Mamanwa language

Native to Philippines
Region Agusan del Norte and Surigao provinces, Mindanao
Native speakers
(5,200 cited 1990 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 mmn
Glottolog mama1275[2]

The Mamanwa language is a Central Philippine language spoken in the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Surigao in Mindanao, Philippines. It had about 5,000 speakers in 1990, mostly Mamanwa.

Mamanwa is a grammatically conservative language, retaining a three-way deictic distinction in its articles which elsewhere is only preserved in some of the Batanic languages.[3]

Before the arrival of Mamanwa speakers in central Samar Island, there had been an earlier group of Negritos on the island (Lobel 2013:92). According to Lobel (2013), the Samar Agta may have switched to Waray-Waray or Northern Samarenyo, or even possibly Mamanwa.

Also, Francisco Combes, a Spanish friar, had observed the presence of Negritos in the Zamboanga Peninsula “in the Misamis strip” in 1645, although no linguistic data had ever been collected (Lobel 2013:93).


  1. Mamanwa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Mamanwa". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Ross, Malcolm (2005). "The Batanic languages in relation to the early history of the Malayo-Polynesian subgroup of Austronesian." Journal of Austronesian Studies 1/2:1-24.

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