Waray-Waray language

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Spoken in: Philippines 
Region: Eastern Visayas
Total speakers: 3.1 million
Language family:
   Meso Philippine
    Central Philippine
      Central Visayan
Language codes
ISO 639-1: none
ISO 639-2: war
ISO 639-3: war

Wáray-Wáray (commonly spelled as Warai; also referred to as Winarai or L(in) eyte-Samarnon) is a language spoken in the provinces of Samar, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte and Biliran in the Philippines.

The Warai group of languages consists of Waray-Waray, Waray Sorsogon and Masbate Sorsogon. Waray Sorsogon and Masbate Sorsogon are called Bisakol because they are intermediate between Visayan and Bicolano languages. All the Warayan languages belong to the Visayan language family and are related to Cebuano and more closely to Hiligaynon and Masbatenyo.




  Absolutive Ergative Oblique
1st person singular ako, ak nakon, nak, ko akon, ak
2nd person singular ikaw, ka nimo, nim, mo imo, im
3rd person singular hiya, siya niya iya
1st person plural inclusive kita, kit naton aton
1st person plural exclusive kami, kam namon amon
2nd person plural kamo niyo iyo
3rd person plural hira, sira nira ira

The Waray-Waray copula

Waray-Waray, as in other Philippine languages, does not have any exact equivalent to the English linking verb be. In Tagalog, for example, the phrase "Siya ay maganda" (She is beautiful) contains the word ay which, contrary to popular belief, does not function as an attributive copula predicating maganda (beautiful) to its subject and topic Siya (he or she). The function of Tagalog's ay is rather a marker of sentence inversion, which is regarded as a literary form but somewhat less common in spoken Tagalog.

The Waray-Waray language in comparison would express "She is beautiful" only as "Mahusay hiya" or sometimes "Mahusay iton hiya" (iton functioning as a definite article of hiya, she), since Waray doesn't have a present-tense copula or even an inversion marker. As in other Philippine languages, attributive statements are usually represented in predicate-initial form and have no copula at all. Take for example the ordinary Waray sentence "This is a dog":

Ayam ini.

The predicate Ayam (dog) is placed before the subject ini (this); no copula is present. Another example:

Amo ini an balay han Winaray o Binisaya nga Lineyte-Samarnon nga Wikipedia.

In English: "This is the Waray-Waray/Leyte-Samar Visayan Wikipedia". The predicate Amo ini is roughly translated as "This here" but the rest of the sentence then jumps to its subject, marked by the particle an. A more literal translation would therefore be "This the Waray-Waray/Leyte-Samar Visayan Wikipedia". Unlike Tagalog, it is grammatically impossible to invert a sentence like this into a subject-head form without importing the actual Tagalog inversion marker ay, a growing trend among younger people in Leyte.

Despite the debate regarding the Waray-Waray copula, it would be safe to treat structures like magin (to be), an magin/an magigin (will be or will become), and an nagin (became) as the English treat linking verbs:

Makuri magin estudyante. ([It's] hard to be a student.)
Ako an magigin presidente! (I will be the president!)
Ako an nagin presidente. (I became the president.)

Orthography issues

While the now-defunct Sanghiran San Binisaya ha Samar ug Leyte (Academy of the Visayan Language of Samar and Leyte) formulated and recommended a standard orthography, this was never widely disseminated and therefore as of present there is still no official orthography commonly accepted. In effect, there may exist two spellings of the same word (these usually limited to differences in vowels only), such as

  • diri or dire ("no")
  • hira or hera ("them")
  • pira or pera ("money") - could also mean "how many?"
  • maopay or maupay ("good")
  • guinhatag or ginhatag ("gave")
  • direcho or diritso ("straight [ahead]")


Waray-Waray has sixteen consonants: p, t, k, b, d, g, m, n, ng, s, h, w, l, r and y. There are three main vowels: [a], [ɛ]/[i], and [o]/[ʊ]. [i]/[ɛ] and [ʊ]/[o] sound the same. Consonants d and r can sometimes interchange as they were once allophones.



Native numbers are used for numbers one through ten. From eleven onwards, Spanish numbers are exclusively used in Waray-Waray today, their native counterparts being almost unheard of by the majority of native speakers.

   One          Usá       Uno
   Two          Duhá      Dos
   Three        Tuló      Tres
   Four         Upat      Kuwatro
   Five         Limá      Singko
   Six          Unom      Siez/says
   Seven        Pitó      Siete
   Eight        Waló      Ocho
   Nine         Siyám     Nuebe/nueve
   Ten          Napúlô    Diez
   Eleven       (Napúlô kag usá)  Onse
   Twenty       (Karuhaan)        Baynte
   Thirty       (Katloan)         Trenta
   Forty        (Kap-atan)        Kwuarenta
   Fifty        (Kalim-an)        Singkwenta
   Sixty        (Kaunman)         Siesenta
   Seventy      (Kapitoan)        Setenta
   Eighty       (Kawaloan)        Ochienta
   Ninety       (Kasiaman)        Nobenta
   One Hundred  (Usa ka Gatus)    Cien
   One Thousand (Usa ka Yukut)    Mil

Some common words and phrases

Below are examples of the Waray-Waray spoken in Metropolitan Tacloban and the nearby areas:

  • Good morning (noon/afternoon/evening) : Maupay nga aga (udto/kulop/gab-i)
  • Can you understand Waray? : Nakakaintindi/Nasabut ka hin Winaray? or Nakaichindi ka ba (hin or hiton)
  • Thank you : Salamat
  • I love you : Hinihigugma ko ikaw or Ginhihigugma ko ikaw or Pina-ura ta ikaw
  • Where are you from? : Taga diin ka? or Taga nga-in ka?
  • How much is this? : Tag pira ini?
  • I can't understand : Diri ako nakakaintindi
  • I don't care : Baga saho or Waray ko Labot
  • I don't know : Diri ako maaram or Ambot
  • What : Ano
  • Who : Hin-o
  • Where : Hain
  • When (future): San-o
  • When (past): Kakan-o
  • Why : Kay-ano
  • Yes : Oo
  • No : Dire or Diri
  • There: Adto or Didto
  • Here: Didi or Nganhi
  • Front or in front: Atbang or Atubangan
  • Night: Gab-i
  • Day: Adlaw
  • Nothing: Waray
  • Good: Upay

See also

External links

Waray-Waray language edition of Wikipiniana, the free encyclopedia

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Original Source

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