Tausug Language
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Tausug Language
Bahasa S?g
Native toPhilippines, Malaysia
Region-- Spoken throughout the Sulu Archipelago and eastern Sabah
-- Also spoken in Zamboanga City
EthnicityTaus?g people
Filipinos in Malaysia
Native speakers
1.1 million (2000)[1]
Latin (Malay alphabet)
Arabic (Jawi)
Official status
Official language in
Regional language in the Philippines
Regulated byKomisyon sa Wikang Filipino
Language codes
Tausug language map.png
  Areas where Tausug is the majority language
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Tausug (Tausug: Bahasa S?g, Malay: Bahasa Suluk) is a regional language spoken in the province of Sulu in the Philippines, in the eastern area of the state of Sabah, Malaysia by the Taus?g people.

It is widely spoken in the Sulu Archipelago (Tawi-Tawi), Zamboanga Peninsula (Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga City), Southern Palawan and Malaysia (eastern Sabah). Tausug and Chavacano are the only Philippine languages spoken on the island of Borneo.

The Tausug language is very closely related to the Surigaonon language of the provinces Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur, and to the Butuanon language of northeastern Mindanao.


The name of the language in Tausug is bahasa S?g ("language of Sulu"). Tausug (Tausug: tau S?g, "people of Sulu") is derived from two words: tau ("person") and s?g ("current"), presumably referring to their economic livelihood that depends on the strong currents of the Sulu Sea, where they used to trans-navigate as fishermen, pearl divers and traders.

Even today, the Sulu Sea is still the strategic trade route of the southern Philippines and the nearby ASEAN nations. As early as the 10th century, the trade route between Sulu and China and North Borneo is believed to have been already flourishing. The people in the area were known as the "people of the current", the literal translation of "Taus?g".



Tausug Alphabet
Letter A B D G H I J K L M
Name Alip b?' d?l g?' h?' ? j?m k?p l?m m?m
IPA /a/ /b/, /?/ /d/ /?/, /?/ /h/, /?/ /i/ /d?/ /k/ /l/ /m/
Letter N Ng P R S T U W Y '
Name n?n ng?' p?' r?' s?n t?' ? w?w y?' hamja
IPA /n/ /?/ /p/ /r/, /?/ /s/ /t/ /u/ /w/ /j/ /?/


Features: Gemination of all non-glottal consonants

  • b [b] or [?] when between vowels[4]
  • d [d]
  • g [?] or [?] when between vowels[4]
  • h [h] or [?] when between vowels[3]
  • j [d?]
  • k [k]
  • l [l]
  • m [m]
  • n [n]
  • ng [?]
  • p [p]
  • r [r] or [?] when before a nasal consonant[3]
  • s [s]
  • t [t]
  • w [w]
  • y [j]


Features: Vowel lengthening (e.g. b?y 'house'). Stress: Nonphonemic stress on final syllable.

  • a/? [a,?,?] and [a:]
  • i/? [i,?] and [i:]
  • u/? [u,?] and [u:]
  • ü [?]
  • There is also an unstressed sound [?][3].
  • The letters o and e are used in loan words and names from other languages.

Diphthongs: aw, uy, ay, iw[5]


It is alleged that the Tausug language was previously written in a Baybayin-related script called "Luntarsug."[6] The former Sultan of Sulu appears to have confirmed this view with physical evidence. The Taus?g language was previously written with the Arabic alphabet. The script used was inspired by the use of Jawi in writing the Malay language.

An example of the Arabic alphabet in writing the Taus?g language:

The Arabic script used to write the Tausug language differs in some aspects to the script used for the Arabic language and in the Jawi script used for Malay languages. One of the main differences is in the way that word-initial vowels are written.

In Arabic, /in/ is (); in Jawi (Malay), it is (). In Tausug, it is (). The Tausug Arabic script utilises the letter y?' with a hamza (?) to represent a short vowel. If a kasra () is added, it becomes an 'i' sound. If a fatha () is added, it becomes an 'a' sound. If a damma () is added, it becomes a 'u' sound.


Tausug Alphabet - Arabic Script
Character Isolated Initial Medial Final Name
? ? ? alip
? ? ? b?'
? ? ? t?'
? ? ? j?m
? ? d?l
? ? r?'
? ? ? s?n
? ? ? gayn
? ? ng?'
? ? ? p?'
? ? ? k?p
? ? ? g?p
? ? ? l?m
? ? ? m?m
? ? ? ? n?n
? ? w?w
? ? ? ? h?'
? ? ? ? y?'
? ? ? hamja
? ? alip with hamja above
? ? w?w with hamja above
? ? ? y?' with hamja above
? ? l?m alip



Personal life

  Absolutive Ergative Oblique
1st person singular aku ku käku'
1st person dual kita natu', ta katu'
2nd person singular ikaw, kaw mu kaymu
3rd person singular siya niya kaniya
1st person plural inclusive kitaniyu natu'niyu, taniyu kätu'niyu, kätu'natu'
1st person plural exclusive kami namu kämu'
2nd person plural kamu niyu kaniyu
3rd person plural sila nila kanila


Enclitic Particles


Interrogative words


English Bahasa Sug
Who? Hisiyu?
What? Unu?
Where? Hawnu? or Hariin?
Why? Mayta'?
When? (future) Ku'nu?
When? (past) Ka'nu?
How? (process) Biya'diin?
How? (condition) Maunu-unu?


English Bahasa Sug
Who is your father? Hisiyu in ama' mu?
What is he doing? Unu in hiyhinang niya?
Where are you? Hawnu kaw? or Hariin kaw?
Why are you crying? Mayta' kaw nagtangis?
When are you arriving? (future) Ku'nu kaw dumatung?
When did you arrived? (past) Ka'nu kaw dimatung?
How did you know that? (process) Biya'diin ka ingat mu?
How is Hamid? (condition) Maunu-unu na hi Hamid?


English Tausug Latin Script Tausug Arabic Script
What is your name? Unu in ng?n mu? ? ?
My name is Muhammad In ng?n ku Muhammad ?
How are you? Maunu-unu nakaw?
I am good Marayaw da isab ?
Where is Ahmad? Hawnu hi Ahmad?
He is in the house Ha b?y siya
Thank you Magsukul

Loan words

Many Tausug words derive from the Arabic language.

Some examples of Arabic words in Tausug are

Tausug Word Meaning (Tausug) Arabic Word Pronunciation Meaning (Arabic)
Adab manners adab manners
Ahirat Hereafter ? ?khirah hereafter
Ajayb amazing ? 'aj?b amazing
Akkal intelligence 'Aql intellect
Alam universe ? '?lam world
All?h God ? All?h God
Am?nat message am?nah trust
Ammal use 'amal to make
Awal origin ? awwal first
Awliya ascetic awliy?' ascetics
Ayat verse ?yah verse
Ayb shame 'ayb shame
Barawi Desert robber ? badaw? bedouin
Bat?l unclean ? b?til void
Bil?l Muezzin/caller to prayer ? Bil?l Bilal ibn Rabah
Daawa excuse/alibi ? da'wah invitation
Duhul extremity ? dukh?l entrance
Daira city d?'irah area
Dayyus cuckold dayy?th cuckold
Dunya earth ? duny? world
Duwaa prayer ? du'? prayer/supplication
Habal news khabar news
Hadas impurity hadath impurity
Hak?ka birth ritual aq?qah birth ritual
Hak?kat truth haq?qah truth
Hat?b speaker ? khat?b speaker
Hawa Eve ? Haw?' Eve
Hid?yat announcement hid?yah guidance
Hikmat wisdom ? hikmah wisdom
Hukum judge hukm ruling
Humus alms khums fifth
Hutba' sermon ? khutbah sermon
Hurup sound of a letter ? hur?f letters
Ibil?s demon Ibl?s devil
Ihil?s sincerity ikhl?s sincerity
Ijin blessing idhn permission
Ilmu' knowledge 'ilm knowledge
Im?n forbearingness ?m?n faith
Intiha' end intih? end
Ir?dat determination ir?dah determination
Isl?m Islam Isl?m Islam
Istigapar to beg pardon ? istighf?r to beg pardon
Instinja pure ? istinj?' to clean one's self
Jab?r Psalms ? zab?r Psalms
J?hil foolish ? j?hil ignorant
Jak?t tithe ? zak?h tithe
Jam?a congregation jam?'ah congregation
Jam?n clock ? zam?n time
Jan?ja bier jan?zah funeral
J?t appearance dh?t self
Jayt?n olive zayt?n olive
Jin spirit jinn demon
Jin? adultery zin? adultery
Juba garment ? jubbah garment
Jubul anus dubr anus
Junub pollution ? jun?b dirty
Jurriyat lineage ? dhurriyyah offspring
Kahawa coffee ? qahwah coffee
K?pil disbeliever ? k?fir disbeliever
Kar?mat miracle kar?mah miracle
Kaww?t power ? quwwah force
Kubul grave ? qub?r graves
Kudarat Power of God ? qudrah ability
Kulb?n sacrifice qurb?n sacrifice
Kuppiya' male head covering k?ffiyah kefiyyeh
Kupul disbelief kufr disbelief
Lidjiki' blessing rizq sustenance
Maana meaning ? ma'nah meaning
Magrib sunset ? maghrib sunset
Magsukul Thanks shukr thanks
Mahluk human makl?q created
Maksud purpose maqs?d intended
Makbul fulfilled maqb?l accepted
Malak Beautiful malak Angel
Maruhum deceased marh?m deceased
Masrik east ? mashriq east
Matakaddam parable mutaqaddam preceding
Mayat corpse mayt dead
Mujijat mystery mu'jizah miracle
Mulid pupil ? mur?d pupil
Munapik hypocrite mun?fiq hypocrite
Murtad apostate ? murtad apostate
Muskil uncommon ? mushkil problem
Mustahak lawful owner mustahaqq deserving
Mustajab occurred mustaj?b answered
Muwallam scholar mu'allim teacher
Nab? prophet nab? prophet
Najal promise nadhar vow/promise
Najjis filth ? n?jis filthy
Napas breath nafas breathe
Napsu desire nafs ego/desire
Nasihat advice nas?hah advice
Paham familiarity fahm understanding
Pardu' legislation fard compulsory
Piil action fi'l action
Pikil think fikr thought
Pir'awn Pharaoh fir'awn Pharaoh
Rahmat blessing ? rahmah mercy
Ras?l messenger ? ras?l messenger
Ruku' bow ? ruk?' bowing
Rukun precept rukn pillar
Sabab because sabab reason/cause
Sahabat follower sah?bah companions
Sayt?n Satan shayt?n Satan
Sual discussion ? su'?l question
Subu dawn subh dawn
Sunnat female circumcision ? sunnah tradition/sunnah
Takabbul arrogant takabbur arrogance
Takw?m calendar taqw?m calendar
Tallak divorce ? tal?q divorce
Tarasul Tausug poem tar?sul correspondence
Tasbi prayer beads tasb?h praise
Ummul age 'amr age
Wajib compulsory ? w?jib compulsory
Wakap pause waqf pause
Waktu time waqt time

Tausug words derived from Sanskrit

Tausug Word Meaning (Tausug) Sanskrit Word Pronunciation Meaning (Sanskrit)
Guru teacher ? guru teacher
Naga dragon n?ga serpent
?gama religion ?gama religion
Lahu' eclipse ? r?hu eclipse
Lupa appearance r?pa appearance
Dukka grieve ? du?kha suffering
Sutla' silk s?tra to sew/thread


Tausug Cebuano Malay Kadazan-Dusun Javanese
1 - Isa (Hambook) usa satu iso siji
2 - Duwa duha dua duo loro
3 - T? tulo tiga tolu telu
4 - Upat upat empat apat papat
5 - Lima lima lima limo limo
6 - Unum unom enam onom enem
7 - Pitu pito tujuh turu pitu
8 - Walu walo lapan walu wolu
9 - Siyam siyam sembilan siam songo
10 - Hangpu' napu'o sepuluh hopod sepuloh
Tausug Cebuano Malay
11 - Hangpuh tag isa napulo'g usa sebelas
20 - Kawha'an kawhaan dua puluh
30 - Katlu'an katloan tiga puluh
40 - Ka'patan kap'atan empat puluh
50 - Kay'man kalim'an lima puluh
60 - Ka'numan kanuman enam puluh
70 - Kapituwan kapitoan tujuh puluh
80 - Kawaluhan kawalohan delapan puluh
90 - Kasiyaman kasiyaman sembilan puluh
100 - Hanggattus usa ka gatus se ratus
1,000 - Ha'ngibu usa ka libo se ribu

See also



  1. ^ Tausug at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Tausug". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ a b c d see Tan, Evangeline K. (1967). "The phonology of Tausug: a descriptive analysis". open.library.ubc.ca. M.A.Thesis, University of British Columbia. p. 16.
  4. ^ a b Jawali, Hamsali S. 2006. Ta'u-sug-English-Tagalog Dictionary. National Bookstore: Mandaluyong.
  5. ^ As in issiw, variant of hisiyu, 'who.'
  6. ^ "Luntarsug: Reconstruction of a Lost Ancient Sulu Script". layagsug.com.
  7. ^ "Blogger". www.tausug101.blogspot.com.


External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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