Central Bikol language

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Central Bikol
Bikol Sentral
Native toPhilippines
Native speakers
(2.5 million cited 1990 census)[1]
6th most spoken native language in the Philippines[2]
Latin (Bikol alphabet)
Bikol Braille
Historically Basahan
Official status
Official language in
Regional language in the Philippines
Regulated byKomisyon sa Wikang Filipino
Language codes
ISO 639-3bcl
Bikol Sentral language map.png
Areas where Central Bicolano is spoken in the Philippines
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
A Central Bikol speaker, recorded in the United States.

Central Bikol commonly called Bikol Naga,[3] also known simply as Bikol, is an Austronesian language spoken by the Bicolanos, primarily in the Bicol Region of southern Luzon, Philippines. It is spoken in the northern and western part of Camarines Sur, second congressional district of Camarines Norte, eastern part of Albay, northeastern part of Sorsogon, San Pascual town in Masbate, and southwestern part of Catanduanes. Central Bikol speakers can be found in all provinces of Bicol and it is a majority language in Camarines Sur. The standard sprachraum form is based on the Canaman dialect.

Central Bikol features some vocabularies that are not found in other Bikol languages nor to other members of the Central Philippine language family like Tagalog and Cebuano. Examples of these are words the matua and bitis which are the same with Kapampangan words that means older and foot/feet respectively. The word banggi (night) is another example of this as it is different from the usual Bikol word "gab-i" but closer to the word bengi of Kapampangan. There's no formal study about the relationship of the Central Luzon languages to Central Bikol but the latter has several words that are also found in the archaic form of Tagalog spoken in the Rizal and Quezon provinces that are believed to be the home of Central Luzon languages such as Kapampangan in Pampanga and southern Tarlac, and Sambalic languages in Zambales province.

Central Bikol dialects[edit]

Because of its broad geographic coverage as compared to other Bikol languages separated by islands and mountains, Central Bikol diverged into 6 dialects, but are still mutually comprehensible. The division of the language into different dialects are mainly because of the influence from other Bikol languages and other non-Bikol languages surrounding the region.

The Canaman dialect, despite being used only by a small number of population in Camarines Sur, is the standard form of Central Bikol being used in literature, Catholic religious rites and mass media. Naga City dialect is spoken in the first, second, third districts (except in Del Gallego, where residents are mostly Tagalog speakers), and in the western & eastern portions of the 4th district (Caramoan, Garchitorena, Presentacion, Siruma and Tinambac) of Camarines Sur. It is also spoken in San Pascual, Masbate (Burias Island) and southwestern part of Catanduanes . The Partido dialect is spoken in the eastern part of Camarines Sur centered in the southern portion of the 4th districts (Goa, Lagonoy, Sagñay, San Jose, and Tigaon). The Tabaco-Legazpi-Sorsogon (TLS) dialect is spoken in the eastern coast of Albay and the northeastern part of Sorsogon. TLS is the dialect that has been most influenced by the Inland Bikol languages. The Daet dialect on the other hand is spoken in the 2nd district of the province of Camarines Norte. The Virac dialect is spoken around Virac, Catanduanes and surrounding towns on the southeastern part of the island of Catanduanes.

Dialectal comparison of Central Bikol[edit]

Canaman dialect (Standard) Naga City dialect Partido dialect Tabaco -Legazpi - Sorsogon (TLS) dialect Virac dialect Daet dialect Rinconada Bikol language
(Inland Bikol)
Sorsoganon language
Tâdaw ta dai luminayog an gamgam ni Pedro dawà na dai nin kandado an hawla? Tâno daw ta dai naglayog an gamgam ni Pedro dawà na mayò nin kandado si hawla? Hadaw ta `e naglayog an gamgam ni Pedro maski na `e nin kandado su hawla? Natà daw ta dai naglayog an bayong ni Pedro maski na warà ki kandado su hawla? Ngata daw ta dai nagḽayog an gamgam ni Pedro maski na daing kandado su hawla? Bakin daw kaya dai naglupad ang ibon ni Pedro maski na mayong kandado si hawla? Ta'onō/Ŋātâ raw ta dirī naglayog adtoŋ bayoŋ ni Pedro dāwâ na ədâ ka kandādo su awlā? Nakay daw kay diri naglayog an tamsi ni Pedro maski na warà sin kandado su hawla?

Like other Philippine languages, Bikol has a number of loanwords, largely Spanish as a result of 333 years of Spanish rule in the Philippines. This includes swerte (suerte, luck), karne (carne, meat), imbestigador (investigador, investigator), litro (liter), pero (but), and krimen (crimen, crime). Another source of loanwords is Sanskrit, with words like hade (king), bahala (responsibility) and karma.



There are 16 consonants in the Bikol language: /p, b, d, t, k, ɡ, s, h, m, n, ŋ, l, ɾ, j~ʝ, w~ʋ, ʔ/. Eight sounds are borrowed from loanwords: /f, v, tʃ, dʒ, ʃ, ʒ, ʎ, ɲ/.

The sound system of the language according to Mintz in 1971[4] is as follows.

Bilabial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n (ɲ) ŋ
Stop Voiceless p t k ʔ
Voiced b d ɡ
Fricative s (ʃ) h
Affricate Voiceless (t̠ʃ)
Voiced (d̠ʒ)
Flap ɾ
Lateral l (ʎ)
Approximant w j
  1. ʃ - The /sy/ is only found only in loan words from English, as in ‘shirt’.
  2. t̠ʃ - The /ty/ is found in loan words from Spanish and English and is pronounced like the ch in ‘check’.
  3. d̠ʒ - The /dy/ is found basically in loan words from English and is pronounced like the j sound in ‘jeep’.
  4. ɲ - The /ny/ is found in loan words from Spanish and is pronounced like the ñ in baños.
  5. ʎ - The /ly/ is found in loan words from Spanish and is pronounced like the ll in llave and sencillo.
  6. h - Due to contact with the nearby Albay Bikol languages, words that start with h in Bikol - Naga, start with ʔ in Bikol - Legazpi
    • Ex: "hiling" (look, Bikol - Naga) becomes "iling" (look, Bikol - Legazpi)


The three vowels are noted as /a, i, u/. Vowels /e, o/ are used from Spanish.

Table of the five general Central Bikol vowel phonemes
Front Central Back
Close i ⟨i⟩ u ⟨u⟩
Mid e ⟨e⟩ o ⟨o⟩
Open a ⟨a⟩


  Absolutive Ergative Oblique
1st person singular ako ko sakuya, sako
2nd person singular ika, ka mo saimo, si'mo
3rd person singular siya niya saiya
1st person plural inclusive kita nyato, ta satuya, sato
1st person plural exclusive kami nyamo, mi samuya, samo
2nd person plural kamo nindo saindo
3rd person plural sinda ninda sainda


Like many other Philippine languages, Bikol has a rich set of discourse particles.

  • bagá – (Tagalog: diba/nga) used for emphasis determined by context
  • bayâ – giving a chance to someone; polite insisting
  • daa – (Tagalog: daw) quoting information from a secondary source
  • pati - emphasizing the condition that intensifies the difficulties. (Mauranon pati)
  • daw – (Tagalog: ba/kaya) interrogative particle
  • dawa - (Tagalog: kahit) although
  • dangan - (Tagalog: pagkatapos, bago pa niyan) then, before (doing something)
  • garo – (Tagalog: mukhang, parang) likeness or similitude. English: "It looks like, it's as if."
  • gáyo – "exactly"
  • daing gáyo – "not exactly, not really"
  • gayód / nanggayod – (Tagalog: bakâ) "maybe, could be"
  • giráray / liwát – (Tagalog: [m]uli) "again"
  • kutâ na / kutâ – "I hope (something did / did not happen" ; "If only ..." (conditionality of past events)
  • lang / lámang / saná – (Tagalog: lang) "only, just"
  • lugód – hoping that something will happen, or expressing surrender/assent
  • man – (Tagalog: din, rin) "also" or "ever" (such as ano man 'whatever' and siisay man 'whoever')
  • malà - 1. relenting or agreeing (Mala, dumanan mo siya kun iyan an gusto mo 2. one is yielding (Mala ta nagpahunod na siya) 3. stating what actually happened (Mala ta inabotan mi huruba na baga siya.).
  • mùna / ngùna – (Tagalog: muna) "first" or "yet"
  • na – (Tagalog: na) "now" or "already"
  • naman – (Tagalog: naman) "again"
  • nanggad / mananggad – (Tagalog: talaga, nga) "really, truly, absolutely" (adds a sense of certainty)
  • nyako – "I said"
  • nyato - we (inclusive)
  • nyamo - we (exclusive)
  • ngani – expresses fate ("This is helpless") or a plea for others not to insist
  • ngantig – indicates to a person what he should say to another ("ini (ngantig) an dapat gibohon niya")
  • ngapit – "in the future", "later" (span of time)
  • ngaya – expresses a hypothetical event/situation ("ini man (ngaya) an tagoan ninda")
  • pa – (Tagalog: pa) "still"
  • palán – (Tagalog: pala) expresses surprise or sudden realization
  • tabí – (Tagalog: po) politeness marker; "po" in some Bikol dialects due to the influence of Tagalog.
  • túlos / túlos-túlos – (Tagalog: agad-agad) "immediately, right away"
  • talaga – (Tagalog: talaga) "Really," "Truly"



There have exist two names for the numbers in Bicol. The native Bicol and the Spanish names. Generally, Bicolanos use the Spanish terms if they are talking about time like Alas singko (5 o'clock)'. However, native terms can be read in literary books. Spanish terms for number can be encounter in pricing.

Duwampólô may lima/Baynté sinkó
Tolompólô may lima/Traintá y sincó
Apát na pólô/Quarentá
Apát na pólô may lima/Quarentá y sincó
Limampólô may lima/Sinkwentá y sincó
Anóm na pólô/Sisentá
Anóm na pólô may lima/Sisentá sinco
Pitompólô may lima/Sitentá y sincó
Walompólô may lima/Ochenta y sincó
Siyam na pólô/Noventá
Siyam na pólô may lima/Noventá y sincó
Sangyukot (Old Bikol)[5]
Sanglaksa' (Old Bikol)[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Central Bikol at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Philippine Census, 2000. Table 11. Household Population by Ethnicity, Sex and Region: 2000
  3. ^ Lobel, Jason William (2000). An Satuyang Tataramon/A study of the Bikol Language. Tria, Wilmer Joseph S., Carpio, Jose Maria Z. Naga City: Lobel & Tria Partnership. ISBN 971-92226-0-3. OCLC 45883453.
  4. ^ Mintz, Malcolm W. (1971). Bikol Dictionary. University of Hawaii Press. doi:10.2307/j.ctv9hvs8j. ISBN 978-0-8248-7891-7.
  5. ^ Lisboa, Márcos de (1865). Vocabulario de la lengua bicol [Vocabulary of the Bicol language] (in Spanish). Manila: Est. Tip. del Colegio de Santo Tomas. pp. 32.
  6. ^ Lisboa, Márcos de (1865). Vocabulario de la lengua bicol [Vocabulary of the Bicol language] (in Spanish). Manila: Est. Tip. del Colegio de Santo Tomas. pp. 208.


  • Lobel, Jason William, Wilmer Joseph S Tria, and Jose Maria Z Carpio. 2000. An satuyang tataramon / A study of the Bikol language. Naga City, Philippines: Lobel & Tria Partnership, Co.: Holy Rosary Minor Seminary.
  • Mattes, Veronika. 2014.Types of Reduplication: A Case Study of Bikol. Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.

External links[edit]