Surigaonon language

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Native to Philippines
Region Surigao del Norte, most part of Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Islands, and some portion of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Davao Oriental
Ethnicity Surigaonon people
Native speakers
500,000  (2009)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
sgd – Surigaonon
tgn – Tandaganon
Area where Surigaonon is spoken according to Ethnologue

Surigaonon is a Philippine language spoken by Surigaonon people in the province of Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Sur, and some portions of Agusan del Norte especially the towns near the Mainit Lake, Agusan del Sur and Davao Oriental. Though it seems related to Cebuano it was due mainly to the influx of many Cebuanos in the region and some Cebuano words were loaned, although most Cebuano speakers can hardly understand Surigaonon speakers except for Cebuanos who has been living in the region for years.

It is very closely related to the Tausug language of Sulu (specially the root Tausug language without the Arabic words influence) and the dying Butuanon dialect of Butuan. The very close variety spoken in Tandag city, San Miguel, Tago, Bayabas, Cagwait, Marihatag, San Agustin and most part of Lianga is called Tandaganon and it can be classified as a separate language or simply just a southern variation of Surigaonon at which most of the speakers lives in the south (Surigao del Sur) and Surigaonon itself is the northern (Surigao del Norte) variation which has far more speakers than Tandaganon to which they occupies all of the municipalities of Surigao del Norte and the northern municipalities of Surigao del Sur. Surigaonon and Tandaganon can understandand each other perfectly well even if they use their own languages when talking to each other (The same treatment to Boholano dialect of Cebuano).

Surigaonon or/and Tandaganon is spoken in Surigao del Norte and most part of Surigao del Sur (except in the City of Bislig, Municipalities of Barobo, Hinatuan, Lingig and Tagbina wherein most of the inhabitants are descendants of Cebuanos who migrated from Visayas who speak Cebuano and the rest are natives who speak Kamayo a different language but distantly related to Surigaonon).


According to Dumanig (2005), Surigaonon has a similar phonological inventory as her sister Visayan languages, Cebuano and Boholano.


Below is the vowel system of Surigaonon (Dumanig, 2005):

Table of vowel phonemes of Suriganoon
Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid ɛ o
Open a


Below is a chart of Surigaonon consonants (Dumanig, 2005).

Bilabial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive Voiceless p t k ʔ
Voiced b d ɡ
Fricative s h
Flap ɾ
Lateral l
Approximant w j


Surigaonon has 25 consonant clusters (br, bl, bw, by, dr, dy, dw, gr, gw, kr, kl, kw, mw, my, nw, pr, pl, pw, py, sw, sy, tr, tw, ty, hw) and 4 diphthongs (aw, ay, iw, uy), which is similar to Cebuano.

Comparison between Surigaonon, Cebuano, and Tausug[edit]

English Tausug Surigaonon Cebuano
What is your name? Unu in ngān mu? Unu an ngayan mu?/Unu may imo pangayan?/ Unu ang pangayan nimo? Unsa ang pangalan nimo?
My name is Muhammad In ngān ku Muhammad An ngayan ku ay Muhammad/An ako ngayan kay Muhammad/ Ang pangayan ko si Muhammad Ang pangalan nako kay Muhammad
How are you? Maunu-unu nakaw? Kumusta naman kaw?/ Kumusta na kaw? Kumusta ka?
I am fine, (too) Marayaw da isab Madayaw da isab aku (Tandaganon) or Marajaw da/ra i-/sab aku (Surigaonon) Maayo ra ko/Maayo
Where is Ahmad? Hawnu hi Ahmad? Hain si Ahmad?/ Haman si Ahmad? Asa si Ahmad?
He is in the house Ha bāy siya Sa bay siya/sija / Yaon siya sa bayay Naa siya sa balay
Thank you Magsukul Salamat Salamat
‘I am staying at’ or ‘I live at’ Naghuhula’ aku ha Yaghuya aku sa/ Naghuga aku sa Nagpuyo ako sa
I am here at the house. Yari aku ha bay. Yadi aku sa bay./ Jari aku sa bayay Ni-a ko sa balay.
I am Hungry. Hiyapdi' aku. In-gutom aku. / Tag gutom ako Gi-gutom ko.
He is there, at school. Yadtu siya ha iskul. Yadtu siya/sija sa iskuylahan. Tu-a sya sa iskuylahan
Person Tau Tawo Tawo
(Sea/River) current Sug Suyog Sulog
Day Adlaw Adlaw Adlaw
Night Duwm Duwm/ Duyom Gabi-i
Today Biháun Kuman Adlawa Karon Adlawa
Yesterday Káhapun Káhapun Gahapon
The day before yesterday Ta’kisa Min-agi na adlaw Ni-agi na adlaw
Tomorrow Kunsuwm Siluwm/ Silom Ugma
The day after tomorrow Ku’nisa Sunod na adlaw Sunod nga adlaw
Tonight Duwm ini ini na duwm/duyom Karon nga gabi-i/Ining gabi-i
Last night Kábi-i Kábi-i Kagabi-i
Morning Mahinaat/Maynaat Buntag Buntag
Afternoon Mahapun Hapun Hapun
Noon Mataas Suga Udto Udto
Midnight Tungaan Duwm Tunga nan Duwn/Duyom Tunga sa gabi-i
What day is today? Adlaw unu biháun? Unu na adlaw kuman? Unsa nga adlaw karon?
What daywill you leave? Adlaw unu kaw tumulak? Unu na adlaw kaw mo-larga?/Kun-o kaw mo-larga? Unsa nga adlaw ka mo-larga?
My walked last Saturday. Miyanaw aku sin sabtu’ yaun. An panaw ku ini nan sabado jaun. Ang lakaw nako ni adtong sabado.
When did they eat? Ka’nu sila kimaun? Kinun-u sila kin-maun?/Kagan-o sila mangaon? Kanus-a sila nikaon?
When did you arrive? Ka’nu kamu dimatung? Kinun-u/Kagan-o kamu min-abot? Kanus-a kamo niabot?
When are going to school? Ku’nu kaw pa iskul? kinun-u/Kun-o kaw mokadto sa iskul? Kanus-a ka mo-adto sa iskuylahan?
Where are you going? Pakain kamu manaw? Pahain kamu mamanaw?/ Haman kaw pasingod? Asa ka pa-ingon?
Who is that guy? Hisiyu in usug yaun? Sin-o na usug yaun?/ Sin-o man jaon? Kinsa na nga tawhana?
Who own this shirt? Kansiyu in badju ini? Kansin-u/Kanin-o na badu/baro ini? Kang kinsa nga senina kini?
Where is mother? Hain hi Inah? Hain si Ima?/ Haman si mama? Asa si mama?
When was your birth date? Ka’nu kaw piyag-anak? Kinun-u kaw in anak?/Kagan-o kaw tagpanganak? Kanus-a ka gipanganak?
Why are you crying? Mayta’ kaw timangis? Nanga kaw ga-tiyaho?/ Ngano man nag haya kaw?/Uman nagtuwaw man kaw? Ngano nga naghilak ka?
How do you sleep? Biyariin kaw magtuwg? Unu-unu sa kaw matuwg/matuyog? Unsaon man nimo pagkatulog?
How is mother doing? Maunu-unu na hi Inah? Ya-unu na sa si Ima?/ Kumosta na si mama? Kumusta na man si mama?

Sample words and phrases[edit]

  • -ambaw - rat
  • -diin – where
  • -kun-o – when, future
  • -kagan-o – when, past
  • -uno – what
  • -sin-o – who
  • -tag-uno – how
  • -"salamat karajaw" – Thank you very much
  • -na ay, unja na (the actual word is "ngaj'an") – later
  • -"ay ay na bata ini!" – Tsk tsk this child!
  • -"uman kaw?" (contraction of "na uno man kaw?") – What happened to you?
  • -ajo-ajo/amping (Cebuano "ayo ayo") – Take care
  • -"na buang na" – This is crazy
  • -"Simba ko" – "Knock on wood"
  • -"Hilom ngad-on" – Be silent there
  • -maradjao (Surigaonon) or madayao (Tandaganon) – good
  • -maradjao (madayao) na buntag – Good morning
  • -maradjao (madayao) na hapon – Good afternoon
  • -haman kaw? (composed of "hain" and "man") – Where are you?
  • -ngajan (Surigaonon) or ngan(Tandaganon) - name
  • -uno may ngajan/ngan/ngayan mo? – What is your name?
  • -pila may imo edad? (Tandaganon)or "pila may edad mo?" (Surigaonon) – How old are you?
  • -grabehi sa nimo ka gwapa (Tandaganon) "gulpi man kaw kagwapa"/ "grabeh nimo ka gwapa"(Surigaonon) – You are so beautiful
  • -gwapahi – very beautiful
  • -arang - very
  • -arang ka tignaw - very cold
  • -"grabehi nimo ka yaot/taru" – You're so ugly
  • -tagad (Tandaganon) huyat (Surigaonon) – wait
  • -ihap – count
  • -"tabangi ko" (same as Cebuano), in Norte "tabangi ako" – Help me
  • - pagpaspas/pagdali (same as Cebuano) – be fast
  • -"maradjao (madayao) na duyom dijo nahurot" – Good evening to all
  • -"hain man (ha'man) kaw pasingod?" – Where are you going?
  • -kuman – now
  • -silom – tomorrow
  • -mahagkot, tignaw,pakukog– cold
  • -paso, malangka – hot
  • -wayong, bayho, kamasdakan,guinmasdakan (almost obsolete) – face
  • -alima – hand
  • -sike – leg
  • -"taghigugma ta kaw" – I love you
  • -mangita nan sine – watch a movie. . .atud (old Surigaonon word)
  • -"mupanaw na ako kuman" – I will leave now
  • -inday uno – I don't know
  • -yaon,jaon – that
  • -"uno yaon (jaon)?" or "uman yaon (jaon)?" – What is that?
  • -mamisita – courting
  • -guyangan(surigaonon)/guwangan(tandaganon) - forest
  • -doot - the other side of the river
  • - baro/badu (Tandaganon) or bajo (Surigaonon)- dress
  • -dayag/kat-kat - climb
  • -kayajo(Surigaonon)/kayo(tandanganon) - fire
  • -buyod(Surigaonon)/Bud(tandaganon) - mountain
  • -hilam - mosquito
  • -duyod(Surigaonon)/duwd(tandaganon) - to approach
  • -yaon (Tandaganon) or jaon (Surigaonon)- have
  • -ingod - beneath the house (in Cebuano "silong")
  • -adja(Surigaonon)/aya(Tandaganon) - just or only ( e.g. "adja ra man kaw magsinaoy saoy" You are just interrupting)
  • - bakoy(Surigaonon)/baku'(tandaganon) - thumb
  • - puyo(Surigaonon)/Puro(Tandaganon) - island


  1. ^ Surigaonon at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Tandaganon at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)