More on Learning Tagalog: Verbal Focus

In one of my posts I mentioned that one of the things that made it relatively easy for me to learn the Tagalog grammar is the fact that there are no real “tenses” in Tagalog. There is just a “completed” aspect, an “incompleted” aspect and a “contemplated” one.

The tricky thing though is that more than one affix can be attached to a root word to form a verb to determine the “focus” of the sentence.

Just to briefly gloss over it, take for example the verb kumain=”to eat”. If I say kumain ako ng pancit what I am saying is that “I am the one who ate pancit“.If, instead, I say kinain ko ang pancit what I am saying is that pancit is what I ate, I am no longer focusing on the doer of the action of eating but on what has been eaten.

Even the pronoun changes accordingly: if I use kumain then I have to use ako, while if I use kinain I need to use ko. The “article” (it is not really an article but we can call it that to simplify) changes as well: in a subject focus type of sentence it is ng, while in an object focus type of sentence it’s ang.

Again this business of focus is a little more complex than what I’ve briefly mentioned here but it is not too difficult either.

So, the purpose of these brief posts I’ve made, about the basic structure of the Tagalog language, is not to engage you in a lecture about the language itself but merely to let you know (just in case your wife is Filipina or you are planning to marry a Filipina and you have never considered the possibility to learn Tagalog) that learning Tagalog is within reach and it’s not as difficult as one might think.

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