They Speak Waray!

How to Speak Waray

For many years I have stood firm in my convictions that I do not need to learn another dialect in the Philippines when the “national language” is Tagalog and everyone is supposed to speak Tagalog. I mean why should I struggle to learn more (Waray) than I need to going forward, using up more RAM in my brain than necessary. People are born with only so much RAM installed (some more than others). I only have a set amount of RAM left and mine is deteriorating.  I’m not exactly sure where I would even go to get an upgrade or whether an expanded memory pack is even available. Besides, I’m not even sure if I have an expansion slot to begin with!  I’m sure my wife will agree that I am not at all upgradable (she has been trying for years with little to no success). And because my RAM comes with no extended warranty of any sort, I must manage my RAM efficiently. So to me, learning to speak Waray was something I always thought I could avoid and navigate around. Until recently.

After living in Samar for a short while, I can affirm that speaking English at many people causes nosebleeds. Many foreigners can confirm this. And after living here for nearly three years, I have also realized that speaking Tagalog to some people causes them to pause and stare, and to think longer than necessary, also leading to nosebleeds in severe cases. Therefore, being the sympathetic person that I am, I recently decided to allocate a little more of my RAM assets towards improving my basic Waray. I will spare just enough RAM to get by with those few Filipinos who are more stubborn than me, not wanting to learn their own national language (maybe they were not designed with a sufficient amount of RAM when they first arrived here).

Causing Nosebleeds
Causing Nosebleeds

English / Waray

So, in collaboration with my niece, we have come up with a short list of common words that will get help get most foreigners by, while at the same time preserving their valuable RAM assets (note: some individual foreigners may not be equipped with expanded RAM capabilities and should manage their RAM accordingly). I should caution though that by using any or a combination of these Waray words could cause and direct the conversation towards even more Waray. Tread carefully.

While the following list of words are commonly used here in the eastern Visayas, I cannot guarantee results based upon a persons understanding and/or command of local pronunciations, i.e., pronouncing A’s like ahh, E’s like I’s, and I’s like E’s, etc. (You Aussies are especially on your own here!)  He he

ENGLISH                                       WARAY

What?                                           Nano?
Where?                                         Diin?
When?                                          San-0?
Why?                                             Kay? / Kaynamon?
How?                                             Panano?
Who?                                            Sino?

How are you?                                Kumusta Ka?
Greeting (hello)                             Maupay (hello)
Good Morning                               Maupay na aga
Good Afternoon                             Maupay na kulop
Good Evening                                Maupay na gabi

Thank you                                     Salamat (universal)
You’re welcome                            Waray kaso
Please                                           Sige na
No thanks                                      Sige la

What’s happening?                       Maynano?
I’m hungry                                     Gutom na ak
I’m thirsty                                      Ginuuhaw ak
How much?                                   Tagpira?

What is your name?                      Nano imo ngaran?
My name is Joe                             Joe akon ngaran
How old are you?                          Pira imo edad?
Come here                                     Pakadi

Here                                               Didi
There                                             Dida
Ouch                                              Karakit
I don’t know                                   Ambot  (good for when all other words are forgotten!)

Move away [from] there                 Ayaw dida
This is mine                                   Akon-ini
This is not yours                             Dire ini imo
No                                                  Dire, (and in some cases) Ayaw
I understand                                   Naabat ak
Give me some                                Tagai daw ak

and most importantly:

Honey                                             Palangga / langga /lang


16 thoughts on “They Speak Waray!

  1. Randy as you know in the province English and Tagalog might be taught — but not used and remembered as well as the metropolitan areas. You’ll impress slinging some Waray around and the locals will appreciate it. This is a good list I’ll save since I’ve had a few viruses and missed upgrades myself :-). It’s always a good morning when I see you’ve posted a new article Randy.

  2. You’re right Kevin. One of my best lines, when asked if I speak Waray, is “Waray pa” which translates to nothing yet. I get so many confused looks with that response, and they are left with inconclusive evidence whether I do or don’t speak Waray. The looks I get can be really funny some times. And thanks for being a faithful reader. Hope you get over to my YouTube channel and subscribe for my videos. Take care.

  3. Think I’ve caught most all your videos through the web site but I’ll get over and subscribe on the YouTube section too.

  4. Problem I find ( Aussie slang in my voice ) I say the Waray word, BUT, the tone is wrong, hahahah.

    I can’t do the Mgn, Ng, I don’t roll my tongue rite.
    Like ” Pwede ak mgnaro, toobig ” – Can I have some water please.

    My wife also speaks Bisay, so she mixes whats she speaks. hahahha.

    It’s the whole ” tone ” thing that this Aussie voice can’t produce. hahahah

  5. Good luck on learning some of the native language. The best part you will be able to ease drop on them when your out to know what there saying about you.

  6. I must of been Born with Corrupt Ram. I have a hard enough problem keeping up with the changing English Language. Much less learning a new language. Besides I never leave home without my trusty interrupter. And she has gotten me by, the last 49 years when dealing with Filipinos. Tagalog or Waray. So why overload what Ram I have left now?

  7. Most times I feel the same way George, but I always seem to be going out alone and causing more nose bleeds. The blood bank here is already in short supply!

  8. Randy, Still want to hear from you. What is this about your You Tube? Please fill me in.

  9. It has been my experience that if you first go to the Philippines before your 18th birthday, you might be able to learn the language you are exposed to without an accent. Before your 45th birthday you might be able to have complex conversations (like arguing the benefits of communism as opposed to democratic socialism, or giving directions). But only a few of the 4000 or so expats I met ever became fluent after arriving after their 55 birth day. Lots of those later arrivals learned phrases that they use as though you would use words, with lots of nouns, many learned to listen without speaking and get the jest of conversations as well.
    English is more understood than a lot of Filipinos let on about, they have had years of it in school already when young, they listen to American movies.
    I have not seen many instances where my ability with Visayan has helped me make buddies as I never go to the point where I could tell complex jokes, or give complete directions, or even have better Visayan than 95% of Filipinos English.
    I suggest you have fun, learn “how much” “where is the place for____” how to count and how to recognize the first 5 questions everybody asks (how old are you? Where is your place? Why are you here? where is your wife? how many children do you have?). Other than that, hire a translator if communication is a must.

  10. I got to that point at about year 10, but I never got any information that was useful eavesdropping. Mostly I just learned that those who felt I was a topic of conversation knew very little about me, saw me only as a walking stereotype. “What is he doing here” meant “If I had his money I would be someplace else”. It is useless to correct them as they have far more invested in the co-native than they ever will with you.

  11. I totally agree. While my vocabulary of nouns is fairly decent, once you attempt to converse in dialect, the filipino will always revert back to his language and it only makes communication more difficult. I speak English and only use descriptive nouns when need be. KISS

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