The Info List - Central Philippine Languages

The Central Philippine languages are the most geographically widespread demonstrated group of languages in the Philippines, being spoken in southern Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and Sulu. They are also the most populous, including Tagalog (and Filipino), Bikol, and the major Visayan languages Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Waray, Kinaray-a, and Tausug, with some forty languages altogether.[2]



The languages are generally subdivided thus (languages in italics refer to a single language):

There are in addition several Aeta hill-tribal languages of uncertain affiliation: Ata, Sorsogon Ayta, Tayabas Ayta, Karolanos (Northern Binukidnon), Magahat (Southern Binukidnon), Sulod, and Umiray Dumaget.

Most of the Central Philippine languages in fact form a dialect continuum and cannot be sharply distinguished as separate languages. For instance, in the Sorsogon and Masbate regions of the Philippines, the Bikol and Visayan languages transition into each other, forming the Bisakol languages. Blust (2009) notes that the relatively low diversity found among the Visayan languages is due to recent population expansions.[3]

Zorc (1977)

The expanded tree of the Central Philippine languages below is given in David Zorc's 1977 Ph.D. dissertation.[4] The Visayan subgrouping is Zorc's own work, while the Bikol subgrouping is from McFarland (1974)[5] and the Mansakan subgrouping from Gallman (1974).[6]

Individual languages are marked by italics, and primary branches by bold italics.

Gallman (1997)

Andrew Gallman (1997)[7] classifies the Central Philippine languages as follows:

Greater Central Philippine (Blust)

Blust (1991)[8] notes that the central and southern Philippines has low linguistic diversity. Based on exclusively shared lexical innovations, he posits a Greater Central Philippine subgroup that puts together the Central Philippine branch with South Mangyan, Palawan, Danao, Manobo, Subanon and Gorontalo–Mongondow languages, the latter found in northern Sulawesi. (See Philippine languages.)


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Central Philippine". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ Ethnologue .
  3. ^ Blust, Robert A. The Austronesian Languages. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, 2009. ISBN 0-85883-602-5, ISBN 978-0-85883-602-0.
  4. ^ Zorc, David Paul. The Bisayan Dialects of the Philippines: Subgrouping and Reconstruction. Canberra, Australia: Dept. of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, 1977, p. 33.
  5. ^ McFarland, Curtis D. The Dialects of the Bikol Area. Ph.D. dissertation. New Haven: Dept. of Liunguistics, Yale University, 1974.
  6. ^ Gallman, Andrew Franklin. A Reconstruction of Proto-Mansakan. M.A. dissertation. Arlington, Texas: Dept. of Liunguistics, University of Texas at Arlington, 1974.
  7. ^ Gallman, Andrew Franklin. 1997. Proto East Mindanao and its internal relationships. Philippine Journal of Linguistics, Special monograph issue, no. 44. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines.
  8. ^ Blust, Robert (1991). "The Greater Central Philippines hypothesis". Oceanic Linguistics. 30 (2): 73–129. doi:10.2307/3623084. JSTOR 3623084.