C)V(C)CV- reduplication (Reduplication of the first two syllables minus the coda of the second syllable) native to the language on mag-/nag- and ma-/na- affixes. She has found no data for either marag-+CVC reduplication or marag-+(C)V(C)CV- reduplication of the forms below:

Encountered Incompletive forms Hypothetical Progressive Aspect forms
marag-esbu *marages-esbu  OR *maragesbu-esbu
maraghen *maraghenhen  OR *maraghenhen
maragdegus *maragdegdegus OR *maragdegudegus
maraggatang *maraggatgatang OR *maraggatagatang
maragnagen *maragnagnagen OR *maragnagenagen

So the Dupaningan Agta equivalent involves no reduplication.

Dupaningan Agta Tagalog English
maragaplos manghahaplos masseuse, one how massages
maragtakaw magnanakaw thief, one who steals
maraggatang mamimili buyer, one who buys

Marag- has a subjunctive or participle form, parag-:

Dupaningan Agta

hadia   i      parag-hen-an   di           manay=mo
where DEF HBT    -live –LV  PERS.PL aunt   =2SG.GEN

English Where do your aunt and her companions live?
Dupaningan Agta

<in><um>etnod  =kam         ha    parag-kan-an
<CMPL><AV>sit  =2PL.NOM  OBL  HBT   -eat-LV


‘You all sat on the table.’

Dupaningan Agta

b<um>ikan  i      [[manok hidi=a]     hidi  a     pato]  ha    parag-dukut-an =a

<AV>near    DEF  chicken PL  =SPC   PL  OBL duck    OBL HBT-cook     -LV  =SPC

English The chickens and ducks come near the hearth.’

The parag-…an  denote a place for doing the habitual action due to the –an suffix.  Comparison with Tagalog again reveal reduplication in Tagalog of the verb root before the prefix is applied.

Dupaningan Agta Tagalog English


pagkakain<an table (for eating)


pagtutulog<an ‘usual sleeping place’ (cf. k<um>ilap ‘sleep’)



‘usual camp in the forest’ (cf. pag-isan-an ‘temporary hut in the
forest’, mag-isan ‘make camp in the forest’)


pagluluto<an hearth, place for cooking.


pagtitirh<an residence, place to live


Other interesting Dupaningan Agta Grammar

  1. Use of ta- affix to denote smallness.
  2. Use of pat- affix for familial relationships.
  3. Use of makin- affix to highlight ownership of the root.
  4. About Personal pronouns:
  1. long form nominative personal pronouns start with hi- and are not clitics,
  2. short form nomonatives are enclitics.
  3. oblique starts with ni- and not clitics,
  4. genitive are 1 syllable enclitics.
  • Aanaphoric locative without an inherent deixis (distance form speaker or listener): hito
  • 5 set of vocative forms for kinship terms.
  • Make distinctions between –um- and mag- verbs.
  • Reduplication of the first consonant of the root with the vowel /a/ (Ca reduplucation) to indicate plurality for numbers greater than two on various parts of speech (verbs, adjectives, nominalized verbs,
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