Batangas Tagalog

Batangas Tagalog

Batangas Tagalog also known as "Batangan" is a dialect of the Tagalog language spoken primarily in the province of Batangas, Quezon, Laguna and the island of Mindoro ("Batangueño/a" refers to the natives). The dialect is distinctively characterized by a very strong accent and its vocabulary is more closely related to ancient or "old-style" Tagalog. It is not customary in colloquial Batangan to speak in Taglish or to infuse English terms as the custom is with Manila Tagalog.


The most recognisable difference is the use of the passive past tense (in Standard Filipino) in place of the present progressive. In Manila, this is done by inserting the infix -um- after the first syllable then by repeating the first syllable.

Example 1:

:root word: kain (to eat): ka-in (syllabication): k-um-a-ka-in (eating)

Example 2:

:root word: tawag (to call): ta-wag (syllabication): t-um-a-ta-wag (calling)

In the Batangan dialect however, this form is done by putting the prefix na- to the word.

Example 1:

:root word: kain (to eat): ka-in (syllabication): nakain (eating)

Example 2:

:root word: tawag (to call): ta-wag (syllabication): natawag (calling)

This conjugation of the verb is becomes funny because as what was mentioned above, this would mean the passive past to Manileños. When someone asks Nasaan si Pedro? (Where is Peter?), one would promtly answer Nakain ng isda!, which translates to 'He's eating a fish!'. However, to those unfamiliar with this kind of usage, the statement could easily be taken to mean "He was eaten by a fish!". However, a Batangueño can distinguish between the two seemingly identical forms.


Another undeniable character of the Batangan Tagalog is the use of the verb ending '-si' instead of '-an', especially in the command form. This only happens when the verb stands alone in a sentence or when the verb is the last word in the phrase. However, when another word is put after it, Batanguños would never to the use of the '-an' form.

Example 1:

:Person A: "May nakatok ho sa pinto" [Someone is knocking at the door "(said politely, as the polite marker 'ho' is used)"] .:Person B: "Aba'y, buksi!" (Then open it!)


:Person A: "May nakatok ho sa pinto" (Someone is knocking at the door).:Person B: "Aba'y, buksan mo!" (Then open it!)

One could also notice the use of the absolute degree of an adjective, something that is not heard anywhere else. It is roughly the equivalent to the use of 'issimo' or 'issima' in the Spanish and Italian Languages, something absent in the other Dialects. This is done by putting the "pagka-" in front of the word.

Example 1:

:Pagkaganda pala ng anak ng mag-asawang are, ah! (Pagkaganda pala ng anak ng mag-asawang ire, ah!)

:The child of this couple is indeed beautiful!

Example 2:

:Pagkatagal mo ba.:You move so slow.

One noticeable characteristic of the Batangan Dialect is the use of the dual number for pronouns. Although this hasn't completely disappeared in some other areas, this form is almost never used in the Manila dialect.

Example 1:

: (Batangan Tagalog) Kita na! ("Let's go!"): (Manila Tagalog) Tayo na! ("Let's go!" lit. Let us...)

Example 2:

: (Batangan Tagalog) Buksan mo nga ang telebisyon nata. (Please turn our telly on.): (Manila Tagalog) Buksan mo nga ang telebisyon natin.

This grammar structure is a remnant of the ancient Tagalog grammar that went on with very little change in the province for centuries.

Also, intonations more often than not tend to rise, especially to express extreme emotions.


Another noticeable difference is the usage of the closed syllable, a practice that has completely disappeared in the Manila dialect. The town of Tanauan is actually pronounced [tan-'a-wan] whereas it would be pronounced as [ta-'na-wan] by other Tagalogs. This is also true with words like "matamis", pronounced "matam-is" and a couple of other more words.

Also, as mentioned above, the dialect spoken in Batangas is more closely related to the ancient Tagalog. Thus the merger of the phonemes [e] and [i] and the phonemes [o] and [u] are prevalent. Also, absent in other dialects is the use of the schwa sound. This incident is common simply because the dialect spoken in the province is spoken faster compared to other dialects.

Something prevalent in the Batangan dialect that is lacking in other Dialects is the sound [ei] and [ow] . However, unlike its English counterpart, this diphthong is sounded mainly on the first vowel and very rapidly only on the second. This is very similar to the [e] in the Spanish word "educaciòn" and the first [o] in the Italian word "Antonio".

And as a proof that the Batangan Dialect is closer to the Old Tagalog than any other dialects, the practice of merging the phonemes /e/ and /i/, as well as /o/ and /u/, are still very noticeable. One can hear the words lola (grandmother) pronounced as if written lula. This is also true with the word baboy (swine), which is pronounced babuy. However, everyone will tell you that you misspelled the words when you use the latter in writing.


Locative adjectives are "ire" or "are" (this) and rine or dine (here).

Vocabulary is also divergent. The Batangueño dialect has several translations for the word 'slip' (fall), depending upon -how- a person falls. He may have nadulas (simply slipped), nagtingkuro (lost his balance), or worse, nagsungaba (fallen on his face.)

People from Manila may ask why a student comes home before the scheduled time, when the teachers have earlier announced that they would have to go to school. The student will just answer, "May pasok, pero walang klase". This simply means that the student would have to go to school to have his or her attendance checked, but there is really no class in session.

To the confusion of other Tagalog speakers, the Batangueños also use the phrase, Hindi po ako nagyayabang! to mean 'I am not telling a lie!', whereas Manileños would simply say Hindi po ako nagsisinungaling!. For them, the former statement means, I am not bragging!

A "panday" is a handyman in Batangas whereas it means a smith in Manila. An "apaw" is "mute" ("overflow" in Manila; mute is "pipi"). "La-ang" is equivalent to lamang (only) in Manila. And when they don't believe you, they would exclaim anlaa! which is roughly a shorter translation of "wala iyan" (that's nothing/false) in Manila Tagalog.

For more of the Batangas vocabulary you could refer to

The Batangas dialect is also known for the particle "eh". While the incidence of its usage is noticeable throughout the province, some variations exists like "ala eh". In reality, this particle has no meaning in itself, often added only for emphasis on certain statements. Its closest equivalent in English is sometimes the conversational context of "Well,...". In other cases however, it can show that the proceeding is the cause of something, much as the word "kasi" would be used.

The Respectful Language

The Batangueños, like other people in the Southeast Asia deem it appropriate to always show respect to everyone. Like the Japanese, they value honor and place it at a very high position. This is shown by the fact that the Batangueños have a special form of language to show this respect.

Though it has largely disappeared in the Manila usage, the Batanguños still use the plural forms of the pronouns to show politeness. This is comparable to the use of the singular 'vous' in French and the singular 'Sie' in German. Normally, this is used to show respect to one who has authority either by age or by position. But unlike French speakers, the Batangueños have a choice either to use to second-person plural or third-person plural to show this respect, similar to the Italian "lei" meaning "she" but used as "you" in formal/polite situations.

Example 1:

:Case: Someone is knocking at the door and you want to know who the person is --: [Manila Tagalog] Sino iyan?: [Batangan Tagalog] Sino ho sila? (which translates to 'Who are they?')

Example 2:

:Case: You came to pass an older person who is family friend... The greeting will normally be---: [Manila Tagalog] 'Kumusta na po?' (wherein the particle po is the signifier of respect): [Batangan Tagalog] 'Kumusta na ho kayo?' or 'Kumusta na po sila?' (wherein 'kayo' and 'sila' are the plural second and third person personal pronouns, respectively.

But the use of the plurals is not limited to those of lower ranks. Those of authority is also expected to use this pluralisation, this time by using the first person plural inclusive 'Tayo', which functions like the Royal We. The Batangueños use the inclusive form of the pronoun and not just the plural form.

This usage is very common for government officials or those who are deemed to handle an important prepsition over a certain territory like a priest or a bishop.

This form is also used by doctors or nurses when talking to patients. Rarely will a doctor from the province ask some how is he feeling. Rather, he will ask them How are we"' feeling?'

"And of course, one cannot belittle the use of 'po' and 'opo' to show respect. However, the Batangueños tend to replace this by 'ho' and 'oho', a typical Batanguño morphophonemic change. Nevertheless, Batangueños also understand and appreciate if you use the 'po' and 'opo' variant more common in other Tagalog regions.


* [ Tagalog 101 - Tagalog language dialects] . Accessed on March 31, 2007.
* [ Ethnologue report for Tagalog language] . Accessed on March 31, 2007.
* [ Tagalog regions and dialects] . Accessed on March 31, 2007.


(1989) Pancorbo, Luis: "En busca de los batangan" en "Los viajes del girasol".Pp. 23-35. Mondadori, Madrid. ISBN 84-397-1489-0

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