Contrastive Analysis of the Cebuano {tan-aw} and the Tagalog {nood}

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Submitted to Mr. Matthew Nepomuceno 09/25/2010

Part 1: Description

Cebuano (L1) is primarily spoken in Cebu, however, variations of this dialect occur in its neighboring provinces such as, Bohol, Western Leyte, Negros Occidental, Biliran islands, Masbate, and Mindanao. Generally known as the Visayan language in other parts of the county, Cebuano is used by natives and settlers in the Visayan region.  In the Philippines, it is relatively easy to identify a speaker of Cebuano whenever there is a sing-song intonation pattern in utterances.

Tagalog (L2), Filipino in its standardized form, is the language primarily spoken by most people in Region IV, including CALABARZON (Calamba, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) and MIMAROPA (Occidental & Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan).  Being Malayo-Polenesian in origin, Tagalog are related to other Austronesian languages such as Javanese, Indonesian, and Malay.  As early in 1937, Tagalog was declared as the official language by the country’s Constitution of Biak-na-Bato. Eventually, Manuel L. Quezon, renamed Tagalog as Pilipino and declared it as the Philippines’ national language.

Part 2: Selection

To limit the scope of the analysis, the writers have chosen to discuss the simple aspect of the verb tan-aw in L1 and L2, and present the variations according to three aspects – past, present progressive, and future.


tan-aw (base) nitan-aw (past) nagtan-aw (present progressive) mutan-aw (future)


nood (base)      nanood (past) nanonood (present progressive) manonood (future)

Part 3: Contrast

Upon contrasting the selected verbs in L1 and L2, the writers have identified the following:

  • L1’s {tan-aw}, becomes an entirely new word in L2 {nood}.
  • ni is a set prefix for the past tense in the L1, while na- is the  prefix for the past tense in L2.
  • nag is a prefix for the present progressive aspect in L1, while in L2, na- is retained as a prefix in the progressive aspect, with reduplication of the first syllable of the root.
  • mu- is the set prefix for L1’s future tense, while ma- is the prefix for L2’s form for the future tense, with reduplication of the first syllable of the root.

Part 4: Diagnosis – Prediction

Upon review of the above contrasting descriptions between L1‘s {tan-aw} and L2’s {nood}, the writers have drafted the following predictions according to Prator’s (1967) 6 Levels of Difficulty.

Level  0 (Transfer).No difficulties in terms of Filipino vowels and consonant sounds. Both verbs, along with their tense variations, have sounds that are present almost in every dialect in the Philippines. Further, both L1 and L2 have three different forms for the three aspects of the verb.

Level 1 (Coalescence).{tan-aw} which has a number of meaning in L1 (e.i. to see, to watch, to peek, etc.), becomes {nood} which only means ‘to watch’ in L2.

Level 2 (Underdifferentiation). Prefixes in L2 such as ni- (past), nag- (present progressive), and mu- (future) are given new forms in L2 through na-(past and present progressive), and ma- (future).

Level 3 (Reinterpretation). Reduplication of the first syllable of the root in the present progressive form in L2 does not exist in its entirety in L1.

Level  4 (Overdifferentiation). Proper recognition of appropriate L2 prefixes and infix in past, present progressive and future that are not present in L1.

Level 5 (Split). L1’s {tan-aw} takes on a new form in L2 as {nood}.

Tags : contrastive analysispapersphilippinespnu-elt
Orly S. Agawin

The author Orly S. Agawin

Orly has been writing for The Jellicle Blog since 2008. He is a training and development consultant by day and an art enthusiast by night. He lives in Parañaque with his mom.


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