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Spoken in

speaker An estimated 18 million native speakers, 10 million second speakers
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3


Cebuano (pronounced: [ sebuano ]; Cebuano: Sinugboanon ), also known as Visayan (Cebuano: Binisayà ) or Bisayan , is an Austronesian language belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian branch that is spoken by about 18 million people in the Philippines .

The name is derived from the Philippine island of Cebu , supplemented by the Spanish adjective ending -ano . The alternative name Bisayan is often confused with the language Bisaya ( ISO-639-3 code and ) spoken along the Brunei Bay . bsbbsy

Cebuano is one of the Visayas languages . There is a Cebuano-language Wikipedia with over 5.3 million articles.

Speech dissemination

Cebuano is the mother tongue of the residents of Cebu, Bohol , Negros Oriental , the people of the western Leyte Province , Southern Leyte , and large parts of Mindanao .

It is the second most widely used language in the Philippines after Tagalog . The dialect used in Bohol is called Boholano and is sometimes considered a separate language, while the language is called Kana by its users in Leyte .

Cebuano is also used by many members of the Waray ethnic group in Samar and Leyte , by the Porohanon in Poro , by the Ilonggos in Siquijor , by the Eskaya in Bohol and by indigenous people such as the Atas , the Bagobos and the Butuanons .

Non- Filipino ethnic groups, such as Chinese , Spanish Filipinos and Koreans in Mindanao, also use Cebuano as a second language and a means of communication in everyday life.

Philippine regions with predominantly Cebuano-speaking populations.


Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
nasal m n ŋ
Plosives Unvoiced p t k ʔ
Voiced b d ɡ
Fricatives s H
Flaps ɾ
Lateral approximants l
Approximants w j

In contrast to German, the voiceless plosives p, t and k are bare. Cebuano has 16 consonants: p, t, k, ʔ (a voiceless glottal plosive ), b, d, g, m, n, ng, s, h, w, l, r and y. There are also three vowels: i, a, and u / o.

The vowels u and o are allophones , where u is always used at the beginning and o at the end of a syllable. There are some exceptions, such as the words kamatuoran (truth) and hangtúd (bis). With the arrival of the Spanish, the e was added to the language , but only for use in foreign words.

Another important designation when pronouncing words is stress. So dápit , stress on the a , means to invite , where dapít , stress on i , means near or near .

The consonants [⁠ d ⁠] and [⁠ ɾ ⁠] one hand, allophones , but may be not mutually exchanged. So kabunturan (highlands) [from buntód , mountain] is correct, but not kabuntudan , and tagadihá (from there) [derived from dihá , there] is correct, but tagarihá is wrong.


Sentence structure and sentence positions

Cebuano is a language with a sentence structure of verb-subject-object . It uses prepositions rather than postpositions . Nouns come after adjectives, but generally before genitive or relative phrases .


The four cases are Absolute , Preceding and Posting Ergative, and Obliquus .

  Absolutely Ergative
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 long kanila, nila

Cebuano, like most other Austronesian languages , uses the inclusive and exclusive "we" that is hard to find in European languages. It is used to distinguish whether the addressee is enclosed with the pronoun "we" or not.


Moadto kami sa sinehan.
" We (someone and me, but not you) want to go to the cinema"

Moadto kita sa sinehan.
" We (you and I and maybe others) want to go to the cinema."

Vocabulary and foreign words

Cebuano has a number of foreign words from the Spanish language, such as krus [ cruz ] (cross), kabayo [ caballo ] (horse), swerte [ suerte ] (luck) and brilyante [ brilliant ] (brilliant).

There are also a few hundred words from English that have been modified to accommodate the limited phonetic inventory of Cebuano:

  • brislit [ bracelet ] (bracelet),
  • hayskul [ high school ],
  • syapin [ shopping ] (shopping),
  • dikstrus [ dextrose ] (grape sugar),
  • sipir [ zipper ] (zipper),
  • bigsyat [ big shot ] (a "big animal"),
  • prayd tsikin [ fried chicken ] (fried chicken),
  • espisyal [ special ] (special).

In addition, the language has various words from other languages ​​such as Arabic salamat (thank you) and religious words such as imam and Islam as well as from Sanskrit mahárlika [ mahardikka ] (nobility) and karma .

The use of asa and hain

Asa and hain - both mean where - are used independently in the formal spelling of Cebuano.

Asa is used when asking for a location. Asa ka padulong? (Where are you going?) Asa ka molarga? (Where are you going?)

Grove is used when asking about a person or thing. Grove na ang gunting? (Where's the scissors?) Hain na si Sandy? (Where's Sandy?)

In the parlance of Cebuano, asa is being used more and more to replace hain . The word grove is used less and less and when it does, it is mostly used by older local Cebuanos.


Basic numerals Ordinal numbers
1 United States úna
2 duhà ika-duhà
3 tulò ika-tulò
4th upàt ika-upàt
5 limà ika-limà
6th unòm ika-unòm
7th pitò ika-pitò
8th walò ika-walò
9 siyàm ika-siyàm
10 napú'ô / napulo ika-napú'ô / ika-napulo
11 napú'ô'g usá / napulo'g / napulo ug usá / onse (Spanish words are used for numbers greater than 10) ika-napú'ô'g usá / ika-napulo'g usá / ika-napulo ug usá / ika-onse
20th kawhaan / bente
30th katlo-an / trenta
100 usa ka gatos / syento
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

General sentences

  • I am miguel de guia. Ako si Miguel de Guia.
  • I have a question. Naa koy pangutana.
  • May I ask? / May I ask a question? Mahimo bang mangutana? or Puwede ko mangutana?
  • How are you? Kumusta ka / po Kayo?
  • Well. (I'm fine.) Maayo.
  • How old are you / are you? Pila'y imong idad? or Pila ang idad mo (nimo)?
  • How much? Pila? or day-pila?
  • How much? Pila ba?
  • How many? Pila?
  • I do not know. Wala ko kahibalo. or ambut.
  • A beautiful day! Maayong adlaw!
  • Good Morning! Maayong buntag!
  • Good day! Maayong udto!
  • Good afternoon (afternoon)! Maayong hapon! or Maayong Palis!
  • Good evening! ! Maayong gabii!
  • Who are you / are you? Kinsa ka? (Informal)
  • When is ... Kanus-ǎ ang
  • Where do you / do you live? Asa ka nagpuyô?
  • Where are you from / are you from? Taga-asa ka?
  • Where are you going / are you going (singular)? Asa ka padulong?
  • Where are you going / are you going (plural)? 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 marketplace? Asa man ang merkado?
  • What ... Unsa
  • What is this? Unsa ni?
  • What is that there? Unsa nâ?
  • What should we do? Unsay among buhaton? or unsay atong buhaton? or Unsay angay namong buhaton? or Unsay angay natong buhaton
  • What's your name? Unsay ngalan nimo? Unsay imong ngalan? or colloquially Kinsa'y ngalan nimo?
  • How many children are you / are you? Ikapila ka nga anak? (First born, second born etc .; a common expression in Cebuano)
  • I want to buy this. Gusto ko mopalit ani. or Ganahan ko mopalit ani.
  • I want two of them. Gusto ko ug duha anâ. or Ganahan ko ug duha anâ.
  • Hello, my name is Miko. Kumusta, Miko akong ngalan. or colloquially, Ako si Miko.
  • Keep one's mouth shut ! Hilom! or Saba!
  • It's very loud here. Saba kaayo dinhi.
  • Help me / help me! Tabangi ko! or Tabangi ko bi
  • Help! Tabang!
  • Please, help me / help me! Palihug tabangi ko! or Palihug tabangi ako! or Tabangi ko palihug
  • Wait a minute. Kadiyot long or Huwat sâ
  • What time is it? Unsa nang (namang) orasa?
  • It is 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 of yourself / Take care of yourself. Pag-ayo-ayo! or pag-amping
  • Eat that! (colloquial) Usapa 'na! (formally)
  • It hurts / It hurts Sakit
  • Paul is sick. Well sakit si Paul
  • Ouch! Agay!
  • Not! Ayaw!
  • Yeah Oo
  • No Dili

Nasudnong Awit (Cebuano version of the Philippine national anthem, Lupang Hinirang)

Translated in 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 kamatayon sa ngalan mo.

Striving for recognition from Cebuano

The decision to use Tagalog as the basis of a common Filipino language Filipino inevitably drew criticism from other Filipino language groups, which in some cases resulted in active resistance.

Most of the national anthem in the province of Cebu is not sung in Filipino, but in Cebuano. This resistance does not threaten to attack the national unity of the country, but the Cebuano ethnic group in particular is fighting for greater recognition of their language. Their efforts are based on the following arguments:

  1. Historically, Cebu City is the first and oldest city in the Philippines. Long before Manila fell into the hands of the Spanish conquerors in the 16th century , Cebu was a military and trading post of the Spanish colonial power.
  2. Linguistically, Cebuano is the second most widely spoken language in the Philippines. Since independence, the Cebuanos have been the largest language group in the island state. Cebuano, originally only spoken on the island of Cebu , is now used in many parts of Mindanao , the eastern part of Negros Oriental and on Bohol .
  3. Cebuano is the mother tongue in more regions than Tagalog. It is the main language in District VII Central Visayas , District IX Zamboanga Peninsula , District X Northern Mindanao , District XI Davao Region , Caraga, and District XII SOCCSKSARGEN .

It is also the lingua franca , a common language base, in five other districts of the country. In District VI Western Visayas , mainly in San Carlos City and its neighboring regions, and in District Eastern Visayas , here mostly in Leyte and Southern Leyte .

In contrast, Tagalog is the language of the majority population of the districts NCR, District IV-A, District IV-B and District III Central Luzon , where the dialects Kapampangan and Ilokano also dominate in many areas.

In a way, this pursuit of recognition is also reflected on Wikipedia. The Cebuano-language Wikipedia contains the second most articles worldwide (as of 2020), although with a small number of authors these mainly have content automatically generated by the Lsjbot program . In a vote in 2018, the closure of the Cebuano-language Wikipedia was rejected.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ SIL International : ceb ; Ethnologue: ceb
  2. Why are there so many articles in the Cebuano language on Wikipedia? In: Accessed May 31, 2020 .
  3. ^ Proposals for closing projects / Closure of Cebuano Wikipedia. In: Accessed May 31, 2020 .