Magnanakaw, Mag-aaral

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Hello for "magnanakaw" and "mag-aaral" these could respectively be translated to "thief" and "student" right?

I was just wondering why that would be because isn't "mag" for verbs? or is this just another option or technique for those words. and would this be allowed for other words like "magtitinda" or "mag piprint" like "seller" and "printer person"
  • Pertinax

    Senior Member
    Yes, you can generally use "mag-" in this way. "ang magtitinda" could mean "the shopkeeper", though the Spanish-formation "tindero" would be more common. Even "ang magpiprint" could be understood as "the printer", though the English word or "manlilimbag" would be the norm.

    The "mag-" prefix does not always form verbs. E.g. mag-asawa = husband and wife. In your examples, however, the two senses are closely related:
    magnanakaw siya = He habitually steals (verb) / He is a thief (noun)
    ang magnanakaw = The one who habitually steals / The thief

    Syntactically there is little difference between verbs, nouns and adjectives in Tagalog, because they are interchangeable in practically all contexts (subject to semantic constraints). This is the most striking feature of the major Philippine languages. It is not that their grammar is more primitive than that of English, but rather the reverse: it is powerful enough to place all predicatives on an equal footing.
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