Gramaticang Cebuano

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This article describes the grammar of the Cebuano language.

Pronouns[urnosen | urnosen ti taudan]

Pronouns are inflected in person, number, and case. They do not make gender distinctions: he and she are both translated in Cebuano as siya.

The four cases are nominative, preposed genitive, postposed genitive, and oblique.

  Absolutive Ergative₁
(Postposed)
Ergative₂
(Preposed)
Oblique
1st person singular ako, ko
Ta only when the object is ka/mo (sg./pl. "you")
nako, ko ako, akoa kanako, nako
2nd person singular ikaw, ka nimo, mo imo, imoha kanimo, nimo
3rd person singular siya niya iya, iyaha kaniya, niya
1st person plural inclusive kita, ta nato ato, atoa kanato, nato
1st person plural exclusive kami, mi namo amo, amoa kanamo, namo
2nd person plural kamo, mo ninyo inyo, inyoha kaninyo, ninyo
3rd person plural sila nila ila, ilaha kanila, nila

Cebuano, like most other Austronesian languages, makes use of the inclusive and exclusive we. This distinction, not found in most European languages, signifies whether or not the addressee is included in the pronoun "we."

Examples:

Moadto mi sa sinehan.
We (someone else and I, but not you) will go to the movies.

Moadto ta sa sinehan.
We (you and I, and perhaps someone else) will go to the movies.

Demonstrative pronouns[urnosen | urnosen ti taudan]

  • kiri: for things that are near or touching distance to the speaker but not necessarily near the listener (English: this, these)
  • kini: for things that are near or touching distance to both the speaker and the listener (English: this, these)
  • kana: for things that are not of touching distance to the speaker but is near the listener (English: that, those)
  • kadto: for things that are not of touching distance to the speaker nor near the listener (English: that, those)

Ten types of sentences[urnosen | urnosen ti taudan]

1) equational ( topic = predicate ) ~ in this sentence type you can interchange the topic and the predicate without changing the thought of the sentence

  a) "Mao kini ang Kabisay-an".              = This is the Visayas.
  b) "Siya si Oscar."                        = He is Oscar.
  c) "Mao ’na ang amoang balay"              = That is our house.

2) non-equational ( topic < predicate ) ~ in this sentence type the topic and the predicate are not interchangeable

  a) "Pilipino ang mga Bisaya."              = Visayans are Filipinos.
  b) "Pula ang iyang gisul-ob."              = The one he wears is red. (He is wearing red.)
  c) "Gipalitan ka niya og balay."           = (He buys a house for you.)

3) existential sentence of presence ~ sentences of this type tells the existence of a thing or idea

  a) "Adunay Diyos sa langit."               = (There is) God in heaven.
  b) "Didtoy halas sa kahoy."                = (There was) a snake in the tree.

4) existential sentence of possession ~ sentences of this type tell about someone or something possesing something

  a) "Ang mga anghel sa langit adunay diyos."  = (The angels in heaven have a God.)
  b) "Naa[1] koy ilimnon sa balay."            = (I had wine at home.)

5) locative sentence ~ this type of sentence tells the location of a thing

  a) "Ania ang kwarta."                       = Here is the money.
  b) "’Toa siya sa bukid."                    = S/he is in the mountain.

6) meteorologic sentence ~ this type of sentence tells about weather condition, noise level, etc., of a place

  a) "Tugnaw dinhi sa Baguio."                = (It is) cold here in Baguio.
  b) "Hilom kaganiha sa plasa."               = (It was) calm in the square. 

7) exclamatory remark ~ praises and unexpected discoveries belong here

  a) "Kadaghan man nimo og sakyanan!"        = (Wow! You have a lot of cars.)
  b) "Gwapaha nimo oy!"                      = (You are pretty!)
  c) "Kasaba ba ninyo!"                      = (You are so noisy!)

8) imperatives ~ commands and requests

  a) "Isugba kanang isda."                  = (Grill that fish.)
  b) "Umari ka."                            = Come here.
  c) "Ayaw mo pagkinopyahay."               = (Do not share your answers among yourselves.)

9) interrogatives ~ questions that are not answerable by yes or no

  a) "Kinsa ka?"                             = Who are you?
  b) "Unsay imong ngalan?"                   = What is your name?  <see more on interrogative words>          

10) confirmation ~ questions that are basically answered by yes or no. constructed like the first 6 sentence type with the insertion of the particle "ba" as a second term

  a) "Kini ba ang Kabisay-an?"               = Is this the Visayas?
  b) "Pula ba ang iyang gisul-ob?"           = (Does he wear red?)
  c) "Aduna bay Diyos?"                      = (Does God exist?)
  d) "Isugba ba kining isda?"                =  Shall this fish be grilled?

Nouns and Adjectives[urnosen | urnosen ti taudan]

Cases of nouns and uses in the sentence[urnosen | urnosen ti taudan]

Cebuano nouns are of two classes: personal and general. Personal nouns refers to persons or personified objects and animals and vocative names. General nouns are others than that. Nouns do not change their spelling as they change case as in pronouns but are introduced by case markers intead.

The first case that has to be learned is the kinsa (nominative) case also called the absolutive case. This case is the topic case. The topic can easily identified most of the time by looking for the word or term introduced by the nominative case marker. The nominative case marker for personal nouns is "si" and the nominative case marker for general nouns is "ang".
Ex.

general noun personal noun
ang Kabisay-an si Oscar
ang amahan si Tatay
ang Ginoo si Ala
ang mayor (formal form) si Mayor (familiar form)

The only case where the kinsa case is not the topic is in equational type sentences, in which the topic and the predicate are both in kinsa case.
Ex.
Si Oscar ang pangulo.
Oscar is the leader.
Ang pangulo mao si Oscar.
The leader is Oscar.

The next important case to learn is the gitagan-an case also known as oblique case. The gitagan-an case tells to whom a thing or an action is intended to. The case marker for general nouns in this case is the particle "sa". For personal nouns the marker is "kang".

Ex.

para sa Ginoo for the Lord
para kang Ala for Allah
gitagana sa mayor reserved for the mayor
gitagana ni Rose reserved for Rose

The tag-iya case is also known as the ergative case. The tag-iya case tells to whom a thing or an action belongs (who is doing it) and functions like an adjective either as a modifier or an adjective that stands by its own. For general nouns the case marker is "sa" while for personal nouns the marker is "ni" except when it function as an adjective that stands by its own in which the marker is "kang".

Ex.
anak ni Polaris
mayor sa Sugbo
gitulis ni Robin Hood
naapsan sa polis

When an adjective stands by its own it is treated as a base word and therefore can be modified by case markers and function like a noun. And because tag-iya case nouns are practically adjectives they are no exemption to this phenomenon such as they case of the sentence "Ang sa hari linibo, ang kang David ginatos ka libo". Some place names also are etymologically tag-iya case nouns.

The word linker NGA[urnosen | urnosen ti taudan]

The linker nga is used when another word (such as an adjective) modifies another word (such as noun. The word being modified is the substance while the modifier is the antecident. Nga appears between the substance and the antecident. It is often clipped into ng after a word that ends in vowel. If the antecident is a noun it comes after nga and the substance but if is not it often comes before the two but it can also come after the two.
Ex.

balay nga bato stone house
balay nga nipa nipa hut
balay nga kahoy wooden house
dakong balay big house
gamay nga balay small house

Enclitic particles[urnosen | urnosen ti taudan]

  1. ba: used for yes-and-no questions and optionally for other types of questions.
  2. gyud[2]: politeness word
  3. kay: because
  4. lang: limiting particle; just, only.
  5. man: even, even if, even though, although
  6. na: now, already (past positive tense), anymore (past negative tense)
  7. pa: still, else
  8. ug: and
  9. usab[3], upod[3]: also

Na and pa are not used in the same sentence.

Interrogative words[urnosen | urnosen ti taudan]

  • Unsa? What?
  • Asa? Where? (for a place or person)
  • Diin?, Dis-a? Where?
  • Hain?, Saa? Where? (for an object)
  • Kinsa? Who?
  • Ngano? Why?
  • Kangkinsa? To whom?
  • Giunsa? How?
  • Kanus-a? When?
  • Pila ka buok?, Pila? How many?
  • Tagpila? How much?
  • Diay ba? Really?

The use of asa and hain[urnosen | urnosen ti taudan]

Asa and hain—both mean where—have distinct uses in formal Cebuano usage.

Asa is used when asking about a place.

  • Asa ka padulong? (Where are you going?)
  • Asa ta molarga? (Where are we traveling to?)

Hain is used when asking about a person or thing.

  • Hain na ang gunting? (Where is the pair of scissors?)
  • Hain na si Arsenia? (Where is Arsenia?)

In spoken Cebuano, however, asa is commonly used to replace hain. You rarely hear hain being used, except by older generations of Cebuano-speakers. This phenomenon is analogous to Tagalog-speakers not distinguishing between saan (asa) and nasaan (hain) in colloquial speech and instead using saan for both.

Verbs[urnosen | urnosen ti taudan]

Tense or aspect[urnosen | urnosen ti taudan]

Cebuano verbs have no tense but rather aspect, specifically the aspect of inception, that is whether the action has been initiated or not. The aspect of completion is not readily shown by verbs in Cebuano.

There are only two aspects: the pagasugdan (incepted) aspect and the nasugdan (to be incepted) aspect.

Past actions are basically in the nasugdan aspect. Present actions are in the nasugdan aspect too unless they are habitual actions.

Habitual actions and future actions are in the to be pagasugdan aspect.

Examples on NASUGDAN ASPECT:

Past actions
1. I went to Europe.
The act had been started in the past therefore the Cebuano translation is:
Miadto ko sa Uropa .
2. I finally found you,
The act had been started in the past therefore the Cebuano translation is:
Nakaplagan ra gyud[2] ta ka.

Present actions
1. I am going to the kitchen.
The act has been started before the statement is spoken therefore the Cebuano translation is:
Nagpadulong ko sa kusina.
2. Peter finds Miriam.
The act has been started before the statement is spoken therefore the Cebuano translation is:
Nakaplagan ni Pedro si Miriam.

Examples of PAGASUGDAN ASPECT

Future actions
1. I will return this Christmas.
The act has not happen yet therefore is has not yet started:
Mobalik ko karong Pasko.
2. She will find you.
The act has not happen yet therefore is has not yet started:
Iya kang makit-an.

Habitual actions
1. She go to the shore every morning.
Although the act had already happened she will still have to start the same act again and again (every morning) so the act itself is still to be started or pagasugdan pa and therefore:
Moadto siya matag buntag sa baybayon.
2. He always finds her there. Although the act had already happened she will still have to start the same act again and again (always) so the act itself is still to be started or pagasugdan pa and therefore:
Kanunay siya niyang makaplagan didto.

Focus/voice[urnosen | urnosen ti taudan]

Cebuano verbs act as predicate or words that tell about the subject or the topic. This topic can either be the doer of the action, the recipient of the action, the purpose for the action, or the means by which the action was made possible. The form of the verb is dependent on the function of the topic in relation to said verb. Some Cebuano grammarians call it focus of the verb but some others call it voice.

Footnotes[urnosen | urnosen ti taudan]

  1. ^ Naa often replaces aduna/’duna.
  2. ^ a b Gyud is pronounced as either [dʒud], [gjud], or [gud]. In informal communications, it is also occasionally written as g’ud (often gud or jud)
  3. ^ a b The u in usab and upod, as in many other words beginning with u, are frequently dropped, making it ’sab and ’pod; in spoken Cebuano, ’sad is often used instead of ’sab.

See also[urnosen | urnosen ti taudan]

External links[urnosen | urnosen ti taudan]