Ibanag language

Ibanag language

fam4=Northern Luzon
fam5=Northern Cordilleran

The Ibanag language (also "Ybanag" or "Ibanak") is spoken by up to 500,000 speakers (the Ibanag people) in the Philippines, in the northeastern provinces of Isabela and Cagayan, especially in Tuguegarao City, Solana, Cabagan, and Ilagan and with overseas immigrants in countries located in the Middle East, UK and the U.S.A.. Most of the speakers can also speak Ilocano, the lingua franca of Northern Luzon. Ibanag is derived from bannag 'river'. It is closely related to Gaddang, Itawis, Agta, Atta, Yogad, Isneg and Malaweg.



* A (ah) E (eh) I (ee) O (oh) U (ooh) Y (ee)




Ibanag is also one of the Philippine languages which is excluded from IPA| [ɾ] -IPA| [d] allophone.

The Ibanag language is distinct in that it features phonemes that are not present in many other neighboring Philippine languages. It is related to Itawis, Gaddang, Malaueg and others.As an example the "f","v","z" and "j" sounds.inafi - rice, bavi - pig, kazzing - goat, or madjan - maid.

In addition to this, Ibanag also features doubled consonants. Therefore making the language sound "hard" or guttural. For example: Gaddua, Pronounced gad-dwa, meaning half.Mappazzi, Pronounced Map-paz-zi', meaning to squeeze or squeezing.


Since Ibanag is spoken in various areas of Northeastern Philippines (namely within Isabela and Cagayan), there are also minor differences in the way that it is spoken in these areas. Ibanag spoken in Tuguegarao is the Standard Dialect.

For example, Ibanags from Faire tend to replace their "p's" with more "f's" "Examples:"
*Napapatu - Nafafatu
*Paggipayan - Faggifayan



There are two ways that Ibanag can be written. In older texts, the Spanish style is often used. This is where "qu's", "c's" take place of "k's"However, this method can make the language even harder to read. However, since the language is no longer being maintained. There is no correct standard form of orthography. So, oftentimes you'll see a combination of both.

I.E. Quiminac camit tab bavi - We ate pork.

The other way of writing Ibanag is the simpler way that tends to be more phonetic.

I.E. Kiminakkami ta bavi - We ate pork.


Personal Pronouns

*Independent pronouns
*I - Sakan, So'
*You - Sikau
*He, She, It - Yayya
*We (inclusive) - Sittam
*We (exclusive) - Sikami
*You (plural/polite) - Sikamu
*They - Ira


*I/Me: There are many ways to say I or me in Ibanag. The language is agglutinative. Thus most of the time pronouns are attached to verbs. There are at least 4 ways to indicate the pronoun "I".
*I am eating - Kumanna' = Kuman (to eat) and na' (I)
*I gave him some food - Neddakku yeyya ta makan. = Neddan (to give) ku (I).
*I will be the one to go - So' laman ngana y ume = So' (I)
*I split it in half - Ginaddwa' = Ginaddwa (to split in half) ' (I) Here the glottal stop on the sentence indicates "I". Without the glottal stop, the sentence would become incomplete and would otherwise not make any sense.


*You: There are also a couple of ways to indicate you.
*(You) go outside - Mallawakka - Mallawan (to eat) and ka (you)
*You give - Iddammu - Iddan (to give/to put) and mu (you)


*He/She/It: As with the other pronouns there are a couple of ways to say this, but usually people use "na".
*He lost it: - Nawawanna (Nawawan) lost (na) he/she/it (NOTE: without the glottal stop "na" can mean he she or it.)


*We: Oftentimes "tam" is attached at the end of the verb or noun. Sittam is We, when you want to include the person being spoken to.
*Let's go - Tam ngana! or Ume tam!


*We: When we want to exclude the person being spoken to, we use Sikami. In this case, you only attach "mi" to the end of the verb, adjective or noun.
*Memi nga innan - We are going to look. Me (to go) Mi(we)
*Nabattuk kami - We are full (as in food). Nabattuk (full) kami (we, just us not you)
*Ibanak kami - We are Ibanags


*You: this is when we refer to more than one person being spoken to. Oftentimes "nu" or "kamu" is used.
*Apannu yayya! - Go get him/her - Apan (to get) nu(you plural)
*Mine kamu tari? - You went there? - Mine (to go) kamu (you)


*They: Ira. Ira is seldom used unless emphasizing that it is "them". Instead of ira, the word "da" is used.
*Ginatangda y bale' - They bought my house. Ginatang (bought) da (they)

Possessive Pronouns

"Kua" is the root word that identifies something as belonging to someone. Oftentimes "Ku" is added before "Kua" to emphasize this. Note that this is only possible with "Mine" and "Yours" but not with other possessive pronouns.

Kukua' yatun - That IS Mine.

*My, mine - ku, kua', kukua'
*Your, Yours - -m, mu, kuam, kukuam
*His, Her, Its - na, kuana

*Our, ours (inclusive) - tam, kuatam
*Our, ours (exclusive) - mi, kuami
*Your, Yours - nu, kuanu
*Their, Theirs - da, kuada

*My toy - Gaggayam ku
*Your gift - Regalum
*Her earring - Aritu' na
*Our land - Davvuttam
*Our house - Balemi
*Your car - Cochenu
*Their dog - Kituda

*This is mine - Kua' yaw.
*That is yours - Kuam yatun.
*That is hers - Kuana yari.

Demonstrative Pronouns

*This - Yaw
*That (item by person being spoken to) - Yatun
*That (far from both speaker and person being spoken to) - Yari
*That (sometimes used for objects that are absent or in the past) - Yuri

*This dog - Yaw kitu
*That cat - Yatun kitaw
*That carabao - Yari nuang
*That day - Yuri aggaw

*In order to emphasize or stress the distance or time, the stress on the word falls on the first syllable except for "yatun".

*I.e. Yatun davvun - That Land!

*Other ways that words are emphasized are by using Locatives.

*THIS house (here) - Yaw bale taw
*That girl there - Yatun babe tatun
*That man over there - Yari lalaki tari
*That old lady a long time ago - Yuri bako' turi*

*with turi the stress on "tu" is often lengthened to emphasize the distance and time that has passed.


*Here - Taw
*There - Tatun (by person being spoken to)
*There - Tari (far from both)
*There - Turi (absent, past time and/or location)

Enclitic Particles

Interrogative Words

*What?- Anni?
*Where?- Sitaw?
*When?- Kanni?
*Why?- Ngatta?
*Who?- Sinni?
*How?- Kunnasi?
*How much? - Piga?

*Each of the doubled consonants must be pronounced separately.
*I.E. Anni? - "An ni"

*Anni kuammu? - What are you doing?
*Sitaw tam ume? - Where are we going?
*Kanni ka nallabbe'? - When did you arrive?
*Ngatta nga ari ka kuman? - Why are you not eating?
*Sinni y nanga' ta affefec ku? - Who took my fan?
*Kunnasim lutuan yatun nu awan tu rekadum? - How are you going to cook that if you don't have the ingredients?
*Piga yaw? Piga yatun? - How much is this? How much is that?


"Ibanag verbs are not conjugated in the same manner that most Indo-European languages are."
"They are conjugated based on the tense of the word."

"As with many other Malayo-Polynesian languages, there is no verb for "to be". However this is sometimes compensated by using the verb for "to have"."

Infinitive and Present Tense

"Many times, the infinitive form is the same as the present tense."

*Egga - There is/ to have
*Kuman - To eat/ eat
*Minum - To drink/ drink
*Mawak - To need/ need
*Kaya' - To want/ want, To like/ like
*Umay - To go/ go, To come/ com
*Manaki' - To not want/ not want, To not like/ not like

*I am here - Egga na' taw
*Do you eat goat? - Kumakka ta kazzing?
*Drink this - Inumammu yaw.
*Drink water - Minum ka ta danum.
*You need to sleep - Mawak mu makkaturuk.

Past Tense

"There are different ways to form the past tense. Here are a few common ways."
*Nilutu/ Nallutu - cooked
*Ginappo' - cut
*Inusi' - cut (hair)
*Inirayyu - placed far away
*Ginatang - bought

*We cooked dinengdeng - Nallutu kami ta dinengdeng
*We cooked the pig - Nilutu mi y bavi.
*They cut my hair - Inusi' da y vu'
*I got my hair cut - Nappa usi' na' ta vu'
*They placed him far away - Inirayyu da yayya.
*I bought you this cow - Ginatang ku yaw baka para nikaw.

Future Tense

"Again there are a couple of ways of forming future tense. One is by the use of a helping word like "to go"."
"Sometimes the present tense can indicate future depending on the context."

*Me mi nga sunduan yayya - We are going to pick him up.
*Gumatang ka sangaw ta lechon - Go buy lechon later.


*Sometimes words like "sangaw" can have multiple meanings. Sangaw can either indicate now or later.

*Sangaw ngana! - Do it right now!
*Sangaw ngana! - Do it later


yntax/ Word Order

Ibanag sentence structure often follows the " Verb + Subject + Object " pattern.

Adjectives often follow the nouns with a marker attached.

I.e. Dakal nga balay - Big house.

Simple sentences: The house is red - Uzzin y balayThe red house - Uzzin nga balay


"Y" and "nga" are the two most commonly used markers in Ibanag. They either link adjectives to nouns, or indicate the subject of the sentence.

Some examples

*Nagallu nga galo' - Loud laughter. Nagallu indicates loud and the "nga" links it to laughter.
*Atannang y ana' mu - Your son is tall. With the lack of the verb to be and a switched syntax, "Y" indicates that "your son" is the subject.

"Tu" is another marker that is used, but is not very simple to explain. Oftentimes it is seen in conjunction with the word "Awan" meaning "nothing or none".

Some examples

*Awan tu makan - There is nothing to eat. Here, "tu" links awan (none) and makan (food)

"Ta" is yet another marker used.

Some examples

*Maggangwa ka ta bagu nga silla - Make a new chair. (Here both "nga" and "ta" are used)


This is an example of an Ibanag proverb, that is also known throughout the archipelago.

"Y tolay nga ari nga mallipay ta pinaggafuannan na ari nga makange ta angayananna."

Translated to: He who does not look back into his past, cannot reach his destination.


Cagayan Provincial Anthem

"Cagayan, Davvun nga kakastan niakan,"
"Egga ka laran nakuan ta piam,"
"Nu kuruk tu maparrayyu ka niakan,"
"Ariat ta ka vuluvvuga a kattamman."

"Cagayan, Makemmemmi ka nga innan."
"Cagayan, Awan tu kagittam."
"Nu anni paga y kasta na davvun a karuan"
"Egga ka la ta futu' nga ideddukan."

There are multiple ways of saying each pronoun in Ibanag. For example: Kuminanna - I ate, but you would never say Kuminan sakan.Apakku - I will get, but again you can't say Apanna' which would mean Get me or take me.In some occasions a simple glottal stop at the end of the verb conveys the "I" in a sentence as in the example of Pinate' - which means i killed or turned off.


Loan Words

*Many words in Ibanag are of Spanish origin. The language is infused with Spanish words that are often not seen or heard in any of the other Philippine languages.

*Eyeglasses - Anchuparra/ Anteojos
*Plants - Masetas
*Store - Chenda (from Tienda)
*Sink - Lababo (lavabo)

imple greetings

*Good morning - Mapia nga umma nikau
*Good afternoon -Mapia nga fuggag nikau
*Good evening/night - Mapia nga gabbi nikau
*How are you? - Cunnasi ca ngana?
*I'm fine/good and you? - Mapya gapa, sicau?
*I'm just fine thank god - Mappya gapa, mabbalo' ta dios
*Thank you - Mabbalo'
*Where are you going? - Sitau angayammu?
*I'm going to...- Umay na' ta...
*What are you doing? - Anni cucuammu?
*Oh, Nothing in particular. - Awan, maski anni laman.
*Please come in. - Tullung kamu.
*Long time no see. - Nabinnay taka ari nacita.


*200-dua gattu
*2000-dua rivvu


External references

* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=ibg Ethnologue on Ibanag]
*Moses Esteban. Editing Ibanag-Tagalog-English Ibanag-Tagalog-English Survey. Ibanag people's fo Benguet and the City Hall of Benguet(Ifugao)

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