Hiligaynon, also often referred colloquially simply as Ilonggo, is an Austronesian regional language
spoken in the Philippines
by about 9.1 million people, mainly in Western Visayas
, most of whom belong to the Hiligaynon people
. It is the second-most widely spoken language in the Visayas
and belongs to the Bisayan languages
, and is more distantly related to other Philippine languages
It also has one of the largest native language-speaking populations of the Philippines, despite not being taught and studied formally in schools and universities until 2012. Hiligaynon is given the ISO 639-2
three-letter code hil, but has no ISO 639-1
Hiligaynon is mainly concentrated in the regions of Western Visayas
, and Negros Occidental
), as well as in South Cotabato
, Sultan Kudarat
, and North Cotabato
in Soccsksargen. It is also spoken in other neighboring provinces
, such as Antique
(also in Western Visayas
), Negros Oriental
in Central Visayas
in Bicol Region
. It is also spoken as a second language by Kinaray-a
speakers in Antique, Aklanon/Malaynon
speakers in Aklan, Capiznon
speakers in Capiz and Cebuano
speakers in Negros Oriental. There are approximately 9,300,000 people in and out of the Philippines who are native speakers of Hiligaynon and an additional 5,000,000 capable of speaking it with a substantial degree of proficiency.
[Philippine Census, 2000. Table 11. Household Population by Ethnicity, Sex and Region: 2000]
Aside from "Hiligaynon", the language is also referred to as "Ilonggo" (also spelled ''Ilongo''), particularly in Iloilo
and Negros Occidental
. Many speakers outside Iloilo argue, however, that this is an incorrect usage of the word "Ilonggo". In precise usage, these people opine that "Ilonggo" should be used only in relation to the ethnolinguistic group of native inhabitants of Iloilo and the culture associated with native Hiligaynon speakers in that place, including their language. The disagreement over the usage of "Ilonggo" to refer to the language extends to Philippine language specialists and native laypeople.
Historically, the term ''Visayan'' had originally been applied to the people of Panay; however, in terms of language, "Visayan" is more used today to refer to what is also known as Cebuano
. As pointed out by H. Otley Beyer
and other anthropologists, the term ''Visayan'' was first applied only to the people of Panay and to their settlements eastward in the island of Negros (especially its western portion), and northward in the smaller islands, which now compose the province of Romblon. In fact, at the early part of Spanish colonialization of the Philippines, the Spaniards used the term ''Visayan'' only for these areas. While the people of Cebu, Bohol and Leyte were for a long time known only as Pintados. The name ''Visayan'' was later extended to these other islands because, as several of the early writers state, their languages are closely allied to the Visayan dialect of Panay.
Historical evidence from observations of early Spanish explorers in the Archipelago shows that the nomenclature used to refer to this language had its origin among the people of the coasts or people of the ''Ilawod'' ("''los aturales
de la playa''"), whom Loarca called ''Yligueynes'' (or the more popular term ''Hiligaynon'', also referred to by the Karay-a people as ''"Siná"''). In contrast, the "Kinaray-a" has been used by what the Spanish colonizers called ''Arayas'', which may be a Spanish misconception of the Hiligaynon words ''Iraya'' or ''taga-Iraya'', or the current and more popular version ''Karay-a'' (highlanders - people of ''Iraya''/''highlands'').
Similar to many languages in the Philippines
, very little research on dialectology
has been done on Hiligaynon. Some of the widely recognized varieties of the language are Standard or Urban Hiligaynon (Iloilo
provincial and Iloilo City
variant), simply called "Ilonggo", Bacolodnon Hiligaynon (Metro Bacolod
variant), Negrense Hiligaynon (provincial Negros Occidental variant that is composed of three sub-variants: Northern, Central and Southern Negrense Hiligaynon), Guimaras
Hiligaynon, and Mindanao
Some native speakers also consider Kinaray-a
(also known as Hiniraya or Antiqueño) and Capiznon
as dialects of Hiligaynon; however, these have been classified by linguists as separate (Western) Bisayan languages.
Hiligaynon is written using the Latin script
. Until the second half of the 20th century, Hiligaynon was widely written largely following Spanish orthographic conventions. Nowadays there is no officially recognized standard orthography for the language and different writers may follow different conventions. It is common for the newer generation, however, to write the language based on the current orthographic rules of Filipino.
A noticeable feature of the Spanish-influenced orthography absent in those writing following Filipino's orthography is the use of "c" and "qu" in representing /k/ (now replaced with "k" in all instances) and the absence of the letter "w" (formerly used "u" in certain instances).
The core alphabet consists of 20 letters used for expressing consonants and vowels in Hiligaynon, each of which comes in an upper case and lower case variety.
The apostrophe and hyphen also appear in Hiligaynon writing, and might be considered separate letters.
The hyphen, in particular, is used medially to indicate the glottal stop
''san-o ''‘when’ ''gab-e'' ‘evening; night’. It is also used to in reduplicated
words: ''adlaw-adlaw'' ‘daily, every day’, from ''adlaw'' ‘day, sun’. This marking is not used in reduplicated words whose base is not also used independently, as in ''pispis'' ‘bird’.
Hyphens are also used in words with successive sounds of /g/ and /ŋ/, to separate the letters with the digraph NG. Like in the word ''gin-gaan'' 'was given'; without the hyphen, it would be read as ''gingaan'' /gi.ŋaʔan/ as opposed to /gin.gaʔan/.
In addition, some English letters may be used in borrowed words.
Hiligaynon has three types of case markers: absolutive
, and oblique
. These types in turn are divided into personal, that have to do with names of people, and impersonal, that deal with everything else, and further into singular
and plural types, though the plural impersonal case markers are just the singular impersonal case markers + ''mga'' (a contracted spelling for ), a particle used to denote plurality in Hiligaynon.
''sing'' and ''sing mga'' means the following noun is indefinite
, while ''sang'' tells of a definite noun, like the use of ''a'' in English as opposed to ''the'', however, it is not as common in modern speech, being replaced by ''sang''. It appears in conservative translations of the Bible into Hiligaynon and in traditional or formal speech
(**)The plural personal case markers are not used very often and not even by all speakers. Again, this is an example of a case marker that has fallen largely into disuse, but is still occasionally used when speaking a more traditional form of Hiligaynon, using less Spanish loan words.
The case markers do not determine which noun is the subject
and which is the object
; rather, the affix of the verb determines this, though the ''ang''-marked noun is always the topic.
In addition to this, there are two verbal deictics, ''karí'', meaning come to speaker, and ''kadto'', meaning to go yonder.
Hiligaynon lacks the marker of sentence inversion "ay" of Tagalog/Filipino or "hay" of Akeanon. Instead sentences in SV form (Filipino: ''Di karaniwang anyo'') are written without any marker or copula.
"Si Maria ay maganda" (Tagalog)
"Si Maria matahum/ Gwapa si Maria" (Hiligaynon) = "Maria is beautiful."
"Maria is beautiful" (English)
There is no direct translation for the English copula "to be" in Hiligaynon. However, the prefixes mangin- and nangin- may be used to mean will be and became, respectively.
Manamì mangín manggaránon.
"It is nice to become rich."
The Spanish copula "estar" (to be) has also become a part of the Hiligaynon lexicon. Its meaning and pronunciation have changed compared to its Spanish meaning, however. In Hiligaynon it is pronounced as "istar" and means "to live (in)/location"(Compare with the Hiligaynon word "puyô").
Nagaistar ako sa tabuc suba
"I live in tabuc suba"
"tabuc suba" translates to "other side of the river" and is also a barangay in Jaro, Iloilo.
To indicate the existence of an object, the word ''may'' is used.
May idô (a)ko
"I have a dog"
When an adjective modifies a noun, the linker ''nga'' links the two.
Ido nga itom =
Sometimes, if the linker is preceded by a word that ends in a vowel, glottal stop or the letter N, it becomes acceptable to contract it into -ng, as in Filipino. This is often used to make the words sound more poetic or to reduce the number of syllables. Sometimes the meaning may change as in ''maayo nga aga'' and ''maayong aga''. The first meaning: (the) good morning; while the other is the greeting for 'good morning'.
The linker ''ka'' is used if a number modifies a noun.
Anum ka ido
The interrogative words of Hiligaynon are as follows: ''diin'', ''san-o'', ''sin-o'', ''nga-a'', ''kamusta'', ''ano'', and ''pila''
''Diin'' means where.
Diin ka na subong?
"Where are you now?"
A derivation of ''diin'', ''tagadiin'', is used to inquire the birthplace or hometown of the listener.
"Where are you from?"
''San-o'' means when
"When is that?"
''Sin-o'' means who
Sin-o imo abyan?
"Who is your friend?"
''Nga-a'' means why
Nga-a indi ka magkadto?
"Why won't you go?"
''Kamusta'' means how, as in "How are you?"
Kamusta ang tindahan?
"How is the store?"
''Ano'' means what
Ano ang imo ginabasa?
"What are you reading?"
A derivative of ''ano'', paano, means how, as in "How do I do that?"
Paano ko makapulî?
"How can I get home?"
A derivative of ''paano'' is paanoano an archaic phrase which can be compared with kamusta
"How art thou?"
''Pila'' means how much/how many
Pila ang gaupod sa imo?
"How many are with you?"
A derivative of ''pila'', ikapila, asks the numerical order of the person, as in, "What place were you born in your family?"(first-born, second-born, etc.) This word is notoriously difficult to translate into English, as English has no equivalent.
Ikapila ka sa inyo pamilya?
"What place were you born into your family?"
A derivative of ''pila'', tagpila, asks the monetary value of something, as in, "How much is this beef?"
Tagpila ini nga karne sang baka?
"How much is this beef?"
As it is essential for sentence structure and meaning, focus is a key concept in Hiligaynon and other Philippine languages. In English, in order to emphasize a part of a sentence, variation in intonation is usually employed – the voice is stronger or louder on the part emphasized. For example:
#The man is stealing rice from the market for his sister.
#The man is stealing rice from the market for his sister.
#The man is stealing rice from the market for his sister.
#The man is stealing rice from the market for his sister.
Furthermore, active and passive grammatical constructions can be used in English to place focus on the actor or object as the subject:
:''The man stole the rice.'' vs. ''The rice was stolen by the man.''
In contrast, sentence focus in Philippine languages is built into the construction by grammatical elements. Focus is marked by verbal affixes and a special particle prior to the noun in focus. Consider the following Hiligaynon translations of the above sentences:
#Nagakawat ang lalaki sang bugas sa tinda para sa iya utod.
#Ginakawat sang lalaki ang bugas sa tinda para sa iya utod.
#Ginakawatan sang lalaki sang bugas ang tinda para sa iya utod.
#Ginakawatan sang lalaki sang bugas sa tinda para sa iya utod.
:(''lalaki'' = man; ''kawat'' = to steal; ''bugas'' = rice; ''tinda'' = market; ''sibling'' = utod; ''kamot'' = hand)
Hiligaynon, like other Philippine languages, employs reduplication
, the repetition of a root or stem of a word or part of a word for grammatical or semantic purposes. Reduplication in Hiligaynon tends to be limited to roots instead of affixes, as the only inflectional or derivational morpheme that seems to reduplicate is -pa-
. Root reduplication suggests 'non-perfectiveness' or 'non-telicity'. Used with noun
s, reduplication of roots indicate particulars which are not fully actualized members of their class. Note the following examples.
Reduplication of verb
al roots suggests a process lacking a focus or decisive goal. The following examples describe events which have no apparent end, in the sense of lacking purpose or completion. A lack of seriousness may also be implied. Similarly, reduplication can suggest a background process in the midst of a foreground activity, as shown in (5).
When used with adjectival
roots, non-telicity may suggest a gradualness of the quality, such as the comparison in (6). In comparative constructions the final syllables of each occurrence of the reduplicated root are accented. If the stress of the second occurrence is shifted to the first syllable, then the reduplicated root suggests a superlative degree, as in (7). Note that superlatives can also be created through prefixation of pinaka-
to the root, as in pinaka-dakô
. While non-telicity can suggest augmentation, as shown in (7), it can also indicate diminishment as in shown in (9), in contrast with (8) (note the stress contrast). In (8b), maàyoáyo
, accented in the superlative pattern, suggests a trajectory of improvement that has not been fully achieved. In (9b), maàyoayó
suggests a trajectory of decline when accented in the comparative pattern. The reduplicated áyo
implies sub-optimal situations in both cases; full goodness/wellness is not achieved.
Consonants and were once allophones but cannot interchange as in other Philippine languages: ''patawaron'' (to forgive) rom ''patawad'', forgiveness
but not ''patawadon,'' and ''tagadiín'' (from where) rom ''diín'', where
but not ''tagariín''.
There are four main vowels: , , , and . and (both spelled i) are allophone
s, with in the beginning and middle and sometimes final syllables and in final syllables. The vowels and are also allophones, with always being used when it is the beginning of a syllable, and always used when it ends a syllable.
Derived from Spanish
Hiligaynon has a large number of words derived from Spanish
including nouns (e.g., ''santo'' from ''santo'', "saint"), adjectives (e.g., ''berde'' from ''verde'', "green"), prepositions (e.g., ''antes'' from ''antes'', "before"), and conjunctions (e.g., ''pero'' from ''pero'', "but").
Nouns denoting material items and abstract concepts invented or introduced during the early modern era
include ''barko'' (''barco'', "ship"), ''sapatos'' (''zapatos'', "shoes"), ''kutsilyo'' (''cuchillo'', "knife"), ''kutsara'' (''cuchara'', "spoon"), ''tenedor'' ("fork"), ''plato'' ("plate"), ''kamiseta'' (''camiseta'', "shirt"), and ''kambiyo'' (''cambio'', "change", as in money). Spanish verbs
are incorporated into Hiligaynon in their infinitive
forms: ''edukar'', ''kantar'', ''mandar'', ''pasar''. The same holds true for other languages such as Cebuano
. In contrast, incorporations of Spanish verbs into Tagalog
for the most part resemble, though are not necessarily derived from, the ''vos
'' forms in the imperative
: ''eduká'', ''kantá'', ''mandá'', ''pasá''. Notable exceptions include ''andar'', ''pasyal'' (from ''pasear'') and ''sugal'' (from ''jugar'').
Days of the week
The names of the days of the week are derived from their Spanish equivalents.
Months of the year
Space and Time
Ancient Times of the Day
The Lord's Prayer
Amay namon, nga yara ka sa mga langit
Pagdayawon ang imo ngalan
Umabot sa amon ang imo ginharian
Matuman ang imo boot
Diri sa duta siling sang sa langit
Hatagan mo kami niyan sing kan-on namon
Kag patawaron mo kami sa mga sala namon
Siling nga ginapatawad namon ang nakasala sa amon
Kag dili mo kami ipagpadaog sa mga panulay
Hinunuo luwason mo kami sa kalaot
The Ten Commandments
Literal translation as per photo:
# Believe in God and worship only him
# Do not use the name of God without purpose
# Honor the day of the Lord
# Honor your father and mother
# Do not kill
# Do not pretend to be married against virginity (don't commit adultery)
# Do not steal
# Do not lie
# Do not have desire for the wife of your fellow man
# Do not covet the riches of your fellow man
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (''Ang Kalibutánon nga Pahayag sang mga Kinamaatárung sang Katáwhan'')
Notable Hiligaynon writers
*Peter Solis Nery
(born 1969) Prolific writer, poet, playwright, novelist, editor, "Hari sang Binalaybay", and champion of the Hiligaynon language. Born in Dumangas, Iloilo
*Antonio Ledesma Jayme
(1854–1937) Lawyer, revolutionary, provincial governor and assemblyman. Born in Jaro, lived in Bacolod
*Graciano López Jaena
(1856–1896) Journalist, orator, and revolutionary from Iloilo, well known for his written works, La Solidaridad
and ''Fray Botod''. Born in Jaro.
*Flavio Zaragoza y Cano
(1892–1994) Lawyer, journalist and the "Prince of Visayan poets". Born in Janipaa
*Conrado Saquian Norada
(1921– ) Lawyer, intelligence officer and governor of Iloilo from 1969 to 1986. Co-founder and editor of Yuhum magazine. Born in Iloilo City
(March 20, 1913 - August 17, 1992) Prolific writer and lawyer, recipient of the National Artist of the Philippines
for Literature award
(1891–1978) Prolific writer, novelist and feminist. Born in Jar
*Angel Magahum Sr.
(1876–1931) Writer, editor and composer. Composed the classic ''Iloilo ang Banwa Ko'', the unofficial song of Iloilo. Born in Mol
(1875–1945) Noted Hiligaynon playwright. Born in Polo (now Valenzuela City
*Elizabeth Batiduan Navarro
Hiligaynon drama writer for radio programs of Bombo Radyo Philippines
*Genevieve L. Asenjo
is a Filipino poet, novelist, translator and literary scholar in Kinaray-a, Hiligaynon and Filipino. Her first novel, Lumbay ng Dila, (C&E/DLSU, 2010) received a citation for the Juan C. Laya Prize for Excellence in Fiction in a Philippine Language in the National Book Award.
*Languages of the Philippines
* - published version of Wolfenden's 1972 dissertation
* English-Tagalog Ilongo Dictionary (2007) by Tomas Alvarez Abuyen, National Book Store. .
Omniglot on Hiligaynon WritingIlonggo Community & Discussion Board
Hiligaynon DictionaryHiligaynon to English DictionaryEnglish to Hiligaynon DictionaryBansa.org Hiligaynon DictionaryKaufmann's 1934 Hiligaynon dictionary on-lineDiccionario de la lengua Bisaya Hiligueina y Haraya de la Isla de Panay
(by Alonso de Méntrida, published in 1841)
(by Cecile L. Motus. 1971)Hiligaynon Reference Grammar
(by Elmer Wolfenden 1971)
Writing System (Baybayin)
Online E-book of ''Ang panilit sa pagcasal ñga si D.ª Angela Dionicia: sa mercader ñga contragusto'' in Hiligaynon
published in Mandurriao
(perhaps, in the early 20th century)
Secondary LiteratureLanguage and Desire in Hiligaynon
(by Corazón D. Villareal. 2006)Missionary Linguistics: selected papers from the First International Conference on Missionary Linguistics, Oslo, March 13–16th, 2003
(ed. by Otto Zwartjes and Even Hovdhaugen