Why Doesn’t Tagalog Have Pronouns That Indicate Gender?


Denizens of the Philippines don’t care about sex in their language.
The Filipino language(Tagalog) apparently does not have a way of distinguishing between male and female. Consider the following: She is happy Or He is happy both translate to Siya ay masaya.  So Siya can mean both male or female. I guess Filipinos believe the context will always resolve the gender, but one  still would not know the gender based on single declarative sentence.
Tagalog is in possession of a neuter pronoun as illustrated by It is happy translating to Ito ay masaya.

One has to be fascinated by a culture whose language exhibits no concern for informing its readers that a male or a female is acting or being acted upon! Both Spanish and English are careful to have gender specific pronouns. He and she serve these roles in English and él and la perform the gender distinction in Spanish.
Since the Philippines were once under Spanish rule, the gender neutrality issues it has with its pronouns has been partially solved by the masculine o and the feminine a suffixes. For example , in Tagalog, grandfather is lolo and grandmother is lola.

Sort of related is Tagalog’s utter disdain for prepositions as their language contain only two, namely Nassan and Saan which both relate to the location of something.

Also you have to read the column of Jose A. Carillo’s in the Manila Times that is fairly lucid attempt to convey some of the subtle nuances of English grammar and in some cases mildly flames against folks who make their living via language like Catholic Priests.


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