The Info List - Kinaray-a Language

The Karay-a language, or Kinaray-a (Karay-a + the infix -in-) (ISO: krj), is an Austronesian regional language spoken by the Karay-a people, mainly in Antique in the Philippines
as well as Iloilo
and other provinces on the island of Panay. It is one of the Visayan languages, mainly along with Aklanon/Malaynon, Capiznon and Hiligaynon.


1 Name 2 Location 3 Intelligibility with Hiligaynon 4 Dialects

4.1 Differences

5 Alphabet[3]

5.1 Vowels

5.1.1 Schwa

5.2 Consonants

5.2.1 The consonant ng

6 Phonology

6.1 Vowels 6.2 Consonants

7 Grammar

7.1 Nouns 7.2 Pronouns

8 Numbers 9 Common expressions 10 See also 11 References 12 External links

Name[edit] The word karay-a comes from the word iraya "mountain dwellers", from Sanskrit
laya "abode" (as in Himalaya).[dubious – discuss] Other native names for the language are Hamtikanon, Hiniraya, Binisaya nga Karay-a and Bisaya nga Kinaray-a. Location[edit] Kinaray-a is spoken mainly in Antique. It is also spoken in Iloilo province mainly in the city of Passi, in the municipalities of Alimodian, San Joaquin, Lambunao, Calinog, Leon, Miag-ao, Pavia, Badiangan, San Miguel, Guimbal, San Enrique, Tigbauan, Igbaras, Leganes, Pototan, Bingawan, San Rafael, Mina, Zarraga, Oton, Santa Barbara, Cabatuan, Janiuay, Maasin, New Lucena, Dueñas, Dingle, and Tubungan, the south of Capiz
such as Tapaz, Jamindan, Dumalag, and Dumarao, certain villages in Mindanao, especially in SOCCSKSARGEN region that trace their roots to Antique or to Kinaray-a-speaking areas of inland Iloilo
and Capiz. Inhabitants of most towns across the latter areas speak Kinaray-a while Hiligaynon is predominant around coastal areas particularly in Iloilo. It is also spoken in Iloilo
City by a minority and parts of Aklan
province, as well as Guimaras. Intelligibility with Hiligaynon[edit] Due to geographic proximity and mass media Kinaray-a-speakers can understand Hiligaynon (also known as Ilonggo) speakers. However, only Hiligaynon speakers who reside in Kinaray-a-speaking areas can understand the language. Those who come from other areas, like Negros, have difficulty in understanding the language, only if they can at all. It is a misconception among some Hiligaynon speakers that Kinaray-a is a dialect of Hiligaynon; the reality is that the two belong to two different, but related, language subgroups (Visayan). However, some Karay-a have also Hiligaynon as their second language. To some extent, there is an intermediate dialect of Hiligaynon and Kinaray-a being spoken in Mindanao, mainly in Sultan Kudarat province. Dialects[edit] There has not been any actual linguistic study on the dialects of Kinaray-a. Speakers both of Kinaray-a and Hiligaynon would however admit to hearing the differences in the ways by which Kinaray-a speakers from different towns speak. Differences in vocabulary can also observed between and among the dialects. The differences and the degrees by which the dialects differ from each other depend largely on the area's proximity to another different language-speaking area. Thus, in Antique, there are, on the northern parts, varieties that are similar to Aklanon, the language of Aklan, its neighbor on the north. On the south, in Iloilo
towns on the other hand, the dialects closely resemble that of the standard Kinaray-a spoken in San Jose de Buenavista, lowland Sibalom and Hamtic. A distinct dialect of Kinaray-a is spoken in central Iloilo
where a lot of Hiligaynon loanwords are used and some Kinaray-a words are pronounced harder as in "rigya" or "ja" (here) of southern Iloilo
and San Jose de Buenavista area as compared to "giya" of Janiuay, Santa Barbara, and nearby towns. Two highly accented dialects of Kinaray-a can be heard in Anini-y and Dao in Antique and San Joaquin, Leon, and Tubungan
in Iloilo. Differences[edit] Some dialects differ only on consonant preference like y vs h. e.g. bayi/bahi (girl) or l vs r e.g. wala/wara. Some have distinct differences like sayëd/kadë (ugly) and rangga/gëba (defective). Alphabet[3][edit] With "/ə/" as a vowel and the vowels "/e/" and "/u/" introduced by influence of the Spanish language, the following are the Kinaray-a letters in their suggested alphabetical order: Aa, Bb, Kk, Dd, Ee, Gg, Hh, Ii, Ll, Mm, Nn, NG ng, Oo, Əə, Pp, Rr, Ss, Tt, Uu, Ww, and Yy. The suggested alphabetical order follows that of the Roman alphabet. Philippine indigenous scripts presumably including Kinaray-a are syllabic. There is no record on the order of precedence of the syllables. Even the Tagalog Baybayin that the Spaniards used in writing the first book published in the Philippines, did not define the order of precedence of the syllabic script. It was only when the alphabet was Romanized that the alphabetical order was established. With the release of the Ortograpíyang Pambansâ (National Orthography) in 2014, the schwa sound in Karay-a and other Philippine Languages including Mëranaw, uses the Patuldók na E (umlaut e), Ëë. Vowels[edit] The following are the Kinaray-a vowels: Aa, Ee, Ëë, Ii, Oo, and Uu. As a rule, there are as many syllables as there are vowels. Except for the vowel ë, all other vowels are pronounced like any Filipino vowel letters are pronounced. Vowel letters when combined do not create a different vowel sound. Each vowel indicates a separate syllable. There are as many vowels as there are syllables. It is a common error to equate the vowel "i" with the consonant "y" and vice versa. For example, the word "balunggay" is spelled by some as "balunggai" or "kambyo" as "kambio". Also an error is equating "o" with "w" especially if it comes after letter "a". "lanaw" becomes lanao or tuáw become tuao. On the other hand, letter "w" is equated with letter "u" as in rweda written as rueda or pwede written as puede. They are erroneous since they violate the basic rule that Kinaray-a vowels do not combine with another vowel to form a new sound. The vowels "e" and "u" introduced by the Spaniards are interchangeable with the vowels "i" and "o", respectively. The Karay-as call the vowel "ë" as "malëm-ëk" nga "i" (the soft "i"). The vowel "e" is also used mostly on appropriated foreign words written in Kinaray-a with Kinaray-a affixes. The vowel "u" is called matig-a nga "o" (the hard "o"). Hence, when a syllable with a vowel is pronounced lightly, the vowel "i" is substituted with the vowel "e". The opposite rule applies to the vowel "u". The practice however, is not the norm. What is more controlling for using either the vowels "i" and "o" or the introduced vowels "e" and "u" is what appears to the Karay-as pleasing to their eyes and ears. When in doubt on what vowel to use, it is always safe to use the indigenous vowels. The introduced "ë" vowel has no substitute. It will always be used since many Kinaray-a words have a schwa vowel sound. Schwa[edit] In the book, "Karay-a Rice Tradition Revisited", it introduced "ə", the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbol for the schwa, to represent the Kinaray-a vowel with a schwa sound. The Kinaray-a schwa could be stressed or unstressed. It has a toneless neutral vowel sound. It is not necessarily a mid-central vowel. It maybe found in the beginning of a word or at the end. Its quality depends on the adjacent consonants. With "ë", any word with a schwa vowel sound can be written as pronounced. This holds true for any Philippine indigenous languages with schwa vowel sound in it. Consonants[edit] There are 15 consonants in the Kinaray-a language. They are Bb, Kk, Dd, Gg, Hh, Ll, Mm, Nn, NG ng, Pp, Rr, Ss, Tt, Ww, and Yy. They are pronounced the same way as in English but a little bit lighter than their English equivalents. An exception is the letter "r" which is prevalent in Kinaray-a. It is sounded by flicking the tip of the tongue against the back of the upper front teeth and rolled a bit. Likewise the letters g, w, and y are also pronounced a bit harder as a terminal letter of a word with a grave accent mark. Except for foreign loan words, the consonants c, f, j, q, x, and z don’t appear in Kinaray-a words. If foreign words are without Kinaray-a equivalent, they are either written as is, or written as pronounced using the Kinaray-a alphabet. A Kinaray-a consonant does not transform itself into a vowel. It is not right to substitute letters "e" or "i", for the consonant "y" nor to substitute the letters "o" or "u" for the consonant "w". It must be borne in mind that there are as many syllables in a word as there are vowels. Transforming the consonants "w" and "y" into a vowel creates an additional syllable. The consonant ng[edit] The consonant "ng" is a single letter in Karay-a and in all other indigenous Philippine languages. In the old Romanized Karay-a cursive, a line is placed above both letters of "ng" with one long wavy stroke ("n͠g") to denote that it is a single letter, distinct from "n"+"g". Older speakers today still use the long tilde but the younger generation don't bother with it. Besides, for those unfamiliar with the language, they mistake it for the Spanish "ñ". The "ng" sound is familiar to the English speaker. It can be found in words such as: clang, bring, throng, rung, and singer, etc. The technique is not to pronounce the word with a hard "g", such as the English word "finger" has. As a letter in Karay-a, it is pronounced "nga", with the same "ng" sound that the English word "singer" has. Phonology[edit] Vowels[edit] /a/ /e/ (uncommon - mostly "I" below) /i/ /o/ (uncommon - mostly "U" below) /u/ /ə/ written as "ë" in Filipino Orthography The vowels /e/ and /o/ are used mostly in non-Kinaray-a words. Both aforementioned sounds from the same words in other (mostly non-Visayan) Filipino languages are often pronounced as /i/ and /u/, respectively. /u/ is sometimes interchanged with /ə/ where some speakers say suba (river) while others say sëba.[needs IPA] For example:

Vowel comparison of Kinaray-a, Hiligaynon and Tagalog cognates

English Kinaray-a Hiligaynon Tagalog

mine akën akon akin

dark madëlëm madulom madilim

food pagkaën pagkaon pagkain

head ulu ulu ulo

ball bula bula bola

animal sapat, hayëp sapat hayop

plant tanëm tanom pananim, halaman

six anëm anom anim


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Grammar[edit] Nouns[edit]

Noun cognacy between Kinaray-a, Malay and Tagalog

Kinaray-a English meaning Malay English meaning Tagalog English meaning

ayam, ido dog ayam / anjing chicken / dog manok / aso chicken / dog

bayi, bahi female, woman wanita / bayi female, woman / baby babae female, woman

bosong abdomen pusar / pusat navel / central puson / pusod stomach / navel, core

kutî cat kucing cat kuting kitten

damog fodder umpan / (pa)dang fodder / pasture kumpay / damo fodder / pasture, grass

yawâ demon setan / awa demon / accusation demonyo / awa demon / pity

makəl mushroom jamur mushroom kabuti mushroom

kahig foot kaki foot paa to scrape (ground)


  Absolutive₁ (emphatic) Absolutive₂ (non-emphatic) Ergative₁ (postposed) Ergative₂ (preposed) Oblique

1st person singular ako takën nakën, ko akën kanakën

2nd person singular ikaw, kaw timo nimo, mo imo kanimo

3rd person singular - tana nana, na ana kanana, kana

1st person plural inclusive kita tatën natën, ta atën kanatën

1st person plural exclusive kami tamën namën amën kanamën

2nd person plural kamo tinyo ninyo, nyo inyo kaninyo

3rd person plural sanda tanda nanda anda kananda


Number Kinaray-a Malay Tagalog

1 isara/sara satu isa

2 darwa dua dalawa

3 tatlo tiga tatlo

4 apat empat apat

5 lima lima lima

6 anëm enam anim

7 pito tujuh pito

8 walo lapan walo

9 siyam sembilan siyam

10 pulû (se)puluh sampu

11 napulû kag sara/ unsi (from Spanish) (se)belas labing-isa / onse (from Spanish)

50 kalim-an/singkwenta (from Spanish) lima puluh limampu /singkwenta (from Spanish)

100 sangkagatos/sanggatos se ratus isang daan

1,000 sangkalibo/sanglibo se ribu isang libo

100,000 sangka gatos ka libo se ratus ribu isang daang libo

500,000 lima ka gatos ka libo lima ratus ribu lima daang libo

1,000,000 sangka milyon satu juta isang milyon

Common expressions[edit] Saying "Diin kaw maagto?" (Literally, Where are you going?) is common way to greet people. You don't need to answer the question directly. The usual answer is an action like "Maninda." (Literally, To buy something on the market.) instead of "Sa tinda." (Literally, To the market.)

Are you eating well? - Mayad man pangaën mo? Good. - Mayad. How are you feeling? - Musta bay pamatyagan mo? or: Ano bay pamatyag mo? (What do you feel?) I don't know. - Wara takën kamaan./ Waay takën kamaan (Or simply: Maan a./ Ambay a./ Ilam a. -informal, usually an annoyed expression) Let's go! - Panaw/Halin ta rën!/Dali rën! (usually for hurrying up companions) Come together. - Iririmaw kita./ imaw kita./ Iribhanay kita./ Iririmaw tatən Why? - Manhaw/Wanhaw? (or: Andët haw/aw?)/ Insa haw?/ Insaw?(informal) I love you. -Ginagugma ta (i)kaw./ palangga ta (i)kaw. My love/sweetheart. -Palangga ko. What is your name? - Ano ngaran mo? Good morning! - Mayad nga aga! Good afternoon! - Mayad nga hapon! Good evening! - Mayad nga gabiʔi! That one. - Amo kara. (Or simply: Ra/Ra ay.)(or: Amo ran)/ Amo ka di-a. How much? - Tag pira? Yes. - hə-əd.(Ho-ud)/ (h)ə-əd No. - Bukut./Bëkët.(Bëkën)/Indi Because. - Bangëd. Because of you. - Bangëd kanimo or Tëngëd kanimo. About you. - Nahanungëd kanimo or Parti kanimo. You know. - Man-an mo. (or: Man-an mo man.) Hurry! - Dasiga!(lit. Fast!) or Dali-a! (lit. Hurry!) Again. - Liwan/Liwat/Riwan/Liwan. (or: Uman (Again) / Umana (Command to repeat).) Do you speak English? - Kamaan kaw maghambal kang Inglis? or Kama-an kaw mag-Inglis? It is fun to live. - Sadya mabuhi/Sadya ang mabuhi.

See also[edit]

Language shift Languages of the Philippines Filipino Cebuano Kapampangan Chabacano Pangasinan Visayan languages Bikol Ilokano Hiligaynon Waray-Waray


^ Karay-a at Ethnologue
(18th ed., 2015) ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kinaray-A". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Kinaray-a — English Dictionary Compiled by: Vicente C. Pangantihon ^ native speaker

External links[edit]

Karay-a language
Karay-a language
test of at Wikimedia Incubator

Bansa.org Kinaray-a Dictionary Kinaray-a Kinaray-a Dictionary: Preserving the Kinaray-a Language

v t e

Visayan languages









Baybayanon Kinabalian Waray


Ati Bantayanon Capiznon Hiligaynon Porohanon

Bisakol ?

Masbateño North Sorsogon (Masbate) South Sorsogon (Gubat)


Aklanon Caluyanon Kinaray-a Onhan


Cuyonon Ratagnon




Butuanon Tausug

See also: Visayan peoples

v t e

Philippine languages

Northern Philippine

Batanic (Bashiic) ?

Itbayat Ivatan Yami

Northern Luzon

Ilocano Arta † Dicamay Agta †

Cagayan Valley

Ibanag Isnag Atta Itawis Yogad Cagayan Aeta Gaddang Ga'dang

South-Central Cordilleran

Pangasinan Northern Alta Southern Alta Isinai Itneg Kalinga Ifugao Tuwali ? Balangao Bontok-Finallig Kankanaey Ilongot Ibaloi Iwaak Kallahan Karao

Central Luzon

Kapampangan Remontado Agta (Sinauna) Abellen Ambala Bolinao Botolan Mag-antsi Mag-indi Mariveleño Sambal

Northern Mindoro

Alangan Iraya Tadyawan

Greater Central Philippine ?

Southern Mindoro

Buhid Hanuno'o Tawbuid

Central Philippine


Tagalog Kasiguranin


Central Bikol Isarog Agta Mount Iraya Agta Albay Bikol Mount Iriga Agta Rinconada Pandan Bikol




Hiligaynon Waray Tausug Karay-a Aklanon Capiznon Asi Baybayanon Kabalian Bantayanon Porohanon Romblomanon Caluyanon Onhan Cuyunon Ratagnon Surigaonon Butuanon

Bisakol ?

Masbateño Sorsoganon


Sulod Magahat Karolanos Ata †


Davawenyo Kalagan Kamayo Mamanwa Mandaya Mansaka


Aborlan Tagbanwa Central Tagbanwa Palawan Batak Palawano




Maguindanao Maranao Iranun


Agusan Ata Manobo Matigsalug Obo Ilianen Western Bukidnon Binukid Higaonon Kagayanen Kamigin Cotabato Manobo Sarangani Tagabawa


Bolango Buol Bintauna Gorontalo Kaidipang Lolak Suwawa Mongondow Ponosakan


Agutaynen Calamian Tagbanwa


Bagobo B'laan T'boli Tiruray


Sangirese Talaud Bantik Ratahan


Tonsawang Tontemboan Tombulu Tondano Tonsea


Umiray Dumaget Ati


Inagta Alabat Manide

† indicates extinct status ? indicates classification dispute

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Borneo–Philippine languages


Northern Philippine

Batanic (Bashiic) ?

Itbayat Ivatan Yami

Northern Luzon

Ilocano Pangasinan Ibanag Arta Isnag Atta Itawis Yogad Cagayan Aeta Gaddang Ga'dang Northern Alta Southern Alta Isinai Itneg Kalinga Ifugao Tuwali ? Balangao Bontok-Finallig Kankanaey Ilongot Ibaloi Iwaak Kallahan Karao Dicamay Agta †

Central Luzon

Kapampangan Abellen Ambala Bolinao Botolan Mag-antsi Mag-indi Mariveleño Sambal Remontado Agta (Sinauna)

Northern Mindoro

Alangan Iraya Tadyawan

Greater Central Philippine ?

Southern Mindoro

Buhid Hanuno'o Tawbuid

Central Philippine

Tagalog Cebuano Hiligaynon Waray Central Bikol Tausug Kinaray-a Sulodnon Aklanon Capiznon Masbatenyo Albay Bikol Asi Bantayanon Baybayanon Boholano Butuanon Caluyanon Cuyunon South Sorsogon (Gubat) Central Sorsogon (Masbate) Isarog Agta Kabalian Mount Iraya Agta Mount Iriga Agta Onhan Pandan Bikol Porohanon Ratagnon Rinconada Romblomanon Surigaonon




Davawenyo Kalagan Kamayo Mamanwa Mandaya Mansaka


Aborlan Tagbanwa Central Tagbanwa Palawan Batak Palawano


Maguindanao Maranao Agusan Ata Manobo Binukid Cotabato Manobo Higaonon Ilianen Iranun Kagayanen Kamigin Matigsalug Obo Sarangani Subanen Tagabawa Western Bukidnon


Bolango Buol Bintauna Gorontalo Kaidipang Lolak Suwawa Mongondow Ponosakan


Agutaynen Calamian Tagbanwa


Bagobo B'laan T'boli Tiruray


Sangirese Talaud Bantik Ratahan


Tonsawang Tontemboan Tombulu Tondano Tonsea


Umiray Dumaget Ati


Inagta Alabat Manide


North Bornean


Ida'an Bonggi Molbog Brunei Bisaya Tatana (Sabah Bisaya) Lotud Dusun Kuijau Eastern Kadazan Gana' Kota Marudu Talantang Kamaragang (Momogun) Klias River Kadazan Coastal Kadazan Yakan Tombonuwo Kinabatangan Sungai Keningau Murut Okolod Tagol Paluan Selungai Murut Timugon Bookan Abai Papar Kalabakan Sembakung Serudung Nonukan Tidong



North Sarawakan

Kenyah (Bakung) Sebob Tutoh Uma' Lasan Wahau Kenyah Penan ? Kelabit Lengilu Lundayeh Sa'ban Tring Berawan Belait Kiput Narom Tutong




Kajaman Lahanan Sekapan Daro-Matu Kanowit-Tanjong Melanau Bukitan Punan Batu Sian Ukit Basap Burusu Bah-Biau Punan Sajau Punan Merap Bukat Seru † Lelak †


Kayan Bahau Modang Segai Hovongan Aoheng Aput Punan Krio Dayak Murik

Land Dayak

Bekati' Sara Lara' Bukar Sadong Rejang Biatah Tringgus Jagoi Jangkang Kembayan Semandang Ribun Benyadu' Sanggau


Malagasy Deyah Malang Witu Ma'anyan Paku Lawangan Kohin Dihoi Siang Bakumpai Ngaju Ampanang Tunjung

Sama-Bajaw ?

Abaknon Bajaw Sinama Pangutaran Sama

Bold indicates languages with more than 1 million speakers ? indicates classification dispute † indicates extinct status

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Official languages

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Regional languages

Aklanon Bikol Cebuano Chavacano Hiligaynon Ibanag Ilocano Ivatan Kapampangan Karay-a Maguindanao Maranao Pangasinan Sambal Surigaonon Tagalog Tausug Waray Yakan

Indigenous languages (by region)





Atta Balangao Bontoc Ga'dang Kalinga Kallahan Kankanaey Ibaloi Ifugao Isnag Itneg Itawis Iwaak Malaweg Tuwali

Cagayan Valley

Arta Atta Central Cagayan Agta Dinapigue Agta Dupaningan Agta Gaddang Ilongot Isinai Itbayat Itawis Kallahan Karao Malaweg Nagtipunan Agta Paranan Agta Paranan Yogad

Central Luzon

Abellen Ambala Antsi Botolan Casiguran Dumagat Agta Indi Kasiguranin Mariveleño Northern Alta Southern Alta Umiray Dumaget


Inagta Alabat Manide Remontado Agta Southern Alta Umiray Dumaget

Metro Manila

Hokaglish Taglish


Agutaynen Alangan Asi Calamian Tagbanwa Central Tagbanwa Cuyonon Iraya Kagayanen Molbog Onhan Palawan Batak Palawano Ratagnon Romblomanon Tadyawan


Albay Bikol Inagta Partido Manide Masbateño Mount Iraya Agta Pandan Bikol Rinconada Bikol Sorsoganon Southern Catanduanes Bikol


Western Visayas

Ati Caluyanon Capiznon Sulod

Negros Island

Ata Karolanos Magahat

Central Visayas

Bantayanon Eskayan Porohanon

Eastern Visayas

Abaknon Baybay Kabalian


Zamboanga Peninsula


Northern Mindanao

Bukid Higaonon Ilianen Iranun Kamigin Matigsalug Subanon Western Bukidnon


Agusan Ata Manobo Butuanon Higaonon Kamayo Mamanwa


Bagobo B'laan Davawenyo Kalagan Mandaya Mansaka Obo Sangirese Sarangani Tagabawa


B'laan Cotabato Manobo Ilianen Iranun Obo Tboli Tiruray

Muslim Mindanao

Iranun Pangutaran Sama Sama

Immigrant languages

Arabic Basque Chinese

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French German Japanese Korean Malay

Indonesian Malaysian

Sindhi Spanish



Sign languages

American Sign Philippine Sign

Historical languages