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Basic Filipino (Tagalog): Nouns and Personal Pronouns with Exercises

Lesson 1 Link: Introduction: Nouns and Personal Pronouns

Lesson 2 Link: Inclusive and Exclusive we

Lesson 3 Link: Adjectives 1 with Exercises

Inspired by StrapsOption and Vedney 's comments, I decided to make a post to clarify a few things about direct and indirect Filipino pronouns. This post contains a lot of images.

A few things:

Filipino or Tagalog?

Filipino is the national language of the Philippines. Understood by most Filipinos, it serves as the lingua franca of the Philippines. Hawaii, California, and Alaska are states in the US where there is a significant number of Tagalog speakers (alongside another Filipino language, Ilokano).

Filipino is estimated to have over 60-70 million speakers. 'Filipino' is merely the standard register of the Tagalog language. It usually refers to the formalised Manila dialect of Tagalog. Filipino and Tagalog are often used interchangeably. For the rest of this post, I will use the word 'Tagalog'.

Language or Dialect?

A lot of people still incorrectly refer to Tagalog as a dialect of the Philippines. This has been attributed to the inaccurate vocabulary used in literature when the Philippines was under US rule. This inaccurate vocabulary is still taught in many schools.

Ilonggo, Cebuano and Ilokano are examples of other Philippine languages. Like Tagalog, they are incorrectly referred to as dialects but they are languages in their own right.

Dialects of the Philippine languages do exist. For instance, the Manila Tagalog dialect, the Bataan Tagalog dialect and the Batangas Tagalog dialect.

Read my comments here


Some Tagalog dictionaries and learning resources use accents (diacritical marks). Generally, native speakers do not use these. For the rest of this post, I will not spell words like "ikáw".


  • They do not have grammatical gender
  • Many are derived from Spanish
  • There are essentially three cases: Direct (ang), Indirect (ng) - functions as the genitive, and Oblique (sa)
  • 'ang' translates to 'the' (definite article)
  • Adding 'mga' in front of a noun makes it plural

Personal Pronouns:

Apologies for the long intro but I have to get those issues out of the way. I also apologise in advanced for the weird phrases and sentences but that's seems to be a DuoLingo theme. I will only focus on direct and indirect pronouns. Here is the table of pronouns:


I think that learning from example and figuring out things on your own is a good approach. So, I am providing a few here:

More examples:


There are other ways of saying "I am a duck" and "My duck":

  • Ako ay/Ako'y isang pato - I am a duck

  • Isang pato ako - I am a duck

  • (Ang) aking pato - My duck

Note that 'isang' assumes the role of the indefinite article here. In fact, there are other ways of translating the sentences below.

For instance:

  • He is their goat - Siya ay kanilang kambing

  • You're a doctor - Ikaw ay isang doktor

  • My island - (Ang) aking isla

I won't discuss these as they are beyond the scope of this post.



Arranged both in alphabetical order for convenience

ho/po - Tagalog enclitic particle used for talking politely to older people, superiors, adult strangers and adult customers.

So if you want to politely tell someone that you're a powerful sorcerer in Tagalog, you would say: 'Makapangyarihang mangkukulam po ako' or 'Ako po ay isang makapangyarihang mangkukulam'

Further reading:


Hope there are no mistakes. I provided lots of nouns so people can use them to make more exercises for themselves. Be creative :)

Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat.

March 16, 2015



This is excellent! I especially appreciate the ducks and sorcery :)


It's a VERB SUBJECT OBJECT language in general right?


Kinain namin ang adobo

can be badly translated as: ate we the adobo

it would make more sense to translate it as We ate the adobo

Note: That's the most common way of saying "We ate the adobo" in Tagalog


wow that order was tough


Naghugas ako ng mga tasa - I washed cups

Nagsulat ako ng libro - I wrote a book

Nagluto ako ng karne - I cooked meat

Notice how the verb is the first word and how the Tagalog word for 'I' comes next.


It is the preferred one, and the most commonly used for conversational.


Ako ay naghugas ng tasa

Grammatically correct, but no one really speaks this way except on very formal speeches.

Ako ay nagsulat ng libro

Ako ay nagluto ng karne

You can do the SVO, but you're gonna end up sounding like a Tagalog speaking equivalent of Shakespeare.


Also (most common) I am a duck -> Pato ako

Source: I'm a native Filipino.

By the way, salamat sa kurso mo. May mga Filipino rin dito sa Duolingo at pwede kami magbigay ng feedback kung nais mo :-D


Walang anuman :)

Ito daw kasi ang isa sa pinakamahirap na aspeto (maliban sa mga pandiwa) kaya ginawa ko ito. Hindi ko pa muna itutuloy ang seryeng ito kasi gusto ko munang tapusin ang mga ginagawa kong kurso dito. Medyo natagalan din ako sa paggawa ng mga litrato.

Pinadala ko na rin yung aking aplikasyon sa kursong 'Filipino for English speakers'. Kung magkaroon man nitong kurso, gusto ko tulungan ang mga moderator at ibubuhos ko lahat ng oras ko dito sa paggawa ng kurso.

Kahit na karamahin ng mga nakakapagtagalog ay 'taglish-speakers' lalo na ang mga OFW, at mga city-dwellers sa Pinas, sa tingin ko kulang pa rin ang 'Standard Filipino' resources sa Internet. Hindi perpekto ang written Tagalog ko kaya matutulungan din ako nitong kurso. :D


Oo, pandiwa ang pinaka mahirap na aspekto ng Tagalog (at, sa tingin ko, sa lahat ng wikang sa Pilipinas) sapagkat ito'y gumagamit ng marami affix.

Nagpadala rin ako ang aking aplikasyon para sa kursong 'Filipino for English speakers' subalit wala pa akong natatanggap na sagot muna sa admin ng DL.

Bueno, good luck na lang sa aplikasyon mo :-)


I'm loving this Tagalog conversation going back and forth between you two! Out of interest, have you applied for the course?


We did on separate ocasion, but we haven't still heard anything back


I also have applied for that last year and still haven't heard anything. I hope it gets added soon!


Yung "conjugation" ang pinakamahirap. Biruin mo, nag-iiba ang meaning ng isang pandiwa kapag kinonjugate mo. Unlike sa European language na yung tenses ang nag-iiba hindi yung buong kahulugan

Saan-saan pa nailalagay (unahan, gitna, hulian - at madalas sa lahat ng iyan pa)


Aspiring to be a polyglot ka po? Ahaha.


Maraming salamat!

This is very useful and helpful. It's strange that there aren't many great resources online for Tagalog, but with the amount of applicants on Duolingo, I'm sure it'll be here soon.


Thanks for the lesson! I think Tagalog would be an excellent addition to Duolingo. The alphabet is the same as English and the Filipino economy is incredibly promising. The Philippines is a country to look to in the future.


Wow! I wish I had something like this when I first moved back to the Philippines. I had a lazy teacher who told me to just copy everything from my classmate during Filipino class.


This was brilliant! Before travelling in Philippines last summer, I looked through quite a lot tutorials and learning sites. I don't remember seeing anything that was as efficiently and intuitively presented as your post. Thank you!


Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

I'll make more of these every now and then :)


Very good post on the Tagalog/Filipino debate. I get frustrated when Filipinos themselves say that Filipino is different from Tagalog because of "loanwards".

Other Philippine languages have a lot of loanwords too, but they did not suddenly become another language


Excellent post! Hindi ko alam kung bakit, pero natatawa ako noong binabasa ko yung mga examples na may pato. At tama ka, kapag mas kakaiba ang mga pangungusap, mas tumatatak sa isipan. :)

Keep them coming!

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