Saturday, August 20, 2005

Hear me speak Kinaray-a!

In the Kinaray-a mailing list, a Ronald Panaligan announced that he's planning to publish a Kinaray-a dictionary. Kinaray-a, just for a reminder, is a West Visayan language spoken in Antique province on the island of Panay. It is one of the 13 most spoken Philippine languages.

Anyway, there was one problem.

How is he going to graphically represent the "schwa" vowel? This vowel is found in many Philippine languages and once existed in virtually all of them.

Many Karay-as usually write the letter "u."

But it's ambiguous with the /u/ sound.

People have proposed û and ö.

I have proposed simply e. That's how it's used in a number of Philippine languages, and the rate of ambiguity is less. For one, the average Joe (or José, in this case) are usually not inclined to write accent marks on words.

Furthermore, in textbooks aimed at teaching Kinaray-a, one cannot indicate stress by placing accent marks on "û" and "ö" since there are already ones. But one can do so with "e." For example, is it pronounced "béket" or "bekét"?

Anyway, there was some discussion on whether or not this sound is similar to Ilokano and Pangasinan. The Karay-as claimed there is a difference. I asked if they could record their voices, but no one stepped up. So I offered to record mine using the same vowel I pronounce Ilokano words with. One of the list members Dixcee promised me her California Golden Balls. Did I win them?

The link is here:

I said:

iririmaw tatûn (let's get together)

Bûkût takûn Karay-a (I am not Karay-a)

Ang bûdlay kanatûn nga mga Pinoy, kon diin pa ang gûtûk rudtu pa
tatûn gustu magdasûk. (I have no clue!)

She said I didn't pronounce "tatûn" and "takûn" correctly and it's a draw on the balls. Darn. What the hell are California Golden Balls, anyway?

But yes, now you all have the honor of listening me speak Kinaray-a with quite possibly a heavy Tagalog accent laced in with an American twang here and there.

Whatever Mr. Pinaligan chooses, I will just have to accept. I really would like a Kinaray-a dictionary. :-)

In other news - I am done with summer classes. I did extremely well. I am off from school for the next month. In the fall I will be finishing up the 3rd installment of intermediate French along while exploring philosophy and anthropology. I'm quite excited about the anthropology class.


Anonymous said...

The New Testament is currently being translated into Kinaray-a by a team affiliated with the Translators Assocation of the Philippines (it has connections with the Summer Institute of Linguistics). According to the orthography used by the translation team, "o" is used throughout; "u" is used for the unrounded high back vowel. Hence:



jacob kay said...

Grabi...kamaan guli timo magkinaray-a. kamaan man takun maghumbal kang karaya notwithstanding my pagka-kano

eman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
eman said...

I'm starting a blog on Hiligaynon and Kinaray-a. Please see my article (my first article) in reaction to this. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris, i want a little contribution for your Kinaray-a website, this will helps some of Ilonggo-American. You can email me at for any question:

We star from A:

abandon - guin abandonar, guin bilin -
guin abandonar dayang sarakyan sa binit ka dalan ( this car was abandon at the roadside)

diin mo guin bilin ya sarakyan?( Were did you abandon the car?)

abandoned - guin pabay-an, guin sikway,
guin pabay-an ka ana nga guinikanan (abandoned by the parents)
bangod kang ana malain nga pagbinatasan, guin sikway tana ka mga kaparyentehan(because of bad deeds he abandoned by his love ones.

This is only a sample, we need more time for this

Anonymous said...

Ang bûdlay kanatûn nga mga Pinoy, kon diin pa ang gûtûk rudtu pa
tatûn gustu magdasûk. (I have no clue!)

here is the translation in Tagalog: "Ang mahirap sa ating mga Pinoy, kung saan masikip doon pa natin gustong sumiksik".

"Grabi...kamaan guli timo magkinaray-a. kamaan man takun maghumbal kang karaya"

Correction: "guli" = gali
"maghumbal" = maghambal
"didto" = is Hiligaynon not karay-a
"didto" = "rugto" or "rigto" in karay-a depending where the town is...
"Raku (many) ang mga differences kang Kinaray-a dialect... if you go from one town to another you would notice the difference in spelling ang intonation. You would even find out that some words would have a difference in meaning from one town to the next. This is the diversity of the karay-a dialect. One would have to stay in the place to eventually understand what is what.

Most people from other places in the Philippines refer to us as the "ra-ra" speaking people... mostly one would hear us with all these "r" words all the time. Hiligaynon is basically the descendant of the karay-a language that actually descended from the Malayan language spoken by the Ten Bornean Datus.

Mostly, words you have outlined are not karay-a spelled words:

polong = pulong
kros = krus
logar = lugar (logar is hiligaynun or ilonggo)
koon = kuon
gosto = gusto

we speak our words usually with "u" not "o"...

try to check out sites made by Antikenyos... Check Alex Delos Santos ... perhaps he is one kinaray-a officionado and is trying to give our kinaray-a dialect its much needed attention...

try this link:

try to find your way to Antikenyo websites from there.

Gud day to you! Mayad gid nga adlaw kag kabay nga imo man madiskober and matuod-tuod nga paghambal kang kinaray-a.

Anonymous said...

This is a great blog! I've been trying to find something that my daughter can read about my dialect and hopefully my culture. This is a good start. I'm a native kiniraya speaker (Hamtikanon). My father came from further north em_lerona@yahoo.comaround 17 km from where I was born (San Pedro, San Jose) .

He definitely have a lot of words that I can't understand when I was a kid.

You say "raku" but I'm used to saying "duro".

I would have to agree with the original article that it's easier if we write e instead of u because there are definitely big pronounciation differences. Writing with a "u" makes the words look like Ilonggo words.

joni maycumber said...

I'm hoping you can help me. My son is a Peace Corps volunteer currently serving in San Joaquin on Panay in the Philippines. He has learned/is learning the language of Kinaray-a. He is very tall (contrary to the general Filipino population), and I would like to know how to write "tall white guy" in Kinaray-a. Would you be able to help me with this, or can you direct me to someone who can please? Thank you! My e-mail is

Anonymous said...

Hahaha, realy brave of u trying to speak karay-a. Sigiha lang pag praktis masagad ka gid kara.

JEN said...

Hi, and more power to all!

I need help please. I married a caucasian man and took him in Sibalom, Antique twice in less than a year. Yes, he loves it so much there that he wants to come back there once a year. Now, he is so in-love with our culture and the place and he is driving me crazy because he wants me to find an english-kiniray-a dictionary for him. I tried going online to find one but no luck so far. is anybody have an idea where to buy one? You can email me @
Thank you.

Laya said...

Ang bûdlay kanatûn nga mga Pinoy, kon diin pa ang gûtûk rudtu pa
tatûn gustu magdasûk. (I have no clue!)

---The trouble with us Filipinos is, where it is a tight place, there we want to squeeze in. (word for word literal translation)

---The trouble with us Filipinos is that we have a tendency to squeeze into tight places.

---The trouble with us Filipinos is that we have a tendency to get into tight situations! (idiomatically)

Although I grew up in Mindanao, Kiniray-a is my family's mother tongue. I spoke it fluently till I was of school age, then I switched to Hiligaynon because it's the common language in our community and my classmates made fun of me for saying "alima" instead of "kamot" (hand), and "kahig" or "siki" instead of "tiil" (foot). Now I don't know if I can still speak fluent Kiniray-a or it's already a bastardization of Kiniray-a and Hiligaynon. I miss it, though.

BTW, where can I find out more about Ronald Panaligan? He has the same family name as some of my relatives in Antique.

mrsuliban said...

Hi! Question: can you please provide a reference for "Karay-a is the 13th most spoken language in the world?" I would really be interested in proving this by showing it written and published somewhere... many thanks. :)

Christopher Sundita said...

The source is the 2000 Philippine Census.

mrsuliban said...

OK, thanks. Thanks also for your blog. I am currently working at the Linguistic Institute of Berne (Switzerland) on Karay-a. So far, we have been working with Kaufmann's Hiligaynon-English dictionary. Do you know where I can find more information on the new publication you mentioned in your blog? It would be very valuable. Thanks again & more power to you.

Anonymous said...

Hello, does anyone know if the dictionary announced by R. Panaligan is anywhere published/to be found now (4 years later)? Thank you. :)

Kinaray-a said...

Check my news blog tackling news in Antique province

mrsuliban said...

hi... are there any new links to your soundfile? i tried to click on the given one but the file's been removed. thanks.

Metallidude said...

"Hi! Question: can you please provide a reference for "Karay-a is the 13th most spoken language in the world?" I would really be interested in proving this by showing it written and published somewhere... many thanks. :)"

Umm dude.. Don't you mean '13th most spoken in the Philippines'??? Not the world!!!

fonzoire said...

hahaha. sagad sagad bah

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Anonymous said...

hello po.. im Hyacinth B. Tayab.. a 2nd year college student of SULTAN KUDARAT STATE UNIVERSITY.. taking up BSED major in english.. our professor in Introduction to Linguistics gave us a research work about the Kinaray-a language.. pls do help us.. any suggestions will do.. pplllssss..

theServant said...

Kamusta kamo tanan!
Isara ako sa nagbadbad kang Bag-o nga Kasugtanan (new testament) sa Kinaray-a. Ang gin-gamit namun nga symbol sa sound nga 'schwa' -u, amo man ang gin-gamit sa 'u'. Amo dya ang ginkasugtan kang mga harigi sa pagsulat kag mga manunulat sa Antique kang maghiwat kami kang Language Congress 2 kang 2008.

theServant said...

i am making a grammar sketch of Kinaray-a as part of out requirements in school. basi makabulig kanatun sa atun paghimo kang spelling system kag ortography.

may software man kami sa paghimo kang diksyunaryo. email nyo lang ako para makabulig ako kaninyo. buliganay kita.

Anonymous said...

kun gusto mo ma gather kang mga karay-a words send kaw kang email kay nakun karay-a ako so kun gusto mu guid, tudluan ta kaw... heheeheeh,....

Anonymous said...

karay-a vocabulary Body parts

kagwapa gid tana kay nimu ah...
(ang ganda mo talaga...)
gaugot ako kay nimu hala ka jan kang pasaway kay natak-an run ako...
(naiinis na ako sa'yo wag ka ngang pasaway...)
namit gid tana ang ginkaun ko kagina mung
(ang sarap talaga ng kinain ko kanina)
kun matak-an gani ako kanimu karun guramusun ko gid ang buhok muh...
(pag ako naasar sa'yo sasabunutan kita mamaya...)
alay run ang akun nga kahig kapanaw pero pwede bala nga magpahuway ta anay?
(ang sakit na ng paa ko pwde bang magpahinga muna tayo?)
nami gid tana ang ginlantaw namun mung nalingaw gid ako...
(ang ganda ng pinanood namin, naaliw talaga ako)
maan ta lang ah kataraka gid tana kay nimu hala ka pamangkot bala haw...
(ewan ko sa'yo panay ang tanong mu nakakainis..)
wara takun kamaan hala ka pamangkot kay nakun..
(d ko alam kaya wag ka na magtanong sa akin..)
butigun man tana kay nimu man
(singungaling ka talaga)
hambal mo kay nakun ako lang ang imu nga ginapalangga gali kara may iban timu nga bayi
(sabi mo sa akin ako lang ang mahal mo pero may ibang babae ka pala)
gasaraig takun nga balikan mo ako pero wara mo man ako ginbalikan
(umaasa ako na babalikan mo ako pero hindi pala)
hindi run takun kay nimu nadura run ang sarig ko kay nimu ginguba mu...
(ayoko na sa'yo nawalan na ako ng tiwala sa'yo dahil sinira mu...)
karuluoy ka man tama run ra nga hibi bala haw kadlaw kaw na alng...
(kawawa ka naman wag ka ng umiyak tumawa ka nalang...)
wara ka mamayha nga matubang kay nakun nga ang itsura mu daw ginbunot sa pantyon?
(hindi ka ba nahihiya humarap sa akin na ang mukha mo ay parang binunot sa nitso?)
kakadu man tana kang imu hitsura man sa diin kaw gin panamkon?
(ang pangit naman ng mukha muh saan ka ba ipinaglihi?

....tama run ja ah naruya run ako sa sunod raman ah pag may oras ako,,,...

(tama na to ah napapagod na ako next time namna pag my oras ako...)

salamat gid ah...

jae echevere