Is the "Ay" Marker in Tagalog the Same as the English Verb "To be"?

One of the most common markers in the Tagalog language is ay. It may appear as if ay  is the equivalent of the English verb "to be", because, for example, the literal translation of a phrase like ako ay Pilipino is "I am  Filipino". However, in reality, far from being a verb, let alone the verb "to be", which doesn't really exist in Tagalog, the function of ay is simply to invert the order of a phrase, and in the example above ako ay Pilipino is merely the inverted form of Pilipino ako. In other words, because in Tagalog there is no such thing as the verb "to be", such phrases as "I am Italian", "she is beautiful" or "Mario is a doctor" in Tagalog have no verb and are literally rendered as "Italian I" ("Italiano ako"), "beautiful she" ("maganda siya") and "doctor Mario" ("doktor si Mario"). The "ay" marker simply switches the order of such phr

What is the "Ay" Marker in the Tagalog Language?

 In Tagalog there is no such thing as the verb to be.


In many Western languages we use the verb "to be" in such sentences as:


"I am Italian"


"I am an office worker"


"I am a husband"


"She is my wife"


"Rodrigo Duterte is the president of the Philippines"


"Mocha Uson is a politician"


And so on


In Tagalog these sentences would literally read:


"Italian I"-Italyano ako


"Office worker I"-Empleyado ako


"Husband I"-Asawang lalaki ako


"My wife she"-Asawa ko siya


"President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte"-Presidente ng Pilipinas si Rodrigo Duterte (I have explained how to use the marker si before a personal name in my post about markers in Tagalog)


"Politician Mocha Uson"-Pulitiko si Mocha Uson


The order of all these sentences can be switched by using the marker ay.


So, for example, the expression Italyano ako can be flipped like this: ako ay Italyano


Pulitiko si Mocha Uson can be switched and turned into: si Mocha Uson ay (ang isang) pulitiko


The same kind of switching can be done when using verbs


If, for example, I am using the verb to go in a sentence like pumunta ako sa Pilipinas (I went to the Philippines), I can flip that sentence and say: ako ay pumunta sa Pilipinas


Or, if I say something like nagbabasa ako ng isang aklat (I am reading a book), I can switch it like this: ako ay nagbabasa ng isang aklat 


Just remember that ay is just a marker that switches the order of the sentence and has nothing to do with the verb to be, as there is no verb to be in Tagalog.


Ay can also have another meaning: you can hear it in a sentence like ay naku! 


In this case ay basically means oh, and the whole expression ay naku! means something like oh my goodness!


I hope this clarifies what ay means in Tagalog.

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