|Greater Central Philippine|
Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia
The Greater Central Philippine languages are a proposed subgroup of the Austronesian language family. They are spoken in the central and southern parts of the Philippines, and in northern Sulawesi. This subgroup was first proposed by Robert Blust (1991) based on lexical and phonological evidence, and is accepted by most specialists in the field.
Most of the major languages of the Philippines belong to the Greater Central Philippine subgroup: Tagalog, the Visayan languages Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Waray; Central Bikol, Maranao and Magindanao. On the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, Gorontalo is the third-largest language by number of speakers.
According to Blust, the current distribution of the Greater Central Philippine languages is the result of an expansion that occurred around 500 B.C. and which led to levelling of much of the linguistic diversity in the central and southern Philippines.
Remnants of this earlier diversity can still be found in relic areas within the Greater Central Philippine area, viz. Manide in southern Luzon, Ati on Panay, the North Mangyan languages on Mindoro, the Kalamian languages in northern Palawan and the South Mindanao languages.
The Greater Central Philippine subgroup comprises the following microgroups: