Waray and English/Contrastive Grammar

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Question Marker

In Waray, there is a question marker that has the similar function as か(ka) in Japanese. Unlike Waray, English relies on inversion and intonation when asking a question. Ba emphasizes that a phrase is a question in Waray. Ba is placed after the verb and can be placed before the rest of the sentence.

  • (war) Maampo hi Bong. → (eng) Bong will pray.
    • Maampo ba hi Bong? [Will Bong pray?]
  • Nasulod hira ha sinehan. [They went inside the movie house.]
    • Nasulod ba hira ha sinehan? [Did they go inside the movie house?]
  • Mabalhin ka ba didto? [Will you (singular) move there?]
  • Matuok ka ba? [Did you (singular) cry?]

Nga Linker

Nga is a linker that connects adjectives and nouns together to create descriptive nouns. Unlike Waray, English does not need a linker to create descriptive words; the adjective can be easily placed in front of the noun and modify it.

  • Asul nga bola -> blue ball
  • Busag nga balay -> white house
  • matig-a nga bato –> hard rock

When nga is used in equational sentences, the word order is as follows:

Descriptive word + nga + noun + Class I Marker + . . .
  • Hataas nga babaye hi Ruth. [Ruth is a tall woman.]
  • Matambok nga lalake hi George. [George is a fat man.]
  • Malipayon nga tawo hi Paul. [Paul is a happy person.]
  • Daragita nga babaye an bugto ni Jess. [Jess’ sister is a young girl.]
Descriptive word + Class I Personal/General Pronoun + nga + noun + . . .
  • Makusog hiya nga lalake. [He is a strong man.]
  • Hubya hira nga mga maestra. [They are lazy teachers.]
  • Habubo kami nga mga misyonero. [We(excl) missionaries are short.]
  • Padlas ini nga tawo. [This person is crazy.]
  • Maupay iton nga babaye. [That woman is pretty.]
  • Madig-on adto nga bangko. [That chair “over there” is strong.]


When conjugating verbs into the present tense in Waray, some verb groups conjugate them by adding the prefix nag and the reduplication of the first syllable of the root of the verb to create the verb in the present tense. English does not use reduplication when conjugating verbs into the present tense.

  • Nagmamando hi Jesus ha iya mga tinun-an. [Jesus is commanding his disciples.]
  • Nagtratrabaho ako. [I am working.]
  • Nag-aaram hira hin Tagalog. [They are learning Tagalog.]

Grammatical Gender

Waray is a gender-neutral language, unlike English where personal pronouns have grammatical gender.

  • Estudyante hiya. [He/She is a student.]
  • Uyab niya. [His girlfriend/her boyfriend.]

Mga Marker

Mga acts as a pluralizer, where if it is placed in front of a singular noun, it modifies it into a plural noun. In English, there is no pluralizer like mga as an –s can be added into the end of a noun or English has a different word that acts as the plural form for certain words.

  • Mga Philipino kami. [We (exclusive) are Filipinos.]
  • Mga libro ini. [These are books.]
  • Malabad an mga bata. [The children are naughty.]