Languages of Bicol

Languages of Bicol

The languages of Bicol are a group of four languages that are spoken in the Bicol Region of the Philippines.

Despite being mutually unintelligible, the four languages are all called "Bikol" (and to a lesser extent, "Bicolano") by their speakers. This situation roughly mirrors that of the Visayan languages where roughly three dozen speech varieties are called "Bisaya" by their speakers. In both cases, more specific names based on the name of a municipality or province are also used.


Bikol languages are classified under the Central Philippine language family of which Tagalog and the Visayan languages are a part of.

The four groups are outlined below.

Northern Bikol

North Coastal Standard Bikol (Ethnologue name: Coastal Bikol) or simply, Northern Bikol, is spoken by over 2.4 million people (figure dates back from the 1990 Census)with native speakers in various areas in all the provinces of the Bicol Region: Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, and Masbate.

Northern Bikol is further divided into four languages:

1. Central Bicolano
::*Standard Bikol It is spoken in urban centers of the region such as Naga City and Legazpi City.::*Bikol-Naga This is spoken invariety is based on the speech of Naga City; many other areas in Camarines Sur; and San Pascual, Masbate on Burias Island. ::*Bikol-Daet It is also spoken in Daet, Camarines Norte.::*Bikol-Legazpi It is also spoken in Legazpi City, Tabaco City and the entire east coast of Albay; and northeastern Sorsogon. Within this variety there are minor differences in vocabulary, for example between the Bikol of Naga and Legazpi, comparable to that between British and American English. The differences in pronunciation are even smaller and are mainly to do with differences in intonation. Bikol Naga has a distinct see-saw intonation reminiscent of Hiligaynon or Waray while Bikol Legazpi has a flat intonation and is said to be spoken rapidly. ::*Bikol-Partido - Spoken in the Camarines Sur municipalities of Ocampo, Goa, Tigaon, Lagonoy, Sagñay, and San Jose.::*Bikol-Virac - Spoken in Virac, San Andres and southern part of Caramoran in Catanduanes. 2. Isarog Agta
3. Mt. Iraya Agta
4. Southern Catanduanes Bicolano - Spoken in the southern end of Catanduanes.

The language of the city of Naga and adjacent towns or Bikol-Naga dialect is the basis of the standard language and is used in media and mass communication.

outhern Bikol

Southern Coastal and Inland Bikol (Ethnologue name: Inland Bikol), or simply, Southern Bikol, is spoken by over 1.1 million people living mainly in the southwestern area of Camarines Sur as well as parts of western Albay and western Sorsogon.

Southern Bikol is further divided into three languages:

1. Iriga Bicolano or "Rinconada" - Spoken in Iriga City, Baao, Balatan, Baao, and Nabua, Camarines Sur.
2. Albay Bicolano: ::*Buhinon - Spoken in Buhi, Camarines Sur.::*Libon - Spoken in Libon, Albay.::*West Miraya - Spoken in Ligao City, Polangui, Oas, and Pio Duran, Albay.::*East Miraya - Spoken in Guinobatan, Camalig, Daraga, Jovellar, Albay and in Donsol and Pilar, Sorsogon.
3. Mt. Iriga Agta

Northern Catanduanes

1. Northern Catanduanes Bicolano (Ethnologue name: "Pandan") is spoken by about 80,000 people in the Northern Catanduanes towns of Caramoran, Pandan, Bagamanoc, Panganiban, and Viga.


The portmanteau term Bisakol refers to Visayan languages spoken in the Bikol region. These languages are close to Waray-Waray and Hiligaynon but have a lot of influence from other Bikol languages. There are roughly 850,000 Bisakol speakers, including roughly 530,000 Masbatenyo ones.

The three languages are:

1. Central Sorsogon - Spoken in Sorsogon City, Castilla, Casiguran, and Juban, Sorsogon.
2. Southern Sorsogon - Spoken in Gubat, Barcelona, Bulusan, Santa Magdalena, Matnog, Irosin, and Bulan, Sorsogon.
3. Masbatenyo - Spoken in Masbate City, Mobo, Uson, Dimasalang, Palanas, Masbate, Aroroy on the island of Masbate, all of Ticao Island, and Claveria on the southern half of Burias Island.

Other languages

The Bicol is also home to other languages. Tagalog, for example, is spoken in most of Camarines Norte and in the town of Del Gallego, Camarines Sur. Hiligaynon is spoken in the southwestern Masbate towns of Balud and Mandaon while Cebuano is spoken in the southeastern Masbate towns of Placer, Cataingan, Pio V. Corpuz, and Esperanza.

ee also

*Languages of the Philippines
*Bikol language

External links

* [ Ethnologue report for Central Bicolano]
* [ Ethnologue classification tree for Bicolano]
* [ Bikol Dictionary]
* [ Translate Bikol] an online English-Bikol and Bisakol languages translator

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