- Kumusta po kayo?
- Mabuti po. Salamat po.
What made most Asian languages unique to Western languages is the use of polite articles. This is simply not about the formal and informal variations of a language. We are talking about the respect accorded to elders and persons in authority.
This is why in almost all of the Filipino language instructional modules, the lessons involving the appropriate use of the words "po" and "opo" are included in the lessons. "Opo" is the respectful version of "Oo" which means "yes" in English while "po" doesn't have an English equivalent. If ever I encountered an equivalent in other languages that I reviewed, it's in Korean and that word is "yo" a polite article added usually at the end of the sentence when talking to the elderly or persons in authority. In Nihonggo (the official language of Japan), compared to Tagalog it is a lot more complicated knowing the levels of hierarchy to consider when picking a grammatical variation.
So we can go ahead and start switching some expressions into polite versions. Since "opo" is the self-explanatory part, we'd go forward with the "po" variations.
"Pasintabi po" is the more generic expression compared to "Makikiraan po" which can be translated as "May I pass?" "Makikiraan po" is more often heard in flea markets like Divisoria where crowds are pressed against one another and you really need to speak a little louder just so the crowd would be informed that you will pass. "Pasintabi po" on the other hand is an expression you usually hear on the bus, on the jeep or vehicles used for public transportation where you run the risk of getting cramped like sardines.
"Kumusta" can also be written or spoken as "Kumusta ka?" when referring to a single person who's a close friend or of the same age. When referring to someone who's older or someone of higher authority, you say "Kumusta po?" instead of "Kumusta ka?" Another variation would be "Kumusta po kayo?" when addressing a single elderly or person of authority or more than one person. "Kumusta po?" or "Kumusta po kayo?" are interchangeable depending where you find it comfortable.
"Mabuti naman po" can also be written or spoken as "Mabuti po" when asked with "Kumusta po?" The root word of "mabuti" is "buti" which means "good/fine". It really happens in conversations that you are polite and the person you are talking to ends up being polite too. "Naman" is sometimes a filler and sometimes a word used to emphasize that you are fine. Another variation to "Mabuti po" is "Maayos po" since the root word of "maayos" is "ayos" which means "okay"..
"Salamat po" is the polite version of "Salamat" which in English means "Thanks". Another variation would be "Maraming salamat po" which means "Thank you very much". Individuals that are overflowing with gratitude usually say "Maraming-maraming salamat po" that gets them repeating the word "Marami" and adding the suffix "-ng" at the end of the first word since "Marami" ends with a vowel, making the sentence overflowing with thanksgiving. Just add "po" at the end of the expression and it's good to go.
Now that we covered the polite variations of Tagalog pleasantries, we can have these expressions assembled into a mini-conversation:
Just a little favor before we finish our lesson for today - subscribe to my newsletter that I just updated for the sake of individuals interested with learning Tagalog. Rest assured that only Tagalog lessons reach your inbox. Otherwise follow me on Twitter @jingdalagan to keep yourself updated with my latest blog posts helping you learn Tagalog. Thanks.
I've been blogging for as long as I could remember. But I made it a career as of late as a home-based writer. It is something I find comfort in doing.