Tagalog Nouns
as Subject and Object

Tagalog Nouns as Subject

In the sentences below, the noun is used as the subject of the sentence. These simple sentences can be translated two ways, but which translation must apply depends on what the source text wants to emphasize.

  1. Dorothy is blown away. (Nilipad si Dorothy. Si Dorothy ay nilipad.)
  2. Dorothy, the orphaned girl, is blown away. (Nilipad si Dorothy, ang ulilang bata. Si Dorothy, ang ulilang bata, ay nilipad.)
  3. Dorothy, talk to the Tin Man. (Dorothy, kausapin mo ang Lalaking Lata. Dorothy, ang Lalaking Lata ay kausapin mo.) 
  4. That girl is Dorothy, the heroine. (Ang batang babaeng iyon ay si Dorothy, ang bida. Ang bida ay ang batang babaeng iyon, si Dorothy. Si Dorothy, ang batang babaeng iyon, ay ang bida.)

In translating number one, spoken Tagalog would opt for the first and not the second translation. The "ay" construction of the second translation gives it a more formal tone, and is often more used in writing. In number two, the first translation is like a periodic sentence, where the emphasis is given at the end. Given the imperative tone in number three, the first translation centers the action and focuses on Dorothy and not on the Tin Man. The second translation seems to steal away the emphasis from Dorothy. In number four, the second translation completely loses the emphasis of the source text.



Tagalog Nouns as Object

In the sentences below, the noun is used as the object of the sentence. Nouns can be used as object of verbs or of  prepositions, or if they are appositives. Study some simple examples below:

  1. She brought food along with a case of beer. (Nagdala siya ng pagkain kasama ng isang case ng beer.) - "ng pagkain" is the object of the verb "Nagdala".
  2. Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. (Ibigay mo  kay Caesar, ang para kay Caesar at sa Diyos ang para sa Diyos.) - "Caesar" and "Diyos" are objects of the preposition "para" [for Caesar, for God].
  3. The US Military Industry imports hemp, pride of the Bicol region, from the Philippines. (Ang Industriyang Militar ng Estados Unidos ay umaangkat ng abaka sa Pilipinas, produkto na ipinagmamalaki sa Rehiyon ng Bicol.) - "ng abaka" is the object of the verb "umaangkat", while "produktong ipinagmamalaki" is the appositive.
  4. Accept everything about Jesus, the one and only mediator between God and man. (Tanggapin mo ang lahat tungkol kay Jesus, ang tangi at nag-iisang tagapamagitan sa pagitan ng tao at ng Diyos.) - "kay Jesus" is the object of the preposition "tungkol" while "ang tagapamagitan" serves as the appositive.

For students of Filipino out there, these functions of nouns are referred to in Filipino as kaukulang palagyo (used as subject) and kaukulang palayon (used as object).

To remain faithful in translation, English nouns serving as objects or subjects must have the same functions in Tagalog. 

For how singular Tagalog nouns are made plural, move to the next  lesson.

More On English and Tagalog at Tagalog at Wordhouse

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