The New International Encyclopædia/Philippine Languages

PHILIPPINE LANGUAGES. The number of languages spoken in the Philippine Islands is variously estimated as from about 25 to over 50. These languages may be considered under two heads: (1) the languages of the Negritos, probably the remnants of the aboriginal population who live in scattered tribes in the interior of most of the large islands; (2) the languages of the various tribes of Malay race which constitute the bulk of the population (Christian, Mohammedan, and pagan).

About the idioms of the Negritos very little is known, but they are apparently similar to the Malay dialects. This similarity, however, is perhaps to be explained as due to the influence of the languages of the surrounding Malay tribes, especially as, according to Spanish authorities, the Negrito languages are of monosyllabic structure, and entirely different from the languages of the Malays.

The idioms of the Malay tribes form a closely connected group of tongues which constitute a branch of the Malayo-Polynesian family of speech. The principal languages of the Christian tribes arc: Batan (Batan and Babuyan islands, north of Luzon), Ibanag (North Luzon), Ilocan (Northwest Luzon), Pampango (Central Luzon), Pangasinan (West Luzon), Tino (language of the Zambals, West Luzon), Tagalog (Manila, Middle Luzon, coast of Mindoro), Bikol (South Luzon), Bisayan (spoken in various dialects in the Bisayan Islands, and North and East Mindanao). The principal languages of the Mohammedan tribes are the Sulu of the Sulu subarchipelago and the coasts of Palawan, and the Magindanao of Southwest Mindanao. The idioms of the pagan tribes which inhabit the mountain districts of Northern Luzon, a large part of Mindanao, and the interior of Mindoro, Palawan, and the western Bisayan Islands, are very numerous, but little known. Among the best known are the Gaddan and Isinay of Luzon, and the Tiruray and Bagobo of Mindanao. A number of the Philippine languages, such as Tagalog and Bisayan, have reached a high state of development, and are well suited for literary use.

The vocabularies of the Philippine languages contain several foreign elements. In common with other languages of the Malay branch of the Malayo-Polynesian family, many of the Philippine dialects have borrowed a number of Sanskrit words. The languages of the Christian tribes also contain a number of Spanish words, those of the Mohammedan tribes a number of Arabic words.

The alphabets in which the native languages were or are written are also due to these foreign influences. The native alphabets, which are no longer used except by the Mangians of Mindoro and the Tagbanuas of Palawan, were probably derived from India. The Mohammedan tribes of the south now use the Arabic alphabet with some additional signs, while the languages of the Christian tribes are written in the Roman alphabet conformed to the peculiarities of Spanish orthography.

The sounds of the Philippine languages are in the main similar to those of English. All the languages, however, possess a peculiar guttural-nasal sound (written ng̃) distinct from the ordinary guttural-nasal ng as in Eng. sing. In some of the languages, as in Tagalog and Bisayan, there is a peculiar r-sound, due to a phonetic modification of d.

The roots of these languages are for the most part dissyllabic. They may be used uncombined as nouns or adverbs, but only rarely as verbs. Derivation is accomplished by means of a great variety of particles, which are usually employed as prefixes, though there are a few suffixes and infixes. So prominent a characteristic is this use of particles, that these dialects are sometimes spoken of as ‘Particular’ languages. Reduplication is very common in the formative processes of both noun and verb. There is no distinction of gender, nor is there, generally speaking, any inflection to denote person, number, or case in verbs or nouns. Only in certain pronouns is there found a species of inflection to indicate case. Verbs are practically always derivative, the particles employed being of two kinds: (1) special verbal particles, which give the root a simple verbal meaning or the signification of causative, intensive, etc., each particle generally having two slightly different forms, one used with active and the other with passive verbs; (2) the common or essential passive particles, which are an essential part of practically all passive forms. The combination of root and verbal particle is often modified to indicate differences in mood and tense.

The most salient syntactical characteristics of these languages are: (1) the use of certain particles, so-called ligatures, to connect two or more words which stand to each other in the relation of modifier and modified; such as adjective and noun, noun or pronoun and appositive, adjective or verb and adverb; (2) the prevailing use of a passive construction, the verb standing in the active only when the object of the action is something indefinite or when tlie agent is specially emphasized; (3) a paucity of simple prepositions, one or two being used to express the greatest variety of relations.

The following is a brief grammatical sketch of Tagalog, the most important of the Philippine languages:

The articles are simply definite, personal, and inclusive (used with names of persons), as ang táwo, ‘the man,’ si Pedro, ‘Peter,’ siná Pedro, ‘Peter and his companions.’ They have three case forms, nominative, genitive, and oblique. The plural of nouns is expressed by preceding mang̃á, e.g. mang̃á táwo, ‘men;’ case, by the case forms of the article or pronominal adjectives.

Adjectives are usually made by prefixing ma to a root, as ma-búti, ‘good;’ plural mabubúti or mang̃á mabúti.

The pronouns have usually three case forms. Among them are to be noted tayó, ‘we (including you),’ kamí, ‘we (not you),’ kitá, ‘we two.’

The ideas of ‘being’ and ‘having’ are expressed by independent particles.

Verbs are divided into seventeen classes according to the special verbal particles. Four stems are distinguished, imperative-infinitive, future, preterite, and present. One class has no special particle in the passive, the active particle being um; in the others the special particle has generally initial p in the passive, which becomes m in the imperative-infinitive and future active, and n in the preterite and present active, as pag, mag, nag, etc. The present and futire are characterized by reduplication. The common passive particles are in, i, an.

Practically the only simple prepositions are sa and, with names of persons, kay and kaná, ‘to,’ ‘for,’ ‘from,’ ‘in,’ etc. Adverbs and conjunctions are numerous and important.

The ligatures are, -ng after a vowel or n, na after other consonants, as ang malakás na táwo, ‘the strong man,’ lubhá-ng mabúti, ‘very’ good.

The construction of verbs is very similar to that of nouns. When the subject precedes, it is connected with its verb by the particle ay, ‘to be.’ The direct object of the active and the agent of the passive stand in the genitive, other nominal adjuncts in the oblique case. Any verbal form may take the article ang. The character of the subject determines the verbal form to be used in a sentence. In general, if the subject is the agent of an action, the verb stands in the active, otherwise in the passive. The in-passive is used in general when the subject is the object of an action, the i-passive when it is the object of an action away from the agent, or the cause of an action, the an-passive when it is the place of an action.

The Philippine languages possess little literature. The old native manuscripts inscribed on leaves or strips of cane have been lost. At the present day the scanty native literature may be grouped under three heads: (1) religious writings; (2) native poetry; (3) native newspapers and newspaper articles.

Consult: Totanes, Arte de la lengua Tagala (2d ed., Binondo, 1865); Campomanes, Lecciones de gramática Hispano-Tagala (5th ed., Manila, 1894); Noceda, Vocabulario de la lengua Tagala (2d ed., ib., 1860); Zueco, Metodo del Dr. Ollendorff . . . adaptado al Bisaya (ib., 1871); Bermejo, Arte conpendiado de la lengua Cebuana (Bisayan) (2d ed., Tambobong, 1894); Lozano, Cursos de lengua Panayana (Bisayan) (Manila, 1876); Mentrida-Aparicio, Arte de la lengua Bisaya-Hiligayna (Tambobong, 1894); Figueroa, Arte del idioma Visaya de Sámar y Leite (2d ed., Binondo, 1872); Encarnacion, Diccionario Bisaya-Español (3d ed., Manila, 1885); Naves, Gramática Hispano-Ilocana (2d ed., Tambobong, 1892); Agustín, Vocabulario Iloco-Español (2d ed., Manila, 1888); De Cuevas, Arte nueva de la lengua Ybanág (2d ed., ib., 1854); Bugarín, Diccionario Ibanag-Español (ib., 1854); Bergaño, Arte de la lengua Pampanga, (2d ed., Sampaloc, 1736); id., Vocabulario de la lengua Pampanga (2d ed., Manila, 1860); Pellicer, Arte de la lengua Pangasinana (2d ed., ib., 1862); Cosgaya, Diccionario Pangasinán-Español (ib., 1865); San Agustín-Crespo, Arte de la lengua Bicol (ib., 1879); Cowie, English-Sulu-Malay Vocabulary (London, 1893); Juanmartí, Gramática de la lengua de Maguindanao (Manila, 1892) ; id., Diccionario Moro-Maguindanao-Español (ib., 1892).