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<v><tv><futd> hi Bong. → (eng) Bong<prn> will pray<v><tv><futd>.
    • (war) Maampo<v><tv><futd> ba<vaux> hi Bong<prn>? → (eng) Will Bong<prn> pray<v><tv><futd>?
  • (war) Nasulod<v><tv><past>hira<prn><pers><p3><pl><nom> ha sinehan<n>. → (eng) They<prn><pers><p3><pl><nom> went<v><tv><past> inside the movie house<n>.
    • (war) Nasulod<v><tv><past> ba<vaux> hira<prn><pers><p3><pl><nom> ha sinehan<n>? → (eng) Did they go inside the movie house<n>?
  • (war) Mabalhin<v><tv><futd> ka<prn><pers><p2><sg><nom> ba<vaux> didto<dem>? → (eng) Will you (singular)<prn><pers><p2><sg><nom> move<v><tv><futd> there<dem>?
  • (war) Matuok<v><tv><past> ka<prn><pers><p2><sg><nom> ba<vaux>? → (eng) Did you (singular)<prn><pers><p2><sg><nom> cry<v><tv><past>?

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.

  • (war) Asul<adj> nga bola<n><sg> → (eng) blue<adj> ball<n><sg>
  • (war) Busag<adj> nga balay<n><sg> → (eng) white<adj> house<n><sg>
  • (war) matig-a<adj> nga bato<n><sg> → (eng) hard<adj> rock<n><sg>

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

Descriptive word + nga + noun + Class I Marker + . . .
  • (war) Hataas<adj> nga babaye<n><sg> hi Ruth<prn>. → (eng) Ruth<prn> is a tall<adj> woman<n><sg>.
  • (war) Matambok<adj> nga lalake<n><sg> hi George<prn>. → (eng) George<prn> is a fat<adj> man<n><sg>.
  • (war) Malipayon<adj> nga tawo<n><sg> hi Paul<prn>. → (eng) Paul<prn> is a happy<adj> person<n><sg>.
  • (war) Daragita<adj> nga babaye<n><sg> an bugto<n><sg> ni<det><pos> Jess<prn>. → (eng) Jess<prn> '<det><pos> sister<n><sg> is a young<adj> girl<n><sg>.
Descriptive word + Class I Personal/General Pronoun + nga + noun + . . .
  • (war) Makusog<adj> hiya nga lalake<n><sg>. → (eng) He<prn><pers><p3><sg><nom> is a strong man<n><sg>.
  • (war) Hubya<adj> hira<prn><pers><p3><pl><nom> → (eng) hira nga mga maestra<n><pl>.|They<prn><pers><p3><pl><nom>|hira}} are lazy teachers<n><pl>.}}
  • (war) Habubo<adj> kami<prn><pers><p1><excl><pl><nom> nga mga misyonero<n><pl> → (eng) We(excl)<prn><pers><p1><excl><pl><nom> missionaries<n><pl> are short<adj>.
  • (war) Padlas<adj> ini<dem> nga tawo<n><sg>. → (eng) This<dem> person<n><sg> is crazy<adj>.
  • (war) Maupay iton<dem> nga babaye<n><sg>. → (eng) That<dem> woman<n><sg> is pretty<adj>.
  • (war) Madig-on adto<adj> nga bangko<n><sg>. → (eng) That<dem> chair<n><sg> “over there” is strong<adj>.


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.

  • (war) Nagmamando<v><tv><pres> hi Jesus<n> ha iya<prn><pers><p3><sg><pos> mga tinun-an<n><pl>. → (eng) Jesus<n> is commanding<v><tv><pres> his<prn><pers><p3><sg><pos> disciples<n><pl>.
  • (war) Nagtratrabaho<v><tv><pres> ako<prn><pers><p1><sg><nom>. → (eng) I{tag<pers><p1><sg><nom> am working<v><tv><pres>.}}
  • (war) Nag-aaram hira<prn><pers><p3><pl><nom> hin Tagalog<n>. → (eng) They<prn><pers><p3><pl><nom> are learning Tagalog<n>.

Grammatical Gender

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

  • (war) Estudyante<n><sg> hiya<prn><pers><p3><sg><nom> → (eng) He/She<prn><pers><p3><sg><nom> is a student<n><sg>.
  • (war) Uyab<n><sg> niya<prn><pers><p3><sg><pos>. → (eng) His<prn><pers><p3><sg><pos> girlfriend/her boyfriend<n><sg>.

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.

  • (war) Mga Philipino kami<prn><pers><p1><excl><pl><nom>. → (eng) We (exclusive)<prn><pers><p1><excl><pl><nom> are Filipinos<n><pl>.
  • (war) Mga libro<n><pl> ini<dem>. → (eng) These<dem> are books<n><pl>.
  • (war) Malabad<adj> an mga bata<n><pl>. → (eng) The children<n><pl> are naughty<adj>.