Mangyat Kaw Mag-Binutuanon?
Butuanon belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian languages, one of the world’s largest language families, both in terms of numbers of languages (more than 1,200) and in geographical spread (from Madagascar in Africa to Easter Island near the coast of South America.
In relat…ion to other Philippine languages, Butuanon belongs to the Southern branch of Visayan languages, and the Visayan languages in turn belongs to the Southern branch of Philippines languages (to which the Mindanao, Bicolano, and Tagalog languages also belong). As such, most of the words in its vocabulary are cognate to the words found in other Visayan languages. Its grammatical rules are also similar to its fellow Visayan languages Surigaonon and Cebuano.
There is a common misconception that Butuanon is a dialect, but in fact it is a language.
Dialects are defined by international linguistic standards as mutually intelligible versions of a language. For example, the common medium of communication in Baranggay Babag Butuan City is mutually intelligible with the one used in Talakugon Municipality; thus both are dialects of the same language, which is called Butuanon by international linguists. Butuanon as a language is at par with the other 160 or so Philippine languages, including Tagalog, and the rest of the world’s languages. To call Butuanon a dialect does not do justice to this rich and complex language.
Language is the main medium by which humans communicate ideas and feelings to each other. Consequently, language is not only the main transmitter of human culture, but it also forms the most important part of culture. Without language, human society and culture would not exist at all.
Language also has another role that is often overlooked. Each language is shared by a cultural community, and forms the main basis for the existence of such a community, which is called an ethnolinguistic people. If the language of an ethnolinguistic people dies, so does this people. For example, if no can speak the Butuanon language, there will be no Butuanon ethnolinguistic people.
Children are born with the ability to learn any language, but they usually (sic), this is their parents’ first language—a language that has been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years.
There are at present more than 6,000 distinct languages and peoples of the world. Each week, one or two of them die out, usually due to years of discriminatory policies of governments that promote only the language of their capitals and centers. These languages differ in pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. Each language offers unique concepts and ways of expressing them, and thus unique perspectives (points of view), besides defining the very peoples of the world. Each of them is priceless and irreplaceable, a treasure that humanity can hardly afford to lose.
Any language with less than 300,000 speakers is regarded by international linguists as endangered. The Butuanon language at present can only be spoken by less than 1,000 youngsters in Butuan itself. If the next generations of Butuanons are not taught Butuanon in school, that will be the end of the Butuanon ethnolinguistic people.
Butuan Global Forum
The main purpose of this syllabus is to preserve the priceless and irreplaceable Butuanon language that has defined the Butuanon people for more than a thousand years.
Two important points on the pronunciation of Butuanon words:
1. The student should take note that Butuanon has prolonged vowels such as ââ, ûû, ôô, îî, which are pronounced as prolonged sounds of the shorter vowels. (This is a characteristic it shares with Cebu City and northern dialects of Cebuano, and perhaps other Philippine languages, but not with other Visayan languages such as Hiligaynon and Karay-a, and also not with Tagalog.)
These are true phonemes, not diphthongs (two vowels pronounced in sequence.) This has to be clarified because most Philippine language syllabuses aim to teach Tagalog, which does not have these prolonged vowels. Thus Tagalogs pronounce ‘aa’ as ’a-a’.
Example 1: Tagalogs prononounce ‘tsaa’ as ’tsa-a’, while Butuanons and Northern Cebuanos pronounce it as ’tsââ’.
Example 2: Tagalogs pronounce ‘oo’ (yes) as ‘o-o’, while Butuanons pronounce it as ôô. In this syllabus, we will follow the Butuanon pronunciation.
2. Another important point is that the ‘L’ or ‘l’ phoneme in other Visayan languages is usually not pronounced in Butuanon cognate words if it occurs in the middle or at the end of a word..
Example 1: The Butuanon cognate word for the Cebuano ‘balay’ is ‘bâây’ (house).
Example 2: The Butuanon cognate word for the Cebuano ‘tambal’ is ‘tambââ’ (medicine).
Example 3: The Butuanon cognate word for the Cebuano ‘katumbal’ is ‘katumbââ’ (pepper).
Butuanon Syllabus – Lesson One
Butuan Global Forum
DESCRIPTIVE, CLASSIFICATION and EQUATIONAL SENTENCES
A Butuanon sentence is made up of COMMENT and TOPIC. The TOPIC specifies what the speaker is going to talk about.
TOPIC MARKERS indicate the TOPIC. For a PERSONAL NAME (PN) the topic markers are SI/SINDA. For a NON-PERSONAL NAME (NPN) the topic markers are ANG/ANG MGA.
PERSONAL NAME (PN) refers to the names of persons or titles that are substituted for the names of persons. SI is the singular topic marker and SINDA is the plural form.
Names: Jo – Maestro si Jo. Jo is a teacher.
Bobit – Niwang sinda Bobit. Bobit and his companions are thin.
Titles: Doktor – Buotan si Doktor. Doctor is kind.
Attorney – Maaslag sinda Attorney. Attorney and his companions are big.
NON-PERSONAL NAME (NPN) refers to words that are not names of persons or titles substituted for names of persons, and to groups of words, phrases and sentences, which function as a noun. ANG is the singular topic marker and ANG MGA is the plural form.
Ginoo – Maluluy-on ang Gino-o. God is merciful.
Pangoo – Si Lino ang Pangoo. Lino is the President.
Bata – Tambok ang mga bata. The children are fat.
Kang Cory – Patsada ang kang Cory. Cory’s is pretty.
Kaaba ni Cris – Patsada ang kaaba ni Cris. Cris’ dress is pretty.
Yaton lamisa – Madiyaw ang yaton lamisa. The one on the table is good.
Either SI or SINDA always marks the TOPIC, unless it is a pronoun (personal or demonstrative) in which case the TOPIC FORMS of these pronouns are used.
The topics are indicated in the following sentences.
Maaslag siya. (Personal Pronoun) He/She is big.
Imo iyan. (Demonstrative Pronoun) That is yours.
NOTE: the topic pronouns are also referred to as focus pronouns. Pronouns and FOCUS will be explained later. Also the English equivalent of the third person singular pronoun SIYA is both he and she. He will be used as the English equivalent throughout the books.
The COMMENT says something about the topic. The COMMENT usually begins the sentence. A sentence whose comment is not a verb is a NON-VERBAL SENTENCE. While there are many types of non-verbal sentences, this lesson emphasizes three types of non-verbal sentences:
DESCRIPTIVE SENTENCES – when the comment is an adjective describing the topic.
Tambok ang bata. The child is fat.
Niwang sinda Maria. Maria and her companions are thin.
Mahaaba ang tao. The man is tall.
Dakwa ang lamisa. Table is big.
CLASSIFICATION SENTENCES – when a noun is the comment of the topic describes the topic or identifies as to type or class.
Maestro si Rolly. Rolly is a teacher.
Mga estudyante sila. They are students.
Doktor ang tao. The man is a doctor.
Magbasakay sinda Boyet. Boyet and his companions are rice farmers.
EQUATIONAL SENTENCES – when there are two topics, which are equal to each other, serve as comments for each other.
Si Rolly ang maestro. The teacher is Rolly.
Si Tiron ang amigo ko. Tiron is my friend.
Sila ang mga estudyante. They are the students.
NOTE: In equational sentences there must be agreement in the use of plural or singular form of the two topics. In descriptive and classification sentences if the topic is plural, the comment may be made plural by putting mga before the comment but it does not have to be plural.
Niwang sinda Ryan. = Mga niwang sinda Ryan.
Estudyante sila. = Mga estudyante sila.
NEGATION. The negation of these non-verbal sentences is made by putting DII before the comment.
Tambok ang bata. Dii tambok ang bata.
Maestro si Rolly. Dii maestro si Rolly.
Si Tiron ang amigo ko. Dii si Tiron ang amigo ko.
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