Malaweg language

Native to Philippines
Region Luzon
Native speakers
(14,500 cited 1990 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog mala1534[2]

Malaweg (Malaueg) is spoken by the Malaweg people in the northern part of the Philippines. Pace Ethnologue, it is not a dialect of the Itawis language.[3]

Malaweg is a mostly spoken in the Northern Cordillera Mountain Range region and some in the Province of Cagayan, with the majority in the town of Rizal. Ninety-eight percent of the people living in Rizal are Malaweg-speaking, and the town is known as "The Premier Town of the Malaweg".


A popular word-of-mouth history claims that "malaueg" was coined after a thirsty Spanish friar asked a native where the water he drank (that made him sick) was from. The native uttered the word "ueg" which supposedly meant "fresh water" which the friar responded by calling the area mal (bad) ueg (fresh water). The word is more likely a pidgin of the word "bad water" or "mal-agua" in Spanish. The area where Rizal is located used to be the center of Spanish missionary in the area during the Spanish Regime in the Philippines. It may also have something to do with the river, a tributary of the Cagayan River, that surrounds the town center or Poblacion, and runs along the entire valley where Rizal sits, because of its tendency to flood during Monsoon Season, cutting off villages, destroying crops and livelihood, bringing diseases, and causing deaths. The Spanish influence is very prominent in the Malaueg dialect which consists of old Spanish (Castilian) nouns and verbs.


  1. Itawit at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Malaweg". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Hammarström (2015) Ethnologue 16/17/18th editions: a comprehensive review: online appendices

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