Bikol languages

This article is about the various sociolinguistic dialects of Bikol. For the standardized dialect of Bikol based on the Canaman variant, see Central Bikol language.
Bicol Region
Linguistic classification:


ISO 639-2 / 5: bik
Glottolog: biko1240[1]


Geographic extent of Bikol languages according to Ethnologue
  Bikol proper
Geographic distribution of major Bikol languages and dialects across Bicol region; classification based on Lobel (2013)

The Bikol languages are a group of Central Philippine languages spoken mostly on the Bicol Peninsula in the island of Luzon, the neighbouring island province of Catanduanes and the island of Burias of Masbate. There is a dialect continuum between the Visayan languages and the Bikol languages; the two together are called the Bisakol languages.

Internal classification


The languages of Bikol grouped according to Ethnologue are:

McFarland (1974)

Curtis McFarland gives the following classification for the Bikol languages.[2]

Bikol Proper 
 North Catanduanes 

Pandan (North Catanduanes)

 Inland Bikol 

Iriga (Riŋkonāda)


Buhi (Buhi'non)


Oas (West Miraya)

Daraga (East Miraya)

 Coastal Bikol 

Naga (Standard Bikol), Legazpi, and Partido

Virac (South Catanduanes)

San Pascual (Northern Burias Island)


Northern Sorsogon

Southern Sorsogon



Lobel (2000)

While McFarland (1974) splits Bikol into 11 dialects, Lobel (2000) splits Bikol into 12 different dialects (including Partido Bikol, which McFarland does not differentiate) and 4 main branches.[3]

  1. Central Standard – Spoken primarily in Naga City. Also recognized (and sometimes understood) in Daet, Camarines Norte and many other areas of Camarines Sur; San Pascual, Masbate on Burias Island; Legazpi City and other cities along the eastern coast of Albay, southwestern coast of Catanduanes, and northeastern Sorsogon.
    1. Daet area variant
    2. Naga City area variant
    3. Eastern Standard Bikol – Spoken in and around Legazpi City, Catanduanes southern town of San Andress and Caramoran and North Sorsogon
  2. Partido – Spoken in the Camarines Sur municipalities of Ocampo, Goa, Tigaon, Lagonoy, Sagñay, and San Jose. This dialect has a mellow intonation and is heavily influenced by Riŋkonāda.
  3. South Catanduanes – Spoken in the southern half of Catanduanes.
    1. Virac area variant
    2. Bato area variant
    3. San Miguel variant (transitional to North Catanduanes)
  1. Riŋkonāda – Spoken primarily in Iriga City, Baao; Bula; Balatan; Baao; and Nabua, Camarines Sur. Also in Ocampo, Buhi and Pili in Camarines Sur and in parts of Polangui, Albay.
    1. Lowland Riŋkonāda dialect (lacks /ə/ vowel)
    2. Highland Riŋkonāda dialect (with /ə/ vowel)
  2. Buhinon – Spoken in Buhi, Camarines Sur. Contains features from both Bikol of Polangui and Bikol of Iriga.
  3. Libon – Spoken in Libon, Albay.
  4. West Miraya – Spoken in Ligao City, Polangui, Oas, and Pio Duran, Albay.
  5. East Miraya – Spoken in Guinobatan; Camalig; Daraga; Jovellar, Albay; Donsol and Pilar, Sorsogon.
    1. Central (Guinobatan)
    2. Far East (Camalig, Daraga)
    3. Southeast (Jovellar, Albay, Donsol, Pilar)
  1. Central Sorsogon – Spoken in Sorsogon City; Castilla; Casiguran; and Juban, Sorsogon.
    1. Castilla Sorsogon (mixed with Legazpi Bikol)
    2. Casiguran-Juban variant
  2. Southern Sorsogon also known as Gubat language – Spoken in Gubat; Barcelona; Bulusan; Santa Magdalena; Matnog; Irosin; and Bulan, Sorsogon.
  3. Masbateño – 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.
    1. Standard Masbateño
    2. Ticao Island variant

Some dialects of Southern Bikol have the close central unrounded vowel /ɨ/ as a reflex of Proto-Austronesian *e. However, Proto-Austronesian *e is realized as /o/ in Libon. Two Bikol dialects have unique additional consonants, namely Southern Catanduanes, which has an interdental lateral consonant /l̟/ (also transcribed as l̪͆ ),[4][5] and Buhi-non, which has the voiced velar fricative /ɣ/.[6]



  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Bikol". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. McFarland, Curtis D. The Dialects of the Bikol Area. Ph.D. dissertation. New Haven: Dept. of Linguistics, Yale University, 1974.
  3. Lobel, Jason William, Tria, Wilmer Joseph S., and Carpio, Jose Maria Z. 2000. An satuyang tataramon / A Study of the Bikol Language. Naga City, Philippines: Lobel & Tria Partnership, Co.: Holy Rosary Minor Seminary.
  6. Lobel, Jason. 2009. "Bikol". In Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World, 158-161. Oxford: Elsevier.

General references

External links

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