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Ilocano Adjectives, Nouns, and Forming Ilocano Sentences

Precy speaks Ilocano and loves helping others learn the fundamentals of the language.

Some commonly used adjectives and nouns in Ilocano, plus a guide to forming sentences

Some commonly used adjectives and nouns in Ilocano, plus a guide to forming sentences

What Is Ilocano?

Ilocano is one of the many languages spoken in the Philippines. Some prefer to refer to Ilocano as a dialect since Filipino, a standardized version of Tagalog, was declared the country's national language.

Although Ilocano isn't taught in Philippine schools, it is spoken throughout the country. It is the third most spoken language in the Philippines, with native Ilocano speakers mostly in Luzon, the largest island located in the northern part of the country.

One Luzon province is my mother's beloved Zambales, where I was born. La Union is another province in the Ilocos Region of Luzon where residents speak Ilocano. In fact, Ilocano was recognized as the province's official language in 2012. Another place where people speak Ilocano is Baguio, also known as the "City of Pines."

Learning Ilocano

Some have told me Ilocano is challenging to learn compared to other regional languages. Learning to speak another language or dialect can be quite difficult.

Is it hard to learn Ilocano? It's true that it takes time and patience. But having a basic understanding of the fundamentals of Filipino helps in the learning process as there are similarities, from words to sentence patterns.

The following are some of the most commonly used Ilocano adjectives and nouns to get you started.

Ilocano Adjectives

Learning Ilocano adjectives is a vital aspect of learning to speak Ilocano. Not only does enabling the language learner to describe everyday situations make learning fun, but knowing these adjectives will also come in handy when carrying out simple conversations.

Following are some adjectives you will often hear used in Ilocano. The Filipino translations are also included.

Commonly Used Ilocano Adjectives

EnglishIlocanoFilipino

beautiful

napintas

maganda

big

dakkel

malaki

small

bassit

maliit

clean

nadalos

malinis

dirty

narugit

madumi

fragrant

nabanglo

mabango

delicious

naimas

masarap

scared

mabuteng

takot

smart

nalaeng

magaling/matalino

tall

natayag

matangkad

tidy

naurnos

maayos

talkative

tarabitab

madaldal

soft

nalukneng

malambot

happy

naragsak

masaya

ripe

naluom

hinog

stinky/smelly/foul odor

nabangsit

mabaho

cold

nalamiis

malamig

hot

napudot

mainit

Ilocano Nouns

We will be using the Ilocano adjectives above to describe the following nouns later on. The Filipino words are also included.

Commonly Used Ilocano Nouns

EnglishIlocanoFilipino

house

balay

bahay

kitchen

kusina

kusina

bedroom

kwarto

kwarto

restroom

banyo

banyo

car/vehicle

lugan

kotse/sasakyan

clothes

bado

damit

chair

tugaw

upuan/silya

church

simbaan

simbahan

store

tindaan

tindahan

book

libro

libro

water

danom

tubig

rice

inapoy

kanin

dish

sida

ulam

flower

sabong

bulaklak

kid

ubing

bata

seat

tugaw

upuan

friend

gayyem

kaibigan

cousin

kasinsin

pinsan

Some Filipino words are the same in Ilocano, while other Ilocano words are fairly close to their Filipino counterparts. A good example is the Ilocano word tindaan and its Filipino counterpart, tindahan, from the table above.

A Lesson on Ti in Ilocano

To understand the use of ti in Ilocano, look at ti as a linker, like a bridge connecting or linking a verb and pronoun to a noun in Ilocano sentences. For Filipino speakers curious about ti, it is the equivalent of ng where ng is used as an object marker in actor-focused verbs. Before we go any further, let's take a look at these examples, where ti links Ilocano verbs and pronouns with nouns.

Below are examples of simple Ilocano sentences with verbs and pronouns attached to them and linked to nouns. Notice similarities of pronouns used. Take a look at the nouns as well.

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Most of these examples are common nouns. Pan de sal is a bread, and parya is a vegetable. Ti is not used to link verbs to proper names.

Simple Ilocano Sentences Using Ti

IlocanoFilipinoEnglish

Nanganak ti pan de sal.

Kumain ako ng pan de sal.

I ate pan de sal.

Gumatangak ti bigas.

Bumili ako ng bigas.

I bought rice.

Nagdalusak ti balay.

Naglinis ako ng bahay.

I cleaned the house.

Agmulaak ti parya

Magtatanim ako ng ampalaya.

I'm going to plant bitter gourd.

Nakakitaak ti aso.

Nakakita ako ng aso.

I saw a dog.

Mangalaak ti parya.

Kukuha/Pipitas ako ng ampalaya.

I'm going to get bitter gourd.

Mangalngalaak ti parya.

Kumukuha ako ng ampalaya.

I'm getting bitter gourd.

In addition to ti linking verbs and nouns, ti in Ilocano is also used to connect adjectives to nouns. Let's take a look at some examples of this with commonly used Ilocano adjectives and nouns from the tables above.

The adjective comes first in Ilocano, linked by ti to a noun. Notice that the usage of ti in the table below is now the equivalent of ang in Filipino or the in English.

Ti Connecting Ilocano Adjectives and Nouns

IlocanoFilipinoEnglish

Napintas ti balay.

Maganda ang bahay.

The house is beautiful.

Nabanglo ti sabong.

Mabango ang bulaklak.

The flower is fragrant.

Dakkel ti kusina.

Malaki ang kusina.

The kitchen is big.

Nalaing ti ubing.

Magaling ang bata.

The kid is smart.

Nadalos ti kwarto.

Malinis ang kwarto.

The room is clean.

Sentence Expansion

Let's expand our Ilocano sentences by adding some pronouns to some of the examples above.

Napintas ti balay da. Their house is beautiful.

Napintas da. They are beautiful.

Da is an Ilocano pronoun that corresponds to the English they and their. Notice how it was used in the examples. While da or they in the second example receives the Ilocano adjective napintas or beautiful, it is used as the English their in the first example, which shows possession.

Expanding Sentences by Adding Adverbs of Time

Let's see more examples of expanding Ilocano sentences by adding adverbs of time into our previous sentence examples in the table above. Let's use some of the ones listed in the table below.

IlocanoFilipinoEnglish

intono bigat

bukas

tomorrow

intono rabii

mamayang gabi

tonight

idi kalman

kahapon

yesterday

madamdama

mamaya

later

Let's use one of the examples from the table above of simple Ilocano sentences with the pronoun da. Let's add idi kalman to add time frame and say that something was done yesterday.

Nagdalusak ti balay da idi kalman. I cleaned their house yesterday.

In Filipino, this translates to Naglinis ako ng bahay nila kahapon. This isn't a thorough lesson, but referring to the tables above of adjectives, nouns, and simple Ilocano sentences will help greatly, especially when you're just starting out.

Adding adverbs of time for sentence expansion will help make learning fun. Consider speaking with native speakers; not only will this get you to practice what you have learned, but you'll pick up new words, too.

Comments

PATRICK RENÉ HENRI JOUANNÈS from LACHAPELLE SAINT PIERRE on July 20, 2019:

Great Job ! I read that Ilocalo is not taught at school. If I were you I would try to develop my project.

You maybe won't become rich but for sure you will become famous for ever.

Your country is happy enough to have so many languages still used by millions of people. It's not a problem for unity ! It's a chance for keeping a national pride after centuries of colonialism.

What more, for getting rid of this taglish and tagñol you can pick word from one language to another to enrich the vocabulary. I take the example of your lugan instead of coche !!!

precy anza (author) from USA on July 06, 2018:

Thank you @Cecile and it's a pleasure reading your comment. I hope some other learners find it as well as this article isn't listed on search engines. I am glad you find this article extremely helpful. And I do want it to be as easy to understand as possible. :)

Cecile on June 30, 2018:

Thanks so much for this wonderful and extremely helpful article. Your gradual "sentence-building" approach is a great way to expand fluency. I appreciate all of your many amazing contributions to help Ilocano language learners like me. This article pulls together so many important threads. Agyamanak, Adingko.

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