Maranao language

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Native to Philippines
Region twin provinces of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur
Ethnicity Maranao people
Native speakers
(780,000 cited 1990 census)[1]
Historically written in Arabic
Official status
Official language in
Regional language in the Philippines
Regulated by Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino
Language codes
ISO 639-3 mrw
Glottolog mara1404[2]
Maranao language map.png
Area where Maranao is spoken

Maranaoan (Maranao [ˈmәranaw] Mëranaw)[3] is an Austronesian language spoken by the Maranao people in the provinces of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur in the Philippines, and in Sabah, Malaysia.

Iranun was once considered a dialect.


Below is the sound system of Mëranaw including underlying phonetic features.[4]


Front Central Back
Close ɪ u
Mid ə o
Open a


Bilabial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive Voiceless ʔ
Voiced b d ɡ
Fricative (h)
Flap ɾ
Lateral l
Approximant w j

Velar fricative [h][edit]

According to Lobel (2013), [h] only occurs in a select number of Malay loanwords:

  • tohan 'God'
  • tahon 'astrological sign'
  • hadapan 'in front (of God)'

Consonant elongation[edit]

Consonants are also pronounced longer if preceded with a schwa ə. However, this process is not a form of gemination since consonant elongation in Mëranaw is not distinctive as seen in other Philippine languages such as Ilokano and Ibanag. Some of these are:

  • tëpad [təpːad] 'get off a vehicle'
  • tëkaw [təkːaw] 'startled; surprised'
  • Mëranaw is spoken by the Maranao tribe.
  • Solutan (Sultan) (Sultan of Gandamatu) Sultan sa Gandamatu.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Maranaoan at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Maranao". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Lobel, Jason William. 2013. Philippine and North Bornean languages: issues in description, subgrouping, and reconstruction. Ph.D. dissertation. Manoa: University of Hawai'i at Manoa.

External links[edit]