Agusan language

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Native toPhilippines
Native speakers
(80,000 cited 1978–2002)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
msm – Agusan, Omayamnon
mbd – Dibabawon
mqk – Rajah Kabunsuwan

Agusan is a Manobo language of northeastern Mindanao in the Philippines. The Omayamnon, Dibabawon, and Rajah Kabunsuwan dialects are divergent.


Agusan Manobo (consisting of the Umayam, Adgawan, Surigao, and Omayamnon dialects) is spoken in the following areas (Ethnologue).

Dibabawon Manobo is spoken in the following areas (Ethnologue).

Rajah Kabunsuwan Manobo is spoken in the following areas (Ethnologue).



The consonants of Agusan Manobo are divided into two categories. The first category is the 'Stops,' which includes [p], [b], [t], [d], [k], [g], and [ʔ]. These stops represent what occurs when passive and active articulators come together to make a complete closure that stops air from leaving a mouth. Pressure is then built up behind the lips, and released with a 'pop.'[3] In the Agusan Manobo language, these stops have "unreleased variants when occurring before another consonant, silence, and in syllable final position."[3] Which means that the active and passive articulators will go into position to create the stop, but instead of releasing, they will hold the articulatory gesture. The glottal stop, [ʔ], occurs in all consonant positions, the be ginning of a word, between vowels in a word, the end of th wowed, and even occurs in all positions of a consonant cluster.[3]

The second category of the consonants is the 'Continuants,' which includes [m], [n], [ŋ], [r], [l], [h], [s], [w], and [j]. All of these consonants occur in the "syllable initial position."[3] All of these consonant, with the exemption of [h], occur at the end of a word.[3] It is important to note that because of regional influences, the people who speak this language use the consonant [d] interchangeably with [j].[3]

Consonant Table for Agusan Manobo
Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive p b t d k g ʔ
Nasal m n ŋ
Fricative s h
Flap r
Approximant w l j
where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a voiced consonant


There are only five vowels used when talking in the Agusan Manobo language. These vowels are [i], [u], [e], [æ], and [a]. Vowels may appear alone, after a consonant, or between consonants in a syllable. All vowels, with the exception of [æ], may occur "in a sequence of identical vowels separated by a glottal stop". It is also mentioned that the vowel [e], can never occur next to the consonant [r].[3]

Vowel Chart for Agusan Manobo
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e
Low æ a


  1. ^ Agusan, Omayamnon at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Dibabawon at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Rajah Kabunsuwan at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "East Central Manobo". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Weaver, Daniel H. and Weaver, Marilou. 1963. The phonology of Agusan Manobo (with special reference to æ). In Elmer Wolfenden (ed.), Papers on Philippine languages 1, 1-6. Manila: Institute for Language Teaching and Summer Institute of Linguistics.