Tboli language

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Tboli
Native to Philippines
Region Mindanao
Ethnicity Tboli
Native speakers
95,000  (2000)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tbl
Glottolog tbol1240[2]

Tboli (pronunciation: /tbɔˈli/), also Tagabili or T'boli, is an Austronesian language spoken in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, mainly in the province of South Cotabato but also in the neighboring provinces of Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani. According to the Philippine Census from 2000, close to 100,000 Filipinos identified T'boli or Tagabili as their native language.

Classification[edit]

Tboli is classified as a member of the South Mindanao or Bilic branch of the Philippine language families. It is related to Bagogo, Blaan, and Tiruray.

Geographic Distribution[edit]

A linguistic map by Ethnologue shows that Tboli speakers are concentrated in the southern part of South Cotabato, especially around Lake Sebu, and Sarangani provinces.

Phonology[edit]

Phonemic Inventory[edit]

Awed, Underwood, and Van Wynen (2004) list seven vowel phonemes, namely /a i e ɛ ə o ɔ u/ and 15 consonant phonemes shown in the chart below. Note that Tboli lacks /p/ as a phoneme and has /f/ instead, which is a typological rarity among Philippine languages.

Bilabial Dental /
Alveolar
Labiodental Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n (ng) ŋ
Stop voiceless t k ʔ
voiced b d g
Fricative s f h
Approximant l (y) j w

Stress[edit]

Final stress is the norm in Tboli rootwords; however the stress shifts to the previous syllable if the final vowel is a schwa. (Awed et al. 2004)

Phonotactics[edit]

Unlike most other Philippine languages and Austronesian languages in general, Tboli permits a variety of consonant clusters at the onset of a syllable. This is evident in the name of the language, /tbɔli/, but also in other words like /kfung/ 'dust', /sbulon/, 'one month,' /mlɔtik/ 'starry,' /hlun/ 'temporarily,' /gna/ 'before,' and others.

Awed, Underwood, and Van Wynen (2004) observe impressionistically there is a very short schwa pronounced in between the consonant cluster. However, these consonant clusters have not yet been analyzed acoustically.

Grammar[edit]

Nouns[edit]

Unlike other Philippine languages, Tboli does not make use of case-marking articles.

Plurality is marked by the article 'kem' preceding the noun; kudà "horse" (sg.), kem kudà "horses."

Pronouns[edit]

Tboli pronouns indicate person, number, clusivity, and grammatical role. Awed et al. (2004) group Tboli pronouns into two main categories based on what they term "focus," which appear to be related to the absolutive-ergative case system in other Philippine languages. There are two further subcategories for each which deal with whether the singular pronouns behave as enclitics or as independent words. Their use depends on their role and position in a sentence.

Focused Nonfocused
dependent independent dependent independent
1st singular -e ou/o -u dou/do
2nd singular -i uu/u -em/-m kóm
3rd singular ø du -en/n kun
1st person dual te tu te kut
1st inclusive tekuy
1st exclusive me mi mi kum
2nd plural ye yu ye kuy
3rd plural le lu le kul

Examples using the third person plural pronoun.

  • Mken le. "They eat." (focused, dependent pronoun).
  • Lu mken. "They are the ones who ate." (focused, independent pronoun)
  • Balay le. "Their house." (nonfocused, dependent pronoun).
  • Dwata semgyok kul. "May God take care of them." (nonfocused, independent pronoun).

Syntax[edit]

Word order in Tboli is usually verb-subject-object, though there is some variation.

Mulu    le   sfu   soging.
planted they shoot banana
"They planted banana shoots."

Verbs[edit]

Tboli, like other Philippine languages, makes a distinction between transitive and intransitive verbs. Intransitive verbs are marked with the affix me- while transitive verbs are marked with ne-. Unlike Philippine languages, applicative affixes are not used in Tboli though prepositions are used instead.

Furthermore, aspect marking is not marked on the verb but with preverbal aspect markers such as deng (completed actions) and angat (incomplete action).

Morphology[edit]

Tboli makes use of prefixes and infixes. Awed et al. 2004 claim that suffixes do not exist in the language, though proclitic affixes may be thought of as such.

Writing System[edit]

Tboli has no official writing system, though the Latin script is usually used to write the language. The orthography is more or less similar to the one employed by Tagalog: b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, ng (for /ŋ/), s, t, w, and y (for /j/). Though other letters may be used in writing foreign words.

Awed et al. (2004) use a system of diacritics to accommodate the seven vowel phonemes of Tboli. The vowels are: a, i, é (for /ɛ/), e (for /ə/), ó (for /o/), u, and o (for /ɔ/).

The glottal stop /ʔ/ is usually not represented in writing. Though the grave accent ` is used to represent it as in ngà /ŋaʔ/ "child" and gawì /gawiʔ/ "serving spoon." If a vowel already has a diacritic on it, then the circumflex accent ^ is used as in sdô /sdoʔ/ and /bɛʔ/ "don't."

Awed et al. note that sometimes that the apostrophe may be used to break up an initial consonant cluster as in the name of the language; that is, T'boli instead of simply Tboli. They note that that native Tboli speakers have had "a very strong negative reaction" to this convention, preferring instead to write Tboli.

References[edit]

  • Awed, Silin A.; Underwood, Lillian B. & Van Wynen, Vivian M. (2004), Tboli-English dictionary, Manila, Philippines: SIL Philippines 
  1. ^ Tboli at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Tboli". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.