Central Bikol
Bikol Sentral
Native toPhilippines
Native speakers
(2.5 million cited 1990 census [needs update])[1]
6th most spoken native language in the Philippines[2]
Latin (Bikol alphabet)
Bikol Braille
Historically Basahan
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byKomisyon sa Wikang Filipino
Language codes
ISO 639-3bcl
Areas where Central Bicolano is spoken in the Philippines
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A Central Bikol speaker, recorded in the United States.

Central Bikol, commonly called Bikol Naga[3] or simply as Bikol, is an Austronesian language spoken by the Bicolanos, primarily in the Bicol Region of southern Luzon, Philippines. It is spoken in the northern and western part of Camarines Sur, second congressional district of Camarines Norte, eastern part of Albay, northeastern part of Sorsogon, San Pascual town in Masbate, and southwestern part of Catanduanes. Central Bikol speakers can be found in all provinces of Bicol and it is a majority language in Camarines Sur. The standard sprachraum form is based on the Canaman dialect.

Central Bikol features some vocabulary not found in other Bikol languages nor in other members of the Central Philippine language family like Tagalog and Cebuano. Examples are the words matua and bitis, which are the same as the Kapampangan words meaning 'older' and 'foot, feet', respectively. The word banggi ('night') is another example of this as it is different from the usual Bikol word gab-i but closer to the word bengi of Kapampangan. There is no formal study on the relationship of the Central Luzon languages to Central Bikol but the latter has several words that are also found in the archaic form of Tagalog spoken in the Rizal and Quezon provinces that are believed to be the home of Central Luzon languages such as Kapampangan in Pampanga and southern Tarlac, and Sambalic languages in Zambales province.

Central Bikol dialects

Because of its broad geographic coverage as compared to other Bikol languages separated by islands and mountains, Central Bikol diverged into six dialects, which are still mutually comprehensible. The division of the language into different dialects is mainly because of the influence of other Bikol and non-Bikol languages surrounding the region.

The Canaman dialect, despite being used only by a small portion of the population in Camarines Sur, is the standard form of Central Bikol used in literature, Catholic religious rites and mass media. Naga City dialect is spoken in the first, second, third districts (except in Del Gallego, where residents are mostly Tagalog speakers), and in the western and eastern portions of the fourth district (Caramoan, Garchitorena, Presentacion, Siruma and Tinambac) of Camarines Sur. It is also spoken in San Pascual, Masbate (Burias Island) and the southwestern part of Catanduanes. The Partido dialect is spoken in the eastern part of Camarines Sur centered in the southern portion of the fourth districts (Goa, Lagonoy, Sagñay, San Jose, and Tigaon). The Tabaco-Legazpi-Sorsogon (TLS) dialect is spoken in the eastern coast of Albay and the northeastern part of Sorsogon. TLS is the dialect that has been most influenced by the Inland Bikol languages. The Daet dialect, on the other hand, is spoken in the second district of the province of Camarines Norte. The Virac dialect (or Viracnon language) is spoken around Virac, Catanduanes and surrounding towns on the southeastern part of the island of Catanduanes.

Dialectal comparison of Central Bikol

Canaman dialect (Standard) Naga City dialect Partido dialect Tabaco - Legazpi - Sorsogon (TLS) dialect Virac dialect Daet dialect Rinconada Bikol language
(Inland Bikol)
Sorsoganon language
Tàdaw ta dai luminayog an gamgam ni Pedro dawà na dai nin kandado an hawla? Tâno daw ta dai naglayog an gamgam ni Pedro dawà na mayò nin kandado si hawla? Hadáw ta ê naglayog an gamgam ni Pedro maski na mayò nin kandado su hawla? Natà daw ta dai naglayog an bayong ni Pedro maski na warâ ki kandado su hawla? Ngatà daw ta dài nagḽayog an gamgam ni Pedro maski na daing kandado su hawla? Bakin daw kaya dai naglupad ang ibon ni Pedro maski na mayong kandado si hawla? Ta'onō/Ŋātâ raw ta diri naglayog adtoŋ bayoŋ ni Pedro dāwâ na ədâ ka kandado su awlā? Nakay daw kay diri naglupad an tamsi ni Pedro maski na warâ san kandado su hawla?

Like other Philippine languages, Bikol has a number of loanwords, largely Spanish ones as a result of Spanish rule in the Philippines. These include swerte (suerte, 'luck'), karne (carne, 'meat'), imbestigador (investigador, 'investigator'), litro ('liter'), pero ('but'), and krimen (crimen, 'crime'). Another source of loanwords in Bikol is Sanskrit, with examples including words like bahala ('responsibility') and karma.



There are 16 consonants in the Bikol language: /m, n, ŋ, p, t, k, ʔ, b, d, ɡ, s, h, l, w~ʋ, ɾ, j~ʝ/. Eight sounds are borrowed from loanwords: /f, v, ɲ, tʃ, dʒ, ʃ, ʒ, ʎ/.

The sound system of the language according to Mintz in 1971[4] is as follows.

Labial (Denti-)
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m (ɲ) ŋ
voiceless p () k ʔ
voiced b () ɡ
Fricative voiceless (f) s (ʃ) h
voiced (v) (ʒ)
Lateral l (ʎ)
Sonorant w~ʋ ɾ j~ʝ


  1. ʃ – written as ⟨sy⟩, this is only found only in loan words from English, as in shirt.
  2. – written as ⟨ty⟩, this is found in loan words from Spanish and English and is pronounced like the ch in check.
  3. – written as ⟨dy⟩, this is found basically in loan words from English and is pronounced like the j sound in jeep.
  4. ɲ – written as ⟨ny⟩, this is found in loan words from Spanish and is pronounced like the ñ in baños.
  5. ʎ – written as ⟨ly⟩, this is found in loan words from Spanish and is pronounced like the ll in llave and sencillo (in Spanish dialects without yeísmo).
  6. h – Due to contact with the nearby Albay Bikol languages, words that start with h in Bikol Naga, start with ʔ in Bikol Legazpi.
    • Ex: hiling ('look', Bikol Naga) becomes iling ('look', Bikol Legazpi)


Native words exhibit a three-vowel system whose vowels can be noted as /a, i, u/, with /u/ realized as [o] in the final syllable. Due to contact with Spanish, modern Central Bikol also has two marginal phonemes /e, o/ distinct from /i, u/.

Table of the five general Central Bikol vowel phonemes
Front Central Back
Close i ⟨i⟩ u ⟨u⟩
Mid e ⟨e⟩ o ⟨o⟩
Open a ⟨a⟩


  Absolutive Ergative Oblique
1st person singular ako ko sakuya, sakô
2nd person singular ika, ka mo saimo, sìmo
3rd person singular siya niya saiya
1st person plural inclusive kita niato, ta satuya, satô
1st person plural exclusive kami niamo, mi samuya, samô
2nd person plural kamo nindo saindo
3rd person plural sinda ninda sainda


Like many other Philippine languages, Bikol has a rich set of discourse particles.



There exist two types of numerals in Bikol: native Bikol and Spanish numerals. Generally, Bicolanos use the Spanish terms when referring to time, as in the phrase a las singko ('5 o'clock'). However, the native terms can be read in literary books. The Spanish numerals are often encountered in pricing.

Kabangâ / mediyá
Sarô / uno; una (used for time); un (used for counting higher numbers)
Duwá / dos
Tuló / tres
Apát / kuwátro
Limá / síngko
Anóm / saís
Pitó / siyéte
Waló / ótso
Siyám / nuwébe
Sampulò / diyés
Kagsarô / ónse
Kagduwá / dóse
Kagtuló / trése
Kag-apát / katórse
Kaglimá / kínse
Kag-anóm / diyésisaís
Kagpitó / diyésisiyéte
Kagwaló / diyésiótso
Kagsiyám / diyésinuwébe
Duwampulò / béynte (báynte)
Duwampulò may lima / béynte (báynte) y síngko
Tulompulò / tréynta (tráynta)
Tulompulò may lima / tréynta (traynta) y singko
Apát na pulò / kuwarenta
Apát na pulò may lima / kuwarenta y singko
Limampulò / singkuwénta
Limampulò may lima / singkuwénta y singko
Anóm na pulò / sesénta (sisénta)
Anóm na pulò may lima / sesenta (sisénta) y singko
Pitompulò / seténta (siténta)
Pitumpulò may lima / seténta (siténta) y singkó
Walompulò / otsénta
Walompulò may lima / otsénta y singko
Siyam na pulò / nobenta
Siyam na pulò may lima / nobenta y singko
Sanggatós / siyen, siyento
Sangribo / Un mil
Sangyukot (Old Bikol)[5] / Diyes mil
Sanglaksâ (Old Bikol)[6] / Milyón

Angry speech register

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The angry register of Bikol, also known natively as tamanggot or rapsak, is used when angry, shouting, or speaking in a high-pitched voice at someone. Some examples of the register include:

Normal Bikol Angry-register Bikol English translation
malutò malustod rice (cooked)
bagas las(u)gas rice (uncooked)
tubig tamìlig, tùlig water
bungog lusngog deaf
uran bagrat rain
bagyo alimagyo typhoon/hurricane
babayi babaknit, siknit female
lalaki lalaknit male
bado, gubing la(ma)sdô, gubnit clothes
harong (Naga), balay (Legazpi) langag house
sira sigtok, buragtok fish
ikos k(ur)asmag, kurakod cat
ayam, idò da(ma)yô (Naga),
ga(ma)dyâ (Legazpi)
damulag (Naga),
karabaw (Legazpi)
ga(ma)dyâ (Naga) carabao
humali wumara leave
magkakan/kumakan (Naga),
magkaon/kumaon (Legazpi)
hablô, humablô, habluon, sibà, sumibà, sumibsib eat
burat (Naga),
buyong (Legazpi)
lasngag, lusrat, lusyong, bultok drunk
taram tabil to speak
kapot, kapotan kamlô, kamlùon to hold, holding
hiling butlâ to see
bitis s(am)ingkil, samail, siki foot
talinga talingugngog ear
ngusò (Naga),
ngimot (Legazpi)
ngurapak, ngaspak, ngislo mouth
kamot kamulmog hand
mata ma(ta)lsok eye
payo ali(ma)ntak head
hawak (Naga),
lawas (Legazpi)
kabangkayan body
tulak tindos, la(ma)sdak belly/stomach
sapatos sapagtok shoe
kalayo kalasbot fire
kawali kawalwag frying pan
sarwal sarigwal shorts or underwear[a]
asin tasik salt
manok maldos, malpak chicken


  1. ^ Depends on the dialect of Bikol; in some dialects, sarwal means 'shorts', while in others, it means 'underwear'.

See also


  1. ^ Central Bikol at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Philippine Census, 2000. Table 11. Household Population by Ethnicity, Sex and Region: 2000
  3. ^ Lobel, Jason William (2000). An Satuyang Tataramon / A study of the Bikol Language. Tria, Wilmer Joseph S., Carpio, Jose Maria Z. Naga City: Lobel & Tria Partnership. ISBN 971-92226-0-3. OCLC 45883453.
  4. ^ Mintz, Malcolm W. (1971). Bikol Dictionary. University of Hawaii Press. doi:10.2307/j.ctv9hvs8j. ISBN 978-0-8248-7891-7.
  5. ^ Lisboa, Márcos de (1865). Vocabulario de la lengua bicol [Vocabulary of the Bicol language] (in Spanish). Manila: Est. Tip. del Colegio de Santo Tomas. pp. 32.
  6. ^ Lisboa, Márcos de (1865). Vocabulario de la lengua bicol [Vocabulary of the Bicol language] (in Spanish). Manila: Est. Tip. del Colegio de Santo Tomas. pp. 208.


  • Lobel, Jason William, Wilmer Joseph S Tria, and Jose Maria Z Carpio. 2000. An satuyang tataramon / A study of the Bikol language. Naga City, Philippines: Lobel & Tria Partnership, Co.: Holy Rosary Minor Seminary.
  • Mattes, Veronika. 2014. Types of Reduplication: A Case Study of Bikol. Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.