Batangas Tagalog

Batangas Tagalog
Native to Philippines
Region Batangas
Latin (Tagalog or Filipino alphabet);
Historically Baybayin
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog bata1300[1]

Batangas Tagalog (more properly Batangan or Batangenyo) is a dialect of the Tagalog language spoken primarily in the province of Batangas and in portions of Quezon, province of Laguna and on Mindoro island. It is characterized by a strong accent and a vocabulary and grammar closely related to ancient Tagalog . It is not customary, in colloquial Batangan, to speak Taglish (or infuse English terms, as in Manila Tagalog).


The most recognizable difference is the use of the passive imperfect in place of the present progressive tense. In Manila, this is done by inserting the infix -um- after the first syllable and repeating the first syllable. In the Batangan dialect, this form is created by adding the prefix na- to the word:

Standard Batangan Standard Batangan
Root word kain (to eat) kain (to eat) tawag (to call) tawag (to call)
Syllabification ka-in ka-in ta-wag ta-wag
Conjugated k-um-a-ka-in na-ka-in t-um-a-ta-wag na-ta-wag
Written variant kumakain nakain tumatawag natawag

This conjugation is odd, because it would be the passive past to Manileños. The answer to Nasaan si Pedro? (Where is Pedro?) is Nakain ng isda! (He's eating a fish!). To those unfamiliar with this usage, the statement might mean "He was eaten by a fish!"; however, A Batangas Tagalog user can distinguish between the two apparently-identical forms by determining the stress in the words (nákain is eating and nakáin is eaten).


Another difference between Batangan and Manila Tagalog is the use of the verb ending -i instead of -an mo, especially in the imperative. This only occurs when the verb stands alone in a sentence or is the last word in the phrase. When another word follows, Batangueños would not use the -an form.

Example 1


This uses the absolute degree of an adjective, not heard elsewhere. It is the rough equivalent to -issimo or -issima in Italian, and is missing from other Tagalog dialects. This is done with the prefix pagka-:

Example 1
Example 2

Second-person plural

Another notable characteristic of the Batangan dialect is the dual-number pronouns, referring to two things (as opposed to plural, which can be two or more). Although it has not disappeared in some other areas, this form is rarely used in the Manila dialect.

Example 1
Example 2

Intonation tends to rise, particularly in the expression of deep emotion.


Another notable difference is the closed syllable, which has disappeared from the Manila dialect. The town of Tanauan is pronounced tan-'a-wan, although it would be pronounced ta-'na-wan by other Tagalog speakers. This is also true of words such as matamis (pronounced matam-is). Because Batangan is more closely related to ancient Tagalog, the merger of the phonemes e and i and the phonemes o and u are prevalent; e and o are allophones of i and u, respectively, in Tagalog.

Prevalent in Batangan but missing from other dialects are the sounds ei and ow. Unlike their English counterparts, these diphthongs are sounded primarily on the first vowel and only rapidly on the second; this is similar to the e in the Spanish word educación and the first o in the Italian word Antonio.


Locative adjectives are iré or aré (this) and rine or dine (here). Vocabulary is also divergent. Batangueño has several translations of the word "fall", depending on how a person falls. They may have nádulas (slipped), nagtingkuró (lost their balance) or nagsungabâ (fallen on their face.)

People from Manila may ask why a student came home early when school is in session. The student would answer, May pasok, pero waláng klase; the student would go to school to have their attendance checked, but there are no classes.

To the confusion of other Tagalog speakers, Batangueños use the phrase Hindî pô akó nagyayabang! to mean "I am not telling a lie!"; Manileños would say Hindî pô akó nagsisinungaling! To them, the former statement means "I am not bragging!"

A panday is a handyman in Batangas and a smith in Manila. An apáw is "mute" ("overflow" in Manila [ápaw]; "mute" is pipí). An exclamation of disbelief is anlaah! roughly, a shorter translation of walâ iyán ("that's nothing" or "false") in Manila Tagalog.

The Batangas dialect is also known for the particle eh. While it is used throughout the province, some variations exist (such as ala eh). This particle has no intrinsic meaning; its closest equivalent in English is in the conversational context of "Well,...". In other cases it can show that the preceding word is the cause of something, much as kasi would be used.


Like most Southeast Asians and Filipinos, Batangueños use honorifics to convey respect (even to strangers). Honorifics are used more by the Batangueños than other Tagalog speakers.

Although they have largely disappeared from Manila usage, Batangueños still use plural pronouns to express politeness (comparable to vous in French, usted in Spanish and Sie in German). This is normally used to show respect to one in authority, either by age or position.

Unlike Romance-language speakers, Batangueños have a choice of second- or third-person plural to show respect (similar to the Italian lei; "she", but meaning "you" in formal situations).

Second-person plural is used to show respect to older people or those in authority, but with an affinity with the speaker. It is primarily used with grandparents, friends of parents, relatives holding high positions or religious leaders, and is similar to the use of vosotros during the Middle Ages. For strangers, third-person plural is used.

Example 1

Someone is knocking at the door, and you want to know who they are.

Example 2

When seeing an older person who is family friend, the greeting will normally be:

Majestic plural

The plural is not limited to those of lower ranks; those in authority are also expected to use this pluralisation with the first-person plural inclusive Tayo, which acts as the majestic plural. The Batangueños use the inclusive pronoun, commonly for government officials or those with authority over a territory (such as a priest or bishop).

This form is used by doctors or nurses when talking to patients. A doctor from the province will rarely ask someone how he is feeling; rather, he will ask "How are we feeling?".

Although and opò show respect, Batangueños replace these with and ohò (a typical Batangueño morphophonemic change). However, Batangueños understand the use of and opò (the more-common variant in other Tagalog-speaking regions).


  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Batangas". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
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