IJsselstein, Tuesday, 31 January 2006 (updated: Friday, 13 May 2011)
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.
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.
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.
Since Cebuano has no official status, and minimal government support as result, there are not that many books available to help you learn Cebuano. In local bookshops, you'll sometimes find small phrase-books, that sometimes offer a curious insight into Philippine culture, but are not very useful to learn the language. However, if you search a little further, some good materials can be found. We've prepared on overview of Cebuano Learning materials on this site.
If a few canned phrases are all you need, this site has a short Cebuano Phrase Book available.
If you want to take the challenge and learn more of the language, invest in at least two dictionaries, and some of the better books mentioned below.
Cebuano has a number of features (shared with other Philippine languages) that make the language a very interesting object of study for linguists. In particular the way Cebuano treats its verbs are a continued area of debate, and as a result, you will see grammar books describing the Cebuano verb system in wildly diverse ways, which can at first be confusing. However, once you can see the system in practice, and memorize the patterns, it can be handled without all the theoretical baggage. Cebuano toddlers also learn it that way...
On-line, a number of sites are available to help you learn Cebuano. Tom Marking has prepared a large PDF file with his study notes. Other sites with Cebuano material are learncebuano.com and livingincebu.com.
Freely available from ERIC is the Cebuano Language Packet, prepared for the US Peace Corps Volunteers. They also have a complete language course by Betty Baura, Cebuano para sa mga Peace Corps Volunteers. (The ERIC server refuses to serve most PDF files to non-US-based addresses, so look for a US-based webproxy that allows you to download this 10 MB file).
Marked for "missionary use only," but in fact giving a concise and easy-to-use introduction is Cebuano Language Objectives, produced by the Mormon Church. I like it particularly, because it gives a relatively easy overview of the complexities of Cebuano verb conjugations.
Mark Rubrico has a number of Philippine language courses, on his site Languagelinks.org, including Cebuano. They also sell the Cebuano course Magbinisaya Kita ("Let us speak Visayan") by Jessie Grace Rubrico.
You can also buy A Handbook of Cebuano by the Filipino (Boholano)-Finnish couple Anssi and Nida Räisänen. This combines a short topically organized vocabulary with a concise description of the grammar.
Older is Cebuano for Beginners by Maria Bunye and Elsa Yap. Published in 1971, this comprehensive 836 page intensive course was originally intended for US Peace Corps volunteers. They also published a dictionary to accompany this book.
Even more extended in scope is Beginning Cebuano, in two volumes by John U. Wolff, which appeared in 1966 and 1967. Wolff's course is designed for both classroom use and self-study with the help of a Cebuano speaker who can act as an informer. It contains extensive drills and dialogs. The second volume is still available from Yale university, but not very useful without having first completed the first volume, which only very rarely appears in second hand bookshops.
One drawback of Wolff's book is that it does not follow the common way of writing Cebuano. Although the use of the letter q for the glottal stop is very clear, it takes some time to get used to (also for Cebuano speakers trying to help you).
Mainly of historical interest are a number of Cebuano grammars that can be found on Google Books. Those all were published before 1923, and use the old, Spanish based orthography. Furthermore, they often try to force the grammatical concepts of Latin on Cebuano, which has a completely different structure.
Good dictionaries for Cebuano are also quite hard to obtain, but a number of good ones do exist.
On this site, we offer a search interface on the excellent Cebuano dictionary by John U. Wolff, first published in 1972. Scans of this book are available on line at Cornell University: Vol I (A-K) and Vol II (L-Z). This is the best dictionary available for Cebuano. However, make sure you read the introduction before using it, and understand that it does not use the common orthography.
Also very useful is the dictionary at binisaya.com, produced as an offshoot of the author's research in Cebuano verbal morphology. It has a large vocabulary, and is able to find matching root words at ease.
At bookstores in Cebu, you will probably be able to buy An English-Cebuano Visayan Dictionary by Rodolfo Cabonce. Although comprehensive, this work is more useful to Cebuano speakers who need to look up the meaning of a Cebuano word than for learners of Cebuano who like to find out a word in Cebuano.
More recent is Jes Tirol's Kapulongnan Binisay-Ininglis/Dictionary Bisaya-English, which appeared in 2010, and is well worth its PHP 950 price-tag.
Almost simultaneous with Wolff's dictionary, in 1971, Maria Bunye and Elsa Yap published their Cebuano-Visayan Dictionary.
More dictionaries are listed on Jessie Grace Rubrico's Review of Cebuano dictionaries..
|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.|
|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'.|
|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'.|
|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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