The Dialectology of Cebuano Bohol Cebu and Davao

September 5, 2017 | Author: BryanC.Gomez | Category: Vowel, Syllable, Oral Communication, Phonetics, Languages
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The Dialectology of Cebuano: Bohol, Cebu and Davao Divine Angeli P. Endriga University of Asia and the Pacific Pearl Drive, Ortigas, Pasig City; University of the Philippines-Diliman Unit 442, Bldg. 4, Guadalupe Bliss Condominiums Phase I, Cembo, Makati City +63-905-340-1792 [email protected] [email protected]


Philippine, Bisayan and Cebuan. It has the ISO 639-2 three letter

This paper is a description of the dialectology of Cebuano spoken in the provinces of Bohol, Cebu and Davao. It notes the similarities and differences between the dialects with regards to phonology (only consonants and vowels are included) and other constructions relevant to the study. Most of the data were gathered from Cebuano speakers from the respective provinces.

code ceb. It is spoken by 19% of the population in 1948, 21% in 1960, 23% in 1975, 28% in 1990, and 29.29% in 1995. The speakers number from 15 to 20 million. The 2000 census is subject to debates because new categories were included, separating Boholano and Binisaya/Bisaya from Cebuano, making them distinct languages. 13% (10,030,667) speak Cebuano, 8%

The author hopes that this study will be helpful in writing materials, to decide on a standard orthography etc. It will also help in understanding the nuances of Cebuano, so it can be taught easily and facilitate easier shift from the mother tongue into Filipino and English when students reach the stage of learning them.

(5,778,435) Binisaya/Bisaya and 2% (1,837,361) Boholano which when taken together would comprise 23% of the population. Cebuano has more native speakers than Tagalog but Tagalog has more speakers, most of them are second-language learners. Before the Spaniards and other Europeans came to the Visayas, there was no word or place called Cebu and no language was


called Cebuano. There was a town named Sugbo and the


Cebuano is the language spoken in the provinces of Cebu, Negros Oriental, Bohol, Southern Leyte and Southern Masbate. It is also the majority language and lingua franca in almost all of Mindanao except in the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato and Lanao del Sur. It is used as a trade language in Mindanao.

the people and language spoken in Sugbo and adjacent areas. What could have made the Spaniards name the language and the people as Cebuano? Historically, the province of Cebu had been the center of trade and politics in the Visayas Islands earning it the title ‘The Queen City of the South’. During the Spanish

Cebuano’s linguistic lineage is Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Western

Spaniards hispanized the name into Cebu and Cebuano to refer to




period, the Diocese (now Archdiocese) of Cebu included what are now the Diocese of Dumaguete (Negros Oriental and Siquijor), the Diocese of Maasin (Southern Leyte), and the

Dioceses of Tagbilaran and Talibon (Bohol).

Cebu was the

administrative center or Diocese. The missionaries might have

(Cuban), Argentino (Argentinian), Mexicano (Mexican) and Colombiano (Colombian).

noticed that the vernaculars spoken in Cebu, Southern Leyte, Eastern Leyte, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor were

Secondarily, it applies to all speakers of vernaculars mutually

mutually intelligible and they grouped them as dialects of one

intelligible with the vernaculars of Cebu, regardless of origin or


location, as well as to the language they speak.

The missionaries caused Cebuano to flourish. It was them who

The second meaning garnered objections.

studied the system of the language, wrote it in the Roman

generations of Cebuano speakers in northern Mindanao

alphabet and had them published or preserved. As early as 1521,

(Dipolog, Dapitan,

Cebuano was recorded in word lists (~168) written by Antonio

coastal areas of Butuan) say that their ancestry traces back to

Pigafetta, the chronicler of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition. It

Cebuano speakers native to their place and not from immigrants

was also studied by the Augustinians and the Jesuits upon their

or settlers from the Visayas. Furthermore, they refer to

arrival, but the books are written in Spanish. Examples of these

themselves as Bisaya and not Cebuano and their language

grammar books, dictionaries and compilations are Martin de

Binisaya. Many are surprised to learn that what they are speaking

Rada’s (OSA) Bisayan Grammar (circa 1578), Juan Antonio

is really Cebuano. (See next section for the discussion on

Campion’s (S.J) Bisayan dictionary and collection of sermons,

Cebuano, Bisaya and Binisaya).

Lengua Bisaya, Guillen’s Gramatica Bisaya and Esguerra’s Arte de la Lengua Bisaya. Other works were written by Mateo Sanchez, S.J, Alonso de Mentrida (OSA) and Francisco Encina (OSA). Masses were said in Latin; the readings and gospel were also in Latin but during the sermon, the priests translate them into Cebuano so the natives could understand. This was how the Mass is said when the order of Vatican II was not yet passed. The Bible was not formally translated into Cebuano but the priests interpret and translate them orally for preaching and their evangelizing work.

The opposition to the second meaning was seen in the 2000

Pedro Oriol’s (S.J) undated manuscript of Vocabulario en








For example,






Bisaya/Binisaya which is spoken by 8% of the population. This refers to Cebuano speakers in Mindanao. It also introduced Boholano as separate from Cebuano and is spoken by 2% of the population. Some observers in Dipolog note that there is a language called “Bisaya which is closely related to Cebuano”. This is certainly a result of confusion arising from not understanding that native speakers use Cebuano and Binisaya interchangeably. Dr. Jes Tirol, an expert on Cebuano said that all these are just different dialects of Cebuano because they have the

During the Spanish era, even until now, the Catholic Church has

same grammar with the exception of some different lexicon.

been using the Sialo vernacular (a.k.a. Carcar-Dalaguet version or







To summarize, Cebuano refers primarily to the inhabitants of the

Cebuano translations of religious publications which include the

Province of Cebu, their descendants, and to the language they

Bible, printed prayers, novenas as well as other materials like

speak. It refers to both the people and the language. No one

that of the lives of the saints and other instructional materials.

argues with this definition. Secondarily, though there are some

Some of the earlier materials survive until today and they show

who disagree with this, Cebuano applies to all speakers of

that Cebuano has changed considerably from the 17 th century up

vernaculars mutually intelligible with the vernaculars of Cebu,

to the present. Following the order of Vatican II, the mass is

regardless of origin or location of the speakers, and their

also said in the vernacular.


From what can be deduced, Cebuano has two meanings.


Primarily it applies to the people and language of the Province of

Cebu. Dissecting the word morphologically as Cebu added with

–ano, it is clearly evident that it is related to Cebu. The suffix – ano would mean ‘of Cebu/ something which is related to Cebu.’ Cebuano is a Spanish word meaning ‘of/from Cebu’, like Cubano

In common/everyday parlance, Bisaya is the term used to refer to Cebuano. Whenever a person or a language is called Bisaya (lang. Binisaya), it is a common notion or it would immediately refer to Cebuano despite the fact that there are many languages

in the Visayas which in general are called Visayan or Binisaya. Is Bisaya any different from Cebuano? How do they differ?

The identity Bisaya is not exclusive to the Philippines because it also refers to some minority tribes in Sarawak, Brunei and

This impression probably came about in 1948, when Cebuano

Sabah. The discovery of Bisaya [bɪsʌˈjʌɁ] tribes there, as

speakers comprise one fourth of the Philippine population. This

evidenced by articles from the Sarawak Museum Journal and the

however had gone down to 22% in the 1995 Census and the

Sabah Society Journal (Zorc, 1975:55), stirred a flurry of studies

result of the 2000 census is still debatable.

on their relationship with the Philippine Bisaya and the origin of the Bisaya people. However, the Bisaya in Borneo belongs to the

There are many languages categorized as Binisaya (Visayan)-

Dusunic group (Prentice 1970: 377, as quoted in Zorc 1975:56),

Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Waray etc. They are separate languages

whereas Philippine Bisaya is subgrouped under the Central

because they are not mutually intelligible and that the syntax and

Philippine languages. Also, the Sultan of Brunei was identified

morphology are different although they are of the same

by Western writers as Bisaya (Dr. Tiu; p.c).

subgroup. Their speakers are called Bisaya. If in Aklanon, Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a and other languages in the Western

As to the origin of the word Bisaya, there are many possibilities,

Visayan region, it is pronounced with the stress on the penultima

as quoted in Zorc (1975; 52-55). It is said to have an Indic or

[bɪˈsʌjʌɁ] whereas in Cebuano, Surigaonon and other languages in the Eastern Visayas, it has the stress on the ultima [bɪsʌˈjʌɁ] (Zorc, 1975:6 [footnote]). The language is not exclusive to the Visayas islands since their extent includes that of Mindanao and other areas in Luzon. According to Alzina (Zorc 1975:9), the Visayan region before includes Masbate, Southern Sorsogon and the northeastern part of Mindanao or the Surigao peninsula. The inclusion of Surigao is further attested by an account of V. de Napoles.

Austronesian origin. It may be derived from the Sanskrit vijaya

‘victory, victorious’; visaya ‘subject(s), dominion, territory,

country, kingdom’; vaicya ‘third caste’ or sahaya ‘slave’. Another theory is that it came from vicara ‘thought, thinking’. This word is used for ‘speak’ in Banton (Bantuanon subgroup),

Odionganon and Sibalenhon, in opposition to languages which

use *sarita [sariˈtaɁ] like Tagalog salita. As for the MalayoPolynesian etymology, it is proposed that there is an *-aya root

which means ‘chap, person’ or *daya which means inland or upriver. Another theory involves the root *saˈyaɁ ‘happy,

This situation can be compared to that in Bicol. Bicol has four


main groupings, each with its own set of languages but each grouping and each language is identified as Bicolano.

As to the difference between Binisaya and Bisaya, these are the definitions by Mr. Edgar Godin, Associate Editor of the Bisaya

Bisaya, therefore, is a generic word. It is used like the word Filipino; Cebuanos are Filipino, Tagalogs are Filipino, Ilocanos are Filipino, but not all Filipinos are Cebuano, not all Filipinos


Bisaya – pungan (noun) – usa ka tawo kun linalang nga lumad sa Kabisay-an; katawhan sa Isla sa Kabisay-an; o natawo ug

are Tagalog, not all Filipinos are Ilocano. Similarly, not all

nanimuyo sa bisan diing dapit sa nasod o kalibotan kansang

Bisaya are Cebuano, not all Bisaya are Ilonggo, not all Bisaya

ginikanan kaliwat og Bisaya kun taga Kabisay-an og kagikan. (is

are Waray, but the Cebuanos, Ilonggos, Warays are Bisaya. As

a noun; a person native to the Visayas; born or living anywhere

used by a Cebuano, Bisaya is interchangeable with Cebuano. To

in the world whose parents are from the Visayas); therefore

someone in Bacolod, Bisaya is interchangeable with Ilonggo

referring to the person

(Hiligaynon). To someone in Tacloban or Samar, Bisaya is interchangeable with Waray but Cebuano, Ilonggo and Waray are not interchangeable (Atty. Faelnar; personal communication).

Binisaya – 1. pungan (noun) – lengguwahe o pinulongan sa

katawhan sa Kabisay-an; 2. pungway (adjective) – iya sa o kalabot sa mga Bisaya, sama sa lihok, kinaiya, proseso o

Another observation is that, for the people in the academe and

pamaagi, ubp. (noun: language by the people in the Visayas , 2.

non-Cebuano speakers, the language is called Cebuano but for

Adjective, those of the Visayans, i.e movement, ownership,

the native speakers the language, it is called Binisaya. If the

processes etc. ); therefore referring to the language and those that

speakers want to speak the language, they would say

are of the Visayan people.

MagBinisaya lang ta or Binisay-on lang nato ‘Let’s speak/talk in Binisaya’.

Also, Binisaya serves as a cover term for different languages in

There is one trill – the /r/.

To produce a trill, the air is

the Visayas and their dialects in Mindanao and also some

interrupted repeatedly by a vibrating articulator. Most Cebuano

languages in Mindanao.

words (as seen in dictionaries) with an initial and final /r/ are borrowed words but these words are already incorporated in the

In summary, Cebuano and Binisaya as a language and Cebuano

Cebuano lexicon.

and Bisaya as a people are interchangeable.

The Cebuano ‘r’ is originally a trill but there are people, as


observed by the researcher, who pronounce the ‘r’ as the English

3.1 Consonants There are 16 phonemic consonants in Cebuano. Their variations between dialects are discussed below. All these consonants are unaspirated. They can occur in syllable-initial and final positions. They can also be found in all word positions-initial, medial and final. /h/ is almost always found only in the syllable-initial and word-medial and initial position though it can also occur in syllable and wordfinal position. According to Zorc, it is possible to have a final [h] as a convention but it is in free variation with a final zero (Zorc 1975). For this paper, the author decided to use the final zero instead of positing a final [h]. Only /l,r,w,j,s/ can occur in syllable-medial position as a member of a consonant cluster, though in the discussion of clusters below /s/ and /t/ can become clusters as [st]. There are seven stops: /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/ and /Ɂ/. /t/ and /d/ are dentals, not alveolars. Alveolars are articulated with the tongue touching or brought near the alveolar ridge which is a small ridge protruding just behind the upper front teeth within the oral cavity. However, in Cebuano, these segments are pronounced as dentals and are articulated with the tongue pushing against the back of the upper teeth. The voiceless glottal stop /Ɂ/ is the conventional consonant onset of orthographically vowel-initial words. It appears in the middle between vowel sequences. It can occur in all positions. This is also called by Rodolfo Cabonce, S.J who wrote the An English-

Cebuano Visayan Dictionary (p.17) as a sound stop. This phoneme causes a noticeable stop in articulation which was also noticed by the researcher in her informants. It happens most often in the middle of the word between vowel sequences (i.e [dʊ ˈɁɔl] ‘near’; [ˈdʌːɁʌn ‘old’] or a closed syllable followed by a vowel (i.e [ˈtʌnɁʌw] ‘look’; ˈlʊjɁʌ ‘ginger’). There are three nasals: /m/, /n/ and /ŋ/.

‘r’ which is an approximant. This is common among students who are exposed to English and their sound systems become interchanged. However, this does not cause any change in meaning. It would only sound different to one accustomed to hearing the ‘r’ as a trill, as it really is. In some parts of Bohol, the letter “r” is replaced with “d” when it is found “inside” the word or in word-medial intervocalic position. Examples are [Ɂɪˈdɪŋ] for [Ɂɪˈrɪŋ] ‘cat’, and [ɁɪˈdɔɁ] for [ɁɪˈrɔɁ] ‘dog’. This may lead to the question whether /r/ is a separate phoneme or just an allophone of /d/. The author retains the position that /r/ is a separate phoneme. Although it is rarely found in native words and mostly in borrowed words, the sound is already incorporated in the language and the Cebuanos have used the words as their own. Also, words with the /r/, except in some places in Bohol, are considered wrong when they are pronounced using other phonemes, like /d/. Cebuano has two fricatives, the alveolar /s/ and the glottal /h/. /s/ appears in all positions while /h/ can only be found in wordinitial and medial positions. It does not necessarily mean that words can end in vowels. As explained above, it is possible to have a final [h] as a convention but it is in free variation with a final zero (Zorc 1975) and for this work, the author opted for a final zero. Cebuano phonology consists of only one lateral approximant- the alveolar /l/. It occurs in word-initial, medial and final positions. Like the voiced alveolar trill /r/, it can also be used to form consonant clusters. This phoneme undergoes many changes. In Bohol and in Cebu (Cebu City), this phoneme becomes the glide [w] in intervocalic position, between the vowels /ʊ/ and /ʌ/ and vice-versa. /w/, although it is a separate phoneme in other cases, is just an allophone of /l/ in this environment. It is only an allophone because it does not trigger meaning differences and a Cebuano speaker of Bohol can still understand it even if spoken in the Carcar-Cebu way. They are just alternative forms. After

the change of /l/ to [w], the vowel which is after /l/ is deleted,

In Cebuano-Davao, speakers are less inclined to dropping [l] or

but this is just an optional change. The researcher says that the

changing it to [w] except when they are immigrants from places

vowel following /l/ which is now [w] is deleted because it can

in Cebu where the /l/ is dropped or changed to [w], but the

also have an alternative longer form. This is not a case of the

informants for this paper tend to use the /l/.

diphthongization of the vowels [ʌ] and [ʊ], as in [lʌˈlʊm] [ˈlʌʊm]  [ʌ] and [ʊ] joining together to form [ʌw], but [lʌˈlʊm]  [lʌˈwʊm][ˈlʌwm] ‘deep’ If /l/ is between [ʌ] and [ʊ], the second vowel, in this case [ʊ] can be deleted but if it is between [ʊ] and [ʌ], the vowel after /l/

Final /l/ also tends to be replaced with [w] in word-final position in Bohol, especially in Albuquerque. [ˈtʌmbʌl] [ˈtʌmbʌw] ‘medicine’ [ˈbʊnʌl]  [ˈbʊnʌw] ‘strike (usually with scolding)’

which is [ʌ] cannot be erased; it is the vowel before which is deleted.

/l/ can also become /j/ in some places in Cebu. [tɪˈŋʌlɪ] [tɪˈŋʌjɪ] ‘maybe’

Ex. Between [ʌ] and [ʊ] [Ɂɪˈlʌlʊm] [Ɂɪˈlʌwʊm] [Ɂɪˈlʌwm] ‘under’

There are two glides- the voiced labial-velar /w/ and the voiced

[bʌˈlʊd]  [bʌˈwʊd]  [ˈbʌwd] ‘wave’

palatal /j/. Both occur in all word positions-initial, medial and

Between [ʊ] and [ʌ] [pʊˈlʌ]  [pʊˈwʌ]  [ˈpwʌ] ‘red’

final. When preceded by a vowel on the same syllable, both can be used to form diphthongs. Also, they can be used as the second member of a consonant cluster.

[bʊˈlʌn]  [bʊˈwʌn]  [ˈbwʌn] ‘moon, month’ /j/ becomes the affricate [ʤ] in Bohol. This is the most evident Intervocalic /l/ can also be deleted between two like vowels. This is common in Cebuano-Cebu (Cebu City) and Bohol, but not in Southeastern Cebu though there are terms which are more commonly pronounced without the /l/ like [ˈwʌɁ] for [wʌˈlʌɁ] ‘none’ and [ˈbʌj] for [bʌˈlʌj] ‘house’. Orthographically, the vowel after it is not written but phonetically, it is accounted by the obligatory lengthening of the vowel left except in closed syllables or when the /l/ begins the antepenultima. [ˈdʌlʌn]  [ˈdʌːn] ‘road’ [bʌˈlʌj] [ˈbʌːj] ‘house’ [wʌˈlʌ] [ˈwʌː] ‘left/left hand’ [wʌˈlʌɁ] [ˈwʌːɁ] ‘none, nothing’ [kʌˈlʌjɔ]  [kʌːˈjɔ] ‘fire’ [ˈɁʊlʊ] [ˈɁʊː] ‘head’

sound that distinguishes Cebuano-Bohol from that of the other two. This is also the case with Southern Leyte. But this does not hold true for the whole of Bohol. Towns facing Cebu City (e.g Tubigon, Clarin, Sagbayan, etc.) do not use [ʤ] whereas those in the northeast (e.g Ubay, Talibon, etc.) use the sound. Tagbilaran does not use [ʤ]. The towns using [ʤ] are the ones facing the province of Southern Leyte where the use of [ʤ] is more pronounced and is used throughout the province. Southern Leyteños call their Cebuano dialect as Binul-anon or similar to that of Bohol. Also, younger generations tend to use [j] instead of [ʤ] when speaking. [ʤ] is just an allophone. People can use either of the two and it will not lead to a change in meaning. /j/ cannot be [ʤ] in all environments. It has its rule. It can only become [ʤ] when it is in syllable-initial position. [ˈjʊtʌ] [ˈʤʊtʌ] ‘earth, soil’ [sɪˈjʌ] [sɪˈʤʌ] ‘he/she (3rd person pronoun)’

No lengthening

[kʌˈlʌjʊ] [ˈkʌjʊ]  [ˈkʌʤʊ] ‘fire’

[kʌˈlʌtkʌt] [ˈkʌtkʌt] ‘climb’ [kʌˌlʌˈmʊŋgʌj]  [kʌˈmʊŋgʌj] ‘malunggay (vegetable)’

When it is in syllable-final position, it can also become [ʤ] provided that an affix –a will be added. By then, it will move to a syllable-initial








morphophonemics but it is discussed here to illustrate some

The Cebuano U (orthographic) is pronounced between U and O.


The lips are closer together and not as rounded as when one

[ˈbʌbɔj] +a [bʌˈbɔʤʌ] as in Tamboka anang baboya[bʌ

ˈbɔʤʌ] uy! ‘That pig is [bʌˈlʌj] [ˈbʌːj]

pronounces the Spanish U or English OO.

very fat.’

+a  [ˈbʌːʤʌ] as in Pagkadaku anang

baya[ˈbʌːʤʌ]. ‘That house is very big.’

Rodolfo Cabonce, S.J. in his Cebuano Dictionary described the environments of the variations. [u] and [ʊ] are equivalent to the orthographic ‘u’ and [ɔ] to ‘o’. It is usually [u] or [u]: (1) In the

However, there are very few exceptions. Even though it is syllable-initial position, it cannot become [ʤ].

first (and middle) syllables; (2) in closed syllables before the bilabials (he wrote labial) b, p, m ; (3) before the dentals [t] and [d] and the alveolar [s] which are stressed; (4) in duplicate syllables (words which have the same segments i.e kubkub,

[bʌˈsɪjɔ] *[bʌˈsɪʤɔ] ‘empty bottle’

supsup) before b, m, p, k, g, l, d, s, t, and y; and (5) in syllables

[bʌˈbʌjɛ] *[bʌˈbʌʤɛ] ‘woman’

with juxtaposed vowels, (adjacent vowels- i.e luub, luuk ) before b, m, p, k, g, l, d, s, and t. They are juxtaposed orthographically but in phonology, a glottal stop precedes the second vowel.

3.2 Vowels Cebuano has three phonemic vowels- the high, back, rounded, lax /ʊ/, the high, front, unrounded, lax /ɪ/ and the open-

Examples: 1. [Ɂʊdtʊ] ‘noon’; [ˈbʊːhʌt] ‘work, chore’

mid, back, unrounded, lax /ʌ/. As can be noticed, all of these

2. [dʌˈkʊp] ‘catch, apprehend’; [kʊˈlʊb] ‘covered’

vowels are lax. The vowels do not occur in word-initial position

3. [tʌˈkʊs] ‘measure’; [kʌˈmʊt] ‘hand’

because conventionally, a voiceless glottal stop /Ɂ/ precedes all words








orthographically words can start with a vowel, this is not the case

4. [ˈsʊpsʊp] ‘to sip, suck’; [ˈkʊbkub ] ‘to dig’ 5. [tɪbʊˈɁʊk] ‘whole’; [dʊˈɁʊl ‘near’

with phonology. Thus, vowels can only occur in word-medial and final positions. /ɪ/ has the high, front, unrounded tense [i] and mid, front, unrounded lax [ɛ] as variations; /ʊ/ has the high, back, rounded tense [u] and mid, back, rounded lax [ɔ] as variants. These are all in free variation, pronouncing one with the use of its variant will not lead to meaning differences. There are only three phonemic

[ɔ] is used in: (1) Monosyllabic words; (2) before k, g, ng(ŋ), n, l, and y; (3)before unstressed t, d, and s; and (4) in duplicate syllables before ng and n. Examples: 1. [ˈkɔ] ‘me, mine’; [ˈmɔ] ‘you, yours’

vowels; the inclusion of [ɛ] and [ɔ] usually occurs with borrowed

2. [ˈtʌmbɔk] ‘fat’ ; [dʌbɔŋ] ‘unripe’

words and with certain phonological changes. [ɛ] is written as ‘e’

3. [ˈtʊhɔd] ‘knee’

and [ɔ] as ‘o’, but their pronunciation still varies. According to Andrew Nelson (An Introduction to Cebuano, 1964, xvi), in

4. [ˈbɔŋbɔŋ], [ˈtɔntɔn] (these are names of persons)

Cebuano, the vowel sounds may vary from one speaker to another, from one place to another, but the tolerance to the variation is such that it does not cause meaning differences whatever vowel sound variant is used.

For juxtaposed vowels before ng, n and y, he said that they use [ɔ] but through observations, the researcher thinks that [ʊ] is more often used. [bɪˈtʊɁʊn] ‘star’ instead of [bɪ’tɔɁɔn]

There is a tendency for the vowels to be pronounced longer when they appear in an open accented syllable (ˈCV) and shorter in unaccented open syllable (CV) and closed syllables (CVC).

[ˈlʊɁʊj] ‘pathetic, pitiful’ instead of [ˈlɔɁɔj] [ɔ] is also often used in borrowed words. Bisaya Magasin retains the ‘o’ in the borrowed words instead of writing it as ‘u’, i.e polis instead of pulis for police.

The more general rule is that [ɔ] can replace /ʊ/ in any position but usually when it is the final segment of a word or when it is in the ultima. It is [u] or [ʊ] in open and stressed syllable which is

vaal, as in [ˈtsʌː] and not like the Tagalog [tsʌˈɁʌ]. Another example is the word for ‘yes’. Although it is written as Oo it is pronounced as [ˈɁɔː] and not like the Tagalog [ˈɁɔɁɔ]

not in the ultima. Despite all these rules, [ɔ], [ʊ] and [u] are in free variation. Mispronunciation will not lead to a change in meaning. It may sound weird but it is still understandable. /ɪ/ is pronounced like the ‘I’ in ‘fish’ and ‘is’. It is in free variation with the high front unrounded tense [i] and the mid, front, unrounded lax [ɛ]. It has a tendency to be pronounced as the high front unrounded tense [i] when it appears at the beginning of a syllable orthographically.

It is [i] or [ɪ] in

stressed open syllables. It usually becomes [ɛ] in syllable final position. [tɪˈnʌːɪ]  [tɪˈnʌːɛ] ‘intestine’ [pʊˈtɪɁ]  [pʊˈtɛɁ] ‘white’ Orthographically, the [ɛ] is retained in borrowed words with that sound. (ex. cake—keyk] /ʌ/ is the only vowel with no variation, though as what was mentioned above, it is pronounced slightly higher in open

All types of Cebuano are full of the og [ˈɁɔg] and ug [ˈɁʊg] sound, although they have different meanings depending on the usage. Og/Ug are polymorphic; they only have one form but they

have different meanings. It is also full of the y [j] sound as in

wa'y; unya’y, kami’y, siya’y. It is interesting to note that the y here can be used to replace the Tagalog marker ang.

Cebuano speakers have difficulty with non-Cebuano words with

an i or e. Thus ‘pink’ is pronounced [ˈpɛnk] and ‘red’ is [ˈrɪd]. ‘Witness’ becomes wetness [ˈwɛtnɛs]. This is also the case with

o and u. In speaking English or Tagalog, they are distinguished by the hard e and o. This has led to many stereotypes and exaggerations but this only holds true for some, for there are speakers who does not have the gahing dila ‘lit. hard tongue’. This difficulty may have arisen from the original sound system of Cebuano which only includes three vowels.

syllables and lower in closed syllables. Before /w/, it is sometimes pronounced like [ɔ] [ˈlɔw] like in [wʌˈlɔ] becoming [wɔˈlɔ], [wʌˈlʌɁ] becoming [wɔˈlʌɁ], but it can also be

4.2 Differences in sound

pronounced openly as [ʌ]. This may be an effect of the

4.2.1 Cebuano- Bohol

phoneme /w/ which is labial-velar in articulation with the lips

Cebuano-Bohol or Binul-anon/Bol-anon is most known for its

rounded. Therefore, the ‘a’ (orthographic) that follows /w/ assimilates with the rounding of the lips resulting to the use of a rounded vowel.

[ʤ] sound which takes the place of /j/ ‘y’ in syllable-initial position. [ʤ] in orthography is written as ‘j’ and also ‘y’. As discussed in the part on phonology (although it is already part of

Orthographically, the phonemes are written as is with the

morphophonemics), when ‘y’ [j] ends a word, it can also become

stop is not written at all or is sometimes represented with a dash

syllable-initial as in [ˈbʌːbɔj]  [bʌˈbɔːʤʌ] in the sentence

exception of /ŋ/ which is written as ng and /j/ as y . The glottal

[ʤ] ‘j’ with the addition of a suffix, which would make it

(-) in word-medial position or an apostrophe in the final position.

Tamboka anang baboja uy! ‘That pig is very fat’. Other examples are:

written as a, i, and u. [ɛ] is written as e and [ɔ] as o . They are

Pagkadaku anang baja (balaya) ‘That house is very big’.

The Bohol [ʤ] is sometimes written as j or as y . The vowels are usually retained in borrowed words which are spelt with e and o.

4. SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES 4.1 Similarities All dialects of Cebuano have lengthened vowels, like the Dutch language. This is common to words where the /l/ or /l/ plus an accompanying vowel, is dropped. The lengthening compensates

for the loss of the /l/ like in wa [ˈwʌːɁ] ‘none’ (originally, wala [wʌˈlʌɁ]). In tsa ‘tea’, the a is pronounced like the aa in Dutch

Kataas anang kahoja (kahoya). ‘That tree is very tall’ Pinangga jud ko anang nanaja (nanaya). ‘That mother loves me very much.’ With the exception of [ʤ], words are pronounced like that in Cebu City with the with the [l]’s.

[w]’s than like that of southeastern Cebu

Although the affricate is the distinguishing sound of Bol-anon, it does not hold true for the whole province. In some towns facing Cebu City (i.e Tubigon, Clarin, Sagbayan, Calape, Baclayon etc), they do not have it. Tagbilaran, the capital, also uses [j] instead of [ʤ] though there are some who use it, especially the older generations. Those in the northeast (i.e Ubay, Talibon, etc.), in Central Bohol, Eastern Bohol and in the Loon-Maribojoc area use the [ʤ] frequently. These towns are gateways to Southern Leyte where [ʤ] is used throughout the province. Also, if it is of any relation, Mexicans also pronounce the Spanish ‘y’ [j] this way.

However, with respect to the structure of the dialect, it is the same as Sinugbuanon.

4.2.2 Cebuano- Cebu The main difference between the vernaculars of Cebu involves

the segments [w] and [l]. That of Cebu City is full of w's in place of l in words where the l is not dropped; i.e kaˌhibaˈwo

instead of kaˌhibaˈlo ‘to know’; uˈwan instead of uˈlan ‘rain’. As described in the phonology part, it also drops the ‘l’ if it is

intervocalic position and if the vowels are alike; i.e ˈ waːɁ instead The l lost its sound in between two same sounding vowels and

of waˈlaɁ ‘none’; ˈkaːyo instead of kaˈlayo ‘fire’.

become w in between a and o/u and vice-versa. In some towns,

[l] can also be replaced with [w] if it ends a word as in kaˈsaw for kaˈsal ‘wedding’, kuˈraw for kuˈral ‘fence’, kaˈnaw for ka

ˈnal ‘canal’, baˈgow for baˈgol ‘coconut shell’ , and ˈhabow for ˈhabol ‘blanket’. Whereas, in Dauis on Panglao Island, and in Baclayon, both in southwestern Bohol, if the syllable wo ends a word, it is pronounced as is and not shortened to the letter “w”. Examples: kaˌhibaˈlo or kahiˈbaw ‘know, to know’ is kahibaˈwo; ˈkalo ’hat’ is ˈka-wo; ˈtawo or ˈtaw ‘human, man’ is ˈta-wo. ˈBaw (Boholano equivalent for ambot ‘I don’t know’) is ˈba-wo.

On the other hand, Sialo or southeastern Cebuano is full of L's:

buˈlombong ‘wall’ instead of ˈbungbong, kaˈlatkat ‘climb’ instead of ˈkatkat, laˈlum ‘deep’ instead of laˈwom. In the far northeastern part of Cebu, the /l/ becomes a [j] ; i.e [tɪ ˈŋʌlɪ] [tɪˈŋʌjɪ] ‘maybe’. There are also instances where the final –aye is pronounced only

as the dipthong /ʌj/ as in babaye [bʌˈbʌjɛ] [bʌˈbʌːj] ‘female’. In Loon and in many centrally located municipalities of Bohol

(San Miguel, Catigbian, Danao, Dagohoy, etc.), the u is

Also, final –awo is pronounced only as [ʌw] (i.e tawo [ˈtʌːwɔ] [ˈtʌːw] ‘human’).

sometimes pronounced like the u in church. The same u sound is used in the eastern town of Alicia. I posit it as the schwa [ə]

sound, same as the e in French le [ˈlə] ‘the’. In these towns, [ə] can be accounted as a phoneme, hence /ə/, since it can cause a difference in meaning, as in the example. They say gipamulong [gɪpʌˈmʊlɔŋ] or gipamung [gɪpʌˈmʊːŋ] to mean something is uttered but when it is pronounced as

gipamung [gɪpʌˈməːŋ], it means someone is in the act of looking for something lost or cannot be found. In Tagbilaran, the Cebuano is like that of Cebu City but with a peculiar sing-song (rise-and-fall) sound. Other different-sounding speakers are those from the north (abrupt rise and fall, like that in Inabanga town) and south (gradual rise and fall). Also, an informant noted that from Cortez to Baclayon, the tone is like that of Cebuano in Misamis, with the exception of Barrio Biking in Panglao wherein their Cebuano is somewhat same as that of Siquijor.

Certain Cebu towns have a peculiar descending pattern towards the end of a statement, like those in the south (i.e Dalaguete, Alcoy and Boljoon). Northern (Bogo-Tabogon-Borbon) and Cebu City has the fastness of tone which is sometimes improperly interpreted as anger. Mid-north (Sogod) has the singsong feature and can also be heard in Southern towns. The variant of Cebu City is used in the metropolitan areas.

4.2.3 Cebuano- Davao Davao, with respect to my informants, seems to have two types of Cebuano. The first is the one spoken by migrants from the Visayas and their descendants, which would correspond closely with the provinces where they came from. Over time, they tend to standardize into that of Cebu City or southeastern Cebuano. They are the people who use a vocabulary that can be considered ‘deep’, which consists of purely Cebuano words. The second type of Cebuano in Davao is spoken by migrants, rich or poor,

from non-Visayan provinces and products of intermarriages and their descendants. Their dialect is a hodge podge of Cebuano,

also mean ‘very’ or a superlative particle which is kaayo in most dialects.

Tagalog and Ilonggo and other languages. Davao-Cebuano has a lot of borrowed words from Tagalog and other languages. The first type of Cebuano in Davao would sound very similar to

For the first person singular genitive pronoun, instead of

akoɁ/akoɁa, they say ahoɁ/ ahoɁa. This leads to misconceptions that k h in Boholano, but this is just one isolated case.

that of Cebu. Davaoenos either use the Cebu City variety where ‘l’ is either dropped or replaced with ‘w’ or the Sialo variety where there is a constant presence of ‘l’. My informants use more of the Southeastern Cebuano which is full of [l]’s and also where segments are not often deleted. The second type is a product of the interaction of different people in Davao. This type

4.3.2 Cebuano-Cebu

is often heard in urban areas and the first type among the rural

Residents of Cebu City, Mandaue and Mactan usually use

areas. Morevoer, the second type would differ with Cebu and Bohol with regards to syntax and lexicon.

4.3 Lexical Variations 4.3.1 Cebuano-Bohol In Bohol, especially in Albuquerque, they say ˈbawo instead of ˈambot to mean ‘I don’t know; Tag. aywan/ ewan). Bawo is the

contracted words, like stanan for sangatanan ‘all’, gyud or

dyud/jud for gayud ‘affirming and stressing particle’, and kaba’w for kahibalo ‘to know’. They also use din-a, dip-a, dis-a, wan-a, and wap-a for dili na ‘not anymore’, dili pa ‘not yet’, diin ‘where’, wala na ‘none’, and wala pa ‘not present yet’, respectively. These variants can be heard in the whole of Cebu City, also in Carcar, Dalaguet, Toledo and Bato. In Cebu City, the possessive pronoun can be used as a dative, as

short form for Wala ko makahibalo ‘I don’t know.’

in para nako ‘for me’, para nimo ‘for you, sg’, para niya ‘for

Boholanos also use the word ˈdis-a for ˈasa/ diˈin ‘where’ and

nila ‘for them’. The possessive is added with the bound morpheme na or n- which is sa in Davao.

of kataw-anan ‘something funny’, which is common in Cebu and

In Sialo, the form is a true dative: para kanako, para kanimo,

ˈsani for ˈunsa ‘what’. They say palamuot [pʌlʌˈmʊːɁət] instead Davao.

Some words are exclusive to Bohol These are: danggay ‘humus’,

himi ‘dirty’, iti ‘to dry up’ (as in na-iti na ang linung-ag for mihubas na ang gitak-ang ‘The rice has no water already’), and tuktuk [təkˈtək] ‘to stand motionless’. Also, people from Davao find the word tulijuk [tʊˈlɪʤək] or tujuk [ˈtəjək] ‘to go/turn around’ (tuliyok/tuyok in Cebu, tuyok in Davao), hard to understand. Yamo is also an exclusive word. It means ‘none’ or wala in most Cebuano dialects. The expression wala yamo is a double negative, equivalent to ‘ain’t nothing,’ and not the opposite of yamo. This word is pronounced as [ˈjʌmɔ] or with the [ʤ] as in [ˈʤʌmɔ] depending on which part of Bohol is it spoken. It can

him/her/it’, para nato ‘for us’, para ninyo ‘for you, pl’, and para

para kaniya, para kanamo, para kaninyo, and para kanila (same glosses as above). The Sialo variation always uses three forms for ‘where’, which is

similar to Russian. They use diin when asking for place of origin

or denoting past action, hain when asking for the location of a

thing, person or place, or denoting present action, and asa when asking for where people are going or denoting future action. This is also heard in Cebu City and northeastern Cebu, but then, Cebu City is a very cosmopolitan area where one can hear the usage from other places and provinces. In Argao in southwestern Cebu, they say hae instead of hain and

asa instead of diin. They also use ag instead of ang ‘the’ which is similar to some parts of Southern Leyte.

In all vernaculars of Cebu, words for "come here" and "go

They sometimes use hindi or dili for negation instead of wala

(closer)’; anhi dinhi ‘come here’; anha dinha ‘Go there’; and

nakakaon instead of wala pa makakaon ‘have not yet eaten’. If wala is used at all, the syntax is Tagalog or that of a Luzon language, i.e wala nailisdan or wala gi-ilisdan instead of wala ilisdi ‘was not replaced’

there", are always collocated and rhyming: ari diri ‘come here

adto didto ‘go yonder’.

4.3.3 Cebuano-Davao As noted above, Cebuano-Davao has two varieties. The first type does not vary significantly with that of Cebu. Davao, being home to diverse ethnicities, developed a second type of Cebuano which is a merry mix of languages, mostly Cebuano, Tagalog and Hiligaynon.

Dis-a or asa is used in Davao when asking for place of origin, or denoting past action. It is diin in Cebu. Ex. Dis-a man nimo gibutang ang gunting? Asa man nimo gibutang ang gunting? ‘Where did you put the scissors?’ There is less elision or contraction. Thus, ‘call’ is tawaga rather than tawga; ‘cut’ is putulon rather than putlon, ‘soften the meat by boiling well’ is palata-i instead of palat-i.

To mean the superlative, they use the Tagalog pinaka- instead of

kina-… -an, i.e pinakadaku instead of kinadak-an ‘biggest’. They use halata instead of makamatikod ‘to notice’. They also use kay instead of kang as a marker for proper nouns; i.e Gipada na naho kay Mr. Sy ‘I already sent it to Mr. Sy’. They use Adto diri ‘go here’ to mean ‘come here’ which is said

as Anhi dinhi or Ari diri. They also use kadto diri, which according to my informants, is probably a borrowing from

Hiligaynon because kadto/mokadto is the Hiligaynon word for ‘come’ or ‘go’ depending on the context i.e kadto diri ‘come

here’, and kadto didto ‘go there’. They also use the prefix nagain almost anything even when speaking in Tagalog, i.e nagakain instead of kumakain ‘eat (progressive)’.

and use the Tagalog conjugation for the verb, i.e hindi pa

Concerning the dative case of the personal pronoun, they use the preposition sa plus the possessive – para sa akoa ‘for me’, para

sa imoha ‘for you, sg.’ para sa iyaha ‘for him/her/it’, para sa amoa ‘for us’, para sa inyoha ‘for you pl’, and para sa ilaha ‘for them’. This syntax is similar to Tagalog, Hiligaynon and Sorsoganon. The pronouns themselves are the variant form of the possessive pronouns. They say Ihatag na sa iya or Ihatag na sa iyaha ‘Give that to

him/her’ instead of Ihatag na niya o kaniya. In greetings, they say Maayong buntag sa imo instead of maayong buntag kanimo ‘Good morning to you’. It is common in Davao and my informant later learned that it sounds weird, yet understandable, for




The younger generation uses na instead of nga as an article/determiner. Ex. Gimingaw na ko kang Marissa, na

of nga) nagsuroy og maruya alas tres sa hapon . ‘I am missing Marissa who peddles (sells) maruya at 3pm’. (instead

It can also be observed in this:

Naghigot ko ug duyan para sa imuha wala ka misakay hadluk ka mahulogkung mutabyog ni ug kusog. Pero nakita nako nisakay ka sa duyan na (instead of ‘nga’) gihigot niya. ‘I tied a cradle for you. You did not ride, you’re afraid to fall if it rocks hard. But I saw you ride in the cradle that he tied.’ As an illustration on how the Davaoeños mix languages, read the following examples. Words which are not Cebuano are in bold

Cebuano verbs may sometimes have a Tagalog ending followed


by Tagalog pronouns – Pukawin mo ako ‘Wake me up’;

sumbagin kita ‘I will box/punch you’. The kita in this example is the Tagalog kita (portmanteau of ko + ikaw) and not the Cebuano which means ‘us’.

To state a fact, Manileños say, Talagang mabait si Weng. In Davao, it is Mabait bitaw gyud si Weng ‘Weng is really very good/nice’.

Gago kaba diay para maniwala sa kanya ‘Are you a fool to believe him?’ Huwag lagi ba! ‘Don’t/ Don’t, I really mean it’. Kuyaw lagi `yan siya! ‘He’s really extraordinary’ Hindi ako makatu-o sa ginawa niya! ‘I can’t believe with what he did’ Alam man nakin `yan ba! ‘I really know that!’ (Note: Nakin is similar to the pronoun ‘ko’) There are also some reconstructions done to words or conjugations which are not Cebuano like GI+ verb- Gisabi kasi

ni Helen na mag-absent si Bernard bukas ‘Helen said that Bernard will be absent tomorrow.’; KA + adjective - Kapayat gyud ni Jason ngayon. ‘Jason is very thin now’; MAKA + verb - Maka-inis talaga si Albert, uy! ‘Albert is really annoying/irritating’; NAG + verb - Nagsabi kasi si Tita Prescy na pupunta daw tayo ng airport ‘Aunt Prescy said that we’ll go to the airport.’

materials. The vernaculars of Cebu City, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro and Davao are gaining a stronghold because of their respective economic power, presence of universities, active writers' groups, and mass media (TV, radio, and print media). The dialects of Bohol and Southern Leyte are strong in their homelands. There is no standard orthography but there are groups trying to set up one. Bisaya Magasin of the Manila Bulletin, the SunStar publications in the Cebuano language - SunStar Super BalitaCebu, SunStar Super Balita-Cagayan de Oro, and SunStar Super Balita-








Star/Freeman and Bantay Balita of Bohol, have their own guidelines on spelling, syntax, morphology, style and usage (Atty. Faelnar, p.c). As an example, Bisaya Magasin retains the e

and o in borrowed words, i.e bentana instead of bintana ‘window’; polis instead of pulis ‘police’. This is somewhat akin

to the English-speaking countries where style and usage is determined by the large publishing houses and universities and not by the government. Also writers from Cebu City have started a trend of writing Cebuano as it is spoken in Cebu City. Others adhere to the Sialo-Carcar variety or to that of whatever


Out of all the dialects of Cebuano, with three given a description here, what can be considered as the standard for the language? As mentioned above, the Sialo vernacular of Cebu (CarcarDalaguet or Southeastern Cebu) was and is the de facto standard used by the Catholic Church. It may be said that for written Cebuano, the de facto standard is the Sialo or Carcar-Dalaguet vernacular. This is further attested by informants who were asked to translate some sentences into their dialect that in writing they use the Sialo-Carcar variety. It can be said that spelling is separate from the phonetics and phonemics of the language. The Bohol variety may have the [dʒ] sound, but it is written as ‘y’. The schwa in some parts of Bohol is written as ‘u’. In dialects where the /l/ is dropped, they are still written with /l/. The exception may be for the /w/ that replaces /l/. It is not written as ‘l’ but as ‘w’. Currently, there is still no orthography that can be considered standard by all. It is still in the works. With the awakened interest in the language and the flowering of writers' groups like LUDABI (Lubas sa Dagang Bisaya - Core of Visayan Writers), BATHALAD (Bathalan-ong Halad sa Dagang - Godly Gift of the Quill), the Dagang Foundation, Inc., Kaliwat sa Karyapa of Bohol, Davao Writers' Guild, rivalry arose among the different dialects. The Sialo venacular dominates Catholic

magazine they are writing for. With regards to spoken Cebuano, for some, the Sialo vernacular is also the standard although it is regarded with reservation with respect to words which retained the /l/ in intervocalic position, between two like vowels because in this position, the /l/ is

usually dropped. Examples are dalagan ‘run’ , balagtok,

kalamunggay ‘malunggay’ , and kalatkat ‘climb’ instead of dagan, bagtok, kamunggay and katkat. This is not widely used elsewhere with the exception of Dumaguete and some towns in Negros Oriental. There are also words that retain the /l/ in the aforementioned position yet are as popularly spoken without it. Examples are wala ‘left’, balay ‘house’ and kalayo ‘fire’ (for wa, bay and kayo). The vernacular Bible is the best example for what can be considered as standard Cebuano, as well as public speeches. In Bohol, this variant of Cebuano is used for meetings, electoral campaigns and formal occasions instead of Binol-anon. It is also used in their balak (drama/community theater). But all in all, there is yet no standard for spoken Cebuano. Having a standard language is a matter of power, acceptability and extensive usage. In each of the respective territories of Cebuano, there is a dominant variety, i.e those in their economic and educational centers.





The Cebuano language may be the strongest language next to Tagalog, with its number of speakers, many advocacy groups advancing its use and the usage of the language by its speakers. However, this language is still faced with problems. In Bohol, Cebuano has a strong hold on the population for majority of the people there are originally Cebuano or migrants

Pinoy ‘It should be Tagalog to be Filipino.’ Following this paradigm, then, more or less 70% of the Philippine population are not Filipinos because they are not Tagalog native speakers or even second language speakers. Movements were formed to protect the language, from professional writers to enthusiasts who are interested in preserving the language as well as the culture and identity of its speakers.

from Cebuano-speaking areas. It also has a prominent universitythe University of Bohol- which houses studies on the Cebuano language. There are also many cultural organizations focused on


preserving the heritage of Bohol and its language.

In the 2000 Census, the NSO created new categories of Boholano

In Davao, almost 80% of the population are Cebuanos. Davao became a Cebuano speaking area because of the migration of the people, which happened full-scale in the 1930’s. During the Spanish period, Tagalog was the lingua franca of Davao, because it was where the dregs of Luzon society were thrown, together with other people from the Visayas and the soldiers. It was already a melting pot of cultures which remains until today. Davao is a metropolitan region which is one of the developed areas in Mindanao. Cebuano-Davao faces threat from Tagalog. There are many people, especially those in the urban areas who use Tagalog as their medium of communication, even students in their classes. But this scenario is found only in the cities. In rural areas, Cebuano is still the language for everybody. Although Tagalog had remained in Davao, there is strength in numbers, therefore, Cebuano remains as the majority language. Unlike Davao, Cebu was not a settlement area but still, Tagalog has been gaining a stronghold. This is mostly due to the mass media and the language used in schools as medium of instruction. As the years go by, Cebuanos saw their numbers dwindle and the people are being stereotyped in the media as the ‘Indays’ and ‘Dodongs’, servants, low-class people who are often the subject of comedy and mockery. They are distinguished by pronouncing the Tagalog/English ‘e’ as [ɪ] or [i], and the ‘o’ as [ʊ] or [u]. This may be true for some, but in shows, this characteristic is often exaggerated. Many groups reacted to one movie entitled

and Binisaya as distinct languages from Cebuano. According to the survey, 13% (10,030,667) speak Cebuano, 8% (5,778,435) speak Bisaya/Binisaya and 2% (1,837,361) speak Boholano. If they








(17,646,463)of the population. Bisaya/Binisaya obviously means Cebuano spoken in Mindanao though it has to be further studied since there are also many Hiligaynon speakers in Mindanao. According to Dr. Jes Tirol, the Cebuano in Cebu and Bohol are the same, they are dialects of one language as they have the same grammar. Also, John Wolff noted that ‘the Cebuano language is remarkably uniform’ (Wolff, 1972:vii). He compared Cebuano with English, noting that the differences in Cebuano are just the same as the differences between the various varieties of English spoken worldwide, with only minimal differences. Though there are some lexical variations, the relationship of the three is further attested historically in Zorc (1975: 354-355) where he listed words which underwent the same changes in Bohol, Cebu and Leyte distinct from other languages which are Binisaya. These are: 1) [ˈɁʊg], indefinite genitive marker; 2) [ˈɁʊnsʌ] ‘what’; 3) [ˈkɪnsʌ] ‘who’; 4)[ˈʊnjʌɁ] ‘later on (same

day); 5) [gʌˈnɪhʌ] ‘earlier (same day) (kanina/kaɁina in others);

ga- ‘past time prefix as in ganiha ‘earlier’, gahapun ‘yesterday’ gabii ‘last night’ (ka- in others). 6)

The following words appear to be exclusively shared and limited

‘Sakal, Sakali, Sakalo’ wherein Gloria Diaz, the grandmother,

only to Cebu, Bohol and Leyte (Zorc 1975: 354-355): 1) [ˈpʌɁʌk]

you rear my grandson as Bisaya? (can be equivalent to Cebuano),

‘morning’; 4) [dʊˈɁʊl] ‘near’ (others *rʌˈpɪt or *raˈnɪ] Note: the

told her maid Ba’t mo pinalaking Bisaya ang apo ko ? ‘Why did to which Judy Ann Santos, the mother adds, Dapat Tagalog para

‘bite’ (kʌˈgʌt in others); 2) [ɁɪgˈɁʌgʌw] ‘cousin’; 3) [ˈbʊntʌg]

*stands for the protoform); 5) [ˈdʊlʌɁ] ‘to play’; 6) [sɪˈŋʊt]

Tiu, Edgar Godin, Reigh Monreal, Vincent Isles, Vincent Libot,

‘sweat’ and 7) [bʌlɪˈbʌg] ‘throw away’.

John Endriga, Divina Endriga, Baltazar Endriga.

Although only Bohol and Cebuano are included in Zorc’s list of lexical innovations, these words are also used in Davao. According to Dr. McWhorter, dialects may differ in words but it is not enough to categorize them as different languages. With regards to syntax, they are all the same. It is clear in Cebuano-Cebu and Bohol, as well as in Davao. Even though in Davao they use a mélange of languages, it only happens in the urban areas. In the rural areas, the speakers use the traditional

9. REFERENCES [1] Bunye, M.V.R & Yap, E.P. 1971. Cebuano for beginners. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press. [2] Cabonce, R. 1983. An English- Cebuano Visayan dictionary. Caloocan: National Book Store. [3] Nelson, A. 1964. An introduction to Cebuano. Cebu: Rotary Press, Inc. [4] O’Grady, W., Archibald, J. (eds.), Aronoff, M., and Miller, J.R. 2001. Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction, 4th

Cebuano syntax and they also use the formal syntax (not the

ed. USA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

mixed one) in formal writing, formal affairs and conferences. Davao’s lexicon is still Cebuano. They also follow Cebuano syntax most of the times than the syntax of other languages.

[5] Rubrico, J.G. 1996. An annotated bibliography of works and studies on the history, structure and lexicon of the Cebuano language : 1610-1996. Master’s Thesis. Department of Linguistics, CSSP, UP-Diliman, Quezon City.

They are also dialects by virtue of mutual intelligibility. The speakers from these three dialects understand the dialect of the other. There may be differences but these are minimal compared to their sameness. The author for one can attest to this fact. She speaks the Southern Leyte variety which is close to Bol-anon but she can still understand the other three varieties. Her informants also notice this since they maintain correspondences. It is also the case with the different Cebuano speakers in the UP Diliman campus observed by the researcher and in other places as well. Communication is not a problem. There are no issues either concerning geopolitics and culture, two categories cited by Dr. McWhorter as influences in categorizing dialects and languages outside purely linguistic considerations. The author concludes that Boholano, Sinugbuanon and CebuanoDavao are dialects of one language which is called Cebuano or Binisaya for its native speakers. Therefore, they should all be counted as one language by the NSO and not as three separate

[6] Trosdal, M. 1990. Formal-Functional Cebuano-English Dictionary. Cebu City. [7]

Wolff, J.U. 1972. Dictionary of Cebuano Visayan. New York: Cornell University, Southeast Asia Program and Linguistic Society of the Philippines.

[8] Zorc, R.D.P. 1975. The Bisayan dialects of the Philippines : sub-grouping and reconstruction. Michigan: Ann Arbor. [9] Manuel Lino Faelnar. Ang Atong Himatyon nga mga Sinultian (Paper presented at the Ludabi National Convention held at Casino Español, Cebu City, Jan. 19, 2008.) [10] Plong, P. 2006. About Cebuano. Retrieved February 20, 2009, from Southeast Asia Digital Library. [11] Ethnologue. n.d.. Retrieved March 15, 2009, from

categories like in the 2000 Census.




The author would like to thank the following people for the valuable help they gave in writing this paper (which is originally a thesis for Linguistics): Atty. Manuel Lino Faelnar, Dr. Macario [12] John McWhorter. Where Do You Draw the Line (video)? Manhattan Institute of Technology.

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