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Native toPhilippines
Native speakers
75,000 (2011)[1]
  • Bantoanon
  • Odionganon
  • Calatravanhon
  • Sibalenhon
  • Simaranhon
Latin (Bantoanon Alphabet)
Baybayin locally known as Suyat (historical)
Language codes
ISO 639-3bno
Bantoanon Language Map.png
Bantoanon language map
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Bantoanon[1] or Asi is a regional Bisayan language spoken, along with Romblomanon and Onhan, in the province of Romblon, Philippines. Asi originated in the island of Banton, Romblon and spread to the neighboring islands of Sibale, Simara, and the towns of Odiongan and Calatrava on Tablas Island. The Asi spoken in Odiongan is called Odionganon, Calatravanhon in Calatrava, Sibalenhon in Concepcion, Simaranhon in Corcuera, and Bantoanon in Banton.

Specifically, it is spoken on the following islands within Romblon:

Linguist David Zorc notes that Bantoanon speakers may have been the first Bisayan speakers in the Romblon region. He also suggests that Asi may have a Cebuan substratum and that many of its words may have been influenced by the later influx of other languages such as Romblomanon.[3]


While Bantoanon is the original and most common name of the language, the name Asi, meaning 'why', is also commonly used especially in formal and academic papers. Considering that the language has four other dialects other than Bantoanon: Odionganon, Calatravanhon, Sibalenhon, and Simaranhon, Asi is occasionally used instead of Bantoanon to distinguish between the language and the dialect of it spoken in Banton. The term Asi has uncertain origins, and may have been coined around the 1980s–1990s. Several native Bantoanons have expressed dislike of the new name, saying that it does not represent themselves, but rather promotes something foreign.[4][unreliable source?] Speakers of dialects that have evolved through the Bantoanon diaspora prefer Asi, or just their dialect's name. In casual speech, however, native speakers often refer to the language as Bisaya, not to be confused with other Bisayan languages.

The Commission on the Filipino Language or KWF prescribes the use of Ási[5] with the acute accent on the Á, although the native pronunciation is closer to Ásì with the acute Á and a grave accent on the ì.


Bantoanon has fifteen consonant phonemes: p, t, k, b, d, g, m, n, ng, s, h, w, l, r and y. There are three vowel phonemes: a, i/e, and u/o. The vowels i and e are allophones, with i always being used when it is the beginning and middle and sometimes in final syllables, and e always used when it is in final syllables. The vowels u and o are allophones, with u always being used when it is the beginning and middle and sometimes in final syllables, and o always used when it is in final syllables.[clarification needed] This is one of the Philippine languages that do not exhibit [ɾ]-[d] allophony.


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2022)


  Absolutive Ergative Oblique
1st person singular akó nako, ko akò
2nd person singular ikaw, ka nimo, mo imo
3rd person singular sida nida ida
1st person plural inclusive kita nato ato
1st person plural exclusive kami namo amo
2nd person plural kamo ninro inro
3rd person plural sinra ninra inra


  1. ^ a b Bantoanon at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) closed access
  2. ^ Gordon, M. Ruth; Kilgour, Heather J. (1986). Sociolinguistic Survey of Bantoanon. Studies in Philippine Linguistics, vol. 6, no. 2.
  3. ^ Zorc, David Paul (1977). The Bisayan Dialects of the Philippines: Subgrouping and Reconstruction. Pacific Linguistics, Series C, No. 44. Canberra: Australian National University. doi:10.15144/PL-C44. hdl:1885/146594. ISBN 0-85883-157-0.
  4. ^ "Bantoanon or Asi Language suno kay Wikipedia". Retrieved 2022-09-02.
  5. ^ "Ási - Repositoryo ng Wika at Kultura ng Pilipinas".