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 phrases, which would be respectively turned into:

"Ako AY Italyano" ("I AY Italian")

"Siya AY maganda" ("she AY beautiful")

"Si Mario AY doktor" ("Mario AY doctor")

So "ay" is by no means the equivalent of the verb "to be", there is no verb "to be" in Tagalog, and "ay" is simply an "inverting" marker.


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