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What are ang and ng in Tagalog, and their equivalents in Cebuano?

WHAT IS ANG?
Tagalog ang has been analyzed as: (1) an article, equivalent to English the (2) a particle,
because of its having an uninflectable form; (3) a noun or nominal marker, because it is used to
introduce a nominal phrase; (4) a determiner, being immediately followed by a nominal head
phrase; (5) a thematizer and syntactic thema marker, in that it serves more than the role of a
specifier and acts as an equational syntactic grammaticalizer (Llido 2006).
Other varying labels for ang are: (6) topic case marker (Yap 1971); (7) relational
marker that marks the topic or focus of the sentence (Ramos 1971); (8) definite phrase
introducer (Wolfenden 1971).

WHAT IS NG?
Tagalog ng has been assumed to be: (1) relational marker, a non-focus marking particle
of actor or goal complements of noun phrases (Ramos 1977); (2) attributive phrase introducer
(Wolfenden 1971).
The Tagalog ng which is used as a topic or focus marker is not to be confused with the
ng, which is a variant of the ligature na. Ligatures are used to tie the noun phrase into the
construction to which it belongs to.
Tagalog ng distinguishly mark different grammatical functions: agent/experiencer and
patient/object/theme (de Guzman & Bender 2000). To differentiate them, they will be called ng-
agent and ng-patient respectively. Ng also functions as a possessive and adverbial marker.
Both ang and ng seem to perform grammatical functions and are used to indicate
syntactic relations.

PARTICLES, MARKERS, and DETERMINERS


Before moving on to analyzing the function of ang and ng, the different word classes
used to label ang and ng will be defined here.
A PARTICLE is defined as (1) a function word – unstressed word in the sentence,
expressing primarily grammatical relationship (Pei 1966); (2) a word, usually uninflected and
invariable, used to indicate syntactic relationships (Pei & Gaynor 1954); (3) a word which
cannot occur with affixes, nor as subject or predicate, most of the particles are either modifiers
or markers of syntactic relations (Constantino 1965).
A MARKER has been determined to be (1) a special constituent or signal determining
the function of a phrase, word, or morpheme (Pei 1966).
A RELATION MARKER is a noun marking particle that indicates the grammatical
function (actor, goal, location, beneficiary, and instrument) of the noun or noun phrase that they
introduce (Ramos 1977).
A DETERMINER is (1) a generic expression for articles, possessives, demonstratives,
etc. (Pei 1966); (2) A word class, which serves to specify the degree of applicability of a noun
phrase (Trask 1997).
An ARTICLE is (1) a noun marker – common article and demonstratives occur with
common nouns, and the proper article occurs with proper nouns (Constatntino 1965); (2) a
special type of determiner found in some languages which typically expresses the degree of
specificity or definiteness assigned to the noun phrase containing it (Trask 1997).

GRAMMATICAL and SEMANTIC RELATIONS


The grammatical and semantic roles marked by ang and ng will be determined in terms
of case and thematic roles.
CASE pertains to how the arguments of a predicate are formally encoded to distinguish

between S (subject), A (agent), P (patient) and obliques. S, A, and P may be referred to as the

core cases, while any other argument which is not an A, an S or a P is an oblique (Nolasco,

2005).

In the case of Philippine languages, case is outwardly expressed by verbal conjugation

(through the use of inflectional affixes) and separate uninflectable morphemes such as ang and

ng.
THETA/THEMATIC ROLES refers to the semantic relationship between verbs and

their arguments (Haegeman 1991). Arguments are said to be elements or constituents which are

obligatory in a sentence. The verb determines the number of arguments needed. As an example,

the Tagalog verb binigay ‘to give’ requires three arguments: the doer of the action, its object,

and its goal. Ergo, Binigay ko ang bayad sa kanya ‘I gave the payment to him/her’. The verb

binigay assigns the role AGENT/ACTOR to the subject argument ko, the role OBJECT to

bayad, and the role GOAL to kanya.

Haegeman 1991 mentions the following thematic roles: (1) AGENT/ACTOR – the one

who intentionally initiates the action expressed by the predicate. (2) PATIENT – the person or

thing undergoing the action expressed by the predicate. (3) THEME – the person or thing

moved by the action expressed by the predicate. (4) EXPERIENCER – the entity that

experiences some (psychological) state expressed by the predicate. (5)

BENEFACTIVE/BENEFICIARY – the entity that benefits from the action expressed by the

predicate. (6) GOAL – the entity towards which the activity expressed by the predicate is

directed. (7) SOURCE – the entity from which something is moved as a result of the activity

expressed by the predicate. (8) LOCATION – the place in which the action or state expressed

by the predicate is situated.

Some authors have merged the roles of PATIENT and THEME into one.

Features such as voice, focus and aspect will be discussed minimally here as they are

attributed mainly to verbs, in which they (voice, focus, and aspect) are morphologically realized

as affixes. The verbal morphology of Tagalog and its properties are not the central topic of the

paper.

BASIC SENTENCE
A basic sentence in Tagalog and most Philippine languages is composed of at least two
lexemes, which may be both nouns, or a noun and a modifer. A minimally grammatical
sentence requires, that at least one of the lexemes be marked by ang. Verbs are not needed to
build grammatical equational syntactic sentences. Therefore, these sentences carry no argument
structure because they carry no verbs (Llido 2006).
The equational sentence structure is unmarked, while verbalized sentences are marked
and can be converted into equational sentences (Llido 2006).
Abugado ang kapatid niya.

Masipag ang dalaga.

Ang pumupunta sa Sebu ang mahirap, hindi ang pumunta sa Maynila.

Madalas ang (pag)punta ng dalaga sa Maynila.

Bukas na ang kasal ni Selya.

Para sa dalaga ang bulaklak.

Nasa bahay ang dalaga.

Wala sa bahay ang dalaga.

May bulaklak ang dalaga.

Walang bulaklak ang dalaga.

Ang dalaga ang may bulaklak.

Masama ang pumunta sa cabaret.

Mabilis ang takbo ng bata.

Ikaw ang napakatamad.

Napakasipag ng dalaga.

Ang dalaga ang napakasipag.

Deverbalized nominalizations? Ang babae ang pumasok.


VERBALIZED SENTENCES: TRANSITIVE and INTRANSITIVE SENTENCES

In Philippine languages, an INTRANSITIVE CONSTRUCTION contains verbs that

require a single obligatory nominal complement known as the subject (Reid & Liao 2004). The

subject is the source of the action and the most affected entity at the same time. It is assigned

the absolutive case. Intrasitive verbs are inflected with –um- or m- (Nolasco 2005).

A TRANSITIVE CONSTRUCTION is one where the agent (the source of the action) is

encoded in the ergative case and the patient (the most affected entity) is encoded in the

absolutive case. Transitive constructions are also indicated by verbs with voice affixes such as –

in, -an, and i- in Tagalog, or their counterparts in other Philippine languages (Nolasco 2005).

NG and ANG in INTRANSITIVE CONSTRUCTIONS

(1) a. Tumayo ang bata.

b. Tumayo si Adam.

c. Tumayo siya.

d. Tumayo iyong bata.

e. Ang bata ay tumayo.

f. Ang bata, tumayo

g. Ang bata ang (siyang) tumayo.

(2) a. Tumayo ang mga bata.

b. Nagsitayo ang mga bata.

c. Ang mga bata ang (siyang) tumayo.

d. Ang mga bata ang nagsitayo.

e. Iyong mga bata ang nagsitayo.

(3) a. Kumain ng mangga ang bata.


b. Kumain ang bata ng mangga.

c. Ang bata ang kumain ng mangga.

(4) a. Pumutol ng kahoy ang tao sa pamamagitan ng itak.

b. Pumutol ang tao ng kahoy sa pamamagitan ng itak.

c. Ang tao ang pumutol sa kahoy sa pamamagitan ng itak.

(5) a. Kumain ng marami ang bata.

b. Marami ang kinain ng bata.

(6) Lumapit sa dalaga ang bata.

Tumayo iyong bata.

Iyong bata ang tumayo.

Katatayo ng bata.

COUNTERPART in CEBUANO

Case Determiners in Tagalog and Cebuano

Tagalog Cebuano

Abs Erg Obl Abs Erg Obl

Personal Singular Si Ni kay Si Ni Kay

Plural Sina Nina Kina Sila Nila Kanila

Common Unspecific Ng Ng Ug Ug

Specific Ang Ng Sa Ang Ng Sa

B. Ang morposintaktika ng pagkatransitibong Pilipino


Ang pagkatransitibo at pagkaintransitibo sa WP ay naipapahayag sa
morpolohiya ng pandiwa at sa pagmamarka ng kaso ng mga nominal
na prase (NP). Sa isang transitibong konstruksyon, ang pandiwa ay
minamarkahan ng alinman sa mga transitibong panlaping –in, an at i.
Ang A ay minamarkahan ng isang pantukoy-kaso (case determiner) na
kung tawagi’y ergatibo, samantalang ang O ay minamarkahan ng isang
pantukoy-kaso na absolutibo. Sa tradisyunal na gramatika, ang
ergatibo ay tumutukoy sa ngprase samantalang ang absolutibo ay
tumutukoy sa ang-prase.Magkagayunman, kinocoindex ng panlaping
transitibo ang O na nasa anyo ng isang ang-prase. Sa isang
intransitibong
konstruksyon, ang pandiwa ay minamarkahan ng intransitibong
panlaping –umo
ng alomorpo nitong palitlapi na m. Kinocoindex ng intransitibong
panlapi ang nagiisang agumento (S) ng konstruksyon. Ang palitlapi na
may ang panlaping matatagpuan sa unang tunog ng mga pandiwa
gaya ng mangaral, maglaro, makakuha at makikain. Ang mga
pandiwang ito ay binubuo ng istem na pangaral, paglaro, pakakuha at
pakikain. Pinapalitan ng m na palitlapi ang kanikanilang
unang tunog upang mabuo ang nabanggit na mga pandiwa. (Para sa
mga detalye, tingnan ang Nolasco 2003 o alinman sa sumunod kong
mga akda). Ang nagiisang argumento, S, ay minamarkahan ng
pantukoy-kaso na absolutibo (ang), kapareho ng O ng transitibong
konstruksyon. Malinaw kung gayon, na ang mga padron ng mga
transitibo at intransitibong konstruksyon ay ergatibo-absolutibo, at
hindi nominatibo-akusatibo.

Summary: What are the functions of ang and ng? What word class are they?
There is still much dissension as to the label which should be given to ang and ng

Case-marking agreement features. Tagalog marks for absolutive, ergative, and oblique case.
Semantic agreement features. Common vs. Personal, Definite vs. Indefinite, Proximate vs.
Remote, Specific vs. Non-specific, Singular vs. Plural

Word order does not play much part in assigning case features. The determiners/particles that
come before noun phrases do.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Bunye M.V. & Yap, E.P. (1971). Cebuano Grammar Notes. Honolulu : University of Hawaii
Press.
Constantino, E. (1965). The Sentence Patterns of the 26 Philippine Languages . Lingua 15 : 71-
124.
De Guzman, V. (2000). Some Remarks on the Grammatical Functions of the Nonabsoultive
Agent in TAgalog. Grammatical analysis : morphology, syntax, and semantics : studies
in honor of Stanley Starosta, 224-239. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press.
Haegeman, L. (1991). Introduction to government and binding theory. Oxford : B. Blackwell.
Llido, P. (2006). Inflectional Case Assignment in Cebuano. Paper presented at Tenth
International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics, 17-20 January 2006. Puerto
Princesas City, Palawan, Philippines.
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Japan Joint Workshop on Austronesian Languages. 23-24 June 2005. Taipei, Taiwan.
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