Subanon language

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Subanen, Subanun
Kalibugan, Kolibugan
Region Western Mindanao
Native speakers
(400,000 cited 1978–2011)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
syb – Central
stb – Northern
suc – Western
skn – Kolibugan
laa – Lapuyan
sfe – Eastern
Glottolog suba1253[2]

The Subanon language (also Subanen and Subanun) is an Austronesian language belonging to the Mindanao languages. It is typically considered by linguists as a dialect cluster more than a monolithic language. Subanon is spoken in various areas of Zamboanga Peninsula namely the provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur, and in Misamis Occidental of Northern Mindanao. There is also a sizeable Subanon community in Misamis Oriental. Most go by the name of Subanen, Subanon or Subanun, while those who adhere to Islam refer to themselves as Kalibugan.

Internal classification[edit]

Jason Lobel (2013:308) classifies the Subanen varieties as follows.

  • Subanen
    • Western
      • Western Subanon
      • Western Kolibugan
    • Nuclear
      • West Nuclear
        • Tawlet-Kalibugan Subanen
        • Salug-Godod Subanen
      • East Nuclear
        • Southern Subanen
        • Central Subanen
        • Northern Subanen
        • Eastern Subanen

Lobel (2013:308) lists the following innovations among each of the following subgroups.

  • Nuclear Subanen: *k > Ø
  • Western Subanen: *k > /k/
  • East Nuclear Subanen: *r > /l/
  • West Nuclear Subanen: *r > /r/
  • Western Subanen: *r > /l/ (independently took place, likely due to contact with Tausug, Maguindanaon, Butuanon, Cebuano, and/or Ilonggo, which have also undergone the *r > /l/ shift independently of one another)

Proto-Subanen is also notable for having completely lost Proto-Greater Central Philippine *h.

Lobel (2013) also provides a reconstruction of Proto-Subanen.


  1. ^ Central at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Northern at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Western at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Kolibugan at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Lapuyan at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Eastern at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Subanon". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 

External links[edit]