Yes. Yassss. Yup! But how exactly can you say yes in Tagalog language?
In this special article, we will take you by the hand and walk you through how you can express affirmatives like a pro-Tagalog speaker in three easy ways. Prepare to awaken the Filipino in you as we also try to put the words in different scenarios and distinguish whether it follows a formal or casual pattern. If you are ready for that, then off we go!
Let us be clear about one thing: It is almost impossible for someone not to say the word “yes” regardless of where you are in the world. For instance, if you are thinking of dining in any Filipino fast-food chain or restaurants, you might experience service crews offering you extra rice by saying, “ma’am/sir, rice?” If you are struggling to find the best Tagalog response, then let our list of vocabulary words below help you find the right words as you say a resounding “yes!”
Similar to the English language, the word yes can be interpreted in a variety of ways depending on the tone, word choice, and context of the speakers. For the case of Tagalog language, we have identified three major contexts: casual, formal, and casual-polite.
|Oo||Casual||When speaking with people of the same age or younger than the speaker|
|Opo||Formal||When speaking with people older or in more authority than the speaker|
|Oho||Casual-polite||When speaking with familiar people older than the speaker|
*Note: You may also add a quick smile (“ngiti” in Tagalog) or nod (“tango” in Tagalog) as you say any of the affirmative responses above.
Now let us say your Filipino boss suddenly comes to you for a quick chat. A typical conversation between a person with authority and an employee may be structured in the format below.
|Person 1: How are you?Person 2: I’m good. How about you? |
Person 1: I’m good too. Have you eaten yet?
Person 2: Yes. It’s almost lunch, you should eat too.
Person 1: Kumusta?
Person 2: Mabuti naman po. Kayo po?
Person 1: Mabuti rin naman. Kumain ka na ba?
Person 2: Opo. Malapit na po mag-tanghalian, kain na din po kayo.
Based on the scenario above, we can say that the exchange between the speakers is in a formal setting. We arrived at this conclusion because of the following signifiers: (1) Person 2 consistently adds the word “po” to show respect, (2) Person 2 also chose to use the formal version of yes in Tagalog language.
|Person 1: Have you eaten?Person 2: Yes. How about you? |
Person 1: Not yet. I am still a little bit full.
Person 2: Oh. Okay! I should go ahead now.
|Person 1: Kumain ka na? |
Person 2: Oo. Ikaw?
Person 1: Hindi pa. Medyo busog pa ako.
Person 2: Ah. Sige. Mauna na ako.
Based on the scenario above, we can say that the exchange between the speakers is in a casual setting. We arrived at this conclusion because of the following signifiers: (1) Both of the speakers did not add the word “po”, (2) Person 2 also chose to use the informal version of yes in the Tagalog language in the form of “oo”, (3) Person 2 also utilized the casual form of bidding farewell in Tagalog.
Of course, there is a fat chance that you also need to express a resounding “no” and “maybe” depending on the situation. In this part, let me also share with you how to say and use other vocabulary terms related to our article today.
|English||Tagalog||English Translation||Tagalog Translation|
|No||Hindi||P1: Are you mad?P2: No. I am not mad at you.||P1: Galit ka ba? |
P2: Hindi. Hindi ako galit sa iyo.
|Maybe||Siguro||P1: Do you think I will pass the exam?P2: Maybe you will pass it!||P1: Sa tingin mob a ay papasa ako sa pag-susulit? |
P2: Siguro papasa ka!
|Perhaps||Baka||P1: Do you think he is scared?P2: Perhaps he is scared.||P1: Sa palagay mo natatakot siya? |
P2: Baka takot siya.
|Possibly||Yata||P1: Are you done with that?P2: Possibly…but I am not sure.||P1: Tapos ka na ba diyan? |
P2: Yata…pero hindi pa ako sigurado.
To sound more polite when conversing with your bosses or older people, you can add the word “po” after any the Tagalog words above. For example, you can say "hindi po ako galit" or "I am not mad at you." In this sense, it is always handy that you know when to add the magic word "po" 🙂 Even at present, Filipinos usually add this word to sound cute even if they are simply speaking with people of the same age. So, do not be surprised if someone will add "po" when talking to you.
Remember that in the Filipino culture, how you choose your words can significantly affect how the natives will respond and act around you. As a general word of advice, always use a neutral and gentle tone informal settings to avoid confusion and appearing arrogant.
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With your newfound vocabulary in expressing yes in Tagalog, you are one step closer to achieving full Tagalog fluency! Remember that the key to learning a language is time, continuous practice, and consistency. With that being said, if you want to further master the language and make meaningful connections with the Filipino people, be sure to check out the Ling App. The Ling App features fun mini-games and quizzes that can motivate you to practice and learn more about the language day by day.