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Ang mga estudyante si Tom at si Alex (Predicate-Subject)

Discussion in 'Tagalog and Filipino Languages' started by MarFish, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. MarFish Senior Member

    California
    English - American
    In class we are learning subject-predicate (ay) and predicate-subject sentences. The professor asked us if this sentence was grammatically correct:

    Ang mga estudyante si Tom at si Alex.

    The professor said this sentence was incorrect because it needs ay. I thought this sentence was correct because si Tom at si Alex could be the subject and Ang mga estudyante could be the predicate. This is how I interpret the following sentences (underlining the subject and bold the predicate):

    [P-S] Ang mga estudyante si Tom at si Alex. Tom and Alex are the students.
    [S-P] Ang mga estudyante ay si Tom at si Alex. The students are Tom and Alex.

    So my question is, doesn't ang act as a definitizer in the original sentence and it is grammatically correct in predicate-subject form? My professor said Mga estudyante si Tom at si Alex would be the correct predicate-subject form, but wouldn't that translate to Tom and Alex are students​ and not Tom and Alex are the students? Or is it that Mga estudyante si Tom at si Alex is ambiguous and can mean both?

    Second question:

    Can ang follow ay? Si Tom at si Alex ay ang mga estudyante. Tom and Alex are the students.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  2. DotterKat Moderator

    California, USA
    English (American)
    Your questions touch on several issues but what really needs to be clarified are the different uses of ay, the role of the definitizer ang and the correct identification of subject and predicate.

    First, the original sentence is indeed incorrect but can be most simply remedied by a comma placed between the two clauses:

    And mga estudyante, si Tom at si Alex. (Let's say Tom and Alex are led into the principal's office and introduced by the secretary thusly: "The students, Tom and Alex." --- the context being that the principal was expecting a number of visitors, among them being teachers, parents and this particular pair of students, Tom And Alex).

    Look at the original Tagalog text again and the English translation:

    Ang mga estudyante si Tom at si Alex .....
    The students Tom and Alex ....

    See how both entire texts are actually noun (nominal) phrases? Taken in the orginal form, they need a predicate (as in Ang mga estudyante, si Tom at si Alex, ang nagpasimuno ng kaguluhan OR Ang mga estudyanteng sina Tom at Alex ang nagpasimuno ng kaguluhan --- The students Tom and Alex started all the trouble). If you consider the original text as two clauses divided by a comma, that would solve the problem most easily.

    Ang is indeed a definitizer in the original text and in fact is the reason why the sentence is incorrect if you do not divide it into two clauses by a comma. Without the comma, the entire thing is simply a nominal phrase introduced by the definitizer ang and in need of a predicate at the end as I have discussed above. This makes your grammatical breakdown into subject (si Tom at si Alex) and predicate (Ang mga estudyante) errononeous. Your professor is correct in that it needs the particle ay: (P-S) Ang mga estudyante ay si Tom at si Alex OR Ang mga estudyante ay sina Tom at Alex. With the ay particle functioning as a topic marker, we clearly have a predicate preceding the subject making one coherent sentence. Without the ay marker or a comma, you have an incomplete sentence:

    Ang mga estudyante si Tom at si Alex .... ay ano?
    The students Tom and Alex .... are what?

    This sentence: Mga estudyante si Tom at si Alex is likewise in the P-S form. However, without the definitizer ang and only the non-specific plural marker mga at the beginning makes it a complete sentence unto itself --- it is merely making the statement that Tom and Alex are students (contrast with The students Tom and Alex ... are what?)

    This sentence: Ang mga estudyante ay si Tom at si Alex is still in the P-S form and not S-P as you have indicated (Who is being talked about? Tom and Alex. Tom and Alex are the subjects. What is being said about them, i.e., in what way are they being modified or described? That they are the students --- that is the predicate).
    Again, with the use of the definitizer ang at the beginning, you have to imagine the preceding lines. Why are Tom and Alex being specially picked out by ang? Let's say the principal's office is full of young people, only two of whom are students, Tom and Alex. Thus, they were pointed out with the sentence: Ang mga estudyante ay si Tom at si Alex (The students are Tom and Alex).

    Your last question involves the use of the particle ay as an inversion marker: (S-P) Si Tom at si Alex ay ang mga estudyante OR Sina Tom at Alex ay ang mga estudyante (Tom and Alex are the students). The word order is inverted by ay from verb-initial (P) to subject-initial (S). Again, dropping the ang definitizer makes the sentence less "specific": (S-P) Si Tom at si Alex ay mga estudyante (Tom and Alex are students). In the former case with ang, Tom and Alex are being singled out (being "definitized") for special cause which we will have to imagine lacking that context --- perhaps they are the students who started the fight or who got the highest grades, etc. In the latter case, without ang, Tom and Alex are merely identified as students.
     
  3. MarFish Senior Member

    California
    English - American
    Thanks DotterKat, but I am still unclear. This link has the example ang teacher ang babae (the woman is the teacher). I thought si was the version of ang except for names. So I still don't understand why ang teacher ang babae is a valid sentence while ang estudyante si Alex​ would be incorrect.

    Who is that student? Si Alex ang estudyante.

    Actually... I can't think of a sentence that would give me an answer Ang estudyante si Alex. Maybe I am starting to understand. But could you clarify the above about si and ang?
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  4. DotterKat Moderator

    California, USA
    English (American)
    Think of it this way: Ang teacher ang babae (The teacher is the female / woman ---- a complete sentence with a complete thought.)
    Ang estudyante si Alex (The student Alex ..... is what? ---- again, an incomplete sentence.) Once more, if you considered that as two clauses divided by a comma, it can work: Ang estudyante, si Alex. (The student, Alex.)

    Si is just a personal noun marker (singular) used to aim the focus on a proper name. Ang is a definitizer in that sentence (Si Mary ang babae --- Mary is the female / woman).
     
  5. Equinozio Junior Member

    Tagalog
    The predicate represents relatively new information. So if the listener knows Tom and Alex and you want to give new information about them (that they are students), you can say "Estudyante sina Tom at Alex." Tom and Alex are students.

    If the listener sees two students but can't identify them (say, they're far away or they're disguised) and you want to give new information about them (that they are Tom and Alex), you can say "Sina Tom at Alex ang mga estudyante." Tom and Alex are the students. / The students are Tom and Alex.

    "Ang mga estudyante sina Tom at Alex" sounds awkward, unless you are expressing contrast and there is a pause. For example, you can say "Ang mga estudyante, sina Tom at Alex. Ang teacher, si Bob." (Tagalog POD–Pause–News or Subject-Pause-Predicate)

    As for why "Ang... si..." is not normally said, perhaps it's because in such equational sentences, it makes more sense to give specific information (Tom and Alex) about something generic (the students), rather than the other way around.

    Yes, ang can follow ay, for example:
    Si Jojo ay ang pinakamatalino.
     
  6. MarFish Senior Member

    California
    English - American
    Thanks DotterKat and Equinozio. You have both explained very well and I think I am starting to see why "Ang... si" is sounding awkward and incorrect!
     
  7. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Hello marfish! Here are my Tagalog versions for the 2 given sentences. 1.) Mga Estudiante/mag aaral sina Tom at Alex. 2.) Ang mga Estudiante/mag aaral ay sina Tom at Alex. i add this one 3.) Silang lahat ay mga estudiante/mag aaral.
     

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