(the main dialect
of the philippines
), "kuya", pronounced koo-yah
, means "older brother".
like the word "aunt", it can be used nominally. it can literally mean "older brother".
tagalog: "pero alam mo kuya niya"
english: "but you know her / his older brother"
tagalog: "wala pa ang kuya mo?"
english: "your older brother isn't here yet?"
however, it is most often used as a title, appearing before a male's name much in the same way "aunt" does. thus, a child would preface the names of her older male siblings with "kuya". for example, such extended names as kuya anthony and kuya dennis exist under this paradigm. in context, "kuya" can be used exclusively, becoming an abbreviation for the compound name itself.
much like other asian cultures, titles are given while bearing in mind some sort of social hierarchy. the title spoken is in reference to the speaker (Cf: japanese honorofic language, keigo), here indicating a subserviance brought on by age and birth rank. this term can also be used to address older male cousins. there is no title for "little brother".
"kuya" can also be used as a term of affection made to an older male who is not related to the speaker.