Languages of Bicol
Despite being mutually unintelligible, the four languages are all called Bikol (and to a lesser extent, Bicolano) by their speakers. This situation roughly mirrors that of the Visayan languages where roughly three dozen speech varieties are called Bisaya by their speakers. In both cases, more specific names based on the name of a municipality or province are also used.
Bikol languages are classified under the Central Philippine language family of which Tagalog and the Visayan languages are a part of.
The four varieties are outlined below.
main|Northern Bikol language North Coastal Standard Bikol (Ethnologue name: Coastal Bikol) or simply, Northern Bikol, is spoken by over 2.4 million people with native speakers in various areas in all the provinces of the Bicol Region: Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, and Masbate.
Northern Bikol is further divided into three main dialect groups:
- Central Standard - Spoken primarily in Naga City. Also recognized and understood in Daet, Camarines Norte; many other areas in Camarines Sur; San Pascual, Masbate on Burias Island; also heard in Legazpi City and other cities along the eastern coast of Albay; and northeastern Sorsogon.
- Partido - Spoken in the Camarines Sur municipalities of Ocampo, Goa, Tigaon, Lagonoy, Sagñay, and San Jose.
- South Catanduanes - Spoken in the southern end of Catanduanes. See Languages of Bicol (Catanduanes)
The dialect of the city of Naga, called Bikol Central, is considered the standard language and is used in media and mass communication.
Southern Coastal and Inland Bikol (Ethnologue name: Inland Bikol), or simply, Southern Bikol, is spoken by over 1.1 million people living mainly in the southwestern area of Camarines Sur as well as parts of western Albay and western Sorsogon.
Southern Bikol is further divided into five main dialect groups:
- Rinconada - Spoken in Iriga City, Baao, Balatan, Baao, and Nabua, Camarines Sur.
- Buhinon - Spoken in Buhi, Camarines Sur.
- Libon - Spoken in Libon, Albay.
- West Miraya - Spoken in Ligao City, Polangui, Oas, and Pio Duran, Albay.
- East Miraya - Spoken in Guinobatan, Camalig, Daraga, Jovellar, Albay and in Donsol and Pilar, Sorsogon.
The portmanteau term Bisakol refers to Visayan languages spoken in the Bikol region. These languages are close to Waray-Waray and Hiligaynon but have a lot of influence from other Bikol languages. There are roughly 850,000 Bisakol speakers, including roughly 530,000 Masbatenyo ones.
The three main varieties are:
- Central Sorsogon - Spoken in Sorsogon City, Castilla, Casiguran, and Juban, Sorsogon.
- Southern Sorsogon - Spoken in Gubat, Barcelona, Bulusan, Santa Magdalena, Matnog, Irosin, and Bulan, Sorsogon.
- Masbatenyo - Spoken in Masbate City, Mobo, Uson, Dimasalang, Palanas, Masbate, Aroroy on the island of Masbate, all of Ticao Island, and Claveria on the southern half of Burias Island.
The Bicol is also home to other languages. Tagalog, for example, is spoken in most of Camarines Norte and in the town of Del Gallego, Camarines Sur. Hiligaynon is spoken in the southwestern Masbate towns of Balud and Mandaon while Cebuano is spoken in the southeastern Masbate towns of Placer, Cataingan, Pio V. Corpuz, and Esperanza.
- Ethnologue report for Central Bicolano
- Ethnologue classification tree for Bicolano
- Bansa.org Bikol Dictionary
- Bicolano.org Bicol Portal