Filipino Body Language and the Importance of Non-verbal Communication with your Filipina

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 As you may have gathered, if you have been following my blog for a while, I can speak Tagalog, and I have even created a series of blog posts that touch on the subject of Tagalog grammar. Because I am interested in making my marriage with my Filipina not only work but actually thrive, I have been taking the study of the Filipino language and culture very seriously since I entered this relationship back in 2000. Now I am at a point where my wife and I can quickly and easily switch from Italian and English to Tagalog. Yet, being able to communicate verbally is just a tiny part of the equation of effective communication. Many experts talk about the idea that around 93% of human communication occurs through non-verbal cues and only the remaining 7% is accomplished through words. When I look at this issue through this lens I realize that my efforts to master the Filipino culture and language count for very little if I don't work on improving my non-verbal communication. So in this post

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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