Lapulapu or Lapu-lapu? How to Use a Hyphen in Cebuano

The rule on the use of a hyphen and a dash in Cebuano writing is the same as in the English rule. The Akademiyang Bisaya is adopting the rule in English grammar on the use of a hyphen and is now being use in our Cebuano tabloids.

If you notice, “nalupog” is not written the way we speak the word as “nalup-og” in all write-ups in our tabloids. It’s because separating the word with a dash or a hyphen doesn’t follow the rule and it will just distort the word.

Here’s my presentation during my Cebuano Journalism class at the USJR in Cebu City.

Like other rules, there are always exception to the rule:

  • In both oral and written forms, a hyphen is necessary to separate “g” from prefixes like mag when it is directly followed by a vowel. Example: mag-abot, nag-usik-usik, pag-abot, etc.
  • There are also other Cebuano root words that need a hyphen because the one with a hyphen has different meaning with the same word without a hyphen. Example: laway (saliva) vs. law-ay (lewd)
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