Kankanaey language

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Kankanaey, not to be confused with Kankanay from the Sagada area
Native to Philippines
Region Northern Luzon
Ethnicity Kankanaey people
Native speakers
unknown (240,000 cited 1990 census – 2003)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
kne – Kankanaey
xnn – Northern Kankanaey
itt – Maeng Itneg
Glottolog kank1245[2]
Area where Kankanaey (including Northern Kankanaey, but not Maeng Itneg) is spoken according to Ethnologue

Kankanaey (also spelled Kankana-ey) is a South-Central Cordilleran language under the Austronesian family spoken on the island of Luzon in The Philippines primarily by the Kankanaey people. It is widely used by Cordillerans, alongside Ilocano, specifically people from the Mountain Province and people from the Northern part of the Benguet Province.[3]


This language should not be confused with a related, but different, language in the Sagada area called **Kankanay**. Of particular phonological interest is the very common occurrence of what is called the "barred i" in IPA. It is the unrounded, high mid vowel on the IPA chart. The letter e in Kankanaey is to be pronounced as this sound, and not as the e in words like bet or wet. This is also one of the vowel in a few other Northern Luzon languages like Ilocano and Pangasinan.

Some words with this sound are as follows:

emey - to go

entako - let's go (a contracted form of emey tako)

ed - a preposition showing location or time marker (e.g. ed Baguio = in Baguio, ed nabbaon = in the long-ago times)

ipe-ey - to put

eng-gay - only, finish


  1. ^ Kankanaey at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Northern Kankanaey at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Maeng Itneg at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Kankanay". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Allen, Janet L. 2014. **Kankanaey: A Role and Reference Grammar Analysis** Dallas:SIL International