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  • Writer's pictureThe Katig Collective


Updated: Nov 17, 2022

Bolinao [smk] is a Sambalic language spoken in the Anda and Bolinao municipalities of west Pangasinan. According to a 2007 census, Bolinao has around 56,200 speakers, 5,000 of which are L2 users (as cited in Eberhard et al., 2022). Bolinao is considered threatened (EGIDS 6b) because it is losing speakers despite being used in face-to-face communication. The decline in the number of users is propelled by intermarriage, community relations, and usage of Filipino [fil] in various domains.

Works about Bolinao

Linguist Gary Persons has several works that examine the different components of Bolinao. His preliminary study on Bolinao phonology (1978a) includes notes on the language’s morphophonemics and orthography. He also analyzed folk tales (1978b) and created phrasebooks (1978c; D. Persons & G. Persons, 1998). Other compilations are a wordlist of 372 lexical items prepared by Ehrman and Walrod (1972) and a collection of folktales by Malonzo and Zamora (1983). Two significant contributions to the study of Bolinao are the theses of Perez (1975) which focus on personal pronouns, and of Villareal (2020) which is a grammar of the language.

Online resources

Attempts to preserve Bolinao can also be found on the Internet. The website aims to collect words, songs, rhymes, and riddles to be compiled in a dictionary. It also contains information on the Bolinao community’s history and culture. Another online resource is a Webonary page for Bolinao created in 2014 and is currently under the community-review stage (Caasi et al., 2014-2022). There are also efforts by individuals to introduce the language through videos uploaded on YouTube. Although these collectively contribute to the awareness of Bolinao’s current status, a lot has to be done and this requires assistance both from within and outside the community.

References (n.d.).

Caasi, E., Carolinao, R., & Persons, G. (Eds.). (2014-2022). Bolinao - English dictionary. Webonary.

Eberhard, D. M., Simons, G. F., & Fennig, C. D. (Eds.). (2022). Bolinao. Ethnologue: Languages of the world (25th ed.).

Ehrman, M. E. (1969). Bolinao verbal categories [Unplublished doctoral dissertation]. Yale University.

Ehrman, M. (Comp.) & Walrod, M. R. (Recorder). (1972). Sambal - Bolinao wordlist. SIL International.

Hammarström, H., Forkel, R., Haspelmath, M., & Bank, S. (Eds.). (2022). Spoken L1 language: Bolinao. Glottolog 4.6.

Malonzo, T., & Zamora, N. (1983). Taruman nin Bolinao. SIL Philippines.

Open Language Archives Community. (n.d.). OLAC resources in and about the Bolinao language.

Perez, C. V. (1975). The personal pronouns of Bolinao [Unpublished master’s thesis]. University of the Philippines Diliman.

Persons, D. L. (1979). Cohesive and coordinating conjunctions in Bolinao narrative discourse. Studies in Philippine Linguistics, 3(1), 1-9.

Persons, D. L., & Persons, G. C. (Comps.). (1998). Miirgu-irgo atamo (Let’s dialogue). SIL International.

Persons, G. C. (1978a). Bolinao: A preliminary phonemic statement [Draft]. SIL International.

Persons, G. C. (1978b). Bolinao texts. SIL International.

Persons, G. C. (Comp.). (1978c). Siray kasabyan nin balikas (The expressions that are common: a phrase book for Bolinao). SIL International.

Persons, G. C. (1979). Cohesion by means of participant identification in Bolinao narrative discourse. Studies in Philippine Linguistics, 3(1), 24–57.

Persons, G. C. (1980). Bolinao morphophonemics [Draft]. SIL International.

Villareal, J. V. P. (2020). A grammar of Bolinao [Unpublished master’s thesis]. University of the Philippines Diliman.

Viray, F. B., & Scheerer, O. (1929). The Sambali dialect of Bolinao. The Archive: A collection of papers pertaining to Philippine linguistics, 7. University of the Philippines.

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