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Wednesday, 14 July 2010 10:26

Language

Written by  Chris
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Cebuano Cebuano

Cebuano

 The Official Language for the Philippines is Pilipino or Filipino. Majority of the words though comes from the Tagalog dialect, which is widely spoken in the Luzon area. Though there have been instances of integrating Cebuano, the second most spoken dialect in the Philippines, to the official language, most of the Cebuanos still prefer to speak the Visiyan/Cebuano dialect.

Brief Background

Cebuano is of Austronesian language in origin. Around 20 million people speak the dialect. Most people in the Visayan Region speak the dialect- from Cebu, Bohol, to Leyte and some parts of Negros Oriental. Around Mindanao as well, people have given up their native dialects to speak Cebuano. Interesting to note in the language is its structure of verb subject object, which is quite unusual when you're coming from the western world.

English

Contrary to popular belief that most Cebuanos speak fluent English, it is important to take note that this has some half-truth in it. Yes, majority of the people in Cebu will understand you when you speak to them in English, However, not everyone may speak good English. With exception to Call center agents, elite students, and the "educated ones"(even then, its still not guaranteed that there will be fluency), Most of the time, Cebuanos when spoken to will reply in broken English with phrases and incomplete sentences. Usually this becomes frustrating to listen to, especially for Westerners, when expression from the Visayan language are also being mixed with English(i.e. man, ba, diay) - though i must say that the Japanese, Koreans and Chinese prefer this way since they too don't understand much English in the first place especially when spoken at a fast pace.

Most of the signages around the city is English based unlike in other South East Asian countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand where signs are often in their respective language. So if you're a foreigner you don't have to worry about getting lost in Cebu. Nevertheless, it is still useful to learn a few Cebuano phrases along the way(Refer to Speaking Cebuano Section). Aside from the fact that finding your way around will be a lot easier, building rapport with the locals is also an added plus- new friends, and maybe some freebies along the way.

Some Phrases

English Cebuano
How much? Tag pila?
Where is the Comfort Room? Asa ang CR?
What’s that? Unsa na?
What’s this? Unsa ni?
You’re very pretty Gwapa kaau{ka-a-you} ka
Too expensive Mahal ra kaau{ka-a-you}
Very Fun Lingaw kaau{ka-a-you}
You’re very annoying Samok kaau{ka-a-you} ka


Refer to the Speaking Cebuano section for more details

* For those wanting to know certain words that i have not covered yet, email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last modified on Thursday, 19 May 2011 11:57
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