What in Tagalog

Have you ever started a sentence with the word “what”? Chances are, the answer is yes. Have you ever used the word “what” when you are questioning someone or have you used it in response to surprising news? You will probably answer yes to that too. In Tagalog, “what” is translated as “ano.” “Ano” is also used when one feels surprised.

When using “ano” in a sentence, there are rules about how it can be used. In Filipino (Tagalog), spoken in the Philippines, the word “ano” is used if the first letter of the word that comes after “ano” is a vowel. An example of this is, “ano ang paki niya” which means: what does he/she care. Note that the word “ang” comes after “ano” since “ang” begins with a vowel. Here is another example, “ano ang ginagawa niya” which translates as “what is he/she doing.” Here too, “ano” is used because “ang” begins with a vowel. On the other hand, if the starting letter of the following word is a consonant, then use the word “anong” is used instead. Anong also means “what.” Here is an example to clarify this: “anong kwento niya” translates as “what is his/her story” and here “anong” is used because the word following it is kwento which begins with the letter “k” (a consonant).

If, a person was in the Philippines and met a stranger at a conference, and wanted to start a conversation with the person one could ask, “ano (what) ang (is) pangalan (name) mo (your)?” After exchanging business cards and phone numbers you ask for an appropriate time to call. You realize that you have been chatting a while but the bus has still not arrived so you ask, “anong (what) oras (time) na (is it).”

In another situation, it could be that you’ve met a college student and you want to practice your Tagalog language skills. You might ask: “Ano (what) ang (is the) pangalan (name) ng (of) unibersidad (university) mo (your).” You receive a response and you follow up by asking “Ano (what) ang (is) paborito (favorite) mong (your) aralin (subject).” The person could give you anyone of the following responses: sining which is the word for “art,” or you might be told musika which means “music” used in English. You could also be told that “agham” meansing “science” is their favorite subject.

The word “what” is used quite frequently in the English language. In Filipino (Tagalog) is also used often. The word “what” or “ano / anong” is frequently used when asking a question. It can be used when asking the time, or simply when asking someone where they are from. The word “ano” is also used when asking someone their name. The following form of the word “what” (ano) is used when the word after it begins with the vowels a,e,i,o,u. On other other hand, the word “anong” also means “what” and it is used when the word after it begins with a consonant.