March 20, 2020

Go Filipino - 15. Let's Talk About Gender (Pronouns, Part 1)

A pseudo breakdown transcript of the podcast Go Filipino Lesson 15 by Kris Andres. For more information about Kris and his podcast check out his Patreon!

This episode brought to you today by the Tagalog word Amihan.

Amihan - The cold monsoon winds coming from the north or northeast.


What makes Tagalog pronouns different than their english counterparts is that it also indicates whether the noun being replaced is in focus, not in focus, or involved with directions.

Note: Lesson 5-7 go over focus markers. These markers go hand in hand with pronouns.

Focus Pronouns


ako - I

  • Singular first person focus pronoun, where the focus of the sentence is the speaker

magbabasa ako ng aklat - I will read a book

  • basa - Root Word - Read
  • ako - I
  • ng - focus marker
  • aklat - Book


ka - You

  • The second person singular focus pronoun. Ka is used if the focus of the sentence is you.

Magluluto ka ba ng almusal? - Are you going to cook breakfast?

  • Luto - Root word - Cook
  • ka - You
  • ba - Question marker
  • ng - Object marker
  • almusal - Breakfast
    • agahan - This is an alternate word for Breakfast, the native alternative translation


Ka is always used in the middle of the sentence. If you were to use you at the start of a sentence you would use ikaw.

Ikaw ay maglilinis ng kuwarto - We will clean the room

  • ikaw - you (as the focus)
  • ay - This is the inversion partical, which indicates the sentence is not in proper order.
    • This will be talked about more in a future episode
    • Contrary to popular belief ay does not translate to is, are, or will be in English.
  • linis - Root Word - Clean
  • ng - Object Marker
  • kuwarto - Room
    • Silid - This is an alternate word for Room, another native alternative translation

There are some exceptions with the ikaw rule being at the start of a sentence.

Kung ikaw ay magluluto ng almusal - If you were to cook breakfast...

  • Kung - In this instance kung means "if".
    • This exception only applies if ikaw comes right after kung

But, if a predicate comes right inbetween kung and ikaw, it would revert back to ka.

Kung magluluto ka ng almusal. - If you were to cook breakfast...

This kung plus ikaw rule, also has a single exception. It is when another focus pronoun is inserted inbetween kung and ikaw.

Kung ako ikaw - If I were you.


siya - He or She

  • Matutulog na siya - He/she is about to sleep
  • tulog - Root word - Sleep
  • na
    • Na has many uses like when linking an adjective to a noun.
    • In this instance though, when na is placed after a verb it implies a sense of urgency to it. Like "this person is about to sleep now"
  • siya - He or she (the focus of this sentence)

Tagalog originally was genderless/gender neutural language untill we adopted gendered nouns from Chinese, Spanish, and English. Desite that, the pronouns remained the same.


Ate - Older Sister

Ate siya ni Jen - She is Jen's older sister

  • Ate
    • Older Sister
    • We adopted this word from the Chinese word Atsi. Which is Hokian for oldest sister.
    • tsinoy - A word used for people who are Filipino Chinese
  • siya - he/she, but implied as she due to the ate
  • ni - Possesion marker
    • Indiciating that the name of the person after ni owns the older sister.

If this phrase was to be said with a more gender neutral tone it would be:

nakatatandang kapatid siya ni Jen - This person is Jen's older sibling

  • Nakatatangdang kapatid - Older sibling


Kami - We, the exclusive first person plural focus pronoun - We (except you)

Pupunta kami sa mall mamaya - We (except you) will go to the mall later

  • Pupunta - Will go
  • Kami - We (excluding you)
  • sa - Direction marker
  • mall - Mall
  • mamaya - Later


tayo - We, the inclusive first person plural focus pronoun - We (including you)

Lalangoy tayo sa pool bukas - We (including you) will swim in the pool tomorrow.

  • lalangoy - Swim
  • Tayo - We, including you
  • sa - Direction marker
  • pool - pool (swimming pool)
  • bukas - Tomorrow


kayo - You all, the second person plural focus pronoun - all of you (excluding the speaker).

Iinon ba kayo ng gatas? - Are you guys going to drink milk?

  • iinom - Will Drink
  • ba - Question partical
  • kayo -You all
  • ng - direct object marker
  • gatas - Milk


sila - They, third person plural focus pronoun

Manonood sila ng basketball - They will watch a basketball game.

  • Manonood - Will watch
  • sila - They
  • ng -Direct object marker
  • basketball - Basketball


kita - Direct second person with indirect first person pronoun. Short for Ko Ikaw. Or I to you.

Mahal Kita - I love you

  • Mahal - Love
  • Kita - I to you

In rural areas, kita also works as a dual first person pronoun. Such as you and I just like the word tayo.

Magkaibigan kita - You and I are friends

  • Magkaibigan - Friends
  • kita - You and I


ito - it, but near me, or this. For sake of convenience, Tagalog speakers tend to shorten the use of ito to just 'to.

Nalaglag ang baso. Nabasag ito.

  • Nalaglag - fell
  • ang - Focus Marker
  • baso - drinking glass
  • Nabasag - broke
  • ito - it (refering to the drinking glass)

For plural nouns, the mga marker is retained when it is replaced by ito

Nabasag ang mga ito - They broke

  • Nabasag - Broke
  • ang - Focus marker
  • mga - Plural indicator
  • ito - it, this, they


iyan - It, or that, far from me but near you. For sake of convenience, Tagalog speakers tend to shorten this use of iyan to just 'yan.

Kumain ang ensalada. Masustansiya iyan - Eat the salad. It's nutritious.

  • kumain - Eat
  • ng - Focus marker
  • ensalada - Salad
  • masustansiya - nutritious
  • iyan - that, near you


iyon - It, or that, far from both of us. For sake of convenience, Tagalog speakers tend to shorten this to 'yon.

Nasa cusina ang aso. Natutulog iyon - The dog is in the kitchen. It is sleeping.

  • nasa - Locatino adverb
  • cusina - Kitchen
  • ang - Focus marker
  • aso - Dog
  • Natutulog - Sleeping
  • iyon - It (far from you and me)


Tagalog Proverb

Ang kita sa bula, sa bula rin mawawala. - What comes from bubbles will disappear in bubbles. Easy come, easy go.