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Ilocano language

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Iloko, Iluko, Iloco, Pagsasao nga Ilokano, Samtoy, Sao mi ditoy
Native toPhilippines
RegionNorthern Luzon, many parts of Central Luzon and a few parts of Mindanao
Native speakers
6,370,000 (2005)[1]
2 million L2 speakers (2000)[2]
Third most spoken native language in the Philippines[3]
Latin (Ilocano alphabet),
Ilokano Braille
Historically Kur-itan
Official status
Official language in
La Union[4]
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byKomisyon sa Wikang Filipino
Language codes
ISO 639-2ilo
ISO 639-3ilo
Area where Ilokano is spoken according to Ethnologue[5]
Striped areas are Itneg-Ilokano bilingual communities in Abra
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.
An Ilocano speaker, recorded in the United States.

Ilocano (also Ilokano; /lˈkɑːn/;[6] Ilocano: Pagsasao nga Ilokano) is an Austronesian language spoken in the Philippines, primarily by Ilocano people and as a lingua franca by the Igorot people and also by the native settlers of Cagayan Valley. It is the third most-spoken native language in the country.

As an Austronesian language, it is related to Malay (Indonesian and Malaysian), Tetum, Chamorro, Fijian, Māori, Hawaiian, Samoan, Tahitian, Paiwan, and Malagasy. It is closely related to some of the other Austronesian languages of Northern Luzon, and has slight mutual intelligibility with the Balangao language and the eastern dialects of the Bontoc language.[dubiousdiscuss][7]

The Ilokano people had their indigenous writing system and script known as kur-itan. There have been proposals to revive the kur-itan script by teaching it in Ilokano-majority public and private schools in Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.[8]


Ilocano, like all Philippine languages, is an Austronesian language, a very expansive language family believed to originate in Taiwan.[9][10] Ilocano comprises its own branch within the Philippine Cordilleran language subfamily. It is spoken as a first language by seven million people.[3]

A lingua franca of Northern Luzon and many parts of Central Luzon, it is spoken as a secondary language by more than two million people who are native speakers of Ibanag, Ivatan, Pangasinan, Sambal, and other local languages.[2]

Geographic distribution[edit]

Ilokano-speaking density per province. Enlarge picture to see percent distribution.
Area where Ilocano is the majority language.

The language is spoken in the Ilocos Region, the Babuyan Islands, the Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, northern parts of Central Luzon (precisely Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, and Aurora, as well as south central Zambales[11][12] and southeast Bataan),[13][14][better source needed] Batanes, some areas in Mindoro, Palawan and scattered areas in Mindanao (particularly the Soccsksargen region).[15] The language is also spoken in the United States, with Hawaii and California having the largest number of speakers,[16] and in Canada.[17] It is the most spoken non-English language in Hawaii, spoken by 17% of those speaking languages other than English at home (25.4% of the population).[18]

In September 2012, the province of La Union passed an ordinance recognizing Ilocano (Iloko) as an official provincial language, alongside Filipino, the national language, and English, a co-official language nationwide.[4] It is the first province in the Philippines to pass an ordinance protecting and revitalizing a native language, although there are other languages spoken in La Union, including Pangasinan, Kankanaey, and Ibaloi.[4]

Writing system[edit]

Our Father prayer from Doctrina Cristiana, 1621. Written in Ilocano using Baybayin script.

Modern alphabet[edit]

The modern Ilokano alphabet consists of 28 letters:[19]

Aa, Bb, Cc, Dd, Ee, Ff, Gg, Hh, Ii, Jj, Kk, Ll, Mm, Nn, Ññ, NGng, Oo, Pp, Qq, Rr, Ss, Tt, Uu, Vv, Ww, Xx, Yy, and Zz


Pre-colonial Ilocano people of all classes wrote in a syllabic system known as Baybayin prior to European arrival. They used a system that is termed as an abugida, or an alphasyllabary. It was similar to the Tagalog and Pangasinan scripts, where each character represented a consonant-vowel, or CV, sequence. The Ilocano version, however, was the first to designate coda consonants with a diacritic mark – a cross or virama – shown in the Doctrina Cristiana of 1621, one of the earliest surviving Ilokano publications. Before the addition of the virama, writers had no way to designate coda consonants. The reader, on the other hand, had to guess whether a consonant not succeeding a vowel is read or not, for it is not written. Vowel apostrophes interchange between e or i, and o or u. Due to this, the vowels e and i are interchangeable, and letters o and u, for instance, tendera and tindira ('shop-assistant').


Ilocano version of the Book of Mormon, written with the Tagalog system, as can be seen by the use of the letter K

In recent times, there have been two systems in use: the Spanish system and the Tagalog system. In the Spanish system words of Spanish origin kept their spellings. Native words, on the other hand, conformed to the Spanish rules of spelling. Most older generations of Ilocanos use the Spanish system.

In the system based on that of Tagalog there is more of a phoneme-to-letter correspondence, which better reflects the actual pronunciation of the word.[a] The letters ng constitute a digraph and count as a single letter, following n in alphabetization. As a result, numo ('humility') appears before ngalngal ('to chew') in newer dictionaries. Words of foreign origin, most notably those from Spanish, need to be changed in spelling to better reflect Ilocano phonology. Words of English origin may or may not conform to this orthography. A prime example using this system is the weekly magazine Bannawag.

Samples of the two systems[edit]

The following are two versions of the Lord's Prayer. The one on the left is written using Spanish-based orthography, while the one on the right uses the Tagalog-based system.

Comparison between the two systems[edit]

Rules Spanish-based Tagalog-based Translation
c k tocac tukak frog
ci, ce si, se acero asero steel
ch ts coche lugan car
f p1 familia pamilia family
gui, gue gi, ge daguiti dagiti the
ge, gi he, hi2 página pahina page
ll li caballo kabalio horse
ñ ni baño kasilyas bathroom
ñg, ng̃ ng ñgioat, ng̃ioat ngiwat mouth
Vo(V) Vw(V) aoan






qui, que ki, ke iquit ikit aunt
v b voces boses voice
z s zapatos sapatos shoe


1. In Ilocano phonology, the labiodental fricative sound /f/ does not exist. Its approximate sound is /p/. Therefore, in words of Spanish or English origin, /f/ becomes /p/. In particular (yet not always the case), last names beginning with /f/ are often said with /p/, for example Fernández /per.'nan.des/.2. The sound /h/ only occurs in loanwords, and in the negative variant haan.

Ilocano and education[edit]

With the implementation by the Spanish of the Bilingual Education System of 1897, Ilocano, together with the other seven major languages (those that have at least a million speakers), was allowed to be used as a medium of instruction until the second grade. It is recognized by the Commission on the Filipino Language as one of the major languages of the Philippines.[20] Constitutionally, Ilocano is an auxiliary official language in the regions where it is spoken and serves as auxiliary media of instruction therein.[21]

In 2009, the Department of Education instituted Department Order No. 74, s. 2009 stipulating that "mother tongue-based multilingual education" would be implemented. In 2012, Department Order No. 16, s. 2012 stipulated that the mother tongue-based multilingual system was to be implemented for Kindergarten to Grade 3 Effective School Year 2012–2013.[22] Ilocano is used in public schools mostly in the Ilocos Region and the Cordilleras. It is the primary medium of instruction from Kindergarten to Grade 3 (except for the Filipino and English subjects) and is also a separate subject from Grade 1 to Grade 3. Thereafter, English and Filipino are introduced as mediums of instruction.


The Ten Commandments in Ilocano.

Ilocano animistic past offers a rich background in folklore, mythology and superstition (see Religion in the Philippines). There are many stories of good and malevolent spirits and beings. Its creation mythology centers on the giants Aran and her husband Angalo, and Namarsua (the Creator).

The epic story Biag ni Lam-ang (The Life of Lam-ang) is undoubtedly one of the few indigenous stories from the Philippines that survived colonialism, although much of it is now acculturated and shows many foreign elements in the retelling. It reflects values important to traditional Ilokano society; it is a hero's journey steeped in courage, loyalty, pragmatism, honor, and ancestral and familial bonds.

Ilocano culture revolves around life rituals, festivities, and oral history. These were celebrated in songs (kankanta), dances (salsala), poems (dandaniw), riddles (burburtia), proverbs (pagsasao), literary verbal jousts called bucanegan (named after the writer Pedro Bucaneg, and is the equivalent of the Balagtasan of the Tagalogs), and epic stories.




Modern Ilocano has two dialects, which are differentiated only by the way the letter e is pronounced. In the Amianan (Northern) dialect, there exist only five vowels while the older Abagatan (Southern) dialect employs six.

  • Amianan: /a/, /i/, /u/, ~ e/, /o/
  • Abagatan: /a/, /i/, /u/, ~ e/, /o/, /ɯ/

Reduplicate vowels are not slurred together, but voiced separately with an intervening glottal stop:

  • saan: /sa.ʔan/ 'no'
  • siit: /si.ʔit/ 'thorn'

The letter in bold is the graphic (written) representation of the vowel.

Ilokano vowel chart[23]
Front Central Back
Close i /i/ u/o /u/

e /ɯ/

Mid e ~ e/ o /o/
Open a /a/

For a better rendition of vowel distribution, please refer to the IPA Vowel Chart.

Unstressed /a/ is pronounced [ɐ] in all positions except final syllables, like madí [mɐˈdi] ('cannot be') but ngiwat ('mouth') is pronounced [ˈŋiwat]. Unstressed /a/ in final-syllables is mostly pronounced [ɐ] across word boundaries.

Although the modern (Tagalog) writing system is largely phonetic, there are some notable conventions.

O/U and I/E[edit]

In native morphemes, the close back rounded vowel /u/ is written differently depending on the syllable. If the vowel occurs in the ultima of the morpheme, it is written o; elsewhere, u.


  • Root: luto 'cook'
    • agluto 'to cook'
      • lutuen 'to cook (something)'; example: lutuen dayta

Instances such as masapulmonto, 'You will manage to find it, to need it', are still consistent. Note that masapulmonto is, in fact, three morphemes: masapul (verb base), -mo (pronoun) and -(n)to (future particle). An exception to this rule, however, is laud /la.ʔud/ ('west'). Also, u in final stressed syllables can be pronounced [o], like [dɐ.ˈnom] for danum ('water').

The two vowels are not highly differentiated in native words due to fact that /o/ was an allophone of /u/ in the history of the language. In words of foreign origin, notably Spanish, they are phonemic.

Example: uso 'use'; oso 'bear'

Unlike u and o, i and e are not allophones, but i in final stressed syllables in words ending in consonants can be [ɛ], like ubíng [ʊ.ˈbɛŋ] ('child').

The two closed vowels become glides when followed by another vowel. The close back rounded vowel /u/ becomes [w] before another vowel; and the close front unrounded vowel /i/, [j].

Example: kuarta /kwaɾ.ta/ 'money'; paria /paɾ.ja/ 'bitter melon'

In addition, dental/alveolar consonants become palatalized before /i/. (See Consonants below).

Unstressed /i/ and /u/ are pronounced [ɪ] and [ʊ] except in final syllables, like pintás ('beauty') [pɪn.ˈtas] and buténg ('fear') [bʊ.ˈtɛŋ, bʊ.ˈtɯŋ] but bangir ('other side') and parabur ('grace/blessing') are pronounced [ˈba.ŋiɾ] and [pɐ.ˈɾa.buɾ]. Unstressed /i/ and /u/ in final syllables are mostly pronounced [ɪ] and [ʊ] across word boundaries.

Pronunciation of ⟨e⟩[edit]

The letter ⟨e⟩ represents two vowels in the non-nuclear dialects (areas outside the Ilocos provinces) ~ e] in words of foreign origin and [ɯ] in native words, and only one in the nuclear dialects of the Ilocos provinces, ~ e].

Realization of ⟨e⟩
Word Gloss Origin Nuclear Non-nuclear
keddeng 'assign' Native [kɛd.dɛŋ, ked.deŋ] [kɯd.dɯŋ]
elepante 'elephant' Spanish [ʔɛ.lɛ.pan.tɛ, ʔe.le.pan.te]


Diphthongs are combination of a vowel and /i/ or /u/. In the orthography, the secondary vowels (underlying /i/ or /u/) are written with their corresponding glide, y or w, respectively. Of all the possible combinations, only /aj/ or /ej/, /iw/, /aw/ and /uj/ occur. In the orthography, vowels in sequence such as uo and ai, do not coalesce into a diphthong, rather, they are pronounced with an intervening glottal stop, for example, buok 'hair' /bʊ.ʔok/ and dait 'sew' /da.ʔit/.

Diphthong Orthography Example
/au/ aw (for native words) / au (for spanish loanwords) kabaw 'senile', autoridad ‘authority’
/iu/ iw iliw 'home sick'
/ai/ ay (for native words) / ai (for spanish loanwords) maysa 'one', baile ‘dance’
/ei/[b] ey idiey 'there' (regional variant; standard idiay)
/oi/, /ui/[c] oy, uy baboy 'pig'

The diphthong /ei/ is a variant of /ai/ in native words. Other occurrences are in words of Spanish and English origin. Examples are reyna /ˈɾei.na/ (from Spanish reina, 'queen') and treyner /ˈtɾei.nɛɾ/ ('trainer'). The diphthongs /oi/ and /ui/ may be interchanged since /o/ is an allophone of /u/ in final syllables. Thus, apúy ('fire') may be pronounced /ɐ.ˈpoi/ and baboy ('pig') may be pronounced /ˈba.bui/.

As for the diphthong /au/, the general rule is to use /aw/ for native words while /au/ will be used for spanish loanword such as the words ’’autoridad, autonomia, automatiko’’. The same rule goes to the diphthong /ai/.


Bilabial Dental/
Palatal Velar Glottal
Stops Voiceless p t k (#[d][e] V/∅V∅/C-V) [ʔ][f]
Voiced b d g
Affricates Voiceless (ts, tiV) [tʃ][g]
Voiced (diV) [dʒ][g]
Fricatives s (siV) [ʃ][g] h
Nasals m n (niV) [nʲ][g] ng [ŋ]
Laterals l (liV) [lʲ][g]
Flaps r [ɾ]
Trills (rr [r])
Semivowels (w, CuV) [w][g] (y, CiV) [j][g]

All consonantal phonemes except /h, ʔ/ may be a syllable onset or coda. The phoneme /h/ is a borrowed sound (except in the negative variant haan) and rarely occurs in coda position. Although the Spanish word reloj 'clock' would have been heard as [re.loh], the final /h/ is dropped resulting in /re.lo/. However, this word also may have entered the Ilokano lexicon at early enough a time that the word was still pronounced /re.loʒ/, with the j pronounced as in French, resulting in /re.los/ in Ilokano. As a result, both /re.lo/ and /re.los/ occur.

The glottal stop /ʔ/ is not permissible as coda; it can only occur as onset. Even as an onset, the glottal stop disappears in affixation. Take, for example, the root aramat [ʔɐ.ɾa.mat], 'use'. When prefixed with ag-, the expected form is *[ʔɐɡ.ʔɐ.ɾa.mat]. But, the actual form is [ʔɐ.ɡɐ.ɾa.mat]; the glottal stop disappears. In a reduplicated form, the glottal stop returns and participates in the template, CVC, agar-aramat [ʔɐ.ɡaɾ.ʔɐ.ɾa.mat]. Glottal stop /ʔ/ sometimes occurs non-phonemically in coda in words ending in vowels, but only before a pause.

Stops are pronounced without aspiration. When they occur as coda, they are not released, for example, sungbat [sʊŋ.bat̚] 'answer', 'response'.

Ilokano is one of the Philippine languages which is excluded from [ɾ]-[d] allophony, as /r/ in many cases is derived from a Proto-Austronesian *R; compare bago (Tagalog) and baró (Ilokano) 'new'.

The language marginally has a trill [r] which is spelled as rr, for example, serrek [sɯ.ˈrɯk] 'to enter'. Trill [r] is sometimes an allophone of [ɾ] in word-initial position, syllable-final, and word-final positions, spelled as single ⟨r⟩, for example, ruar 'outside' [ɾwaɾ] ~ [rwar]. It is only pronounced flap [ɾ] in affixation and across word boundaries, especially when vowel-ending word precedes word-initial ⟨r⟩. But it is different in proper names of foreign origin, mostly Spanish, like Serrano, which is correctly pronounced [sɛ.ˈrano]. Some speakers, however, pronounce Serrano as [sɛ.ˈɾano].


Primary stress[edit]

The placement of primary stress is lexical in Ilocano. This results in minimal pairs such as /ˈkaː.jo/ ('wood') and /ka.ˈjo/ ('you' (plural or polite)) or /ˈkiː.ta/ ('class, type, kind') and /ki.ˈta/ ('see'). In written Ilokano the reader must rely on context, thus ⟨kayo⟩ and ⟨kita⟩. Primary stress can fall only on either the penult or the ultima of the root, as seen in the previous examples.

While stress is unpredictable in Ilokano, there are notable patterns that can determine where stress will fall depending on the structures of the penult, the ultima and the origin of the word.[2]

  • Foreign words – the stress of foreign (mostly Spanish) words adopted into Ilokano fall on the same syllable as the original.[h]
Ilocano Gloss Comment
doktór doctor Spanish origin
agmaného (to) drive Spanish origin ('I drive')
agrekórd (to) record English origin (verb)
agtárget to target English origin (verb)
  • CVC.'CV(C)# but 'CVŋ.kV(C)# – in words with a closed penult, stress falls on the ultima, except for instances of /-ŋ.k-/ where it is the penult.
Ilocano Gloss Comment
addá there is/are Closed penult
takkí feces Closed penult
bibíngka (a type of delicacy) -ŋ.k sequence
  • 'C(j/w)V# – in words whose ultima is a glide plus a vowel, stress falls on the ultima.
Ilocano Gloss Comment
al-aliá ghost Consonant–glide–vowel
ibiáng to involve (someone or something) Consonant–glide–vowel
ressuát creation Consonant–glide–vowel
  • C.'CV:.ʔVC# – in words where VʔV and V is the same vowel for the penult and ultima, the stress falls on the penult.
Ilocano Gloss Comment
buggúong fermented fish or shrimp paste Vowel–glottal–vowel
máag idiot Vowel–glottal–vowel
síit thorn, spine, fish bone Vowel–glottal–vowel

Secondary stress[edit]

Secondary stress occurs in the following environments:

  • Syllables whose coda is the onset of the next, i.e., the syllable before a geminate.
Ilocano Gloss Comment
pànnakakíta ability to see Syllable before geminate
kèddéng judgement, decision Syllable before geminate
ùbbíng children Syllable before geminate
  • Reduplicated consonant-vowel sequence resulting from morphology or lexicon.
Ilocano Gloss Comment
agsàsaó speaks, is speaking Reduplicate CV
àl-aliá ghost, spirit Reduplicate CV
agdàdáit sews, is sewing Reduplicate CV

Vowel length[edit]

Vowel length coincides with stressed syllables (primary or secondary) and only on open syllables except for ultimas, for example, /'ka:.jo/ 'tree' versus /ka.'jo/ (second person plural ergative pronoun).

Stress shift[edit]

As primary stress can fall only on the penult or the ultima, suffixation causes a shift in stress one syllable to the right. The vowel of open penults that result lengthen as a consequence.

Stem Suffix Result Gloss
/ˈpuː.dut/ (heat) /-ɯn/ (Goal focus) /pu.ˈduː.tɯn/ to warm/heat (something)
/da.ˈlus/ (clean) /-an/ (Directional focus) /da.lu.ˈsan/ to clean (something)


Ilocano is typified by a predicate-initial structure. Verbs and adjectives occur in the first position of the sentence, then the rest of the sentence follows.

Ilocano uses a highly complex list of affixes (prefixes, suffixes, infixes and enclitics) and reduplications to indicate a wide array of grammatical categories. Learning simple root words and corresponding affixes goes a long way in forming cohesive sentences.[24]



Foreign accretion comes largely from Spanish, followed by English and smatterings of much older accretion from Hokkien (Min Nan), Arabic and Sanskrit.[25][26][27]

Examples of Borrowing
Word Source Original meaning Ilocano meaning
arak Arabic drink similar to sake generic alcoholic drink (more specifically, wine)
karma Sanskrit deed (see Buddhism) spirit
sanglay Hokkien to deliver goods to deliver/Chinese merchant
agbuldos English to bulldoze to bulldoze
kuarta Spanish cuarta ('quarter', a kind of copper coin) money
kumosta Spanish greeting: ¿Cómo estás? ('How are you?') How are you?
poder Spanish power power, care
talier Spanish taller (workshop) mechanic shop

Common expressions[edit]

Ilokano shows a T-V distinction.

English Ilocano
Yes Wen
No Saan

Haan (variant)

How are you? Kumostaka?

Kumostakayo? (polite and plural)

Good day Naimbag nga aldaw.

Naimbag nga aldawyo. (polite and plural)

Good morning Naimbag a bigatmo.

Naimbag a bigatyo. (polite and plural)

Good afternoon Naimbag a malemmo.

Naimbag a malemyo. (polite and plural)

Good evening Naimbag a rabiim.

Naimbag a rabiiyo. (polite and plural)

What is your name? Ania ti naganmo? (often contracted to Ania't nagan mo? or Ana't nagan mo?)

Ania ti naganyo?

Where's the bathroom? Ayanna ti banio?
I do not understand Saanko a maawatan/matarusan.

Haanko a maawatan/matarusan.

Diak maawatan/matarusan.

I love you Ay-ayatenka.


I'm sorry. Pakawanennak.


Thank you. Agyamannak apo.

Dios ti agngina.

Goodbye Kastan/Kasta pay. (Till then)
Sige. (Okay. Continue.)
Innakon. (I'm going)
Inkamin. (We are going)

Ditakan. (You stay)
Ditakayon. (You stay (pl.))

I/me Siak.

Numbers, days, months[edit]


Ilocano uses two number systems, one native and the other derived from Spanish.

0 ibbong
awan (lit. 'none')
0.25 (1/4) pagkapat kuarto
0.50 (1/2) kagudua mitad
1 maysa uno
2 dua dos
3 tallo tres
4 uppat kuatro
5 lima singko
6 innem sais
7 pito siete
8 walo otso
9 siam nuebe
10 sangapulo (lit. 'a group of ten') dies
11 sangapulo ket maysa, sangapulo't maysa onse
12 sangapulo ket dua, sangapulo't dua dose
20 duapulo bainte, beinte
30 tallopulo treinta, trenta
50 limapulo singkuenta
100 sangagasut (lit. 'a group of one hundred') sien, siento
1,000 sangaribo (lit. 'a group of one thousand'), ribo mil
10,000 sangalaksa (lit. 'a group of ten thousand'), sangapulo nga ribo dies mil
1,000,000 sangariwriw (lit. 'a group of one million') milion
1,000,000,000 sangabilion (American English, 'billion') bilion (US-influenced), mil miliones

Ilocano uses a mixture of native and Spanish numbers. Traditionally Ilocano numbers are used for quantities and Spanish numbers for time or days and references. Examples:


Mano ti tawenmo?
'How old are you (in years)?' (Lit. 'How many years do you have?')
'Twenty one.'
Luktanyo dagiti Bibliayo iti libro ni Juan kapitulo tres bersikolo diesiseis.
'Open your Bibles to the book of John chapter three verse sixteen.'


Mano a kilo ti bagas ti kayatmo?
'How many kilos of rice do you want?'
Sangapulo laeng.
'Ten only.'
Adda dua nga ikanna.
'He has two fish.' (lit. 'There are two fish with him.')

Days of the week[edit]

Days of the week are directly borrowed from Spanish.

Days of the Week
Monday Lunes
Tuesday Martes
Wednesday Mierkoles
Thursday Huebes
Friday Biernes
Saturday Sabado
Sunday Dominggo


Like the days of the week, the names of the months are taken from Spanish.

January Enero July Hulio
February Pebrero August Agosto
March Marso September Septiembre
April Abril October Oktubre
May Mayo November Nobiembre
June Hunio December Disiembre

Units of time[edit]

The names of the units of time are either native or are derived from Spanish. The first entries in the following table are native; the second entries are Spanish derived.

Units of time
second kanito
minute daras
hour oras
day aldaw
week lawas
dominggo (lit. 'Sunday'), semana (rare)
month bulan
year tawen

To mention time, Ilocanos use a mixture of Spanish and Ilocano:

1:00 a.m. A la una iti bigat (one in the morning)
2:30 p.m. A las dos y media iti malem, in Spanish: A las dos y media de la tarde (half past two in the afternoon)
6:00 p.m A las sais iti sardang (six in the evening)
7:00 p.m A las siete iti rabii (seven in the evening)
12:00 noon A las dose iti pangaldaw (twelve noon)

More Ilocano words[edit]

Note: adjacent vowels are pronounced separately, and are not slurred together, as in ba-ak, or in la-ing[citation needed]
  • abay = beside; wedding party
  • abalayan = parents-in-law
  • adal = study (Southern dialect)
  • adayu = far
  • adda = affirming the presence or existence of a person, place, or object
  • ading = younger sibling; can also be applied to someone who is younger than the speaker
  • adipen = slave
  • ala = to take
  • ammo = know
  • anus = perseverance, patience (depends on the usage)
  • ania/inia = what
  • apan = go; to go
  • apa = fight, argument; ice cream cone
  • apay = why
  • apong = grandparent
  • apong baket/lilang/lola = grandmother
  • apong lakay/lilong/lolo = grandfather
  • aramid = build, work (Southern dialect)
  • aruangan/ruangan = door
  • asideg = near
  • atiddug = long
  • awan = none / nothing
  • awan te remedio? = there is no cure?
  • ay naku! = oh my goodness!
  • ay sus!/Ay Apo! = oh, Jesus/oh, my God!
  • baak = ancient; old
  • bado = clothes; outfit; shirt
  • bagi = one's body; ownership
  • balitok = gold
  • balong = same as baro
  • bangles = spoiled food
  • (i/bag)baga = (to) tell/speak
  • bagtit/mauyong = crazy/bad word in Ilokano,[clarification needed] drunk person, meager
  • baket = old woman
  • balasang = young female/lass
  • balatong = mung beans
  • balay = house
  • balong = infant/child
  • bangsit = stink/unpleasant/spoiled
  • baro = young male/lad
  • basa = study (Northern dialect); read (Southern dialect)
  • basang = same as balasang
  • bassit = few, small, tiny
  • basol = fault, wrongdoing, sin
  • baut = spank
  • bayag = slow
  • baybay = sea; bay
  • binting = 25 cents/quarter
  • buneng = bladed tool / sword
  • dadael = destroy/ruin
  • dakes = bad
  • dakkel = big; large; huge
  • (ma)damdama = later
  • danon = to arrive at
  • danug = punch
  • diding/taleb/pader = wall
  • dumanon = come
  • gastos = spend
  • ganus = unripe
  • gasut = hundred
  • gaw-at = reach
  • (ag) gawid = go home
  • giddan = simultaneous
  • gur-ruod = thunder
  • haan/saan/aan = no
  • iggem = holding
  • ikkan = to give
  • inipis = cards
  • intun bigat/intuno bigat = tomorrow
  • kaanakan = niece / nephew
  • kabalio = horse
  • kabarbaro = new
  • kabatiti = loofah
  • kabsat/kabagis = sibling
  • kallub = cover
  • kanayon = always
  • karruba = neighbor
  • katawa = laugh
  • katkatawa = is laughing
  • kayat = want
  • ka-yo = wood
  • kayumanggi-kunig = yellowish brown
  • kiaw/amarilio = yellow (as in the Castilian Spanish pronunciation)
  • kibin = hold hands
  • kigtut = startle
  • kimat = lightning
  • kuddot/keddel = pinch
  • kumá = hoping for
  • ina/inang/nanang = mother
  • lastog = boast/arrogant
  • lag-an = light/not heavy
  • laeng = only, just
  • laing/sirib = intelligence
  • lawa = wide
  • lugan = vehicle
  • madi = hate/unable
  • manang = older sister or relative; can also be applied to women a little older than the speaker
  • manú = how many/how much
  • manong = older brother or relative; can also be applied to men a little older than the speaker
  • mare/kumare = female friend/mother
  • met = also, too
  • obra = work (Northern dialect)
  • naimbag nga agsapa = good morning
  • naapgad = salty
  • nagasang, naadat = spicy
  • (na)pintas = beautiful/pretty (woman)
  • (na)ngato = high/above/up
  • panaw = leave
  • pare/kumpare = close male friend
  • padi = priest
  • (na)peggad = danger(ous)
  • (ag)perdi = (to) break/ruin/damage
  • pigis= tear
  • pigsa = strength; strong
  • piman = little one
  • pimmusay(en) = died; passed away
  • pungtot = wrath
  • puon = root
  • pustaan = bet, wager
  • ridaw/bintana = window/s
  • riing = wake up
  • rigat = hardship
  • rugi = start; beginning
  • rugit = dirt/not clean
  • ruot = weed/s
  • rupa = face
  • ruar = outside; out
  • sagad = broom
  • sala = dance
  • sang-gol = arm wrestling
  • sapul/birok = find; need; search
  • (na)sakit = (it) hurts
  • sida = noun for fish, main dish, side dish, viand
  • siit = fish bone/thorn
  • (na)singpet = kind/obedient
  • suli = corner
  • (ag)surat = (to) write
  • tabbed/muno = dumb
  • tadem = sharpness (use for tools)
  • takaw = steal
  • takrot/tarkok = coward/afraid
  • tangken = hard (texture)
  • tarong = eggplant
  • tinnag = fall down
  • (ag)tokar = to play music or a musical instrument
  • torpe = rude
  • tudo = rain
  • (ag)tugaw = (to) sit
  • tugawan = anything to sit on
  • tugaw = chair; seat
  • tuno = grill
  • (na)tawid = inherit(ed); heritage
  • ubing = kid; baby; child
  • umay = welcome
  • unay = very much
  • uliteg/tio = uncle
  • uray = even though/wait
  • uray siak met = me too; even I/me
  • ulo = head
  • upa = hen
  • uston = stop it
  • utong = string beans
  • utot/daga = mouse/rat
  • uttot = fart
  • wen/wun = yes

Also of note is the yo-yo, probably named after the Ilocano word yóyo.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ However, there are notable exceptions. The reverse is true for the vowel /u/ where it has two representations in native words. The vowel /u/ is written o when it appears in the last syllable of the word or of the root, for example kitaemonto /ki.ta.e.mun.tu/. In addition, e represents two vowels in the southern dialect: [ɛ] and [ɯ].
  2. ^ The diphthong /ei/ is a variant of /ai/.
  3. ^ The distinction between /o/ and /u/ is minimal.
  4. ^ The '#' represents the start of the word boundary
  5. ^ the symbol '' represents zero or an absence of a phoneme.
  6. ^ Ilocano syllables always begin with a consonant onset. Words that begin with a vowel actually begin with a glottal stop ('[ʔ]'), but it is not shown in the orthography. When the glottal stop occurs within a word there are two ways it is represented. When two vowels are juxtaposed, except certain vowel combinations beginning with /i/ or /u/ which in fact imply a glide /j/ or /w/, the glottal stop is implied. Examples: buok hair [buː.ʔok], dait sew [daː.ʔit], but not ruar outside [ɾwaɾ]. However, if the previous syllable is closed (ends in a consonant) and the following syllable begins with a glottal stop, a hyphen is used to represent it, for example lab-ay bland [lab.ʔai].
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Letters in parentheses are orthographic conventions that are used.
  8. ^ Spanish permits stress to fall on the antepenult. As a result, Ilokano will shift the stress to fall on the penult. For example, árabe an Arab becomes arábo in Ilocano.


  1. ^ "Ilocano | Ethnologue Free".
  2. ^ a b c Rubino (2000)
  3. ^ a b Philippine Census, 2000. Table 11. Household Population by Ethnicity, Sex and Region: 2000
  4. ^ a b c Elias, Jun (19 September 2012). "Iloko La Union's official language". Philippine Star. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  5. ^ Ethnologue. "Language Map of Northern Philippines". ethnologue.com. Ethnologue. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  6. ^ Bauer, Laurie (2007). The Linguistics Student's Handbook. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  7. ^ Lewis (2013). Ethnologue Languages of the World. Retrieved from:http://www.ethnologue.com/language/ebk
  8. ^ Orejas, Tonette. "Protect all PH writing systems, heritage advocates urge Congress". newsinfo.inquirer.net.
  9. ^ Bellwood, Peter (1998). "Taiwan and the Prehistory of the Austronesians-speaking Peoples". Review of Archaeology. 18: 39–48.
  10. ^ Diamond, Jared M. (2000). "Taiwan's gift to the world". Nature. 403 (6771): 709–710. doi:10.1038/35001685. PMID 10693781. S2CID 4379227.
  11. ^ Zambales Province, Home Province of Subic Bay and Mt. Pinatubo
  12. ^ History of Iba
  13. ^ Profile of Bataan in Visit My Philippines website
  14. ^ Discovering Bataan in phinder.ph
  15. ^ Lewis, M. Paul; Simmons, Gary F; Fennig, Charles D. "Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Eighteenth edition". SIL International. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  16. ^ Rubino, Carl (2005). "Chapter Eleven: Iloko". In Adelaar, Alexander (ed.). The Austronesian Language of Asia and Madagascar. Himmelmann, Nikolaus P. Routledge. p. 326. ISBN 0-7007-1286-0.
  17. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (17 August 2022). "Knowledge of languages by age and gender: Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations with parts". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved 28 December 2022.
  18. ^ Detailed Languages Spoken at Home in the State of Hawaii (PDF). Hawaii: Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. March 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  19. ^ Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (2012). Tarabay iti Ortograpia ti Pagsasao nga Ilokano. Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino. p. 25.
  20. ^ Panfilio D. Catacataca (30 April 2015). "The Commission on the Filipino Language". ncca.gov.ph. National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  21. ^ 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines Archived 17 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine, thecorpusjuris.com (Article XIV, Section 7)
  22. ^ Dumlao, Artemio (16 May 2012). "K+12 to use 12 mother tongues". philstar.com. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  23. ^ Rubino, Carl (2005). Iloko. In Alexander Adelaar and Nikolaus Himmelmann (eds.), The Austronesian Languages of Asia and Madagascar: London & New York: Routledge. pp. 326–349.
  24. ^ Vanoverbergh (1955)
  25. ^ Gelade, George P. (1993). Ilokano English Dictionary. CICM Missionaries/Progressive Printing Palace, Quezon City, Philippines. 719pp.
  26. ^ Vanoverbergh, Morice (1956). Iloko-English Dictionary:Rev. Andres Carro's Vocabulario Iloco-Español. Catholic School Press, Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Baguio, Philippines. 370pp.
  27. ^ Vanoverbergh, Morice (1968). English-Iloko Thesaurus. Catholic School Press, Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Baguio, Philippines. 365pp.
  28. ^ "Definition of YO-YO". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2 July 2021.


  • Rubino, Carl (1997). Ilocano Reference Grammar (PhD thesis). University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Rubino, Carl (2000). Ilocano Dictionary and Grammar: Ilocano-English, English-Ilocano. University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0-8248-2088-6.
  • Vanoverbergh, Morice (1955). Iloco Grammar. Baguio, Philippines: Catholic School Press/Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Mary.

External links[edit]