The "Bawal Umihi Dito" Sign as a Metaphor of the Pinoy Mentality

One of the many "bawal" signs in the Philippines I remember riding on a trycicle with Tito  Benje, my Filipina wife's uncle.  After overtaking a bus on a double solid line (as Filipinos always do), he said something along the lines of " sa Pilipinas lahat ay pwede", basically meaning that in the Philippines you can do whatever you want and that road signs and markings are, more often than not, mere decorations. Bawal Umihi Dito, Bawal Magtapon ng Basura Dito.... One of the features of the Philippine landscape is the huge amount of signs that remind people that urinating against a public or private wall, on a sidewalk or against a pole and disposing of the garbage on the side of the road, in a river or a canal is not socially acceptable and that the offender might (theoretically) be given a multa, should a  buwaya be around. My bayaw told me in a very straightforward manner that Filipinos love urinating and disposing of their garbage exactly there where a sign s

Affixes in Tagalog

Tagalog is one of the major languages spoken in the Philippines.

It is spoken in Metro Manila and in its neighboring provinces, like Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan and others.

A National Park in the province of Bulacan, one of the Tagalog speaking provinces of the Philippines

Tagalog is an Austronesian language, a language family comprising languages spoken in the Malay Peninsula, in South East Asia, in Taiwan, in the islands of the Pacific Ocean and in Magadascar.


Tagalog, like most Austronesian languages, is an agglutinative language.

An agglutinative language is characterized by words that are made up of different morphems (morpema in Tagalog), a morphem being the smallest part of a word having a meaning of its own (like, for example, the English word doable: if I separate the two morphems, do and able each of them has a meaning of its own and can stand on its own)

Agglutination in Tagalog: Root Words and Affixes

Generally words in Tagalog are formed by combining a "salitang ugat" or "root word" with one or more "panlapi" or affixes.

There are three types of affixes in Tagalog: 

  1. Unlapi or prefix
  2. Gitlapi or infix
  3. Hulapi or suffix

"Unlapi" or "Prefix"

For example, I could combine the "root word" talino, which conveys the idea of "intelligence", with the affix ma to form the adjective ("pang-uri") matalino (intelligent).

In this case the "affix" or "panlapi" is called "prefix" or "unlapi", because it occurs before the "root word"

"Prefixes" can also be used to form verbs, like, for example, the verb magbasa (to read) and nouns like inapo or katrabaho, kaibigan etc.

"Gitlapi" or "Infix"

The "gitlapi" is an affix that goes in between the root word.

A typical example is the verb "kumain" (to eat), where the "um" affix goes between the first consonant and the first vowel of the root word "kain"

"Hulapi" or "Suffix"

The "hulapi" occurs at the end of the root word. A typical example are the -in verbs like "basahin" (to read) or such nouns as "aklatan" (library).

The challenging thing in Tagalog is that there are way too many affixes.

I have glossed over the concept of focus in Tagalog and the various affixes in my post

However in the coming posts I'll cover the various affixes in more detail.


Popular posts from this blog

"Isang Kahig Isang Tuka"

Mga Pangngalan at mga Panlaping Maka-ngalan sa Wikang Tagalog

Kung Bakit Takot sa Akin ang mga Unggoy sa Pilipinas