Ilocano language

Iloko, Iluko, Pagsasao nga Ilokano
Native to Philippines
Region Northern Luzon and most parts of Central Luzon; Hawaii
Ethnicity Ilocano people
Filipino Americans
(Filipinos in Hawaii)
Native speakers
9.1 million (2015)[1]
3rd most spoken native language in the Philippines[2]
Latin (Ilocano alphabet),
Ilokano Braille
Historically Baybayin
Official status
Official language in
Regional language in the Philippines
Official provincial language in La Union[3]
Regulated by Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino
Language codes
ISO 639-2 ilo
ISO 639-3 ilo
Glottolog ilok1237[4]
Linguasphere 31-CBA-a

Area where Ilokano is spoken according to Ethnologue[5]
Striped areas are Itneg-Ilokano bilingual communities in Abra province

Ilocano (also Ilokano; /lˈkɑːn/;[6] Ilocano: Pagsasao nga Ilokano) is the third most-spoken native language of the Philippines.

An Austronesian language, it is related to such languages as Indonesian, Malay, Fijian, Maori, Hawaiian, Malagasy, Samoan, Tahitian, Chamorro, Tetum, and Paiwan. It is closely related to some of the other Austronesian languages of Northern Luzon, and has slight mutual intelligibility with the Balangao language and Eastern dialects of the Bontoc language.[7]

In September 2012, the province of La Union passed an ordinance recognizing Ilokano (Iloko) as an official provincial language, alongside Filipino and English, as national and official languages of the Philippines, respectively.[3] It is the first province in the Philippines to pass an ordinance protecting and revitalizing a native language, although there are also other languages spoken in the province of La Union, including Pangasinense and Kankanaey.[3]


Ilocano, like all Philippine languages, is an Austronesian language, a very expansive language family believed to originate in Taiwan.[8][9] Ilocano comprises its own branch within the Philippine Cordilleran language subfamily. It is spoken as first language by seven million people.[2]

A lingua franca of the northern region of the Philippines, it is spoken as a secondary language by more than two million people who are native speakers of Pangasinan, Ibanag, Ivatan, and other languages in Northern Luzon.[10]

Geographic distribution

Main article: Ilocandia
Ilokano-speaking density per province. Enlarge picture to see percent distribution.

The language is spoken in northwest Luzon, the Babuyan Islands, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and areas of Mindanao.[11] The language is also spoken in the United States, with Hawaii and California having the largest amount of speakers.[12] It is the third most spoken non-English language in Hawaii after Tagalog and Japanese, with 15% of households speaking the language.[13]

Writing system

Our Father prayer from Doctrina Cristiana, 1621.

Modern alphabet

The modern Ilokano Alphabet of 28 letters[14]

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Ññ NGng Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz


Precolonial Ilocanos of all classes wrote in a syllabic system prior to European arrival. They used a system that is termed as an abugida, or an alphasyllabary. It was similar to the Tagalog and Pangasinan scripts, where each character represented a consonant-vowel, or CV, sequence. The Ilocano version, however, was the first to designate coda consonants with a diacritic mark – a cross or virama – shown in the Doctrina Cristiana of 1621, one of the earliest surviving Ilokano publications. Before the addition of the virama, writers had no way to designate coda consonants. The reader, on the other hand, had to guess whether the vowel was read or not, due to this vowels "e" and "i" are interchangeable and letters "o" and "u", for instance "tendera" and tindira" (shop-assistant)


In recent times, there have been two systems in use: The "Spanish" system and the "Tagalog" system. In the Spanish system words of Spanish origin kept their spellings. Native words, on the other hand, conformed to the Spanish rules of spelling. Nowadays, only the older generation of Ilocanos use the Spanish system.

In the system based on that of Tagalog there is more of a phoneme-to-letter correspondence, and better reflects the actual pronunciation of the word.[lower-alpha 1] The letters ng constitute a digraph and counts as a single letter, following n in alphabetization. As a result, numo humility appears before ngalngal to chew in newer dictionaries. Words of foreign origin, most notably those from Spanish, need to be changed in spelling to better reflect Ilocano phonology. Words of English origin may or may not conform to this orthography. A prime example using this system is the weekly magazine Bannawag.

Samples of the two systems

The following are two versions of the Lord's Prayer. The one on the left is written using the Spanish-based orthography, while the one on the right uses the Tagalog-based system.

Amami, ñga addaca sadi lañgit,
Madaydayao coma ti Naganmo.
Umay cuma ti pagariam.
Maaramid cuma ti pagayatam
Cas sadi lañgit casta met ditoy daga.
Itedmo cadacam ita ti taraonmi iti inaldao.
Quet pacaoanennacami cadaguiti ut-utangmi,
A cas met panamacaoanmi
Cadaguiti nacautang cadacami.
Quet dinacam iyeg iti pannacasulisog,
No di quet isalacannacami iti daques.

Amami, nga addaka sadi langit,
Madaydayaw koma ti Naganmo.
Umay koma ti pagariam.
Maaramid koma ti pagayatam
Kas sadi langit kasta met ditoy daga.
Itedmo kadakam ita ti taraonmi iti inaldaw.
Ket pakawanennakami kadagiti ut-utangmi,
A kas met panamakawanmi
Kadagiti nakautang kadakami.
Ket dinakam iyeg iti pannakasulisog,
No di ket isalakannakami iti dakes.

Ilocano and education

With the implementation by the Spanish of the Bilingual Education System of 1897, Ilocano, together with the other seven major languages (those that have at least a million speakers), was allowed to be used as a medium of instruction until the second grade. It is recognized by the Commission on the Filipino Language as one of the major languages of the Philippines.[15] Constitutionally, Ilocano is an auxiliary official language in the regions where it is spoken and serves as auxiliary media of instruction therein.[16]

In recent years, a movement in both the Lower and the Upper House of the Congress pressed for the usage of the mother tongue as a medium of instruction until the sixth grade.[17][18]


Main article: Ilokano literature

Ilocano animistic past offers a rich background in folklore, mythology and superstition (see Religion in the Philippines). There are many stories of good and malevolent spirits and beings. Its creation mythology centers on the giants Aran and her husband Angngalo, and Namarsua (the Creator).

The epic story Biag ni Lam-ang (The Life of Lam-ang) is undoubtedly one of the few indigenous stories from the Philippines that survived colonialism, although much of it is now acculturated and shows many foreign elements in the retelling. It reflects values important to traditional Ilokano society; it is a hero's journey steeped in courage, loyalty, pragmatism, honor, and ancestral and familial bonds.

Ilocano culture revolves around life rituals, festivities and oral history. These were celebrated in songs (kankanta), dances (sala), poems (daniw), riddles (burburtia), proverbs (pagsasao), literary verbal jousts called bucanegan (named after the writer Pedro Bucaneg, and is the equivalent of the Balagtasan of the Tagalogs) and epic stories.




Modern Ilocano has two dialects, which are differentiated only by the way the letter e is pronounced. In the Amianan (Northern) Dialect, there exist only five vowels while the Abagatan (Southern) Dialect employs six.

Reduplicate vowels are not slurred together, but voiced separately:

The letter in bold is the graphic (written) representation of the vowel.

Ilokano vowel chart
Close i /i/ u/o /u/

e /o/

Mid e /ɛ/ o /o/
Open a /a/

For a better rendition of vowel distribution, please refer to the IPA Vowel Chart.

Unstressed /a/ is pronounced [ɐ] in all positions except final syllables, like madí [mɐˈdi] (cannot be) but ngiwat (mouth) is pronounced [ˈŋiwat].

Although the modern (Tagalog) writing system is largely phonetic, there are some notable conventions.

O/U and I/E

In native morphemes, the close back rounded vowel /u/ is written differently depending on the syllable. If the vowel occurs in the ultima of the morpheme, it is written o; elsewhere, u.

    Root: luto cook
          agluto to cook
          lutuen to cook (something) example:lutuen dayta

Instances such as masapulmonto, You will manage to find it, to need it, are still consistent. Note that masapulmonto is, in fact, three morphemes: masapul (verb base), -mo (pronoun) and -(n)to (future particle). An exception to this rule, however, is laud /la.ʔud/ (west). Also, u in final stressed syllables can be pronounced [o], like [dɐ.ˈnom] for danum (water).

The two vowels are not highly differentiated in native words due to fact that /o/ was an allophone of /u/ in the history of the language. In words of foreign origin, notably Spanish, they are phonemic.

    uso use
    oso bear

Unlike u and o, i and e are not allophones, but i in final stressed syllables in words ending in consonants can be [ɛ], like ubíng [ʊ.ˈbɛŋ] (child).

The two closed vowels become glides when followed by another vowel. The close back rounded vowel /u/ becomes [w] before another vowel; and the close front unrounded vowel /i/, [j].

    kuarta /kwaɾ.ta/ money
    paria /paɾ.ja/ bitter melon

In addition, dental/alveolar consonants become palatalized before /i/. (See Consonants below).

Unstressed /i/ and /u/ are pronounced [j] and [ʊ] except in final syllables, like pintás (beauty) [pɪn.ˈtas] and buténg (fear) [bʊ.ˈtɛŋ] but bangir (other side) and parabur (grace) are pronounced [ˈba.ŋiɾ] and [pɐ.ˈɾa.buɾ].

Pronunciation of e

The letter e represents two vowels in the non-nuclear dialects (areas outside the Ilocos provinces) [ɛ] in words of foreign origin and [ɯ] in native words, and only one in the nuclear dialects of the Ilocos provinces, [ɛ].

Realization of e
keddeng assign Native [kɛd.dɛŋ] [kɯd.dɯŋ]
elepante elephant Spanish [ʔɛ.lɛ.pan.tɛ] [ʔɛ.lɛ.pan.tɛ]


Diphthongs are combination of a vowel and /i/ or /u/. In the orthography, the secondary vowels (underlying /i/ or /u/) are written with their corresponding glide, y or w, respectively. Of all the possible combinations, only /aj/ or /ej/, /iw/, /aj/ and /uj/ occur. In the orthography, vowels in sequence such as uo and ai, do not coalesce into a diphthong, rather, they are pronounced with an intervening glottal stop, for example, buok hair /bʊ.ʔuk/ and dait sew /da.ʔit/.

/au/ aw kabaw "senile"
/iu/ iw iliw "home sick"
/ai/ ay maysa "one"
/ei/[lower-alpha 2] ey idiey "there" (Regional variant. Standard: "idiay")
/oi/, /ui/[lower-alpha 3] oy, uy baboy "pig"

The diphthong /ei/ is a variant of /ai/ in native words. Other occurrences are in words of Spanish and English origin. Examples are reyna /ˈɾ (from Spanish reina, queen) and treyner /ˈtɾei.nɛɾ/ (trainer). The diphthongs /oi/ and /ui/ may be interchanged since /o/ is an allophone of /u/ in final syllables. Thus, apúy (fire) may be pronounced /ɐ.ˈpui/ and baboy (pig) may be pronounced /ˈba.bui/.


Bilabial Dental/
Palatal Velar Glottal
Stops Voiceless p t k (#[lower-alpha 4][lower-alpha 5] V/∅V∅/C-V)[ʔ][lower-alpha 6]
Voiced b d g
Affricates Voiceless (ts, tiV) [tʃ][lower-alpha 7]
Voiced (diV) [dʒ][lower-alpha 7]
Fricatives s (siV) [ʃ][lower-alpha 7] h
Nasals m n (niV) [nj][lower-alpha 7] ng [ŋ]
Laterals l (liV) [lj][lower-alpha 7]
Flaps r [ɾ]
Trills (rr [r])
Semivowels (w, CuV) w[lower-alpha 7] (y, CiV) [j][lower-alpha 7]

All consonantal phonemes except /h, ʔ/ may be a syllable onset or coda. The phoneme /h/ is a borrowed sound and rarely occurs in coda position. Although, the Spanish word, reloj, clock, would have been heard as [re.loh], the final /h/ is dropped resulting in /re.lo/. However, this word also may have entered the Ilokano lexicon at early enough a time that the word was still pronounced /re.loʒ/, with the j pronounced as in French, resulting in /re.los/ in Ilokano. As a result, both /re.lo/ and /re.los/ occur.

The glottal stop /ʔ/ is not permissible as coda; it can only occur as onset. Even as an onset, the glottal stop disappears in affixation. Take for example the root aramat [ʔɐ.ra.mat], use. When prefixed with ag-, the expected form is *[ʔɐɡ.ʔɐ.ra.mat]. But, the actual form is [ʔɐ.ɡɐ.ra.mat]; the glottal stop disappears. In a reduplicated form, the glottal stop returns and participates in the template, CVC, agar-aramat [ʔɐ.ɡar.ʔɐ.ra.mat].

Stops are pronounced without aspiration. When they occur as coda, they are not released, for example, sungbat [sʊŋ.bat̚] answer, response.

Ilokano is one of the Philippine languages which is excluded from [ɾ]-[d] allophony, as /r/ in many cases is derived from a Proto-Austonesian */G/, compare dugô (Tagalog) and dara (Ilokano) blood.

The language marginally has a trill [r] which was spelled as "rr", for example, serrek [sɛ.ˈrɛk] to enter. But it is different in proper names of foreign origin, mostly Spanish, like Serrano, which is correctly pronounced [sɛ.ˈrano]. Some speakers, however, pronounce Serrano as [sɛ.ˈɾano].


Primary stress

The placement of primary stress is lexical in Ilocano. This results in minimal pairs such as káyo (wood) and kayó (you (plural or polite)) or kíta (class, type, kind) and kitá (see). In written Ilokano the reader must rely on context, thus kayo and kita. Primary stress can fall only on either the penult or the ultima of the root, as seen in the previous examples.

While stress is unpredictable in Ilokano, there are notable patterns that can determine where stress will fall depending on the structures of the penult, the ultima and the origin of the word.[10]

Ilocano Gloss Comment
doktór doctor Spanish origin
agmaného (to) drive Spanish origin (I drive)
agrekórd (to) record English origin (verb)
Ilocano Gloss Comment
addá there is/are Closed Penult
takkí feces Closed Penult
bibíngka (a type of delicacy) -ŋ.k sequence
Ilocano Gloss Comment
al-aliághost Consonant-Glide-Vowel
ibiángto involve (someone or something)Consonant-Glide-Vowel
Ilocano Gloss Comment
buggúongfermented fish or shrimp paste Vowel-Glottal-Vowel
máagidiot Vowel-Glottal-Vowel
síitthorn, spine, fish boneVowel-Glottal-Vowel

Secondary stress

Secondary stress occurs in the following environments:

Ilocano Gloss Comment
pànnakakítaability to seeSyllable before geminate
kèddéngjudgement, decisionSyllable before geminate
ùbbíngchildrenSyllable before geminate
Ilocano Gloss Comment
agsàsaóspeaks,is speakingReduplicate CV
àl-aliághost, spiritReduplicate CV
agdàdáitsews, is sewingReduplicate CV

Vowel length

Vowel length coincides with stressed syllables (primary or secondary) and only on open syllables, for example, kayo /'ka:.yo/ tree and kayo /ka.'yo/' (second person plural ergative pronoun).


Main article: Ilocano grammar

Ilokano is typified by a predicate-initial structure. Verbs and adjectives occur in the first position of the sentence, then the rest of the sentence follows.

Main article: Ilocano verb

Ilocano uses a highly complex list of affixes (prefixes, suffixes, infixes and enclitics) and reduplications to indicate a wide array of grammatical categories. Learning simple root words and corresponding affixes goes a long way in forming cohesive sentences.[19]


An Ilocano Dictionary by Morice Vanoverbergh, CICM, published in 1955 by the CICM Fathers in Baguio City to help them in evangelizing in Ilocandia.


Foreign accretion comes largely from Spanish, followed by English and smatterings of much older accretion from Hokkien (Min Nan), Arabic and Sanskrit.[20][21][22]

Examples of Borrowing
Word Source Original Meaning Ilocano meaning
arak Arabic drink similar to sake generic alcoholic drink
karma Sanskrit deed (see Buddhism) spirit
sanglay Hokkien to deliver goods to deliver/Chinese merchant
agbuldos English to bulldoze to bulldoze
kuarta Spanish cuarta ("quarter", a kind of copper coin) money
kumusta Spanish greeting: ¿Cómo está? ("How are you?") How are you?

Common expressions

Ilokano shows a T-V distinction.

English Ilocano
Yes Wen
No Saan

Haan (variant)

How are you? Kumustaka?

Kumustakayo? (polite and plural)

Good day Naimbag nga aldaw.

Naimbag nga aldawyo. (polite and plural)

Good morning Naimbag a bigatmo.

Naimbag a bigatyo. (polite and plural)

Good afternoon Naimbag a malemmo.

Naimbag a malemyo. (polite and plural)

Good evening Naimbag a rabiim.

Naimbag a rabiiyo. (polite and plural)

What is your name? Ania ti naganmo? (often contracted to Aniat' nagan mo? or Ana't nagan mo)

Ania ti naganyo?

Where's the bathroom? Ayanna ti banio?
I do not understand Saanko a maawatan/matarusan.

Haanko a maawatan/matarusan.

Diak maawatan/matarusan.

I love you Ay-ayatenka.


I'm sorry. Pakawanennak.


Thank you. Agyamannak apo.

Dios ti agngina.

Goodbye Kastan/Kasta pay. (Till then)
Sige. (Okay. Continue.)
Innakon. (I'm going)
Inkamin. (We are going)

Dikakan. (You stay)
Ditakayon. (You stay (pl.))

Numbers, days, months


Main article: Ilocano numbers

Ilocano uses two number systems, one native and the other derived from Spanish.

0 ibbong
awan (lit. none)
0.25 (1/4) pagkapat kuarto
0.50 (1/2) kagudua mitad
1 maysa uno
2 dua dos
3 tallo tres
4 uppat kuatro
5 lima singko
6 innem sais
7 pito siete
8 walo otso
9 siam nuebe
10 sangapulo (lit. a group of ten) dies
11 sangapulo ket maysa onse
20 duapulo bainte
50 limapulo singkuenta
100 sangagasut (lit. a group of one hundred) sien, siento
1,000 sangaribo (lit. a group of one thousand) mil
10,000 sangalaksa (lit. a group of ten thousand) dies mil
1,000,000 sangariwriw (lit. a group of one million) milion
1,000,000,000 sangabilion (American English, billion) bilion

Ilocano uses a mixture of native and Spanish numbers. Traditionally Ilokano numbers are used for quantities and Spanish numbers for time or days and references. Examples:


Mano ti tawenmo?
How old are you (in years)? (Lit. How many years do you have?)
Twenty one.
Luktanyo dagiti Bibliayo iti libro ni Juan kapitulo tres bersikolo diesiseis.
Open your Bibles to the book of John chapter three verse sixteen.


Mano a kilo ti bagas ti kayatmo?
How many kilos of rice do you want?
Sangapulo laeng.
Ten only.
Adda dua na nga sida.
He has two fish. (lit. There are two fish with him.)

Days of the week

Days of the week are directly borrowed from Spanish.

Days of the Week
Monday Lunes
Tuesday Martes
Wednesday Mierkoles
Thursday Huebes
Friday Biernes
Saturday Sabado
Sunday Domingo


Like the days of the week, the names of the months are taken from Spanish.

January Enero July Hulio
February Pebrero August Agosto
March Marso September Septiembre
April Abril October Oktubre
May Mayo November Nobiembre
June Hunio December Disiembre

Units of time

The names of the units of time are either native or are derived from Spanish. The first entries in the following table are native; the second entries are Spanish derived.

Units of time
second kanito
minute daras
hour oras
day aldaw
week lawas
dominggo (lit. Sunday)
month bulan
year tawen

To mention time, Ilokanos use a mixture of Spanish and Ilokano:

1:00 a.m. A la una iti bigat (One in the morning)
2:30 p.m. A las dos imedia iti malem (in Spanish, A las dos y media de la tarde or "half past two in the afternoon")

More Ilocano words

  • abay = side by side
  • abalayan = the parents of the two individuals that are married
  • ading younger brother/sister; can also be applied to someone who is younger than the speaker
  • adal = study
  • agtutubo = youth
  • ala = to take
  • alas = ugly
  • awan = none
  • adda = there is
  • agong = nose
  • al-alia = ghost/spirit
  • amá/tatang = father
  • ammo = know
  • ania = what
  • anus = perseverance, patience (depends on the usage)
  • ag basa( northern dialect); ag eskwela = to go to school
  • apan = to go
  • asino = who
  • ayat = love
  • apay = why
  • Apo = addressed to someone who is higher/older than the speaker; God
  • apong = grandparent
  • apong baket = grandmother
  • an-nay! = ouch!
  • aramid = build
  • arbis = drizzles
  • aso = dog
  • awan = none
  • aysus!/ Ay Apo! = oh, Jesus/oh, my God!
  • apong lakay = grandfather
  • baak = ancient
  • babai = female
  • baboy = pig
  • bado = clothing / attire
  • badok = traditional jendo martial arts uniform/my attire/my uniform/my clothing
  • bagi' = self
  • bain = shame
  • baket = old women / wife
  • baknang = rich
  • balatong = mung beans
  • bangles = spoiled
  • (i)baga = (to) tell
  • bagkat = to carry
  • bagtit = crazy/bad word in Ilokano
  • bangsit = stink/unpleasant
  • baro = young male
  • baro / kabarbaro = new
  • basang = girl
  • (ag)basa = (to) read
  • bassit= small
  • basol = fault, wrongdoing, sin
  • baut = spank
  • billit = bird
  • binting = 25 cents/quarter
  • bisin = hunger
  • buto = penis
  • bobeda = ceiling
  • (ag)buya = (to) watch
  • dadael = destroy/ruin
  • daga = soil
  • dagsen = heavy
  • dagum = needle
  • dalan = way
  • (ma)damdama = later
  • (ag)denna = stay close
  • danon = to arrive at
  • danum = water
  • diding = wall
  • digos = bath
  • dumanon = come
  • dutdut = fur, body hair
  • duyaw = yellow
  • buneng = bladed tool / sword
  • gasto = spend
  • ganus = unripe
  • gaw-at = reach
  • gayyem = friend
  • gayut = old
  • garaw = unruly
  • gatang = buy
  • giddan = simultaneous
  • isem = smile
  • ikkan = to give
  • ikit = aunt
  • ili = town
  • iggem = holding
  • inton bigat / intono bigat = tomorrow
  • kaanakan = niece / nephew
  • kabalio = horse
  • kabsat = sibling
  • kalub = cover
  • kanayon = always
  • kasinsin = cousin
  • (ag)katawa = (to) laugh
  • kayat = want
  • kibin = hold hands
  • kigtut = startle
  • kuddot/keddel = pinch
  • kumá / komá = hoping for
  • kunig =brown
  • ina/inang/nanang = mother
  • lastog = boast/arrogant
  • lagan = light/not heavy
  • laing = intelligence
  • lakay = old man / husband
  • (ag)lako = (to) sell
  • lawa / nalawa = wide
  • lalaki = male
  • lilang = grandmother
  • lilong = grandfather
  • litteg = boil
  • lugan = vehicle
  • mabisin = hungry
  • maladaga = young, infant
  • malem = afternoon
  • manang = older sister or relative; can also be applied to women a little older than the speaker
  • mangan = eat
  • manó = cost
  • manong = older brother or relative; can also be applied to men a little older than the speaker
  • mare = female friend/mother
  • naimas = tasty/delicious/pleasurable
  • nalabbaga = red
  • nangisit = black
  • nalaing; nasirib = brilliant/intelligent/smart
  • nasam-it = sweet
  • naalsem = sour
  • napait = bitter
  • naapgad = salty
  • nagasang, naadat=spicy
  • (na)pintas = beautiful/pretty (woman)
  • nataraki, nataer = cute (man, slightly impolite connotation, but properly used on an animal, as for a rooster), usually interchanged with 'handsome'
  • nataengan = adult
  • ngato = high
  • nipis = cards
  • (nag)guapo = handsome (man)
  • utong = string beans
  • (na)rago, (na)laad, naalas = ugly
  • ngato = above/up
  • oki = vagina
  • pare = close male friend
  • padi = priest
  • (na)peggad = danger(ous)
  • (ag) perdi = (to) break/ruin/damage
  • pigis= tear
  • pigsa = strength
  • puraw = white
  • pusá= cat
  • pustaan = bet, wager
  • pimmusay(en) = died
  • rabii = night/evening
  • riing = wake up
  • rigat = hardship
  • rugi = start
  • rugit = dirt/not clean
  • rupa = face
  • ruot = weed/s
  • ruwar = outside
  • sagad = broom
  • sala = dance
  • (na)sakit = (it) hurts
  • (ag)sangit = (to) cry
  • sida = fish
  • sidaen = dish, viand
  • siit = fish bone
  • (na)singpet = kind/obedient
  • siak = me
  • suli = corner
  • (ag)surat = (to) write
  • tadem = sharpness (use for tools)
  • takaw = steal
  • takrot/tarkok = coward/afraid
  • tangken = hard (texture)
  • tata = grandfather, uncle
  • tinnag = fall down
  • tokar = music
  • torpe = stupid
  • (ag)takder = (to) stand
  • tudo = rain
  • (ag)tugaw = (to) sit
  • tugawan = anything to sit on
  • tuno = grill
  • (na)tawid = inherit(ed)
  • turog = sleep
  • ubing = child
  • unay = very much
  • uliteg = uncle
  • uray = even though/wait
  • uleg = snake
  • ulo = head
  • upa = hen
  • utong = string beans
  • utot = mouse

See also


  1. However, there are notable exceptions. The reverse is true for the vowel /u/ where it has two representations in native words. The vowel /u/ is written o when it appears in the last syllable of the word or of the root, for example kitaemonto /ki.ta.e.mun.tu/. In addition, e represents two vowels in the southern dialect: [ɛ] and [].
  2. The diphthong /ei/ is a variant of /ai/.
  3. The distinction between /o/ and /u/ is minimal.
  4. The '#' represents the start of the word boundary
  5. the symbol '' represents zero or an absence of a phoneme.
  6. Ilocano syllables always begin with a consonant onset. Words that begin with a vowel actually begin with a glottal stop ('[ʔ]'), but it is not shown in the orthography. When the glottal stop occurs within a word there are two ways it is represented. When two vowels are juxtaposed, except certain vowel combinations beginning with /i/ or /u/ which in fact imply a glide /j/ or /w/, the glottal stop is implied. Examples: buok hair [buː.ʔok], dait sew [daː.ʔit], but not ruar outside [ɾwaɾ]. However, if the previous syllable is closed (ends in a consonant) and the following syllable begins with a glottal stop, a hyphen is used to represent it, for example lab-ay bland [lab.ʔai].
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Letters in parentheses are orthographic conventions that are used.
  8. Spanish permits stress to fall on the antepenult. As a result, Ilokano will shift the stress to fall on the penult. For example, árabe an Arab becomes arábo in Ilocano.


  1. Mikael Parkvall, "Världens 100 största språk 2007" (The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007), in Nationalencyklopedin
  2. 1 2 Philippine Census, 2000. Table 11. Household Population by Ethnicity, Sex and Region: 2000
  3. 1 2 3 Elias, Jun (19 September 2012). "Iloko La Union's official language". Philippine Star. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  4. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Iloko". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  5. Ethnologue. "Language Map of Northern Philippines". Ethnologue. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  6. Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student's Handbook, Edinburgh
  7. Lewis (2013). Ethnologue Languages of the World. Retrieved from:
  8. Bellwood, Peter (1998). "Taiwan and the Prehistory of the Austronesians-speaking Peoples". Review of Archaeology 18: 39–48.
  9. Diamond, Jared M. (2000). "Taiwan's gift to the world." Nature 403 (6771): 709–10. doi:10.1038/35001685. PMID 10693781.
  10. 1 2 Galvez Rubino, Carl Ralph (2000). Ilocano Dictionary and Grammar: Ilocano-English, English-Ilocano. University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0-8248-2088-6.
  11. Lewis, M. Paul; Simmons, Gary F; Fennig, Charles D. "Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Eighteenth edition". SIL International. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  12. Rubino, Carl (2005). "Chapter Eleven: Iloko". In Adelaar, Alexander. The Austronesian Language of Asia and Madagascar. Himmelmann, Nikolaus P. Routledge. p. 326. ISBN 0-7007-1286-0.
  13. "The Non-English Speaking Population in Hawaii" (PDF). State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism Research and Economic Analysis Division. p. 4. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  14. Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (2012). Tarabay iti Ortograpia ti Pagsasao nga Ilokano. Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino. p. 25.
  15. Panfilio D. Catacataca (April 30, 2015). "The Commission on the Filipino Language". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  16. 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, (Article XIV, Section 7)
  17. Congress of the Philippines (May 15, 2013). "Republic Act No. 10533". Government of the Philippines. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  18. Delon Porcalla (May 16, 2013). "K-12 for all, use of mother tongue now law". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  19. Vanoverbergh, Morice (1955). Iloco Grammar Catholic School Press/Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Baguio City, Philippines. 348pp.
  20. Gelade, George P. (1993). Ilokano English Dictionary. CICM Missionaries/Progressive Printing Palace, Quezon City, Philippines. 719pp.
  21. Vanoverbergh, Morice (1956). Iloko-English Dictionary:Rev. Andres Carro's Vocabulario Iloco-Español. Catholic School Press, Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Baguio City, Philippines. 370pp.
  22. Vanoverbergh, Morice (1968). English-Iloko Thesaurus. Catholic School Press, Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Baguio City, Philippines. 365pp.

External links

Iloko edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Ilocano phrasebook.
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