Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia
Eastern Sabah, Malaysia
Orchid Island, Taiwan
|ISO 639-2 / 5||phi|
The Philippine languages, per Adelaar and Himmelmann (2005)
In linguistics, the Philippine languages are a proposal by R. David Paul Zorc (1986) and Robert Blust (1991; 2005) that all the languages of the Philippines and northern Sulawesi--except Sama-Bajaw (languages of the "Sea Gypsies") and a few languages of Palawan--form a subfamily of Austronesian languages. Although the Philippines is near the center of Austronesian expansion from Formosa, there is little linguistic diversity among the approximately 150 Philippine languages, suggesting that earlier diversity has been erased by the spread of the ancestor of the modern Philippine languages.
One of the very first explicit classifications of a "Philippine" grouping based on genetic affiliation was in 1906 by Frank Blake, who placed them as a subdivision of the "Malay branch" within Malayo-Polynesian (MP), which at that time was considered as a family. Blake however encompasses every language within the geographic boundaries of the Philippine archipelago to be under a single group. Formal arguments in support of a specific "Proto-Philippines" were followed by Matthew Charles in 1974, Teodoro Llamzon in 1966 and 1975, and Llamzon and Teresita Martin in 1976. Blust (1991) two decades later updates this based on Zorc's (1986) inclusion of Yami, and the Sangiric, Minahasan, and Gorontalo groups.
The genetic unity of a Philippines group has been rejected particularly by Lawrence Reid. This arose with problems in reconstructing Philippine subgroups within MP (Pawley, 1999; Ross, 2005). In a recent state-of-the art on the classification of Philippine languages, he provides multidisciplinary arguments on the field's methodological and theoretical shortcomings since Conant's description in the early 1900's. This includes Malayo-Polynesian archeology (Spriggs, 2003; 2007; 2011), and Bayesian phylogenetic analyses (Gray et al., 2009) substantiating the multiplicity of historical diffusion and divergence of languages across the archipelago. He suggests that the primary branches under this widely acknowledged Philippine group should instead be promoted as primary branches under Malayo-Polynesian. Malcolm Ross (2005) earlier also noted that the Batanic languages, constituting Yami, Itbayat, and Ivatan, should in fact be considered as a primary MP branch. In an evaluation of the lexical innovations among the Philippine languages, Alexander Smith (2017) regards the evidence for a Philippine subgroup as weak, and concludes that "they may represent more than one primary subgroup or perhaps an innovation-defined linkage". Certain arguments in support of these anlyses are echoed in a recent paper by Marian Klamer (2018), which challenges arguments on the history of Malayo-Polynesian languages throughout Island Southeast Asia as a monolithic phenomenon. Evidences from linguistic reconstructions, archeological findings, and human genetics do not always converge in this locus suggesting multidirectional, complex human dispersal and contact processes at micro levels. It was also suggested that the relationships and development of these languages as far as what is known and unknown should warrant an alternative to the traditional tree-like structure, which is indeed simplistic and insufficient to reflect the histories of the region where Philippine languages are nestled.
The Philippine group is proposed to have originated from Proto-Malayo-Polynesian and ultimately from Proto-Austronesian. There have been several proposals as to the composition within the group, but the most widely accepted groupings today is the consensus classifications by Blust (1991; 2005) and Reid (2017); however, both disagree on the existence of a Philippine group as a single genetic unit.
An earlier classification by Zorc (1979) is presented below. From approximately north to south, a Philippine group according to his analysis of previous reconstructions are divided into two main subgroups, Northern or "Cordilleran" and Southern or "Sulic". Note that the groupings herein no longer reflect widely accepted classifications or naming conventions today. For example South Extension nowadays reflects the widely established Central Luzon, and North Mangyan within Cordilleran is not supported by later reconstructions; the group containing Yami, Ivatan and Itbayat is called "Bashiic" in Zorc (1977) and remains generally accepted.
From approximately north to south, the Philippine languages are divided into 12 subgroups (including unclassified languages):
Comparison chart between several selected Philippine languages spoken from north to south with Proto-Austronesian first for comparison.
|Batanic (Bashiic)||Yami (Tao)||ása||dóa (raroa)||tílo (tatlo)||apat (ápat)||lima||tao||vahay||chito||niyoy||araw||vayo||yaten||ango||apoy|
|South Mindanao (Bilic)||Tboli||sotu||lewu||tlu||fat||lima||tau||gunu||ohu||lefo||kdaw||lomi||tekuy||tedu||ofih|