Cebuano language

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Cebuano redirects here. For the inhabitants of Cebu, see Cebuano people
Spoken in: Philippines 
Region: Central Visayas and northern and western Mindanao
Total speakers: first language: 20 million (ethnologue)

second language: 11 million (est.) 

Ranking: 47
Language family:
   Meso Philippine
    Central Philippine
Language codes
ISO 639-1: none
ISO 639-2: ceb
ISO 639-3: ceb

Cebuano, also known as Sugboanon, is an Austronesian language spoken in the Philippines by about 20,000,000 (ethnologue) people and is a subgroup or member of Bisaya, Visayan and Binisayâ. The name came from the Philippine island of Cebu, with the Spanish suffix -ano meaning native, of a place, added at the end. Cebuano is given the ISO 639-2 three letter code ceb, but has no ISO 639-1 two letter code.

Cebuano is a member of the Visayan language family.


Geographic distribution

Cebuano is spoken natively by the inhabitants of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and some parts of Leyte and the Samar islands and throughout Mindanao. It is also spoken in a few towns and islands in Samar. Until 1975, Cebuano surpassed Tagalog in terms of number of native speakers. Some dialects of Cebuano give different names to the language. Residents of Bohol may refer to Cebuano as Bol-anon while Cebuano-speakers in Leyte may call their dialect Kana. It is also spoken by Warays in Samar and Leyte, Eskaya in Bohol, and by native (like Atas, Bagobos, and Bukidnons), migrant Filipino ethnic groups (like Ilocanos and Ilonggos), and foreign ethnic groups (like Indonesians, Spanish, and Koreans) as second language. Cebuano is a language with Verb Subject Object sentence order. It uses prepositions rather than postpositions. Nouns come after adjectives, but before genitives or relative phrases.

Predominantly Cebuano-speaking regions in the Philippines.


Cebuano has sixteen consonants: p, t, k, ʔ (the glottal stop), b, d, g, m, n, ng, s, h, w, l, r and y. There are three vowels: i, a, and u/o. The vowels u and o are allophones, with u always being used when it is the beginning of a syllable, and o always used when it ends a syllable. But there are some exceptions, like kamatuoran (truth) and hangtúd (until). When Spanish arrived, e has been added, but exclusive to foreign loanwords. Accent is also a distinguisher of words, so that dápit means "to invite", while dapít means "near" or "nearby place". Consonants d and r can sometimes interchange as they were once allophones.



Nouns in Cebuano are inflected for person, number, and case.

The four cases are nominative, preposed genitive, postposed genitive, and oblique.

  Absolutive Ergative₁
1st person singular ako, ko nako, ko akong kanako, nako
2nd person singular ikaw, ka nimo, mo imong kanimo, nimo
3rd person singular siya niya iyang kaniya, niya
1st person plural inclusive kita, ta nato atong kanato, nato
1st person plural exclusive kami, mi namo among kanamo, namo
2nd person plural kamo, mo ninyo inyong kaninyo, ninyo
3rd person plural sila nila ilang kanila, nila

Cebuano, like most other Austronesian languages, makes use of the inclusive and exclusive we. This distinction, not found in most European languages, signifies whether or not the addressee is included in the pronoun "we."


Moadto kami sa sine.
"We (someone else and I, but not you) will go to the movies."

Moadto kita sa sine.
"We (you and I, and perhaps someone else) will go to the movies."

Vocabulary and borrowed words

Cebuano has long borrowed words from Spanish, such as krus [cruz] (cross), swerte [suerte] (luck), and brilyante [brillante] (brilliant). It has several hundred loan words from English as well, which are altered to conform to the limited phonemic inventory of Cebuano: brislit (bracelet), hayskul (high school), syapin (shopping), dikstrus (dextrose), sipir (zipper), bigsyat (big shot), or prayd tsikin (fried chicken), "espisyal"(special). There are also words from other languages like Arabic like salamat (thanks) and religious words like imam and Islam, and Sanskrit mahárlika [mahardikka] (nobility) and karma.

The use of asa and hain

Asa and hain - both mean where - have distinct uses in formal Cebuano writing.

Asa is used when asking about a place. Asa ka padulong? (Where are you going?) Asa ta molarga? (Where are we travelling to?)

Hain is used when asking about a person or thing. Hain na ang gunting? (Where is the pair of scissors?) Hain na si Arsenia? (Where is Arsenia?)

In modern spoken Cebuano, however, asa is commonly used to replace hain. You can rarely hear hain being used (and it is usually spoken by old native Cebuanos).

Words and phrases


Cardinal Ordinal
1 usà úna
2 duhà ika-duhà
3 tulò ika-tulò
4 upàt ika-upàt
5 limà ika-limà
6 unòm ika-unòm
7 pitò ika-pitò
8 walò ika-walò
9 siyàm ika-siyàm
10 napú'ô ika-napú'ô
11 napú'ô'g usá/napulo'g/napulo ug usá ika-napú'ô'g usá/napulo'g/napulo ug usá
20 kawhaan
30 katlo-an
100 usa ka gatos
1000 usa ka libo
100,000 usa ka gatos ka libo
500,000 lima ka gatos ka libo/tunga sa milyon
1000000 usa ka milyon

Common expressions

  • I am Miguel de Guia. Ako si Miguel de Guia.
  • May I ask a question? Mahimo bang mangutana? or Puwede ko mangutana?
  • How are you? Kumusta ka?
  • Good. (I am well.) Maayo.
  • How old are you? Pila'y imong idad?
  • How much? Pila? or Tag-pila?
  • How many? Pila?
  • I don't know. Wala ko kahibalo. or Ambut.
  • Good day! Maayong adlaw!
  • Good Morning! Maayong buntag!
  • Good Noon! Maayong udto!
  • Good Afternoon! Maayong hapon! or Maayong Palis!
  • Good Evening! Maayong gabii!
  • Who are you? "Kinsa ka?" (Informal)
  • When is Kanus-ǎ ang
  • Where do you live? Asa ka nagpuyô?
  • Where are you from? Taga-asa ka?
  • Where are you going? Asa ka padulong?
  • Where are they going? "Asa sila padulong?"
  • Where is Asa ang
  • Where is the bathroom? Asa man ang banyo?
  • Where is the toilet? Asa man ang kasilyas? or Asa man ang CR? (CR = English "Comfort Room")
  • Where is the market? Asa man ang merkado?
  • What Unsa
  • What's this? Unsa ni?
  • What's that? Unsa nâ?
  • What should we do? Unsay among buhaton? or Unsay atong buhaton? or Unsay angay namong buhaton? or Unsay angay natong buhaton
  • What is your name? Unsay ngalan nimo? Unsay imong ngalan?, or colloquially, Kinsa'y ngalan nimo?
  • What number of child are you? Ikapila ka sa imong pamilya? (Firstborn, secondborn, etc.; common expression in Cebuano, not English)
  • I would like to buy that. Gusto ko mopalit anâ.
  • I would like two of those. Gusto ko ug duha anâ.
  • Hello, my name is Miko. Kumusta, Miko akong ngalan., or colloquially, Ako si Miko.
  • Shut up Hilom! or Saba!
  • Help Me! Tabangi ko!
  • Help! Tabang!
  • Please, help me! "Palihug tabangi ko!" or "Palihug tabangi ako!"
  • Wait a minute Kadiyot lang or Huwat sâ
  • What time is it? Unsa nang (namang) orasa?
  • It's five o'clock Alas singko na
  • I love you. Gihigugma ko ikaw. or Nahigugma ko nimo. or Gihigugma tika. or Gimahal ko ikaw
  • Take care. Pag-ayo-ayo! or Pag-amping
  • Take that! (slang) Usapa 'na! (literally "Chew it!")
  • Ouch! Agay!
  • Don't! Ayaw!
  • Yes Oo
  • No Dili

Nasudnong Awit (Cebuano version of the Philippine National Anthem, Lupang Hinirang)

Translated into Cebuano by Jess Vestil

Yutang tabunon
Mutya nga masilakon,
Putling bahandi,
Amo kang gimahal.
Mithing gisimba,
Yuta's mga bayani,
Sa manlulupig,
Pagadapigan ka.
Ang mga buntod mo,
Ug lapyahan sa langit mong bughaw,
Nagahulad sa awit, lamdag sa
Kaliwat tang gawas.
Silaw sa adlaw ug bituon
Sa nasudnong bandila,
Nagatima-an nga buhion ta
Ang atong pagka-usa.
Yutang maanyag, duyan ka sa pagmahal,
Landong sa langit ang dughan mo;
Pakatam-ison namo nga maulipon ka
Ang kamatayom sa ngalan mo.

See also

External links

Cebuano language edition of Wikipiniana, the free encyclopedia

Original Source

Original content from Wikipedia under GNU Free Documentation License. See full disclaimer.