Native toPhilippines
RegionCagayan Valley
Native speakers
(120,000 cited 1990 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3itv
Glottologitaw1240  Itawit
Itawit language map.png
Itawis language map according to Ethnologue maps

Itawis (also Itawit or Tawit as the endonym) is a Northern Philippine language spoken by the Itawis people, closely related to the Gaddang speech[2] found in Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya. It also has many similarities to the neighboring Ibanag tongue, while remaining quite different from the prevalent Ilocano spoken in the region and the Tagalog-based Filipino national language.


Itawis is spoken by the Itawis people of Northern Luzon who inhabit the provinces of Cagayan Valley. Their range is from the lower Chico and Matalag rivers. The language is said to have rooted in the town of Tuao. In many towns by these rivers, Itawis are found with the Ibanags, and speak Ibanag as well as an example of linguistic adaptation. Speakers of Itawis and Ibanag can easily understand each other because of the close relationship of their languages. The Itawis are linguistically and culturally very closely related to the Ibanag.

The Itawis language is classified as a Malayo-Polynesian language, a subset of the Austronesian language superfamily. During the pre-colonial period of the Philippines, words were borrowed from Spanish to stand in place for words that did not exist in the Itawis language. One such word is lamesa, which means table, for the Itawis people didn't eat on tables, which were later introduced by the Spanish.

In the town of Rizal, Cagayan, a language called Malaueg is spoken by a group of people of the same name. It is not yet clear whether Malaueg is a distinct language or not because its proximity to Itawis may possibly make it a dialect of the latter.

Linguistic Notes

Unlike most other Philippine languages, Itawit and its relatives use the consonants /z/, /f/, /v/, and /dʒ/ (spelled ⟨dy⟩). For example, fefeg (fan), madyan (maid), kazzing (goat), and bavi (pig).

The Itawit language has a fast, somewhat soft tone. Speakers usually shorten sentences by shortening words, however shortening every word is not possible. For a non-fluent, non-native, or a beginner learner, all words in a sentence should be said fully and complete. In a gesture of respect, Itawits usually use the name or status of a person at the end of a sentence. For example: Where is the bathroom? (asking an elderly woman) Dyanna yo banyu ko anti/manang? anti : auntie used in Itawit for an elderly woman or a family friend) manang : elder sister (used in Itawit as a sign of respect)

The Itawit sentence structure is similar to English. For example: Ifan went to get some water from the fridge. : Y Ifan e numang nga nangalak kang danum kanne ref. : [stating word] Ifan [] went to get [word that states a place] water from fridge. The format is a noun, verb, adjective/place/noun sequence. If you are talking about a person, nobody will know who you're talking about unless you use the specification word Y. The Tagalog equivalent would be Si, both meaning That person. After saying Y, you say the persons name, but in a gesture of respect, the status and name is given.

Interrogative Words

When asking a question, Itawits usually start with a person's name or status and then the question itself. If asking someone familiar, Itawits also usually end it with he, diba, or ko (state persons name or status).



Linguists classify "Malaueg" and "Rizal" as dialects of the Itawis language.



Itawis Vowel Chart
Front Central Back
Close ɪ u
Mid ɛ o
Open a


Gaddang is also one of the Philippine languages which is excluded from [ɾ]-[d] allophony.

Bilabial Dental Post-
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Stop p b t d k g ʔ
Fricative f v s z h
j w
Flap ɾ


English Itawis Ilokano Tagalog
How are you? Kunnasi ka? kasanu ka? Kumusta ka?
I am fine. Napia nak. Nasayaat nak met Mabuti ako.
Thank you. Mabbalat. Agyamanak. Salamat.
And you? Ey ikau? Ken sika? At ikaw?
Good morning. Napia nga mataruk. Naimbag a bigat. Magandang umaga.
Good afternoon. Napia nga giram. Naimbag a malem. Magandang tanghali.
Good evening/night. Napia nga gabi. Naimbag a rabii. Magandang gabi.
Good evening. (for sleeping) Napia nga akaturug.
Good day. Napia nga algaw Naimbag nga aldaw Magandang araw.
Yes Oon
Wen Oo
No Awan
Maybe Nakway Ngata Baka
Definitely Siguru Siguradu. Sigurado
I don't know. Marik ammu. Diak ammu Hindi ko alam.
I know. Ammuk. Ammok. Alam ko.
What is your name? Anna yo ngahan mu? Ania ti nagan mo? Ano ang pangalan mo?
My name is ____. Yo ngahan ku e ____. Ti nagan ko ket _____. Ang pangalan ko ay ____.
His/her name is ____. Yo ngahan na e ____. Ti nagan na ket ____. Ang pangalan niya ay ____.
Nice to meet you. Napia nga nakilala ta ka. Ikinagagalak kong makilala ka.
May I ask you a favor? Puede pe nga makifavor? Pwede ba akong humingi ng pabor?
Take care. Mag-ingat ka.
Innam mu ikau.
Mag-ingat ka.
How old are you? Pia ya dahun mun?
Anni ya dahun mun?
Pia ya dahin mu ngin?
(mun is contraction of mu ngin)
Mano ti tawen mon? Ilang taon ka na?
I am ____ years old. Ya dahun ku e ____. Ako ay ____ taong gulang.
Where are you from? Janna yo nagafanan mu? Taga saan ka?
From what country are you from? Anni nga bansa yo nagafanan mu? Saang bansa ka galing?
Where do you live? Dyanna yo padayanan mu? Saan ka nakatira?
Where have you been? Nagafanan mu kang?
Dyanna ya nagafuanan mu?
Saan ka pumunta?
Saan ka nanggaling?
Where are you going? Dyanna ya anyanan mu?
Anyanan mu kang?
papanam? Saan ka pupunta?
Can you accompany me to ____? Puedem nga vulunan yakan kang ____? Pwede mo ba akong samahan sa ____?
Can you take me to ____? Puedem nga iyangay yakan kang ____? Pwede mo ba akong dalhin sa ____?
What is your work? Hanna yo trabahum? Ania ti trabahom? Ano ang trabaho mo?
What are you doing? Hanna yo kukukuan mu? Ania ti kukuem? Ano ang ginagawa mo?
Where do you go to school? Hanna yo eskuelam?
Janna ya pagilamuan mu?
Saan ka nag-aaral?
Excuse me. (asking for passage) Pakidalan. Makikiraan.
I can't speak ____ well. Marik kuru maka-ergo kang ____ nga napia. Medyo hindi ako marunong magsalita ng ____.
I can't speak ____. Marik maka-ergo kang ____. Hindi ako marunong magsalita ng ____.
I only understand ____. Matindyan ku laman ____. Naiintindihan ko lang ang ____.
I don't understand. Marik nga matindyan. haan ko maawatan Hindi ko maintindihan.
I understand. Matindyan ku. maawatak Naiintindihan ko.
Help. Pakiufun.
Ufunan mu yakan.
Mauag ku ya ufun.
tulung Tulong.
Tulungan mo ako.
Where's the bathroom? Dyanna ya banyu? Ayanna iti banyo? Saan ang banyo?
What time is it? Hanna yo orat ngin? Ania ti orasen? Anong oras na?
Who is he/she? Inya iggina? Sino siya?
What do you mean? Hanna yo kayat mu nga kayan? ana kayat mo saw-en? Ano ang ibig mong sabihin?
Pardon?/Please say it again. Puedem nga kayan uli?
Pakiulit mu yo kinahim.
ulitem man jay inbagam. Pakiulit yung sinabi mo.
Pakiulit nga?
Please write it down. Iturat mu. Isurat mo man. Pakisulat.
Let's go. Anteran.
Umang tera ngin.
Katsaw ngin.
Wait. So abit.
Mattaron ka.
Taronan mu yakan.
Aguray. Saglit.
Teka lang.
Can I speak to ____? Puedek kergo y ____? Pwede ko kausapin si ____?
monkey ayong bakes
pig bavi babuy baboy
cliff zizzig bangin
animal ayam ayup hayop
snake zariyyang uleg ahas

Comparison to Ibanag

Itawit Ibanag English
isa tadday one
dua dua two
tallu tallu three
appat appa' four
lima lima five
annam annam six
pitu pitu seven
walu walu eight
siam siam nine
mafulu mafulu ten
Yo ngahan ku e Ben. I ngagak ku ay Ben. My name is Ben.
Janna yo nagafuanam mu? Sitau y naggafuanam mu? Where did you come from?
Hanna yo kinnam mu? Anni y kinnam mu? What did you eat?
Hanna yo kanakanam mu? Anni y kanakanam mu? What are you eating?
Nakakan kami zinan nu nallabbet iggina. Nakakak kami nacuan nu limibbe yayya. We would have eaten, had they arrived.
Hanna yo kanam mu sangaw? Anni y kanam mu sangaw? What are you going to eat?
Maddagun kami mangan kustu nallabbet iggina. Maddaguk kami kuman kustu nallabbe yayya. We were eating while he/she arrived home.


  1. ^ Itawis at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Glottolog 4.5 - Gaddangic".