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Ilocano Adjectives, Nouns, and Forming Ilocano Sentences

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Precy enjoys helping others learn to speak and appreciate the Filipino and Ilocano language. She also writes about Filipino culture.

Here are some commonly used adjectives and nouns in Ilocano which you can use to start constructing sentences.

Here are some commonly used adjectives and nouns in Ilocano which you can use to start constructing sentences.

What Is Ilocano?

Ilocano is one of the many languages spoken in the Philippines. Some or many, prefer calling Ilocano a dialect like any other regional laguages for an easier term referring to it as one of the many regional languages since Tagalog was declared as the basis for the country's national language. Although Ilocano isn't taught in Philippine schools, it is widely spoken. 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. Travelling up north to Luzon will immerse you to Ilocano speakers as well as in Central Luzon where Ilocano is spoken as well. One in particular is Zambales where I was born, my mother's beloved province. La Union is another province in the Ilocos Region of Luzon that speaks Ilocano. In fact, Ilocano was recognized as the province's language in the year 2012. And don't forget the City Of Pines, Baguio where people speak Ilocano.

Learning Ilocano

Some have told me Ilocano is hard compared to other regional languages. Learning to speak another language or dialect isn't always easy. Is it hard to learn Ilocano? It takes time and patience. But if you speak the national language which is Filipino, it helps in the learning process as there are similarities from words to sentence pattern.

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

Ilocano Adjectives

Learning Ilocano adjectives is vital in learning to speak Ilocano. Not only that this makes learning fun enabling the language learner to describe everyday situations, but these will come in handy when carrying simple conversations.

The following are some adjectives one will hear often used in Ilocano. The Filipino translations are included too for Filipino speakers.

Commonly Used 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 included as well for Filipino speakers.

Examples of 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 words in Filipino, the national language, also exists in Ilocano while some Ilocano words are close enough to its Filipino counterpart, a good example is the Ilocano word tindaan and the Filipino word tindahan from the table above.

A Lesson on "Ti" in Ilocano

To understand it easier on what ti is in Ilocano, look at ti as a linker, like a bridge connecting or linking the verb and pronoun to a noun in Ilocano sentences. For Filipino speakers curious as to what ti is, it is the equivalent of ng where ng is used as object marker in actor focused verbs. Before we go any further, let's take a look at these examples with ti linking 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. Most of these nouns are common nouns. And although some are proper nouns, examples are pan de sal and parya, there are no proper names. 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 Ilocano adjectives to nouns being described. Let's have examples of this with commonly used Ilocano adjectives and nouns from the tables above.

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, the English the.

Ti Connecting Ilocano Adjectives and Nouns

Examples of ti linking adjectives and nouns in Ilocano.

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 on some of the examples above. Let's use one of the Ilocano pronouns discussed in the previous article - Ilocano Verbs, Pronouns and Simple Ilocano Sentences.

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.

Sentence Expansion By Adding Time Frame

Let's have more examples of expanding Ilocano sentences by adding time frame in 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 will translate 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 specially when just starting out. Adding time frames for sentence expansion will make learning fun too. Consider speaking with the native speakers, not only this will get you to practice what you have learned but you'll pick up new words too.

Quiz Time!

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Balay means?
    • Rice plant.
    • House.
    • Hut.
  2. Nadalos is an Ilocano adjective that means?
    • Fragrant.
    • Clean.
    • Slippery.
  3. Ti is used to link an adjective to a noun.
    • False.
    • True.
    • I don't know.
  4. In 'Nalaing ti ubing,' nalaing means?
    • Smart.
    • Quiet.
    • Happy.
  5. Tomorrow in Ilocano is
    • Inotono bigat.
    • Madamdama.
    • Intono kalman.
  6. Ti also links an Ilocano verb to a noun. Choose the right example.
    • Nabangglo ti sabong.
    • Dakkel ti balay.
    • Agmulaak ti parya.
  7. Inapoy is an Ilocano word for
    • Flower.
    • Water.
    • Rice.
  8. La Union is an Ilocano speaking province.
    • False.
    • True.
    • Some speaks Ilocano.
  9. Parya is a vegetable and it means bitter gourd.
    • I didn't read this part.
    • No.
    • Yes.
  10. In 'Nanganak ti pan de sal,' nanganak is in the past tense.
    • I don't know.
    • No.
    • Yes.
  11. Ilocano is the third most spoken language.
    • No.
    • I think so.
    • Yes.
  12. Ti is used to link verbs to proper names.
    • No it is not.
    • Yes it is.
    • It can be.
  13. The Ilocano word for ripe is
    • Naluom.
    • Nadalos.
    • Lugan.
  14. 'Nagdalusak ti balay da idi kalman' translates to
    • I cooked lunch at home.
    • I cleaned their house yesterday.
    • I cleaned their house last month.
  15. Soft in Ilocano is
    • Nadalos.
    • Nabanglo.
    • Nalukneng.

Answer Key

  1. House.
  2. Clean.
  3. True.
  4. Smart.
  5. Inotono bigat.
  6. Agmulaak ti parya.
  7. Rice.
  8. True.
  9. Yes.
  10. Yes.
  11. Yes.
  12. No it is not.
  13. Naluom.
  14. I cleaned their house yesterday.
  15. Nalukneng.

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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