Tuesday 24 January 2017 02:51:41 PHT

The Boholano Language

IJsselstein, Tuesday, 31 January 2006 (updated: Sunday, 11 August 2013)

On Bohol, most people speak Cebuano, or, to be more exact, the local dialect of Cebuano, called Boholano. It differs in some aspects from the Cebuano spoken on Cebu. For example:

Cebuano: Akoa baya ning sinilas.
Boholano: Ahoa baja ning sinilas.
Tagalog: Akin itong tsinilas na ito.
English: This is my slipper.

However, you will not face too much trouble making yourself understood on Bohol. Many people speak English, and almost all speak standard Cebuano as well as Tagalog.

In the Philippines, some people have the unfortunate habit of calling the indigenous languages "dialects", a misconception that dates back from the days of Spanish colonial rule. Although related, the various languages spoken in the Philippines are quite distinct languages, with their own vocabulary and grammar, and are often not mutually understandable.

The names used for languages in the central Philippines are somewhat confusing, to say the least. As the central group of islands is called Visaya (or more properly Bisaya, as there is no V in any of the languages spoken there), some people call Cebuano 'Visayan' or 'Bisayan' (Binisaya), however this term is confusing, as this name is also applied to Hiligaynon (also known as Ilonggo), spoken on Panay and in Negros Occidental, and Waray-Waray, spoken on Leyte and Samar. The Cebuano language is spoken on Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor and parts of Negros, Northern Mindanao, and Leyte. Adding to the confusion is that many Filipino's call these languages 'dialects', even though they are quite distinct in many aspects, similar to the differences between English, Dutch, and German.

Of the three main Bisayan languages, Cebuano is the most common, spoken by about a third of the Philippine population and first language to more Filipino's than any other language, including Tagalog (Although the Philippine government tries to downplay the number of Cebuano speakers, by listing Boholano and other dialects of Cebuano as separate languages).

As a side-note, also in Borneo, there is a people calling themselves Bisaya, speaking yet another language called, you guess it, Bisaya. The historical connection is of course that most Filipino Bisayans migrated to their current homeland some 1000 years ago. In a semi-literate population (the language had its own script before the Spanish conquest), separated by seas and mountains, a language can change a lot in such a span of time, so again this language is unintelligible to Filipino Bisayans, just as much as most English speakers won't be able to make much out of Anglo-Saxon.

Soft-Boiled Rice

One time, three men met at a trail crossing. One was a Boholano, another was a Pangasinan, and the last was Pampangueño. Each had only a smattering of the dialects of the others, but they managed to learn from each other that they were all bound for the same destination and to make it understood between them that, because of the distance and the difficulty of the way, it would be a good thing to travel together. They each carried an equal quantity of rice and agreed to put all their food together to make the cooking easier in the camp.

They walked on for several days and their supplies were running low. Finally, while camped near a spring, they noticed they had only very little rice left.

"Mayap no lilotan tapamo para dakal," said the Pampangueño. (It would be better if we make lilot so it will be more).

"Pare, lugaon lamang ang bugas aron madaghan," said the Boholano. (Pal, lets make linugao of the rice so that it will be enough for us).

"Andi u-umpay, maong na balbalon tayo piano dakel," said the Pangasinan. (No my friends, it would be better if we cook binolbal, so it will be more.)

"I tell you, lets make linugao," said the Boholano.

The Pampangueño got angry: "No lets make lilot out of it."

"Stop," shouted the Pangasinan alarmed. "It would be very unwise to quarrel here. Let us re-divide the rice so that each one of us could prepare his share in his own way." They did so and soon three fires were burning beneath three pots. When the cooking was finished and the three men looked up from their efforts, Their eyes widened in surprise.

"Linugao!" cried the Boholano.

"Lilot!" exclaimed the Pampangueño.

"Binolbal!" shouted the Pangasinan.

They all only cooked the rice a little longer and with more water, making the grains larger and softer than usual. A common understanding might many times have saved both time and temper.

From Boholano Folklore by Maria Caseñas Pajo.

Jeroen Hellingman

What readers think...

George Saadé wrote:
Monday, 25 March 2013 19:07:21 PHT
Hello there! :) I just wanted to point out that both ERIC resources can be accessed directly from the following links (regardless of location):

1. Cebuano for the Peace Corps Volunteers: www.eric.ed.go/PDFS/ED401767.pdf

2. Cebuano Language Packet: www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED401767.pdf

I am currently in the process of obtaining a digitized copy of A Handbook of Cebuano to complement my collection of Cebuano resources. Thank you so much for your valuable suggestions! - Georgii.

Teresa lopez wrote:
Monday, 29 October 2012 18:06:51 PHT
Beaches are beautiful but very,very dirty. They are plenty of plastic, broken glass, etc. Is a pity. Please, keep your beaches clean. A sad tourist.
Reinr wrote:
Saturday, 10 September 2011 12:22:06 PHT
Since at my young age, our language is called 'Bisaya' and, till this time and till the end of my life, I would proudly call it as 'Bisaya'. I am just surprise, nowadays, why there are people who are calling it as 'cebuano' language. I know this is just a result of propaganda from most arrogant and bully cebuanos who just want to brand our language with their name -- it's a result from their selfish propaganda! There is no confusion between Bisaya, Hiligaynon and Waray-waray because the people from Western Visayas just wanted to call their language as 'Hiligaynon'. They don't want their language to be called 'Bisaya' and, likewise, in most of Eastern Visayas people they are proud to call their language as 'Waray-waray'. I have a lots of friends from Mindanao, mostly from Davao City, and they don't like also that our language will be called as 'cebuano' since they know that since before it is already named and known by many as 'Bisaya'.
Rei wrote:
Wednesday, 7 September 2011 13:50:37 PHT
Since in my young age, our language is called 'Bisaya' and, til these time and til the end of my life, I would proudly called it as 'Bisaya'. I am just surprise, nowadays, why there are people who are calling it as 'cebuano' language. I know this is just a result of propaganda from most arrogant and bully cebuanos who just want to brand our language with their name -- it's an effect form their selfish propaganda! There is no confusion between Bisaya, Hiligaynon abd Waray-waray because the people from Western Visayas just wanted to called their language as 'Hiligaynon'. They don't want their language to be called 'Bisaya' and, likewise, in most of Eastern Visayas people they are proud to call their language as 'Waray-waray'. I have a lots of friends from Mindanao, mostly from Davao City, and they don't like also that our language will be called as 'cebuano' since they know that since before it is already named and known by many as 'Bisaya'.
Myrna wrote:
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 15:28:45 PHT
Hoy mga tawong nakaminus namo nga taga-bohol.. Ug kinsa nang nag-ingon nga ang tga Luzon ray Filipino? Naboang ka? Waka basin wala samin sa inyoha dong/day, mas salbahe pa batasan ninyo kaysa namo nga taga-bohol.. Bisan nga ang walay mga grado naa pay respeto ug didiplina sa iyang isigkatawo not like you mura kag mao.. Please think of that. Dili ka mabuhi kung dili tungod sa mga mag-uuma gikan sa Probinsya.. Okay? panghinuktok diha ug wala kay mabuhat pagtubok nalang..

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