Hiligaynon language


Hiligaynon, also often referred to as Ilonggo or Bisaya nga Hiniligaynon/Inilonggo, is an spoken in the by about 9.1 million people, predominantly in and , most of whom belong to the . It is the second-most widely spoken language in the and belongs to the , and is more distantly related to other . It also has one of the largest native language-speaking populations of the , despite it not being taught and studied formally in schools and universities until 2012. Hiligaynon is given the three-letter code hil, but has no two-letter code. Hiligaynon is mainly concentrated in the regions of (, , , and ), as well as in , , and in . It is also spoken in other neighboring , such as and (also in ), in , in , and in . It is also spoken as a second language by speakers in , speakers in , speakers in and speakers in . There are approximately 9,300,000 people in and out of the 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 and . 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 ; however, in terms of language, "Visayan" is more used today to refer to what is also known as . As pointed out by and other anthropologists, the term ''Visayan'' was first applied only to the people of and to their settlements eastward in the island of (especially its western portion), and northward in the smaller islands, which now compose the province of . In fact, at the early part of , the Spaniards used the term ''Visayan'' only for these areas. While the people of , and 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 .


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 aturalesde la playa''"), whom Loarca called ''Yligueynes'' (or the more popular term ''Hiligaynon'', also referred to by the 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 , very little research on has been done on Hiligaynon. Some of the widely recognized varieties of the language are Standard or Urban Hiligaynon ( provincial and variant), simply called "Ilonggo", Bacolodnon Hiligaynon ( variant), Negrense Hiligaynon (provincial variant that is composed of three sub-variants: Northern, Central and Southern Negrense Hiligaynon), Hiligaynon, and Hiligaynon. Some native speakers also consider (also known as Hiniraya or Antiqueño) and as dialects of Hiligaynon; however, these have been classified by linguists as separate (Western) Bisayan languages.

Writing system

Hiligaynon is written using the . 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.


Additional symbols

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 ''san-o ''‘when’ ''gab-e'' ‘evening; night’. It is also used to in 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: , , and . 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 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. (*)The ''sing'' and ''sing mga'' means the following noun is , 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 and which is the ; rather, the affix of the verb determines this, though the ''ang''-marked noun is always the topic.

Personal pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns

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. Examples: "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. Example: 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"). Example: 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. Example:

Hiligaynon linkers

When an adjective modifies a noun, the linker ''nga'' links the two. Example: Ido nga itom = Black dog 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. Example: Anum ka ido
six dogs

Interrogative words

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.
Tagadiin ka?
"Where are you from?" ''San-o'' means when
San-o inâ?
"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
Paanoano ikaw?
"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 , 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 s, reduplication of roots indicate particulars which are not fully actualized members of their class. Note the following examples. Reduplication of 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 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'', forgivenessbut not ''patawadon,'' and ''tagadiín'' (from where) rom ''diín'', wherebut not ''tagariín''.


There are four main vowels: , , , and . and (both spelled i) are 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 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 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). are incorporated into Hiligaynon in their forms: ''edukar'', ''kantar'', ''mandar'', ''pasar''. The same holds true for other languages such as . In contrast, incorporations of Spanish verbs into for the most part resemble, though are not necessarily derived from, the ' forms in the : ''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

Quick phrases



Space and Time

Ancient Times of the Day

When buying

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
Sa matag-adlaw
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

* (born 1969) Prolific writer, poet, playwright, novelist, editor, "Hari sang Binalaybay", and champion of the Hiligaynon language. Born in

* (1854–1937) Lawyer, revolutionary, provincial governor and assemblyman. Born in Jaro, lived in . * (1856–1896) Journalist, orator, and revolutionary from Iloilo, well known for his written works, and ''Fray Botod''. Born in Jaro. * (1892–1994) Lawyer, journalist and the "Prince of Visayan poets". Born in Janipaa

* (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 for Literature award

* (1891–1978) Prolific writer, novelist and feminist. Born in Jar

* (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 ), Bulacan

* Hiligaynon drama writer for radio programs of . * 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.

See also

* * * *


Further reading

* * - published version of Wolfenden's 1972 dissertation * English-Tagalog Ilongo Dictionary (2007) by Tomas Alvarez Abuyen, National Book Store. .

External links

Omniglot on Hiligaynon Writing

Ilonggo Community & Discussion Board
Hiligaynon Dictionary

Hiligaynon to English Dictionary

English to Hiligaynon Dictionary

Bansa.org Hiligaynon Dictionary

Kaufmann'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) Learning Resources
Hiligaynon Lessons
(by Cecile L. Motus. 1971)
Hiligaynon Reference Grammar
(by Elmer Wolfenden 1971) Writing System (Baybayin)

Primary Texts
Online E-book of ''Ang panilit sa pagcasal ñga si D.ª Angela Dionicia: sa mercader ñga contragusto'' in Hiligaynon
published in , (perhaps, in the early 20th century) Secondary Literature
Language 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 ) {{DEFAULTSORT:Hiligaynon Language Verb–subject–object languages