Back to School: Eight Major Languages in the Philippines

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  1. Tagalog – this language is the basis for the national language of the country. Tagalog is mainly spoken in the capital of Manila, the Greater Manila Area (or GMA) and the neighboring provinces such as Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, Cavite and Batangas (with variations in some terms and in the accents).

  2. Cebuano – this was (and still is) a major contender for the Philippine language with the highest number of native speakers (more than 20% of the entire population of the country). It is mainly spoken in Cebu, one of the most progressive cities in the country. It is also spoken in certain areas in Mindanao, including Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Bukidnon and General Santos City.

  3. Ilokano or Ilocano – this is spoken in the northern part of the Philippines. It is related to other languages around the world such as Indonesian, Malay, Hawaiian, Samoan, Tahitian and Chamorro (of Guam). With the spread of the Ilocano people around the country, the use of this language has spread as well.

  4. Bikolano or Bicolano – this is the language spoken in the Bicol Region, one of the biggest regions in the country. There are said to be 8 varieties to this language, categorized according to the geographical locations. A variation of the Bicolano language, the Bisakol language, provides a link between Bicolano and Visayan languages.

  5. Hiligaynon or Ilonggo – a language known for its sweet intonation, the Hiligaynon language is native to more than 7 million Filipinos. It is spoken in Iloilo, Bacolod, Panay Islands, Capiz, Antique and Aklan. It is also spoken in some parts of Mindanao such as in North and South Cotabato.

  6. Waray – this is another language spoken in the Visayas islands. It is spoken in Samar and Leyte and is closely associated with the Waray people who are known for their toughness and strength.

  7. Kapampangan – this is a major language found in the Luzon island. It is spoken by people from the Pampanga province, a portion of Tarlac and a portion of Bataan. It is also called Pampangueño.

  8. Pangasinense – the language of the Pangasinan province. Pangasinan is a province in Central Luzon. This language is closely-related to the Ibaloi language, which is spoken in the mountain province of Benguet and in Baguio City.

Language Comparison Chart



Back to School:

Figures of Speech

Filipino Expressions vs American Expressions

Slang Phrases

Colloquial Phrases

Formal Phrases

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