Kankanaey language

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Native to Philippines
Region Northern Luzon
Ethnicity Kankanaey people
Native speakers
unknown (240,000 cited 1990 census – 2003)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
kne – Kankanaey
xnn – Northern Kankanaey
itt – Maeng Itneg
Glottolog kank1245[2]
Area where Kankanaey (including Northern Kankanaey, but not Maeng Itneg) is spoken according to Ethnologue

Kankanaey (also spelled Kankana-ey) is a South-Central Cordilleran language under the Austronesian family spoken on the island of Luzon in The Philippines primarily by the Kankanaey people. It is widely used by Cordillerans, specifically people from the Mountain Province and people from the Northern part of the Benguet Province.


Of particular interest is the very common occurrence of what could be best thought of as a stressed schwa in many words. In fact, the e in Kankanaey is to be pronounced as this sound, and not as the e in words like bet or wet. This sound is usually unstressed and of a very short duration in English, as an intermediary sound between consonant clusters, such as that between the /B/ and the /L/ in the word table, or between the /T/ and the /L/ in title. This sound value is similarly found in a few other Northern Luzon languages like Ilocano and Pangasinan.

Some words with this sound are as follows:

emey/umey - to go

entako - let's go (a contracted form of emey tako)

ed - a particle equivalent in function to the relative pronoun where

ipe-ey - to put (something somthihg) maga - to shake loose (as in loosening a stick or post)

eng-gay - only, finish


  1. ^ Kankanaey at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Northern Kankanaey at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Maeng Itneg at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Kankanay". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.