Aklanweb                       an online review of 
        Aklanon history and culture

L A N G U A G E 

        The native tongue of Aklan is called Aklanon. Whether it is a dialect or a language in its own right is a matter of judgment and taste.

        To call it either a language or a dialect is also a political question. Language constitutes identity. It forms the fiber of the people's pride. In effect, is one an Aklanon because one speaks Aklanon, or because one lives in Aklan, or because one is from Aklan?

        Moreover, the decision to call it either a language or a dialect also entails the question of superiority or inferiority. Is Aklanon simply a dialect because it is not the tongue of power in the region?

        If you consider it a dialect, one important question arises: a dialect of which particular language?

        Dialects under one particular language should be mutually intelligible. Is Aklanon intelligible to an Ilonggo (who speaks Ilonggo, the leading variant of Hiligaynon) or an Antiqueño (who speaks Kinaray-a)?

        Over time, a dialect evolves into a language.

        According to David Paul Zorc and Beato de la Cruz, Aklanon is a dialect which grew out of the West Visayan language.  Their formulation, of course, comes from a purely linguistic perspective which seeks to show the evolution of dialects and  languages. The chart below is reproduced from their text. (See References.)


c. 35000 B.C.
c. 1300 B.C.
c. 200 B.C.
Southern Philippine
c. 200 A.D.
West Visayan
c. 700 A.D.

|             |          |          |          |
|             |          |          |          |
 Romblon         |    Aklanon     |         Ilonggo
  Odionganon         Kinaray-a

       Aklanons usually differentiate themselves from other speakers through a particular linguistic peculiarity: the voiced velar fricative, or the ea--ei--eo-eu sound.

        Examples:   ba-eay  for house

                           ka-eag  for soul/spirit

    Two classic examples of Aklanon sentences are the following: 

   " Ro anwang gaeugaeog sa eugan-eugan."   
       (The carabao wallows in the mud hole.)
"Ro kaeamay gakoeueapot sa kaeaha."   
      (The brown sugar is sticking in the pan.)

    (If you wish to hear how the words in these two sentences are pronounced, click here. )

        Citing a respected linguist, Zorc and de la Cruz stated: "This sound is certainly not unique since it is found in at least five other Philippine dialects and also in other languages around the world."