Cebuano 101

Cebuano has long borrowed words from Spanish, such as krus [ cruz ] (cross), swerte [ suerte ] (luck), guapa (beautiful), merkado [ mercado ] (market), and brilyante [ brillante ] (brilliant). It has several hundred loan words from English as well, which are altered to conform to the limited phonemic inventory of Cebuano: brislit (bracelet), hayskul (high school), syapin (shopping), and drayber (driver). There are also words from other languages like Arabic like salamat (thanks) and Islamic words used in Mindanao like imam , sharif , jihad , and Islam, and Sanskrit mahárlika [ mahardikka ] (nobility) and karma .

Asa and Hain

Asa and hain - both mean where - have distinct uses in formal Cebuano writing.

Asa is used when asking about a place. Asa ka padulong? (Where are you going?) Asa ta molarga? (Where are we travelling to?)

Hain is used when asking about a person or thing. Hain na ang gunting? (Where is the pair of scissors?) Hain na si Arsenia? (Where is Arsenia?)

In modern spoken Cebuano, however, asa is commonly used to replace hain . You can rarely hear hain being used (and it is usually spoken by old native Cebuanos).

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