Nouns in Tagalog

In Tagalog, there are nine basic parts of speech: verbs (pandiwa), nouns (pangngalan), adjectives (pang-uri), adverbs (pang-abay), prepositions (pang-ukol), pronouns (panghalip), conjunctions (pangatnig), ligatures (pang-angkop) and particles.

I started with the verbs because they are the easy as well as the tricky part, the easy part being the fact that Tagalog verbs have aspects rather than tenses and the tricky part being all the different affixes that one has to stick to the root-word depending on the focus of the sentence.

But let’s address other parts of speech and in this post I am going to talk about nouns.

What is a Noun?

A noun is a person, a place, a thing, or an idea.

I have already mentioned that in Tagalog many words are formed by combining a root-word with one or more affixes.

In Tagalog, most root words function as nouns and these includes such roots as ganda, talino and many other roots. When a root-word has no affixes attached to it that word is usually a noun.

Some nouns have Austronesian origins while many others are borrowed from other languages such as Spanish, English, other Philippine languages, etc.

Spanish: silya, mesa, aparador, kotse

English: motor, kompyuter, tren, gadyet

Many other nouns are formed by sticking one or more affixes to the root.


ka-indicating a companion or colleague

ex kainuman:drinking buddy, katrabaho: work colleague

ka-….-an or ka-…-han: collective or abstract noun.
Example: kagandahan=beauty, kaalaman=knowledge, kaunawaan=insight

Pan-: denoting instrumental use of the noun.
Example: pantulong=aid

“-an” and “-han

1. A place where you can find many of the things described by the root word.

Example: aklatan (a place with many aklat or books=library), bigasan=rice shop

2. Place where the action described by the root word takes place
Example: aralan (place where the aral or lesson takes place), lutuan (place where luto or cooking is made), laruan, labahan

3. time in which the action indicated by the root word takes place to a large extent
Example: pistahan=time for celebration, anihan=harvesting time

4. actions done for revenge
Example: barilan=shooting, suntukan=punching

5. something numerous or very large
Example: duguan=bloodshed

in or hin

1. relationship
Example: tiyuhin=uncle, inapo=offspring

2. something that has the same shape as the thing defined by the root-word
Example: sinampalok=something having the shape of sampalok or tamarind


1. part of a group
Example: kabayan=fellow countryman

2. relationship
Example: kalaro=fellow player

ka – an

1. group of things described by the root word
Example: kabahayan=group of houses

2. the climax of a situation
Example: kainitan=under the sun, in a very hot environment


1. family relationship
Example: mag-ama=father and son

2. mag– + repetition of the first syllable of the root word=profession
Example: manggagamot=someone who works in the field of medicine


1. season
Example: tag-ulan=rainy season


1. one who does the job indicated by the root word
Example: tagalinis=cleaner

This list shows that in Tagalog there are really a lot of affixes.

But it doesn’t stop here. In addition to verbal and noun affixes there are also affixes that are used to form adjectives.

I will cover those in another post.