Visayan languages

From Academic Kids

The Visayan languages of the Philippines, along with Tagalog and Bikol, 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 and Masbate), islands south of Luzon such as those that make up Romblon, the northern and western areas of Mindanao, and the province of Sulu located southwest of Mindanao.

There are over at least thirty languages that constitute the Visayan language family. Native speakers not only refer to their language by their local name, but also by Bisaya or Binisaya, meaning Visayan language. But this is misleading or may lead to confusion. Else, two separate Visayan languages may be called Bisaya by their respective speakers despite their languages being mutually unintelligible. This does not apply to the Tausugs, who are mostly Muslims. While their language is technically Visayan, they view the term Bisaya as a religious term referring to Christian Filipinos. One must also recognize the distinction between this Bisaya language and people and that of the Malaysian Bisaya

The most well-known Visayan language is Cebuano, spoken by 18 million people as a native language in central and south Visayas and northern 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.

The Visayan languages are further divided into five subfamilies. The list below is by no means exhaustive. Asi and Cebuano constitute their own subfamilies. For a complete listing and information on all Bisayan languages, refer to http://www.ethnologue.com/show_family.asp?subid=1030

  • Asi - spoken in towns on Tablas Island as well as the islands of Banton, Simara, and Maestro de Campo in Romblon province..
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