Ilokano language

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nagan
Ilocano
Iloko, Iluko
Native to Philippines
Region Northern Luzon
Ethnicity Ilocano people
Native speakers
9.1 million  (2007)[1]
3rd most spoken native language in the Philippines[2]
Latin (Ilocano alphabet),
Ilokano Braille
Historically Baybayin
Official status
Official language in
Regional language in the Philippines
Official provincial language in La Union[3]
Regulated by Commission on the Filipino Language
Language codes
ISO 639-2 ilo
ISO 639-3 ilo
Glottolog ilok1237[4]
Linguasphere 31-CBA-a
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Area where Ilokano is spoken according to Ethnologue
Striped areas are Itneg-Ilokano bilingual communities in Abra province
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Ilokano (Ilocano) /lˈkɑːn/[5] (Ilocano: Ti Pagsasao nga Iloko) is the third most-spoken language of the Republic of the Philippines.

An Austronesian language, it is related to such languages as Indonesian, Malay, Fijian, Maori, Hawaiian, Malagasy, Samoan, Tahitian, Chamorro, Tetum, and Paiwan. It is closely related to some of the other Austronesian languages of Northern Luzon, and has slight mutual intelligibility with the Balangao language and Eastern dialects of Bontoc language. [6]

In September 2012, the province of La Union passed an ordinance recognizing Ilokano (Iloko) as an official provincial language, alongside Filipino and English as national and official languages of the Philippines, respectively. It is the first province in the Philippines to pass an ordinance protecting and revitalizing a native language but there are also other Languages spoken in the Province of La Union, Pangasinan Language and Kankanaey. [3]

Classification[edit]

Ilocano comprises its own branch in the Philippine Cordilleran family of languages. It is spoken as a native language by seven million people.[2]

A lingua franca of the northern region, it is spoken as a secondary language by more than two million people who are native speakers of Pangasinan, Ibanag, Ivatan, and other languages in Northern Luzon.[7]

Geographic distribution[edit]

Main article: Ilocandia
Ilokano-speaking density per province. Enlarge picture to see percent distribution.

Ilocanos occupy the narrow, barren strip of land in the northwestern tip of Luzon, squeezed in between the inhospitable Cordillera mountain range to the east and the South China Sea to the west. This harsh geography molded a people known for their clannishness, tenacious industry and frugality, traits that were vital for survival.[citation needed] It also induced Ilokanos to become a migratory people, always in search for better opportunities and for land to build a life on. Although their homeland constitutes the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Abra, their population has spread east and south of their original territorial borders.

Ilocano migrants flocked to the more fertile Cagayan Valley, Apayao mountains and the Pangasinan plains during the 18th and 19th centuries and now constitute a majority in many of these areas.[citation needed] In the 20th century, many Ilokano families moved to Metro Manila and further south to Mindanao, specifically in North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sarangani, and the Zamboanga Peninsula but the bulk mostly settled in Sultan Kudarat Province.

Called the "Manong" generation, the Ilocano became the first Filipino ethnic group to emigrate en masse to the United States, where they formed sizable communities in Hawaii, California, Washington and Alaska. Ilokano is the native language of most of the early Filipino immigrants in the United States. Tagalog is used by more contemporary Filipino Americans because it is the basis for Filipino, the national language of the people of the Philippines.[citation needed]

A large, growing number of Ilokanos can also be found in the Middle East, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Canada, Australia and Europe.[citation needed]

Writing system[edit]

Our Father prayer from Doctrina Cristiana, 1621.

Pre-Colonial[edit]

Precolonial Ilocanos of all classes wrote in a syllabic system prior to European arrival. They used a system that is termed as an abugida, or an alphasyllabary. It was similar to the Tagalog and Pangasinan scripts, where each character represented a consonant-vowel, or CV, sequence. The Ilocano version, however, was the first to designate coda consonants with a diacritic mark - a cross or virama - shown in the Doctrina Cristiana of 1621, one of the earliest surviving Ilokano publications. Before the addition of the virama, writers had no way to designate coda consonants. The reader, on the other hand, had to guess whether the vowel was read or not, due to this vowels "e" and "i" are interchangeable and letters "o" and "u", for instance "tendera" and tindira" (shop-assistant)

Modern[edit]

In recent times, there have been two systems in use: The "Spanish" system and the "Tagalog" system. In the Spanish system words of Spanish origin kept their spellings. Native words, on the other hand, conformed to the Spanish rules of spelling. Nowadays, only the older generation of Ilocanos use the Spanish system.

In the system based on that of Tagalog there is more of a phoneme-to-letter correspondence, and better reflects the actual pronunciation of the word.[8] The letters ng constitute a digraph and counts as a single letter, following n in alphabetization. As a result, numo humility appears before ngalngal to chew in newer dictionaries. Words of foreign origin, most notably those from Spanish, need to be changed in spelling to better reflect Ilocano phonology. Words of English origin may or may not conform to this orthography. A prime example using this system is the weekly magazine Bannawag.

Samples of the two systems[edit]

The following are two versions of the Lord's Prayer. The one on the left is written using the Spanish-based orthography, while the one on the right uses the Tagalog-based system.

Ilokano and education[edit]

With the implementation by the Spanish of the Bilingual Education System of 1897, Ilocano, together with the other seven major languages (those that have at least a million speakers), was allowed to be used as a medium of instruction until the second grade. It is recognised by the Commission on the Filipino Language as one of the major languages of the Philippines.[citation needed] Constitutionally, Ilocano is an auxiliary official language in the regions where it is spoken and serves as auxiliary media of instruction therein.[9]

In recent years, a movement in both the Lower and the Upper House of the Congress pressed for the usage of the mother tongue as a medium of instruction until the sixth grade.[citation needed]

Literature[edit]

Main article: Ilokano literature

Ilocano animistic past offers a rich background in folklore, mythology and superstition (see Religion in the Philippines). There are many stories of good and malevolent spirits and beings. Its creation mythology centers on the giants Aran and her husband Angngalo, and Namarsua (the Creator).

The epic story Biag ni Lam-ang (The Life of Lam-ang) is undoubtedly one of the few indigenous stories from the Philippines that survived colonialism, although much of it is now acculturated and shows many foreign elements in the retelling. It reflects values important to traditional Ilokano society; it is a hero’s journey steeped in courage, loyalty, pragmatism, honor, and ancestral and familial bonds.

Ilocano culture revolves around life rituals, festivities and oral history. These were celebrated in songs (kankanta), dances (sala), poems (daniw), riddles (burburtia), proverbs (pagsasao), literary verbal jousts called bucanegan (named after the writer Pedro Bucaneg, and is the equivalent of the Balagtasan of the Tagalogs) and epic stories.

Phonology[edit]

Segmental[edit]

Vowels[edit]

Modern Ilocano has two dialects, which are differentiated only by the way the letter e is pronounced. In the Amianan (Northern) Dialect, there exist only five vowels while the Abagatan (Southern) Dialect employs six.

  • Amianan: /a/, /i/, /u/, /ɛ/, /o/
  • Abagatan: /a/, /i/, /u/, /ɛ/, /o/, /ɨ/

Reduplicate vowels are not slurred together, but voiced separately:

  • saan: sa-an (no)

The letter in bold is the graphic (written) representation of the vowel.

Ilokano Vowel Chart
Height Front Central Back
Close i /i/ e /ɨ/ u/o /u/
Mid e /ɛ/ o /o/
Open a /a/

For a better rendition of vowel distribution, please refer to the IPA Vowel Chart.

Unstressed /a/ is pronounced [ɐ] in all positions except final syllables, like madí [mɐˈdi] (cannot be) but ngiwat (mouth) is pronounced [ˈŋiwat].

Although the modern (Tagalog) writing system is largely phonetic, there are some notable conventions.

O/U and I/E[edit]

In native morphemes, the close back rounded vowel /u/ is written differently depending on the syllable. If the vowel occurs in the ultima of the morpheme, it is written o; elsewhere, u.

Example:
    Root: luto cook
          agluto to cook
          lutuen to cook (something) example:lutuen dayta

Instances such as masapulmonto, You will manage to find it, to need it, are still consistent. Note that masapulmonto is, in fact, three morphemes: masapul (verb base), -mo (pronoun) and -(n)to (future particle). An exception to this rule, however, is laud /la.ʔud/ (west). Also, u in final stressed syllables can be pronounced [o], like [dɐ.ˈnom] for danum (water).

That said, the two vowels are not highly differentiated in native words due to fact that /o/ was an allophone of /u/ in the history of the language. In words of foreign origin, notably Spanish, they are phonemic.

Example:
    uso use
    oso bear

Unlike u and o, i and e are not allophones, but i in final stressed syllables in words ending in consonants can be [ɛ], like ubíng [ʊ.ˈbɛŋ] (child).

The two closed vowels become glides when followed by another vowel. The close back rounded vowel /u/ becomes [w] before another vowel; and the close front unrounded vowel /i/, [j].

Example:
    kuarta /kwaɾ.ta/ money
    paria /paɾ.ja/ bitter melon

In addition, dental/alveolar consonants become palatalized before /i/. (See Consonants below).

Unstressed /i/ and /u/ are pronounced [ɪ] and [ʊ] except in final syllables, like pintás (beauty) [pɪn.ˈtas] and buténg (fear) [bʊ.ˈtɛŋ] but bangir (other side) and parabur (grace) are pronounced [ˈba.ŋiɾ] and [pɐ.ˈɾa.buɾ].

Pronunciation of /e/[edit]

The letter e represents two vowels in the non-nuclear dialects (areas outside the Ilocos provinces) /ɛ/ in words of foreign origin and /ɨ/ in native words, and only one in the nuclear dialects of the Ilocos provinces, /ɛ/.

Realization of '/e/'
Word Gloss Origin Nuclear Non-Nuclear
keddeng assign Native kɛd.dɛŋ kɨd.dɨŋ
elepante elephant Spanish ʔɛ.lɛ.pan.tɛ ʔɛ.lɛ.pan.tɛ

Diphthongs[edit]

Diphthongs are combination of a vowel and /i/ or /u/. In the orthography, the secondary vowels (underlying /i/ or /u/) are written with their corresponding glide, y or w, respectively. Of all the possible combinations, only /aj/ or /ej/, /iw/, /aj/ and /uj/ occur. In the orthography, vowels in sequence such as uo and ai, do not coalesce into a diphthong, rather, they are pronounced with an intervening glottal stop, for example, buok hair /bʊ.ʔuk/ and dait sew /da.ʔit/.

Diphthongs
Diphthong Orthography Example
/au/ aw kabaw "senile"
/iu/ iw iliw "home sick"
/ai/ ay maysa "one"
/ei/[10] ey idiey "there" (Regional variant. Standard: "idiay")
/oi/, /ui/[11] oy, uy baboy "pig"

The diphthong /ei/ is a variant of /ai/ in native words. Other occurrences are in words of Spanish and English origin. Examples are reyna /ˈɾei.na/ (from Spanish reina, queen) and treyner /ˈtɾei.nɛɾ/ (trainer). The diphthongs /oi/ and /ui/ may be interchanged since /o/ is an allophone of /u/ in final syllables. Thus, apúy (fire) may be pronounced /ɐ.ˈpui/ and baboy (pig) may be pronounced /ˈba.bui/.

Consonants[edit]

Bilabial Dental /
Alveolar
Palatal Velar Glottal
Stops Voiceless p t k (#[12][13] V/∅V∅/C-V)[ʔ][14]
Voiced b d g
Affricates Voiceless (ts, tiV) [tʃ][15]
Voiced (diV) [dʒ][15]
Fricatives s (siV) [ʃ][15] h
Nasals m n (niV) [nj][15] ng [ŋ]
Laterals l (liV) [lj][15]
Flaps r [ɾ]
Trills (rr [r])
Semivowels (w, CuV) w[15] (y, CiV) [j][15]

All consonantal phonemes except /h, ʔ/ may be a syllable onset or coda. The phoneme /h/ is a borrowed sound and rarely occurs in coda position. Although, the Spanish word, reloj, clock, would have been heard as [re.loh], the final /h/ is dropped resulting in /re.lo/. However, this word also may have entered the Ilokano lexicon at early enough a time that the word was still pronounced /re.loʒ/, with the j pronounced as in French, resulting in /re.los/ in Ilokano. As a result, both /re.lo/ and /re.los/ occur.

The glottal stop /ʔ/ is not permissible as coda; it can only occur as onset. Even as an onset, the glottal stop disappears in affixation. Take for example the root aramat [ʔɐ.ra.mat], use. When prefixed with ag-, the expected form is *[ʔɐɡ.ʔɐ.ra.mat]. But, the actual form is [ʔɐ.ɡɐ.ra.mat]; the glottal stop disappears. In a reduplicated form, the glottal stop returns and participates in the template, CVC, agar-aramat [ʔɐ.ɡar.ʔɐ.ra.mat].

Stops are pronounced without aspiration. When they occur as coda, they are not released, for example, sungbat [sʊŋ.bat̚] answer, response.

Ilokano is one of the Philippine languages which is excluded from [ɾ]-[d] allophony, as /r/ in many cases is derived from a Proto-Austonesian */G/, compare dugô (Tagalog) and dara (Ilokano) blood.

The language marginally has a trill [r] which was spelled as “rr”, for example, serrek [sɛ.ˈrɛk] to enter. But it is different in proper names of foreign origin, mostly Spanish, like Serrano, which is correctly pronounced [sɛ.ˈrano]. Some speakers, however, pronounce Serrano as [sɛ.ˈɾano].

Prosody[edit]

Primary Stress[edit]

The placement of primary stress is lexical in Ilokano. This results in minimal pairs such as káyo (wood) and kayó (you (plural or polite)) or kíta (class, type, kind) and kitá (see). In written Ilokano the reader must rely on context, thus kayo and kita. Primary stress can fall only on either the penult or the ultima of the root, as seen in the previous examples.

While stress is unpredictable in Ilokano, there are notable patterns that can determine where stress will fall depending on the structures of the penult, the ultima and the origin of the word.[7]

  • Foreign Words - The stress of foreign (mostly Spanish) words adopted into Ilokano fall on the same syllable as the original.[16]
Ilokano Gloss Comment
doktór doctor Spanish origin
agmaného (to) drive Spanish origin (I drive)
agrekórd (to) record English origin (verb)
  • CVC.'CV(C)# but 'CVŋ.kV(C)# - In words with a closed penult, stress falls on the ultima, except for instances of /-ŋ.k-/ where it is the penult.
Ilokano Gloss Comment
addá there is/are Closed Penult
takkí feces Closed Penult
bibíngka (a type of delicasie) -ŋ.k sequence
  • 'C(j/w)V# - In words whose ultima is a glide plus a vowel, stress falls on the ultima.
Ilokano Gloss Comment
al-aliá ghost Consonant-Glide-Vowel
ibiáng to involve (someone or something) Consonant-Glide-Vowel
ressuát creation Consonant-Glide-Vowel
  • C.'CV:.ʔVC# - In words where VʔV and V is the same vowel for the penult and ultima, the stress falls on the penult.
Ilokano Gloss Comment
buggúong fermented fish or shrimp paste Vowel-Glottal-Vowel
máag idiot Vowel-Glottal-Vowel
síit thorn, spine, fish bone Vowel-Glottal-Vowel

Secondary Stress[edit]

Secondary stress occurs in the following environments:

  • Syllables whose coda is the onset of the next, i.e., the syllable before a geminate.
Ilokano Gloss Comment
pànnakakíta ability to see Syllable before geminate
kèddéng judgement, decision Syllable before geminate
ùbbíng children Syllable before geminate
  • Reduplicated consonant-vowel sequence resulting from morphology or lexicon
Ilokano Gloss Comment
agsàsaó speaks,is speaking Reduplicate CV
àl-aliá ghost, spirit Reduplicate CV
agdàdáit sews, is sewing Reduplicate CV

Vowel Length[edit]

Vowel length coincides with stressed syllables (primary or secondary) and only on open syllables, for example, kayo /'ka:.yo/ tree and kayo /ka.'yo/' (second person plural ergative pronoun).

Stress Shift[edit]

Grammar[edit]

Main article: Ilokano grammar

Ilokano is typified by a predicate-initial structure. Verbs and adjectives occur in the first position of the sentence, then the rest of the sentence follows.

Main article: Ilokano verb

Ilokano uses a highly complex list of affixes (prefixes, suffixes, infixes and enclitics) and reduplications to indicate a wide array of grammatical categories. Learning simple root words and corresponding affixes goes a long way in forming cohesive sentences.

Lexicon[edit]

Borrowings[edit]

An Ilocano Dictionary by Morice Vanoverbergh, CICM, published in 1955 by the CICM Fathers in Baguio City to help them in evangelizing in Ilocandia.

Ilokano's vocabulary has a closer affinity to languages from Borneo. Foreign accretion comes largely from Spanish, followed by English and smatterings of much older accretion from Hokkien (Min Nan), Arabic and Sanskrit.

Examples of Borrowing
Word Source Original Meaning Ilokano meaning
arak Arabic drink similar to sake generic alcoholic drink
karma Sanskrit deed (see Buddhism) spirit
sanglay Hokkien to deliver goods to deliver/Chinese merchant
agbuldos English to bulldoze to bulldoze
kuarta Spanish cuarta ("quarter", a kind of copper coin) money
kumusta Spanish greeting: ¿Cómo está? ("How are you?") how are you

Common expressions[edit]

English Ilokano
Yes Wen (or Win)
No Haan

Haan (variant)

How are you? Kumustaka?

Kumustakayo? (polite and plural)

Good day Naimbag nga aldaw.

Naimbag nga aldawyo. (polite and plural)

Good morning Naimbag a bigatmo.

Naimbag a bigatyo. (polite and plural)

Good afternoon Naimbag a malemmo.

Naimbag a malemyo. (polite and plural)

Good evening Naimbag a rabiim.

Naimbag a rabiiyo. (polite and plural)

What is your name? Ania ti naganmo? (often contracted to Aniat' nagan mo? or Ana't nagan mo)

Ania ti naganyo?

Where's the bathroom? Ayan na ti banio?
I cannot understand Diak matarusan/maawatan.

Saanko a maawatan/ diak maawatan, haan ko maawatan

I love you Ay-ayatenka.

Ipatpategka.

I'm sorry. Pakawanennak.

Dispensarennak.

Thank you. Agyamannak apo.

Dios ti agngina.

Kastan/Kasta pay. (Till then)
Sige. (Okay. Continue.)
Innakon. (I'm going)
Inkamin. (We are going)
Ditakayon. (You stay there)

Numbers, Days, Months[edit]

Numbers[edit]

Main article: Ilokano numbers

Ilokano uses two number systems, one native and the other derived from Spanish.

Numbers
0 ibbong
awan (lit. none)
sero
0.25 (1/4) pagkapat kuarto
0.50 (1/2) kagudua mitad
1 maysa uno
2 dua dos
3 tallo tres
4 uppat kuatro
5 lima singko
6 innem sais
7 pito siete
8 walo otso
9 siam nuebe
10 sangapulo (lit. a group of ten) dies
11 sangapulo ket maysa onse
20 duapulo bainte
50 limapulo singkuenta
100 sangagasut (lit. a group of one hundred) sien, siento
1,000 sangaribo (lit. a group of one thousand) mil
10,000 sangalaksa (lit. a group of ten thousand) dies mil
1,000,000 sangariwriw (lit. a group of one million) milion
1,000,000,000 sangabilion (American English, billion) bilion

Ilokano uses a mixture of native and Spanish numbers. Traditionally Ilokano numbers are used for quantities and Spanish numbers for time or days and references. Examples:

Spanish:

Mano ti tawenmo?
How old are you (in years)? (Lit. How many years do you have?)
Beintiuno.
Twenty one.
Luktanyo dagiti Bibliayo iti libro ni Juan kapitulo tres bersikolo diesiseis.
Open your Bibles to the book of John chapter three verse sixteen.

Ilokano:

Mano a kilo ti bagas ti kayatmo?
How many kilos of rice do you want?
Sangapulo laeng.
Ten only.
Adda dua nga ikan kenkuana.
He has two fish. (lit. There are two fish with him.)

Days of the week[edit]

Days of the week are directly borrowed from Spanish.

Days of the Week
Monday Lunes
Tuesday Martes
Wednesday Mierkoles
Thursday Huebes
Friday Biernes
Saturday Sabado
Sunday Domingo

Months[edit]

Like the days of the week, the names of the months are taken from Spanish.

Months
January Enero    July Hulio
February Pebrero August Agosto
March Marso September Septiembre
April Abril October Oktubre
May Mayo November Nobiembre
June Hunio December Disiembre

Units of time[edit]

The names of the units of time are either native or are derived from Spanish. The first entries in the following table are native; the second entries are Spanish derived.

Units of time
second kanito
segundo
minute daras
minuto
hour oras
day aldaw
week lawas
dominggo (lit. Sunday)
month bulan
year tawen
anio

To mention time, Ilokanos use a mixture of Spanish and Ilokano:

1:00 a.m. A la una iti bigat (One in the morning)
2:30 p.m. A las dos imedia iti malem (in Spanish, Son las dos y media de la tarde or "half past two in the afternoon")

More Ilokano words[edit]

See also[edit]

References and Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007
  2. ^ a b Philippine Census, 2000. Table 11. Household Population by Ethnicity, Sex and Region: 2000
  3. ^ a b Elias, Jun (September 19, 2012). "Iloko La Union's official language". Philippine Star. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  4. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Iloko". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  5. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  6. ^ Lewis (2013). Ethnologue Languages of the World. Retrieved from:http://www.ethnologue.com/language/ebk
  7. ^ a b Galvez Rubino, Carl Ralph (2000). Ilocano Dictionary and Grammar: Ilocano-English, English-Ilocano. University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0-8248-2088-6. 
  8. ^ However, there are notable exceptions. The reverse is true for the vowel /u/ where it has two representations in native words. The vowel /u/ is written o when it appears in the last syllable of the word or of the root, for example kitaemonto /ki.ta.e.mun.tu/. In addition, e represents two vowels in the southern dialect: [ɛ] and [].
  9. ^ 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, thecorpusjuris.com (Article XIV, Section 7)
  10. ^ The diphthong /ei/ is a variant of /ai/.
  11. ^ The distinction between /o/ and /u/ is minimal.
  12. ^ The '#' represents the start of the word boundary
  13. ^ the symbol '' represents zero or an absence of a phoneme.
  14. ^ Ilocano syllables always begin with a consonant onset. Words that begin with a vowel actually begin with a glottal stop ('[ʔ]'), but it is not shown in the orthography. When the glottal stop occurs within a word there are two ways it is represented. When two vowels are juxtaposed, except certain vowel combinations beginning with /i/ or /u/ which in fact imply a glide /j/ or /w/, the glottal stop is implied. Examples: buok hair [buː.ʔok], dait sew [daː.ʔit], but not ruar outside [ɾwaɾ]. However, if the previous syllable is closed (ends in a consonant) and the following syllable begins with a glottal stop, a hyphen is used to represent it, for example lab-ay bland [lab.ʔai].
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Letters in parentheses are orthographic conventions that are used.
  16. ^ Spanish permits stress to fall on the antepenult. As a result, Ilokano will shift the stress to fall on the penult. For example,árabe an Arab becomes arábo in Ilokano.

External links[edit]