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Politeness in Filipino Culture

Politeness is highly valued in Filipino culture, and the language can express it in different ways. The use of the honorific particles po and ho in Tagalog, as you have observed from the dialogue, is an important sign of respect. They are used when speaking with an older person or with strangers. In addition, the word “yes” has both a familiar (oo) and a polite (opo) form as well. Even the use of specific pronouns expresses both formality and respect. When addressing someone in a formal way, one is expected to use the plural “you,” kayo, as in Kamusta po kayo? To show an even higher degree of politeness in Tagalog, use the plural “they,” sila. Kamusta po sila?, for example, accords a person even more respect.