Mamanwa language

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Native to Philippines
Region Agusan del Norte and Surigao provinces, Mindanao
Native speakers
(5,200 cited 1990 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 mmn
Glottolog mama1275[2]

The Mamanwa language is a Central Philippine language. One of the Aeta languages, it is spoken in the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Norte in the Lake Mainit area of Mindanao, Philippines. It had about 5,000 speakers in 1990, mostly Mamanwa.

Mamanwa is a grammatically conservative language, retaining a three-way deictic distinction in its articles which elsewhere is only preserved in some of the Batanic languages.[3]

Before the arrival of Mamanwa speakers in central Samar Island, there had been an earlier group of Negritos on the island (Lobel 2013:92). According to Lobel (2013), the Samar Agta may have switched to Waray-Waray or Northern Samarenyo, or even possibly Mamanwa.

Also, Francisco Combes, a Spanish friar, had observed the presence of Negritos in the Zamboanga Peninsula “in the Misamis strip” in 1645, although no linguistic data had ever been collected (Lobel 2013:93).


  1. ^ Mamanwa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Mamanwa". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Ross, Malcolm (2005). "The Batanic languages in relation to the early history of the Malayo-Polynesian subgroup of Austronesian." Journal of Austronesian Studies 1/2:1-24.