This post is about the Filipino language of the Philippines. There are still a lot of people who do not know the difference or similarity between Tagalog and Filipino, who insist that Filipino exists already as an independent language from Tagalog. I say that’s a hat trick and more like an illusion.
GOING BACK LESS THAN A CENTURY AGO
Perhaps a little bit of history will remind us the evolution of the basis of the Philippine national language. I will be relying heavily on the book “Language and language-in-education planning in the Pacific Basin” by Robert B. Kaplan and Richard B. Baldauf (2003) for most of the details in this short history.
1. On May 17, 1935, the 1935 Constitution was ratified, which stated in Section 3 that “The Congress shall take steps toward the development and adoption of a common national language based on one of the existing native languages. Until otherwise provided by law, English and Spanish shall continue as official languages.”.
Why did the then 1935 constitution mandated a national language based on one existing language, when the Philippines has several major languages at that time? Professional linguists of that period were divided into 2 camps: (a) the fusionist camp proposing that the various languages could be fused into a single national language, and (b) the Tagalog camp, proposing that Tagalog alone should be the national language. (Kaplan and Bildauf, p.69).
The basing of the national language on one language was something that a Tagalog President slyly orchestrated by urging changes to the draft Constitution, which originally had the following drafts in the Laurel Proceedings of the Constitution Convention kept at the Laurel Foundation Library, as Agcaoli wrote:
1st draft: Article XIII, Sec. 2: "A national language being necessary to strengthen the solidarity of the Nation, the National Assembly shall take steps looking to the development and adoption of a language common to all the people on the basis of the existing native languages."
2nd draft: Article XIII, Sec. 2.a: "The National Assembly shall take steps toward the development and adoption of a common national language based on the existing native languages, and until otherwise provided by law, English and Spanish be the official languages."
3rd draft: no revision.
It is often mentioned in older grammar outlines of both Bikol and Tagalog that these languages have tenses. Shown below are the conjugation of two verbs in Bikol and Tagalog following these descriptions.
|English Gloss||“to hear”|
|English Gloss||“to insert”|
Even Jason Lobel, in his book “An Satuyang Tataramon” published in 2000, mentioned in page 86 that Bikol has 4 tenses: past, present, future and infinitive/imperative. The Wikipedia entry as April 10, 2009 for Tagalog makes a slight improvement by saying that Tagalog verbs do not conjugate for tense. It says there that there are 4 aspects: infinitive/imperative, perfective, imperfective and contemplative. I think both these descriptions are incorrect because (1) neither infinitive nor imperative are tenses, and (2) neither infinitive, imperative or contemplative are aspects. Aspect is what both these languages have and not tense.
A better explanation is given by Paul Kroeger in his book, “Analyzing Grammar, An Introduction” published in 2005. On pages, 162-163, he said and I will quote at length:
“To conclude our discussion of aspect, let us consider some tense-aspect combinations in Tagalog. Each Tagalog verb has three basic finite forms which are often referred to as past tense, present tense, and future tense. But this labelling is misleading. The “present tense” form could be used as a past progressive (“She was singing the Ave Maria when I arrived”) as well as a present progressive (“She is singing the Ave Maria”) or present habitual (“She sings the Ave Maria beautifully”). Similarly, the Tagalog “past tense” form can be used like the English simple past (“She sang”), present perfect (“She has sung”), or past perfect (“She had sung”).
These three forms involve two different affixes: (1) a nasal infix -in- (realized as initial /n/ in active voice formations beginning with mag-); and (2) reduplication (see chapter 16). The infinitival form of the verb lacks both of these, though it is marked for voice. Some examples of these forms are shown in (38): 6
|bigy-an||b[in]igay-an||b[in]i-bigy-an||bi-bigy-an||“to be given”|
|gawa-in||g[in]awa||g[in]a-gawa||ga-gawa-in||“to be made, done”|
A number of authors have pointed out that this four-way contrast can be analyzed in terms of two fundamental distinctions. The infix -in- marks action as having been begun, which corresponds nicely to the contrast between REALIS vs. IRREALIS tense. CV reduplication marks actions as being non-completed; verbs which lacks this reduplication are in COMPLETIVE aspect, while the reduplicated forms are NON-COMPLETIVE.
The following table shows how these two categories combine to produce the forms in (38). The “past tense forms are those which are both begun and completed, i.e. realis tense and completive aspect. The “present tense” forms are those which are begun but not yet completed, i.e. realis tense and non-completive aspect. The “future tense” forms are those which are neither begun nor completed, i.e. irrealis tense and non-completive aspect. Of course, something which is not begun cannot be completed, so the combination of irrealis tense and completive aspect should be impossible. In fact, this combination, which corresponds to the morphologically unmarked form, is used for “tenseless” categories such as infinitives and imperatives.
|Realis (-in)||Irrealis (Ø)|
Although Paul Kroeger’s description is better in that it recognizes these as the interplay of 2 distinctions, its not entirely correct as well: (1) Realis and Irrealis are not tenses, (2) the -in- infix does not actually mark action whether its been started, and (3) the aspectual distinction conveyed by reduplication and its absence is not between uncompleted and completed, respectively, thus the terms completive and non-completive are misleading aspect labels here. Talmy Givon, in her book, “Syntax, An Introduction” published in 2001, gives a better explanation of -in- or n- (Kroeger’s nasal infix -in-) as modal distinction, and is quoted in pages 359-360 as follows:
“Austronesian is one language family in which most irrealis clauses share a morphological marker, and can be then further marked for other distinctions, as can also realis clauses. Indeed, the realis-irrealis modal distinction is the major dichotomy in the Austronesian T-A-M system, and all other tense or aspect distinction are secondary elaborations added to it. This pattern may be illustrated with data from Bikol (Philippine), interpreted here as a nominative language.
The main distinction in Bikol verbal prefixes, which conflate grammatical voice and modality, is between realis and irrealis. Both the perfective/past and the progressive/present share the realis prefix nag-. The progressive is then further marked by first-syllable reduplication. Realis subordination clauses display the same nag- prefix as realis main clauses. Thus (M. Factora, i.p.c.):
(37) a. Perfective/past
|‘the man bought a book’|
|‘the man is buying a book’|
c. Complement of implicative modality-verb
|‘the man finished buying a book’|
d. Complement of implicative manipulation-verb
|‘the man forced the woman to buy a book’|
e. Complement of factive cognition-verb
|‘the man knows that the woman bought a book’|
f. Realis Adv-clause
|When I came (here), I took a swim’.|
In contrast, most irrealis clauses share the prefix mag-. Thus compare:
(38) a. Future
|‘the man will buy a book’|
b. Subjunctive-imperative (polite)
|‘Buy a book!’|
|‘Lets (all) buy books!”|
d. Non-implicative modality-verb complement
|‘the man wants to buy a book’|
e. Non-implicative manipulation-verb complement
|‘the man told the woman to buy a book’|
f. Non-factive cognition-verb complement
|‘the man thought that the woman bought a book’|
g. Irrealis Adv-Clause
|kung||mag-digdi [5▼]||ako,||mag-karigos [3▼]||ako|
|If I come (here), I’ll take a swim.|
A fairly similar grammatical distribution of a single irrealis marker, also covering the habitual, has been described in another Austronesian language, Fijian (Dixon, 1988). A similarly wide distribution of a single irrealis marker, also covering negative clauses, has been reported for Caddo and Northern Iroquois languages (Chafe 1995). Finally, the entire Mixtecan family in Mexico displays a similar wide distribution of a sigle irrealis prefix, also covering the negative clauses (Bradley and Hollenbach (eds 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992).”
Although I do not agree with her that Bikol is a nominative language, by and large, her description is quite correct. There are a few typographical errors (see the notes I provided below) which I think are mainly due to an oversight.
I will post my own description of Bikol Mood and Aspect in the following days.
[5▲] For the same reason stated in note#3, the proper verb form form here is “ma-digdi” (IRR/AGT-come) and “ma-karigos” (IRR/AGT-swim) if the English gloss is to stay. Otherwise, the gloss wouldn’t make any sense “If I to come (here), I to swim..” as the sentence is using a non-finite form for what should be a finite form slot.
I’ve read somewhere that Bikol is the closest language to Tagalog, and it would be easy for Tagalogs to learn Bikol. Well, here I have written a list of differences between Tagalog and Bikol and judge for yourself if Bikol is easy to learn.
Another reason why I’ve written this post is to kindle interest in Bikol as it is far richer than Tagalog in certain respects. There’s been a lot of studies conducted on Tagalog, but not much about Bikol. I think this is due to the relative ease of accessibility to Tagalog materials, it has more speakers, more literature written in it and that it’s the national language.
I will not discuss here vocabulary differences between Bikol or Tagalog, since vocabulary is easy to borrow from language to language, but rather differences in phonology, morphology and syntax. I will use the KWP orthography for Tagalog (or Filipino). I will use my proposed orthography for Bikol here.
These are just the most notable differences. I will update this list as I come accross others.
1. Bikol retains the glottal stop (IPA: ʔ ) in syllable final positions, whether word internally or finally. Tagalog ellides it, resulting in vowel-final syllables.
|SWP Orthography||Opo, hindi nga po naligo si Gemo.|
|Words’s pronunciation in isolation (IPA)||ʔo:poʔ hindiʔ ŋaʔ po? nali:goʔ si gemoʔ|
|Natural Speech (IPA)||ʔo:poʔ-# hindi ŋa pu naligo si gemoʔ|
|English Gloss||Yes, Gemo indeed did not took a bath (polite speech).|
In Bikol, the glottal stops in syllable final positions, whether word internally or finally, are not lost when spoken within a group of words.
|Proposed Orthography||Ŋanaч naman чiyan kun pirmiŋ baчgoh чan badoч moh чoroчaldaw|
|Words’s pronunciation in isolation (IPA)||ŋanaʔ na man ʔiyan kun pirmiŋ baʔgo ʔan ba:doʔ mo ʔoroʔaldaw|
|Natural Speech (IPA)||ŋanaʔ na man yan kun pirmiŋ baʔgo ʔan ba:doʔ mo ʔoroʔaldaw|
|English Gloss||That’s excessive if your clothes are always new every day.|
And since ‘na’, ‘ay’ and ‘at’ are normally unstressed words in Tagalog, their vowels are dropped and consonant component attached to preceeding words ending in vowels or ‘n’.
|maganda na talon||magandang talon|
|dahon na malapad||dahong malapad|
2. This second point is not a difference but I am mentioning it in this section so that some people will not look for it in the other sections. I would like to point out something that is normally classified as prefixation in Tagalog, as if this is another instance of a prefix use. For me that is totally wrong. This is instead an entirely different phenomena: a chroneme change (shift or reversal).
|Written Word||Verb (IPA) / English Gloss||Nominal (IPA) / English Gloss (Occupation)|
|mag-aasin||magʔaʔasin||will make salt||magʔa:ʔa:sin||salt maker/seller|
|mag-iitlog||magʔi:ʔitlog||will lay egg||magʔiʔitlog||egg seller|
|magbabakya||magba:bakyaʔ||will use wooden clogs||magbabakyaʔ||wooden clog maker/seller|
|magbibigas||magbi:bigas||will husk rice||magbibigas||husked rice seller|
|magpuputo||magpu:pu:to||will make rice cakes||magpuputo||rice cake maker/seller|
|manggagamot||maŋga:gamot||will cure||maŋgagamot||doctor, quack doctor|
|manggagantso||maŋga:gantso||will go defrauding||maŋgagantso||fraudster, cheater, swindler|
|mangangaso||maŋa:ŋa:so||will hunt with dogs||maŋaŋa:so||hunter|
|mangangahoy||maŋa:ŋa:hoy||will gather wood||maŋaŋa:hoy||lumberjack, logger|
|mangingisda||maŋi:ŋisdaʔ||will catch fish||maŋiŋisdaʔ||fisherman|
|mamamangka||mama:maŋkaʔ||will go boating||mamamaŋkaʔ||boatman|
|mambabatas||mamba:batas||will make laws||mambaba:tas||lawmaker, congressman, senator, legislator, city councilor|
Please note that this applies only with Tagalog verbs in the irrealis mood & continuative aspect. Bikol does not do this as it uses ‘para-‘ and ‘taga-‘ affixes to denote occupation. This chroneme change also happens in Bikol, but not for occupation but things, objects, implements, concepts, etc.
|Written Word||Verb (IPA)||English Gloss||Nominal (IPA)||English Gloss|
|tataramon||ta:taramon||‘something to be spoken’||tatara:mon||word|
|kakanon||kakanon||to eat something||kaka:non||food|
Tagalog has this as well. Additional examples will be posted later.
Word Formation: Compounding
1. There are a lot more compound words in Tagalog than in Bikol. Compounding is productive in Tagalog.
|asal-hayop||(behavior+animal), bestial conduct|
|basag-ulo||(break+head), altercation, quarrel|
|dahongpalay||(leaf+linker+rice), a green-colored poisonous snake|
|hampas-lupa||(strike+soil), tramp, bum, good-for-nothing|
|pamatid-uhaw||(for cutting+thirst), quencher|
|urong-sulong||(go backward+go forward), hesitant, wavering|
There is a dearth of compound words in Bikol.
|чablondawanih||(woven cloth+linker+legendary first woman), rainbow|
2. ‘Tala- -an’ is treated as a cimcumfix in Tagalog, but I consider it as a compounded word talaan+word, and the word is inserted between tala- and -an. ‘tala’ means record, plus the word for what is recorded, plus the locative affix -an.
|talátinigan||(record+voice+locative suffix), dictionary|
|taláaklatan||(record+book+locative suffix), catalogue of books|
|taláarawan||(record+day+locative suffix), calendar or diary|
|taláupahan||(record+rent+locative suffix), payroll/wages|
|taláawitan||(record+lyrics+locative suffix), book of lyrics|
|talátugtugan||(record+melody+locative suffix), book of melodies|
3. ‘sang-‘ is from ‘isa na’ meaning ‘one+linker’. Bikol and Tagalog has both words prefixed before numbers.
|sangdaan||saŋgatos||(one+linker+hundreds), One hundred|
|sanglibo||saŋriboh||(one+linker+one thousands), One thousand|
The difference is that ‘sang’ is more productive in Tagalog:
|sambahayan||(one+linker+house+locative affix), household|
|sambayanan||(one+linker+town+locative affix), town’s populace|
|sambuhat||(one+linker+lift), synchronized lifting|
|sandakot||(one+linker+handscoop), a handful|
|sandali||(one+linker+quick), one moment|
|sandamak||(one+linker+handbreadth), a handbreadth|
|sandangkal||(one+linker+handspan), a span from thumb to middle finger|
|sandipa||(one+linker+fathom), a fathom|
|sanduguan||(one+linker+blood+locative affix), blood compact|
|sanlaksa||(one+linker+ten thousands), ten thousand|
|sanlinggo||(one+linker+week), one week|
|sansala||(one+linker+wrong doing), prohibition|
|sansalita||(one+linker+word), one word|
|sansinukoban||(one+linker+cover+locative affix), universe|
|santambak||(one+linker+heap), one big heap/pile|
|santaon||(one+linker+year), one year|
|santinakpan||(one+linker+cover+locative affix), universe|
|santuka||(one+linker+beak), one peck|
|sang-angaw||(one+linker+millions), one million|
|sangkalangitan||(one+linker+sky+locative affix), heavens, firmament|
|sangkapuluan||(one+linker+archipelago), the whole archipelago|
|sangkatutak||(one+linker+many), a group of very many/numerous members|
|sangkaterba||(one+linker+many), a group of very many/numerous members|
|sangkawan||(one+linker+flock), a flock, herd, school|
|sangyuta||(one+linker+hundred thousands), one hundred thousand|
Bikol have a few words implying agreement or oneness.
|saŋhulih||(one+linker+last), agreement to buy at half the price and halve the profit with the original seller once resold.|
|saŋgawad||(one+linker+assist), be an assistant|
|saŋgilid||(one+linker+edge), navigation along one of the river banks.|
|sampaliŋ||(one+linker+turn to one side), slap/smack on the face|
4. di-‘ is a Tagalog prefix word meaning ‘not’, similar to English ‘in-, im-, non-, un-“. This is absent in Bikol.
|di-maganda||bakoŋ magayon||‘not beautiful|
Bikol uses 2 words to negate a phrase, bakuч and daчih. Bakuч is preposed before nominals and daчih before verbs.
Word Formation: Affixation – Nominal Morphology
1. It is often indicated that Tagalog has a circumfix ‘papag- -an’ independent of ‘pag- -an’. I don’t agree. ‘papag–an’ is ‘pag- -an’ in imperfective aspect form, where the first CV is repeated or reduplicated. This is not ‘pa-‘ plus ‘pag-‘ prefix.
|Tagalog||pag–an > IRR: <Redup>pag–an > <pa>pag–an|
|Bikol||pag–an > IRR : pag–an > pa: –an|
Since ‘pag-‘ is the nominal form of the verbal prefix ‘mag-‘, ‘pag-‘ prefix will follow how the ‘mag-‘ prefix also is conjugated in Irrealis mood. In Bikol, ‘mag-‘ becomes ‘ma:-‘ in the imperfective aspect, irrealis mood of the verb. With Tagalog ‘mag-‘, the light version of the 1st syllable of the base word is reduplicated. But since ‘pag-‘ affixed word is not a verb, the entire word is treated as a base word.
|pagsayawan > papagsayawan||pagsayawan > pa:sayawan|
|pagbayuhan > papagbayuhan||pagbabayuhan > pa:babayuhan|
|paglutuan > papaglutuan||paglutuчan > pa:lutuчan|
|pagkulahan > papagkulahan||pagkulahan > pa:kulahan|
The same relation applies between the Tagalog circumfixes ‘papag–in’ and ‘pag–in’
|pag-aralin > papag-aralin||pagчadalon > pa: чadalon|
|paglakbayin > papaglakbayin||pagbaklayon > pa:baklayon|
|pag-awayin > papag-awayin||pagчiwalon > pa:чiwalon|
|paglaruin > papaglaruin||pagkawaton > pa:kawaton|
|paghiwain > papaghiwain||paggirison > pa:girison|
|pagtilarin > papagtilarin||pagtiladon > pa:tiladon|
‘papag–an’ and ‘papag–in’ have future meaning since its not in the Realis mood. For verbs in realis mood, the Perfective Aspect is has a default past meaning, while the Imperfective Aspect has present meaning. In Irrealis Mood, the Perfective(non-continuative) aspect has a neutral tense, but the Imperfective (continuative) aspect cannot be present or past since it is not happening now or in the past.
2. Bikol has both para– and taga– prefixes to refer to regular, habitual or professional actions, whereas Tagalog only ‘tagapag-‘ or ‘mang-‘. ‘Mang-‘ is just the Irrealis active verb conjugation with reduplication but nominalized through chroneme shifting (see earlier discussion).
|manganganta||parakantah||singer (as a solo profession)|
Taga– means that the doer is limited/restricted to doing the action of the verb, where it involves other persons doing other parts of the processes or steps.
|tagatahi||tagatahiч||person doing the sewing only, not cutting of fabrics or washing, etc|
|tagakanta, tagaawit||tagakantah, tagaчawit||singer (in a band, other members do the drums, guitar, etc)|
|tagaluto||tagalutoч||cook (another is doing the preparation before cooking or serving after cooking)|
|tagasaka||tagaчumah||farmer (someone else doing the planting, harvesting, husking, financing, selling, etc.)|
|tagaaway||tagaчiwal||fighter (someone else doing the mediation, refereeing, etc in a fight)|
‘Tagapag-‘ is derived from ‘taga-‘ (the same affix above) plus ‘-pag-‘ : ‘pag-‘ is the nonfinite form of the verbal affix ‘mag-‘ added to imply a more direct, active role in doing the action. The combined affixes imply a more restricted role in the doing of the nominalized (pag-) action.
What’s the difference between ‘taga-‘, ‘tagapag-‘, ‘tagapa-‘, ‘tagapang-‘? Taga- is the affix as discussed above. -pag-, -pa-, and -pang- are the nonfinite forms of the verbal orientation affixes mag-, ma- and mang-, thus the meaning added is the meaning of those verbal orientation affixes. I will discuss these verbal orientation affixes in another post. Both of these are present in Tagalog and Bikol.
The persons indicated by these words are different. The tagalista is the same as the tagapaglista, the tagapalista, tagapangllista and tagalista are different persons/role in the action lista.
Although the forms are identical in Bikol, the meanings are not. The Bikol words with ‘tagapag-‘ do not have the same meanings as those with ‘para-‘. Para is intensive, tagapag is semi-intensive.
Thus, both the ‘mang-‘ with reduplication and ‘tagapag-‘ are present in Bikol as well, except that Bikol does not shift the chroneme in ‘mang-‘ to get the ‘profession’ meaning and ‘tagapag-‘ has a restricted meaning compared with ‘para-‘, and very little meaning difference with ‘taga-‘.
It is also to be noted that in Bikol, para- can be combined with <pa> : parakakan, parapakakan, parapangkakan. Parapagkakan is absent since it is already embodied in parakakan.
3. Kag– prefix in Bikol has no Tagalog counterpart. Its signifies the doer or agent of a completed/finished action if a verb, or owner if a noun. To express this in Tagalog, one has to say use may-, which is also present in Bikol. It means ‘with’.
|maykapal||kaglalaŋ/maylalaŋ||‘creator/ person with creation|
|mayhandog||kagdulot/maydulot||‘donor/person with donation|
|may-bahay*||kagharoŋ/mayharoŋ||‘house owner/person with the house’|
|maylikha||kaggiboh/maygiboh||‘manufacturer, maker, composer/person with the works|
|maysakit||*kaghelaŋ/mayhelaŋ||xx/person with the sickness, patient|
*may-bahay and maybahay are different. Maybahay means ‘housewife’ in Tagalog.
One cannot say in Bikol kaghelang since helang is not a verb; may– is used for general possession or possession of anything while kag– is used for doer of an action or the active agent. Since kag– is absent in Tagalog, Tagalog cannot make such distinction.
4. Bikol has mako– and pako– prefixes, which imply relationship indicated by the rootword. This is absent in Tagalog.
5. Pagkani– prefix in Bikol, meaning “the state of having become (in the past)”, is absent in Tagalog. The –ni– component is the same one present in another Bikol prefix mani– ‘to have become’. The approximate expression in Tagalog would be to say ‘pagkakapaging’ , which is also possible in Bikol. pagkakapaging literally means “the state of being been (in the past)”,
|Tagalog||Bikol||English (very literal meaning)|
|pagkakapaging gwapo||pagkanigwapoh / pagkakapagiŋ gwapoh||‘the state of having become/being been handsome’|
|pagkakapaging tao||pagkanitahoh / pagkakapagiŋ tahoh||‘the state of having become/being been human’|
|pagkakapaging bata||pagkaniчakiч / pagkakapagiŋ чakiч||‘the state of having become/being been a child’|
|pagkakapaging bata||pagkanihalaŋkaw / pagkakapagiŋ halaŋkaw||‘the state of having become/being been tall’|
|pagkakapaging asawa||pagkaniчagom / pagkakapagiŋ чagom||‘the state of having become/being been a spouse’|
|pagkakapaging bayan||pagkanibanwaчan / pagkakapagiŋ banwaчan||‘the state of having become/being been a town’|
|pagkakapaging ina||pagkaniчinaч / pagkakapagiŋ чinaч||‘the state of having become/being been a mother’|
This is different from pagka– prefix, meaning ‘the state of having’ or from pagiging ‘the state of being’.
|pagkagwapo / pagiging gwapo||pagkagwapoh / pagigiŋ gwapoh||‘the state of having handsomeness/being handsome’|
|pagkatao / pagiging tao||pagkatahoh / pagigiŋ tahoh||‘the state of having human-ness/being human’|
|pagkabata / pagiging bata||pagkaчakiч / pagigiŋ чakiч||‘the state of having child-ness/being a child’|
|pagkamataas / pagiging mataas||pagkahalaŋkaw / pagigiŋ halaŋkaw||‘the state of having tallness/ being tall’|
|pagka-asawa / pagiging asawa||pagkaчagom / pagigiŋ чagom||‘the state of having spouse-ness/being a spouse’|
Word Formation: Affixation – Adjectival Morphology
1. Tagalog has an affix ‘pala-‘ meaning’ habitually’. This is expressed in Bikol as ma–in– or –Vr–on‘. Technically they’re different meanings. Both are absent from each other. Note that ‘pala-‘ is only affixed to verbs.
‘mapa-‘, ‘mapag-‘ and ‘mapang-‘ are used for both nominal words and verb to have the same ‘habitual’ meaning.
|mapang-away||parapaki-iwal||‘habitually quarrel with someone’|
|mapang-inis||‘habitually annoy someone’|
|mapambato||‘habitually stone someone’|
|mapanuro||matinukdo||‘habitually point someone out’|
‘mapa-‘, ‘mapag-‘ and ‘mapang-‘ all imply ’cause the subject to do’ something, whether involuntarity agent subject (mapa-), voluntary agent subject (mapag-, implies habitual action also), or agent subject induces another agent (mapang-).
Tagalog ‘mapa-‘, ‘mapag-‘ and ‘mapang-‘ are not exact semantic equivalents of Bikol para– or Tagalog ‘pala-‘. ‘mapa-‘, ‘mapag-‘ and ‘mapang-‘ are combinations of ‘ma-‘ adjectival prefix meaning ‘full of’ plus the non-finite forms of the verb. Bikol ma–in-‘ has also this same ‘ma-‘ adjectival prefix but does not mean the same as ‘ma(pa-,pag-,pang-)’. Bikol para-‘ is purely a verb prefix. I am unsure if Tagalog ‘pala-‘ shifted in meaning/use from verbal to adjectival.
2. Bikol has ha– as prefix for a special class of adjectives, with the rest of adjectives using ‘ma-. Ha– is affixed only to bases indicating spatio-temporal dimensions. Tagalog has only ma– for all adjectives.
|maiksi||haliчpot||‘short (spatial & temporal)’|
There are the only exceptions, which follow the other adjectives:
3. Bikol has a –non suffix, meaning ‘in the nature of’. This is absent in Tagalog.
|x||turognon||‘sleep+nature, sleepy/always sleeping,|
One cannot say in Bikol tagaturog or tagadiyos, thus –non and taga– are different. When taga– is prefixed to a noun, it denotes a place or spatial location, with the resulting meaning of a person or people residing from or native of a place.
Syntax and Function Words
1. Tagalog has the topic marker ‘ay’, Bikol has ‘чiyoh’ as internal topic marker in equational sentences only but this is not obligatory, for a pause or even nothing can replace it. The pause is the only possible external topic marker.
|Tagalog||Ang mga bata ay naglalaro ng taguan sa aming bahay.|
|Bikol||Чan maŋah чakiч *(чiyoh/no pause) nagkakawat nin taraguчan sah samoŋ baloy|
|English||The children are playing hide and seek at our house.|
The asterisk (*) in *iyo means its either unattested or ungrammatical to say with ‘iyo’, while ‘/’ means another possibility.
|Tagalog||Sa aming bahay ay naglalaro ang mga bata ng taguan.|
|Bikol||Sah samoŋ baloy *чiyoh/(pause) nagkakarawat чan maŋah чakiч nin taraguчan.|
|English||At our house, the children are playing hide and seek.|
Iyo as topic marker in equational sentence:
|Tagalog||Siya ay ang maganda.|
|Bikol||Siyah чiyoh/(no pause) чan magayon.|
|English||She is the beautiful one.|
In descriptive sentence, iyo is not obligatory:
|Tagalog||Siya ay maganda.|
|Bikol||Siyah *чiyoh/(no pause) magayon.|
|English||She is beautiful.|
I would depart from Hirano who called ‘ay’ a Topic marker and call ‘ay’ instead as a Focus marker in a thematic equative sentence. It is not a Topic marker, unlike ‘wa’ in Japanese, since all markers in Tagalog (ang, ng, sa, si, sina, ni, nina, kay, kina, etc) are prepositions (placed before) unlike Japanese (ga, o, de, ni, etc) which are postpositions (placed after). Also, it does not appear with the topic if the topic is not word initial. It can’t even be called a Topic-Focus linker since ‘ay’, unlike ‘na’ in Tagalog, cannot appear if the words or phrases being linked is reversed.
|NOM na ADJ||saging na matamis|
|ADJ na NOM||matamis na saging|
|English Gloss||sweet banana|
|TOP ay FOC||siya ay maganda|
|FOC ay TOP||*maganda ay siya.|
|English Gloss||She is pretty|
‘ay’ then is more a Focus marker, if it appears after the topic. In normal sentences, there is no need to mark the focus since it is at the start of the sentence (VSO or VOS sentence pattern).
2. Bikol have no demonstrative equivalent to ‘ire’ in Tagalog, although in Tagalog, that is rarely used lately. With ire’s continued loss, ito is shifting meaning to mean just ‘close to speaker’.
|English||this/these (near me),||this/these (near you and me),||that/those (near you),||that/those (far from you and me)|
*чidih is a hypothetical form not found in Bikol.
Tagalog yoon and Bikol чidtoh can mean ‘it’ and refer to things that are not visible.
3. Tagalog has comparative and existential demonstrative forms which are absent in Bikol, but can be expressed using 2 words.
|English||in here (near me)||in here (near you and me)||in there (near you)||in there yonder (far from you and me)|
|English||like this (near me)||like this (near you and me)||like that (near you)||like that yonder (far from you and me)|
For Bikol to do that would require 2 words:
Existential = uya + locative:
|Bikol||x||чuyah digdih||чuyah diyan||чuyah duman|
|Tagalog||*nasa dine||*nasa dito||*nasa ayan||*nasa iyon|
Comparative = arog + genitive:
|Bikol||x||чarog kaчinih||чarog kaчiyan||чarog kaчitoh/katoh|
|Tagalog||gaya nire||gaya nito||gaya niyan||gaya niyon|
4. Tagalog has additional personal pronouns ‘kata, nita and kanita’ although they are rarely used now. These are lacking in Bikol.
|Person / Clusivity||Nominative||Genitive||Oblique|
|1st-Excl||ako||чakoh||ko||koh, niyakoч||akin||sakuyaч, sakoч|
|Person / Clusivity||Nominative||Genitive||Oblique|
|1st-Excl||kami||kamih||namin||mih, niyamoч||amin||samoч, samuyaч|
|1st-Incl||tayo||kitah||natin||tah, niyatoч||atin||satoч, satuyaч|
It is not right to call the minimal series as singular since the 1st-inclusive is actually dual in meaning. Bikol lacks 1st Inclusive minimal series ‘kata, nita and kanita’.
Tagalog and Bikol has 1 more pronoun each not in the above list. Tagalog ‘kita’ and Bikol taka are portmanteau personal pronouns, being a combined 1st-Exclusive genitive ‘ko’ and 2nd person nominative ‘ikaw’/ka’ or чikah/ka.
|English||I asked you.|
|English||I love you.|
Word Formation: Affixation – Verbal Morphology
1. Magpati– prefix is rarer in Tagalog than in Bikol. The prefix means ‘to let/allow oneself to, without resistance, passively’
|magpatihulog||to allow oneself to fall (from a tree, building, other high place)|
|magpatianod||to allow oneself to drift (in a current or river)|
Tagalog ‘magpatiwakal’ ‘to kill oneself’ is most likely not an instance of ‘magpati-‘ affix, but of ‘magpa-‘ affix, since (1) the base word is most likely tiwakal, and (2) Magpatiwakal has an active meaning and not passive. There exists no base word ‘wakal ‘ in Tagalog now and if ‘wakal’ is the root word, wakal could be related to ‘wakas’ ‘end’, or to Bikol ‘wakay’ meaning ‘(1) to scatter or spread, (2) to eviscerate, disembowel’. Magpatiwakal could mean then ‘to allow oneself to be scattered/spread, by cutting oneself’. Or it can refer to a suicide method, but as of now we plainly do not know.
Instances of magpati– in Bikol includes:
|magpatihulog||to allow oneself to fall (from a tree, building, other high place)|
|magpatiчanod||to allow oneself to drift (in a current or river)|
|magpatibasaŋ||to leave oneself to chance|
|magpatiwaraч||to allow one’s possession go to nothing|
|magpatilagbaч||to let itself become elongated|
And since magpati– is in active voice, there is also a passive voice:
чipati-, pati– –on, pati– –an.
|Versative Orientation||Lative Orientation||Essive Orientation|
2. Bikol can express plural verbs through –Vr– infix in all moods, transitivity, iterativity, aspects, voices, and focus, while Tagalog has a limited plural affix ‘-si-‘, productive only with ‘mag’ ( > magsi-) and mangag ( > mangagsi-). These Tagalog forms are very seldom used. Tagalog has no plural forms for ‘ma-‘, ‘mang-‘, ‘-in’, ‘-an’, ‘-um’ and ‘i-‘, thus Tagalog ‘si-‘ prefix may not have a plural meaning originally. We will compare ‘magsi-‘ with Visayan prefix ‘masig-‘ in another post.
|Tagalog||Naglalaro ang bata.|
|Bikol||Nagkakawat чan чakiч.|
|English||The child is playing.|
|Tagalog||Nagsisilaro ang mga bata, or frequently, Naglalaro ang mga bata.|
|Bikol||Nagkakarawat чan maŋah чakiч.|
|English||The children are playing.|
This –Vr– infix appears in all verb conjugations in Bikol. This infix appears also in nouns and adjectives with plural connotations as well:
|pagpurustahan||betting game (plural actors)|
|pagчiribah||company (plural actors)|
|pagkaчaramigoh||friendship (plural person)|
|harababaч||short (plural form)|
|mararah||dry (plural form)|
This cannot be used to mean plural nouns. Maŋah is used for that.
Maŋag– prefix in Tagalog is not a plural affix, its a collective affix meaning ‘to (do) together with, or in company with’, which is also present in Bikol. This is different from abilitative affix (-ka-). Although fully productive, collective affixes are infrequently used, especially in Bikol. Maŋag– affix is not a comitative/sociative/associative affix since its subject has to be a group including the subject, not someone with whom the subject did the action.
|Tagalog||Nangagsisilaro ang mga bata, or frequently, Nangaglaro ang mga bata.|
|Bikol||Naŋaŋagkarawat чan maŋah чakiч, or Naŋaŋagkawat чan maŋah чakiч.|
|English||The children (as a group) are playing|
Note that Bikol and Tagalog reduplicates different syllables.
The affix nag– –an has reciprocal meaning “to (do) to each other” and is not a plural suffix. This is present in both Bikol and Tagalog. –an suffix has reciprocal meaning only if affix together with nag-, if used alone, it has a locative meaning, unless there is a chroneme shift.
|Tagalog||Nagsisuntukan sila, or frequently, Nagsuntukan sila.|
|English||They punched each other.|
Reciprocal and collective meaning can go together as naŋag– –an. This implies 2+ participants, since there has to be person who can do it to each other and together.
|Tagalog||Nangagsisisuntukan sila, or frequently, Nangagsusuntukan sila.|
|Bikol||Naŋaŋagsuruntukan sindah or Naŋaŋagsuntukan sindah.|
|English||They punching each other and with each other. (a free for all punching)|
Verbs with reciprocal affix co-occur with the subjects in the plural (Bikol & Tagalog) and the verbs may or may not be in the plural (Bikol). This is due to number agreement. Collective affix in Bikol is preferrable without the plural infix, but is possible if several groups.
3. Bikol can express action iterativity, making 3 distinctions, Tagalog cannot. In Bikol, action iterativity distinctions are: non-iterative (no affix), occasional iterative (taga– prefix) and continuous iterative (para– prefix). In Tagalog, the continuous iterative is done by repeating the verb, as shown below.
|Tagalog||Naglalaro ang bata.|
|Bikol||Nagkakawat чan чakiч. (Non-iterative)|
|English||The child is playing (one complete action).|
|Bikol||Nagtatagakawat чan чakiч. (Occasional Iterative)|
|English||The child is playing every now and then (with significant interval).|
|Tagalog||Naglalaro nang naglalaro ang bata.|
|Bikol||Nagpaparakawat чan чakiч. (Continuous Iterative)|
|English||The child is playing again and again (non-stop or insignificant interval ).|
|Tagalog||Nagsisilaro ang mga bata.|
|Bikol||Nagkakarawat чan maŋah чakiч. (Non-iterative)|
|English||The childen are playing (one complete action).|
|Bikol||Nagtatagakarawat чan maŋah чakiч.(Occasional Iterative)|
|English||The children are playing every now and then (with significant interval).|
|Tagalog||Nagsisilaro nang nagsisilaro ang mga bata.|
|Bikol||Nagpaparakarawat чan maŋah чakiч.(Continuous Iterative)|
|English||The children are playing again and again (non-stop or insignificant interval ).|
This is fully productive in all verb conjugations even with collective and reciprocal meanings, and even in nonfinite forms of the verb.
4. Standard Bikol has imperative mood apart from indicative mood through the suffixes –ih and –ah, Standard Tagalog has not. Tagalog dialects close to Bikol and Bisayan languages have, like Quezon Tagalog and Marindoque Tagalog. I do not know if Mindoro Tagalog and Batangas Tagalog dialects have them as well.
|Tagalog||Bigyan mo ako ng kanin.|
|Bikol||Taчuhan moh чakoh nin malutoч or Taчuhih чakoh nin malutoч.|
|English||Give me (cooked) rice.|
|Tagalog||Kainin mo ang kanin.|
|Bikol||Kakanon moh чan malutoч or Kakanah чan malutoч.|
|English||Eat the (cooked) rice.|
5. Both Tagalog and Bikol has active affixes (mag-, ma-, maŋ-, maŋag– and mani-(Bikol only)/magiŋ-) and passive affixes (-in, –an, чi– and –um-). But in Tagalog, majority of verbs either conjugates for –um– or mag– only. In Bikol, both conjugations are possible.
Others have called this a verbal case system, but I think this is not correct, as ‘case’ normally is applied to verb arguments, not the verb itself, and that Tagalog & Bikol has real case markers, called prepositions. Verb Orientation system would be a better term.
|Tagalog||Umiyak (*Nagiyak) ang bata.|
|Bikol||Huminibiч (Naghibiч) чan чakiч.|
|English||The child cried.|
|Tagalog||Umupo (*Nagupo) ang bisita.|
|Bikol||Tuminokaw (Nagtukaw) чan bisitah.|
|English||The guest/visitor sat down.|
|Tagalog||Dumating (*Nagdating) kami kahapon.|
|Bikol||Чuminabot (Nagчabot) kamih kasuhapon.|
|English||We arrived yesterday.|
|Tagalog||Nagtanim (*tumanim) ako ng saging.|
|Bikol||Nagtanom (Tuminanom) чakoh nin batag.|
|English||We planted a banana.|
|Tagalog||Nagtanong (*tumanong) siya sa guro.|
|Bikol||Naghapot (Huminapot) siyah sah paratukdoч.|
|English||He/she asked the teacher.|
* indicates that this form is unattested and/or ungrammatical.
Both –um– and mag– are fully productive in Bikol, although the irrealis imperfective forms are the same in both. Here is an example for the verb ‘tanom’ ‘to plant’.
There is syncretism in the irrealis imperfective forms of mag– and –um-. The mag– irrealis imperfective conjugation is irregular and should have been *magtatanom. Such pattern or rule exists in Tagalog (magtatanim). The –um– irrealis imperfective and realis imperfective conjugations are irregular and should have been *tumatanom and *tuminatanom. The correct irrealis imperfective conjugation exists in Tagalog (tumatanim) but as –um– realis imperfective conjugation.
What is the distinction between mag– and –um-? Mag– is active voice, –um– is deponent passive voice, that is, it is active in meaning (syntax) but has a passive form (morphology). Passive voice is indicated in Bikol and Tagalog by morphology and never by syntax. In Tagalog, there is only very limited verbs that can be conjugated for both, but it is fully productive in Bikol.
Both Bikol and Tagalog doesn’t have dedicated reflexive affix or dedicated comitative affixes. Abilitative affix –ka– and –ki– affix can have comitative meanings, but that is not their primary meaning.
6. Bikol has the prefix mani– ‘to become’, which is unproductive and almost absent in Tagalog, if only for the sole occurence of ‘manibago’.
|maging tao||manitahoh||‘become a man’|
|maging ina||maniчinaч||‘become a mother’|
|maging anak||maniчakiч||‘become a child’|
|maging bayan||manibanwaчan||‘become a town’|
|maging bago||manibaчgoh||‘become new, feel new’|
“Maging bago” is also manibago in Tagalog. That’s the only word with mani– prefix in Tagalog. Bikol also uses the verbal auxilliary magiŋ.
This prefix is related to pagkani– (pagkanibaчgoh) and pani– (panibaчgoh). See above discussion of pagkani-.
7. Bikol has an alternative affix for –in– (realis mood), which is pig– for passive verbs. Tagalog does not have that.
|Kuminakan||> *Pigkumakan (not possible)|
Register or Speech Level
Bikol has a a speech level or register not found in any Philippine language. Its called “angry register” by Jason Lobel but is a misnomer since one does not have to be angry to use it. One can use it if irritated, or wants to intimidate, antagonize, shock, to illicit laughter, to spice up a conversation, or to put people down or outside their normal place. I would call it Palanit, and the other register Palumhok. Palanit register can also use words that imply vulgar, unpolished behavior, or apply words normally descriptive of animals. Both palanit and palumhok describe the speaker’s attitude towards the thing, or emotions at that moment. The following are just a few of the examples in Bikol.
|чalinawnaw||malsuk||eye center (iris & pupil)|
|чapon||daklag, batikal, tapok||throw|
|bagyoh, чuran||bagrak, bagwak||rain, typhoon|
|batay||tuчmak||step on something|
|kakan||gutok, sibaч, lamon||eat|
|kuyamad||kusmad, kuspad||lice eggs|
|kwartah||samagtak, sagtak, sagrak||money|
|daplaч||sukamaŋ||fall flat on the face|
|haliч||lantuчag, lantot||go away, leave|
|ŋusoч||buŋaŋaч, ŋuraspak, ŋurapak||mouth|
|turog||tiplaч, tupsok, tuspok||sleep|
|burat||lusrat, lasŋaw||drunk, intoxicated|
Paŋsahayop are words normally applied to animals but could be applied to humans. These words hit harder when used.
|чagisis||kagiskis, kiskis||dry, scaly skin|
Palanit is different than vulgar language or ‘rapsak’. The following are rapsak words and are mostly tabooed so I am indicating their respective replacement words “Panaŋliч”.
|Palumhok (Rapsak)||Palanit (Rapsak)||English Gloss||Panaŋliч|
|pipiч, pitaч, buray, putay||lamasdak||vagina||kinabuhay|
|pisot, pikoy, butoч||himutoч||penis||kinabuhay|
|bulbul||x||pubic hair||buhok, barayboh|
Palanit words are not cuss words since cuss words are called ‘raway’ or ‘mudah’. I will not list curse words here.
Bikol speech register is the opposite of the 9 register levels in Basa Jawa (Javanese) which are more oriented towards politeness & respect: krama inggil (honorific – talking to people of higher status), krama madya (intermediate – talking to people of same social status/age) & ngoko (ordinary – talking to people of lower status, or familiar/related people). The 9 levels in descending order are mudha-krama, kramantara, wreda-krama, madya-krama, madyantara, madya-ngoko, basa-antya, antya-basa, ngoko-lugu.
Because of these, it can be said that Bikol is far richer, more expressive than Tagalog in verbal, adjectival, and nominal morphology and speech levels. But Tagalog is richer in compounding, topic/comment markings, and function words. But those Tagalog characteristics are easy to borrow, being words. Tagalog will have a harder time borrowing those Bikol features, even the speech register which need a whole lot of words. Tagalog is Bikol lite, Bikol is Tagalog plus.
These differences say a lot about their common protolanguage, Meso-Philippine. Next we will investigate features in Visayan languages which are absent in Bikol, and note if they are absent in Tagalog as well. Visayan languages are another set of languages belonging to Meso-Philippines.