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Cebuano Language, Dialect - Binisaya

Almost every province in the Philippines have their own spoken language or dialect. Some vary in the words and pronunciations used while others only vary on the intonation, speed or hardness. Cebu is not an exception, in fact there are municipalities that speak unique dialects that are mostly influenced by the dialects of neighboring provinces.

The languages spoken in the Visayan region of the Philippines are generally called "Bisaya" or "Binisaya" which includes Cebuano, are still used by older generation and members of a group of Visayan poets and writers called LUDABI. LUDABI or Lubas sa Dagang Binisaya was established in 1956 by a group of journalists, poets, and writers who has preserved the Bisaya language and kept it alive through their writings and poetry.

There have been various arguments over whether Cebuano is a language or a dialect. The consensus has led to a generalization that any form of verbal communication that is common to a large group of people and is unintelligible to another group who speaks differently, is called a language. A dialect on the other hand is a variant of a language spoken by a smaller group but is still understandable to other groups who speak a different variation of the same language. However, this generalization is not official, since in most localities the decision is also based on social and political implications. Just to have a standardized point of view, Cebuano in general is a language. However, other provinces like Bohol and Davao, also speak their own flavor of Cebuano. These are considered dialects of the same Cebuano language.

Cebuano is also a dialect in a sense, since Cebu also has its own variant of the Cebuano Language, thus the title of this section "Cebuano Dialect".

Cebuano people, specially in the central part of Cebu, generally use a modernized version of the original Cebuano language where some of the words are adaptation of various languages that are common to the general population. As you go farther to the south or to the north, however, a significant change in the words and intonation are very evident. Sometimes you can't even recognize that it is still the same language but spoken differently.

One unique pronunciation that is very common in the Cebuano language is the short vowels at the end of some words. In the word "gahï" (hard) for example the final "ï" is pronounced short and stops very abruptly. This particular pronunciation is common in such words as "duwâ" (play), "bahö" (smelly), "dalï" (hurry), "tagö" (hide), and "dilï" (no).

The most significant evolution in the language from the original Cebuano is the dropping of the "L" in many words to make them sound smoother and shorter. Words like "dalan" (road or street) is now "da'an"; "dalugdog" (thunder) is now "daugdog" or "dogdog"; "kulon" (pot) is now "ku'on"; "pula" (red color) is now "pua" or "puwa"; and "bulâ" (bubble) is now "buâ" or "buwâ"; are typical examples.

Numbers are treated very uniquely. For counting, 1 to 10 are in the original Cebuano while 11 onwards are in spanish but pronounced in a typical Visayan style. Money is generally in spanish exept 1 peso which is just "piso", not uno peso.

Check each topics in the submenu to know more about the Cebuano dialect and to learn some words which will help you get by and make your experience more exciting as you mingle with the Cebuano people.