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|Spoken in|| Philippines
|Native speakers||7.0 million (2000)
3rd most spoken native language in the Philippines
|Writing system||Latin (Ilocano/Filipino alphabet);
|Official language in||Regional language in the Philippines|
|Regulated by||Commission on the Filipino Language|
Ilocano comprises its own branch in the Philippine Cordilleran family of languages. It is spoken as a native language by seven million people.
A lingua franca of the northern region, it is spoken as a secondary language by more than two million people who are native speakers of Pangasinan, Ibanag, Ivatan, and other languages in Northern Luzon.
Ilocanos occupy the narrow, barren strip of land in the northwestern tip of Luzon, squeezed in between the inhospitable Cordillera mountain range to the east and the South China Sea to the west. This harsh geography molded a people known for their clannishness, tenacious industry and frugality, traits that were vital for survival. It also induced Ilokanos to become a migratory people, always in search for better opportunities and for land to build a life on. Although their homeland constitutes the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Abra, their population has spread east and south of their original territorial borders.
Ilocano migrants flocked to the more fertile Cagayan Valley, Apayao mountains and the Pangasinan plains during the 18th and 19th centuries and now constitute a majority in many of these areas. In the 20th century, many Ilokano families moved to Metro Manila and further south to Mindanao, specificlly in North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sarangani, and the Zamboanga Peninsula but the bulk mostly settled in Sultan Kudarat Province.
Called the "Manong" generation), the Ilocano became the first Filipino ethnic group to emigrate en masse to the United States , where they formed sizable communities in Hawaii, California, Washington and Alaska. Ilokano is the native language of most of the early Filipino immigrants in the United States. Tagalog is used by more contemporary Filipino Americans because it is the basis for Filipino, the national language of the people of the Philippines.
Pre-colonial Ilocanos of all classes wrote in a syllabic system 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 the vowel was read or not, due to this vowels "e" and "i" are interchangeables and letters "o" and "u", for instance "tendera" and tindira" (shop-assistant)
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. Nowadays, only the older generation of Ilocanos use the Spanish system.
In the system based on that of Tagalog there is more of a phoneme-to-letter correspondence, and better reflects the actual pronunciation of the word. The letters ng constitute a digraph and counts 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.
The following are two versions of the Lord's Prayer. The one on the left is written using the Spanish-based orthography, while the one on the right uses the Tagalog-based system.
With the implementation 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. Constitutionally, Ilocano is an auxiliary official language in the regions where it is spoken and serves as auxiliary media of instruction therein.
In recent years, a movement in both the Lower and the Upper House of the Congress pressed for the usage of the mother tongue as a medium of instruction until the sixth grade.
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 Angngalo, 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 (sala), poems (daniw), 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 Abagatan (Southern) Dialect employs six.
The letter in bold is the graphic (written) representation of the vowel.
|Close||i /i/||e /ɯ/, u/o /u/|
|Mid||e /ɛ/||o /o/|
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].
Although the modern (Tagalog) writing system is largely phonetic, there are some notable conventions.
Example: Root: luto cook agluto to cook lutuen to cook (something)
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).
That said, 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).
Example: kuarta /kwaɾ.ta/ money paria /paɾ.ja/ bitter melon
Unstressed /i/ and /u/ are pronounced [ɪ] and [ʊ] except in final syllables, like pintás (beauty) [pɪn.ˈtas] and buténg (fear) [bʊ.ˈtɛŋ] but bangir (other side) and parabur (grace) are pronounced [ˈba.ŋiɾ] and [pɐ.ˈɾa.buɾ].
The letter e represent two vowels in the Abagatan (Southern) dialect, /ɛ/ in words of foreign origin and /ɯ/ in native words, and only one in the Amianan (Northern) dialect, /ɛ/.
|Word||Gloss||Origin||Amianan Dialect||Abagatan Dialect|
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/, /aj/ and /uj/ occur. In the orthography, vowels in sequence such as uo and ai, do not coelesce into a diphthong, rather, they are pronounced with an intervening glottal stop, for example, buok hair /bʊ.ʔuk/ and dait sew /da.ʔit/.
|/iu/||iw||iliw "home sick"|
|/ei/||ey||idiey "there" (Regional variant. Standard: "idiay")|
|/oi/, /ui/||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.ˈpui/ and baboy (pig) may be pronounced /ˈba.bui/.
|Affricates||Voiceless||(ts, tiV) [tʃ]|
|Nasals||m||n||(niV) [nj]||ng [ŋ]|
|Semivowels||(w, CuV) w||(y, CiV) [j]|
All consonantal phonemes except are /h, ʔ/ may be a syllable onset or coda. The phoneme /h/ is a borrowed sound 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, use. When prefixed with ag-, the expected form is *ag-aramat /ʔɐɡ.ʔɐ.ra.mat/. But, the actual form is, in fact, agaramat /ʔɐ.ɡɐ.ra.mat/; the glottal stop disappears. In a reduplicated form, the glottal stop returns and participates in the template, CVC, agar-aramat /ʔɐ.ɡar.ʔɐ.ra.mat/.
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-Austonesian */G/, compare dugô (Tagalog) and dara (Ilokano) blood.
The language marginally has a trill [r] which was spelled as “rr”, for example, serrek [sɛ.ˈrɛk] to enter. 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].
Stress is lexical in Ilokano. This results in minimal pairs such as káyo (wood) and kayó (you (plural or polite)) or kíta (class, type, kind) and kitá (see). In written Ilokano the reader must rely on context as stress is not indicated, 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 lexical in Ilokano, there are notable patterns that can determine where stress will fall depending on the structures of the penultimate syllable, the ultima syllable and its origin.
|maného||(to) drive||Spanish origin (I drive)|
|rekórd||(to) record||English origin (verb)|
Ilokano 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.
Ilokano 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.
Ilokano's vocabulary has a closer affinity to languages from Borneo. Foreign accretion comes largely from Spanish, followed by English and smatterings of much older accretion from Hokkien (Min Nan), Arabic and Sanskrit.
|Word||Source||Original Meaning||Ilokano meaning|
|arak||Arabic||drink similar to sake||generic alcoholic drink|
|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|
|kumusta||Spanish||greeting: ¿Cómo está? ("How are you?")||how are you|
|How are you?||Kumusta ka?
Kumusta kayo? (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 Aniat' naganmo? or Ana't naganmo)
Ania ti naganyo?
|Where's the bathroom?||Ayanna ti banio?|
|I cannot understand||Diak matarusan/maawatan.
Saanko maawatan (or Saanko nga maawatan).
|I love you||Ay-ayatenka.
|I'm sorry.||Pakawanen nak.
Kastan/Kasta pay. (Till then)
Ilokano uses two number systems, one native and the other derived from Spanish.
awan (lit. none)
sero (English zero)
itlog (slang egg)
|10||sangapulo (lit. a group of ten)||dies|
|11||sangapulo ket maysa||onse|
|100||sangagasut (lit. a group of one hundred)||cien, ciento|
|1,000||sangaribo (lit. a group of one thousand)||mil|
|10,000||sangalaksa (lit. a group of ten thousand)||dies mil|
|1,000,000||sangariwriw (lit. a group of one million)||milion|
|1,000,000,000||sangabilion (American English, billion)||bilion|
Ilokano uses a mixture of native and Spanish numbers. Traditionally Ilokano numbers are used for quantities and Spanish numbers for time or days and references. Examples:
Days of the week are directly borrowed from Spanish.
Like the days of the week, the names of the months are taken from Spanish.
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.
dominggo (lit. Sunday)
To mention time, Ilokanos use a mixture of Spanish and Ilokano:
|Ilokano language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
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