The Visayan languages
of the Philippines
, along with Tagalog
, are part of the Central Philippine
language family. Most Visayan languages are spoken in the Visayas
region but they are also spoken in the Bicol Region
(particularly in Sorsogon
), islands south of Luzon
such as those that make up Romblon
, most of the areas of Mindanao
, and the province of Sulu
located southwest of Mindanao. Some residents of Metro Manila
also speak Visayan.
Over thirty languages constitute the Visayan language family. The Visayan language with the most speakers is Cebuano, spoken by 20 million people as a native language in Central Visayas, northern and eastern parts of Mindanao. Two other well-known Visayan languages are Hiligaynon, spoken by 7 million in western Visayas and Waray-Waray spoken by 3 million in eastern Visayas.
Native speakers of Visayan languages, especially Cebuano, Hiligaynon, and Waray-Waray not only refer to their language by their local name, but also by Bisaya
, meaning Visayan language
. This is misleading or may lead to confusion as different languages may be called Bisaya
by their respective speakers despite their languages being mutually unintelligible. However, languages that are classified within the Visayan language family but spoken natively in places outside of the Visayas
do not use the self-reference Bisaya
. To speakers of Butuanon, Suriganon, and Masbatenyo, the term Visaya
usually refers to Cebuano. Since Tausugs
are mostly Muslims, they view the term Bisaya
as a religious term referring to Christian Filipinos (mostly referring either to Cebuano or Hiligaynon as they are the neighboring languages). One must also recognize the distinction between this Bisaya language and people and that of the Malaysian Bisaya
The Visayan languages are further divided into five subfamilies. The list below is by no means exhaustive. Asi and Cebuano constitute their own subfamilies.
- Asi - spoken in towns on Tablas Island as well as the islands of Banton, Simara, and Maestro de Campo in Romblon province..
- Cebuano - includes Boholano, Leytehanon and Mindanao Visayan dialects.
- Southern Visayan - Tausug, Butuanon, and Surigaonon (including Jaun-Jaun).
- Central Visayan - includes Hiligaynon, Waray-Waray, Romblomanon, Ati, Capiznon, Masbatenyo, Porohanon, the Bisakol languages of Sorsogon and Northern Samar, and others.
- Western Visayan - includes Kinaray-a (the major language of Antique), Aklan languages (Aklanon, Malaynon), Onhan, Caluyanon, Cuyonon, Ratagnon, and others.
Table of speakers
||394,545 (1990 census) |
||1,500 (1980 SIL) |
|Bantoanon (or Asi)
||200,000 (2002 SIL) |
||34,547 (1990 census) |
||30,000 (1994 SIL) |
||638,653 (2000) |
||20,043,502 in the Philippines (1995 census) |
||123,384 (1990 census) |
||7,000,000 in the Philippines (1995) |
||85,829 (2000 WCD) |
||377,529 (1994 SIL) |
||8,500 (1973 SIL) |
||350,000 (2002 SIL) |
||2 to 3 (2000 Wurm) (Nearly extinct) |
||200,000 (1987 SIL) |
||85,000 (1975 census) |
||185,000 (1975 census) |
||344,974 (1990 census) |
||900,000 in the Philippines (2000 SIL) (Population total all countries: 1,022,000) |
||2,437,688 (1990 census) |
||. . Total
List of visayan words