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Amánung Kapangpángan, Amánung Sísuan
Kapangpángan written in Kulitan, the language's indigenous writing system
Native toPhilippines
RegionCentral Luzon (entirety of Pampanga, southern Tarlac, northeastern Bataan, western Bulacan, southwestern Nueva Ecija, southeastern parts of Zambales)
Native speakers
2.8 million (2010)[1]
7th most spoken native language in the Philippines[2]
Latin (Kapampangan alphabet)
Official status
Official language in
Angeles City[3][4][5]
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byKomisyon sa Wikang Filipino
Language codes
ISO 639-2pam
ISO 639-3pam
Kapampangan language maximum extent.png
Areas where Kapampangan is spoken in the Philippines
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Kapampangan or Pampangan is an Austronesian language, and one of the eight major languages of the Philippines. It is the primary and predominant language of the entire province of Pampanga and southern Tarlac, on the southern part of Luzon's central plains geographic region, where the Kapampangan ethnic group resides. Kapampangan is also spoken in northeastern Bataan, as well as in the provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Zambales that border Pampanga. It is further spoken as a second language by a few Aeta groups in the southern part of Central Luzon.[6] The language is known honorifically as Amánung Sísuan ('breastfed, or nurtured, language').[7]


Kapampangan is one of the Central Luzon languages of the Austronesian language family. Its closest relatives are the Sambalic languages of Zambales province and the Bolinao language spoken in the towns of Bolinao and Anda in Pangasinan. These languages share the same reflex /y/ of the proto-Malayo-Polynesian *R.[8]


Kapampangan is derived from the root word pampáng ('riverbank'). The language was historically spoken in the Kingdom of Tondo, ruled by the Lakans.

A number of Kapampangan dictionaries and grammar books were written during the Spanish colonial period. Diego Bergaño [pam] wrote two 18th-century books about the language: Arte de la lengua Pampanga[9] (first published in 1729) and Vocabulario de la lengua Pampanga (first published in 1732). Kapampangan produced two 19th-century literary giants; Anselmo Fajardo [pam; tl] was noted for Gonzalo de Córdova and Comedia Heróica de la Conquista de Granada, and playwright Juan Crisóstomo Soto [pam; tl; nl] wrote Alang Dios in 1901. "Crissotan" was written by Amado Yuzon, Soto's 1950s contemporary and Nobel Prize nominee for peace and literature,[citation needed] to immortalize his contribution to Kapampangan literature.

Geographic distribution

Kapampangan is predominantly spoken in the province of Pampanga and southern Tarlac (Bamban, Capas, Concepcion, San Jose, Gerona, La Paz, Victoria and Tarlac City). It is also spoken in border communities of the provinces of Bataan (Dinalupihan, Hermosa and Orani), Bulacan (Baliuag, San Miguel, San Ildefonso, Hagonoy, Plaridel, Pulilan and Calumpit), Nueva Ecija (Cabiao, San Isidro, Gapan and Cabanatuan) and Zambales (Olongapo City and Subic). In Mindanao, a significant Kapampangan-speaking minority also exists in South Cotabato, specifically in General Santos and the municipalities of Polomolok and Tupi. According to the 2000 Philippine census, 2,312,870 people (out of the total population of 76,332,470) spoke Kapampangan as their native language.


Standard Kapampangan has 21 phonemes: 15 consonants and five vowels; some western dialects have six vowels. Syllabic structure is relatively simple; each syllable contains at least one consonant and a vowel.


Standard Kapampangan has five vowel phonemes:

There are four main diphthongs: /aɪ/, /oɪ/, /aʊ/, and /iʊ/. In most dialects (including standard Kapampangan), /aɪ/ and /aʊ/ are reduced to /ɛ/ and /o/ respectively.

Monophthongs have allophones in unstressed and syllable-final positions:


In the chart of Kapampangan consonants, all stops are unaspirated. The velar nasal occurs in all positions, including the beginning of a word. Unlike other languages of the Philippines but similar to Ilocano, Kapampangan uses /h/ only in words of foreign origin.

Bilabial Dental /
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Stop voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced b d g
Fricative s ʃ
Tap/Trill ɾ ~ r
Approximant l j w


Stress is phonemic in Kapampangan. Primary stress occurs on the last or the next-to-last syllable of a word. Vowel lengthening accompanies primary or secondary stress, except when stress occurs at the end of a word. Stress shift can occur, shifting to the right or left to differentiate between nominal or verbal use (as in the following examples):[10]

Stress shift can also occur when one word is derived from another through affixation; again, stress can shift to the right or the left:[10]

Sound changes

In Kapampangan, the proto-Philippine schwa vowel merged to /a/ in most dialects of Kapampangan; it is preserved in some western dialects. Proto-Philippine *tanəm is tanam ('to plant') in Kapampangan, compared with Tagalog tanim, Cebuano tanom and Ilocano tanem ('grave').

Proto-Philippine *R merged with /j/. The Kapampangan word for 'new' is bayu; it is bago in Tagalog, baro in Ilocano, and baru in Indonesian.


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Kapampangan is a VSO or Verb-Subject-Object language. However, the word order can be very flexible and change to VOS (Verb-Object-Subject) and SVO (Subject-Verb-Object). Just like other Austronesian languages, Kapampangan is also an agglutinative language where new words are formed by adding affixes onto a root word (affixation) and the repetition of words, or portions of words (reduplication), (for example: anak ('child') to ának-ának ('children')). Root words are frequently derived from other words by means of prefixes, infixes, suffixes and circumfixes. (For example: kan ('food') to kanan ('to eat') to 'kakanan ('eating') to kakananan ('being eaten')).

Kapampangan can form long words through extensive use of affixes, for example: Mikakapapagbabalabalangingiananangananan, 'a group of people having their noses bleed at the same time', Mikakapapagsisiluguranan, 'everyone loves each other', Makapagkapampangan, 'can speak Kapampangan', and Mengapangaibuganan, 'until to fall in love'. Long words frequently occur in normal Kapampangan.


Kapampangan nouns are not inflected, but are usually preceded by case markers. There are three types of case markers: absolutive (nominative), ergative (genitive), and oblique.

Unlike English and Spanish (which are nominative–accusative languages) and Inuit and Basque (which are ergative–absolutive languages), Kapampangan has Austronesian alignment (in common with most Philippine languages). Austronesian alignment may work with nominative (and absolutive) or ergative (and absolutive) markers and pronouns.

Absolutive or nominative markers mark the actor of an intransitive verb and the object of a transitive verb. Ergative or genitive markers mark the object (usually indefinite) of an intransitive verb and the actor of a transitive one. It also marks possession. Oblique markers, similar to prepositions in English, mark (for example) location and direction. Noun markers are divided into two classes: names of people (personal) and everything else (common).

Case markers
  Absolutive Ergative Oblique
Common singular ing -ng, ning king
Common plural ding, ring ring karing
Personal singular i(y) -ng kang
Personal plural di, ri ri kari



Kapampangan pronouns are categorized by case: absolutive, ergative, and oblique.

  Absolutive (independent) Absolutive (enclitic) Ergative Oblique
1st person singular yaku, i(y) aku, aku ku ku kanaku, kaku
2nd person singular ika ka mu keka
3rd person singular iya, ya ya na keya, kaya
1st person dual ikata kata, ta ta kekata
1st person plural inclusive ikatamu, itamu katamu, tamu tamu, ta kekatamu, kekata
1st person plural exclusive ikami, ike kami, ke mi kekami, keke
2nd person plural ikayu, iko kayu, ko yu kekayu, keko
3rd person plural ila la da, ra karela


Genitive pronouns follow the word they modify. Oblique pronouns can replace the genitive pronoun, but precede the word they modify.

The dual pronoun ikata and the inclusive pronoun ikatamu refer to the first and second person. The exclusive pronoun ikamí refers to the first and third persons.

Kapampangan differs from many Philippine languages in requiring the pronoun even if the noun it represents, or the grammatical antecedent, is present.

Special forms

The pronouns ya and la have special forms when they are used in conjunction with the words ati ('there is/are') and ala ('there is/are not').

Both ati yu and ati ya are correct. The plural form ('they are') is atilu and atila. Both ala la and ala lu are correct in the plural form. The singular forms are ala ya and ala yu.

Pronoun combinations

Kapampangan pronouns follow a certain order after verbs (or particles, such as negation words). The enclitic pronoun is always followed by another pronoun (or discourse marker:

Pronouns also combine to form a portmanteau pronoun:

Portmanteau pronouns are not usually used in questions and with the word naman:

In the following chart, blank entries denote combinations which are deemed impossible. Column headings denote pronouns in the absolutive case, and the row headings denote the ergative case.

Pronoun order and forms
(1 sing.)
(2 sing.)
(3 sing.)
(1 dual)
(1 incl.)
(1 exclusive)
(2 plural)
(3 plural)
(1 sing)
(ing sarili ku) da ka
ra ka
da ko (ra ko)
da kayu (ra kayu)
ku la
(2 sing)
mu ku (ing sarili mu) me
mu ke
mu kami
mu la
(3 sing)
na ku na ka ne
(ing sarili na)
na kata na katamu na ke
na kami
na ko
na kayu
nu la
(1 dual)
(ing sarili ta) to
ta la
(1p inc)
ta ya (ing sarili tamu) ta la
(1p exc)
da ka
ra ka
mi ya (ing sarili mi) da ko (ra ko)
da kayu (ra kayu)
mi la
(2 p)
yu ku ye
yu ke
yu kami
(ing sarili yu) yo
yu la
(3 p)
da ku
ra ku
da ka
ra ka
de (re)
da kata
ra kata
da katamu
ra katamu
da ke (ra ke)
da kami (ra kami)
da ko (ra ko)
da kayu (ra kayu)
do (ro)
da la (ra la)
(ing sarili da)

Demonstrative pronouns

Kapampangan's demonstrative pronouns differ from other Philippine languages by having separate forms for singular and plural.

Demonstrative pronouns
  Absolutive Ergative Oblique Locative Existential
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nearest to speaker
(this, here)
ini deni,
nini dareni kanini kareni oini oreni keni
Near speaker & addressee
(this, here)
iti deti,
niti dareti kaniti kareti oiti oreti keti
Nearest addressee
(that, there)
iyan den,
nian daren kanian karen oian oren ken
(yon, yonder)
ita deta,
nita dareta kanita kareta oita oreta keta

The demonstrative pronouns ini and iti (and their respective forms) both mean 'this', but each has distinct uses. Iti usually refers to something abstract, but may also refer to concrete nouns: iting musika ('this music'), iti ing gagawan mi ('this is what we do'). Ini is always concrete: ining libru ('this book'), ini ing asu nang Juan ('this is Juan's dog').

In their locative forms, keni is used when the person spoken to is not near the subject spoken of; keti is used when the person spoken to is near the subject spoken of. Two people in the same country will refer to their country as keti, but will refer to their respective towns as keni; both mean 'here'.

The plural forms of a demonstrative pronoun and its existential form (for the nearest addressee) are exceptions. The plural of iyan is den/ren; the plural of niyan is daren; the plural of kanyan is karen, and the plural of oian is oren. The existential form of ian is ken.


Kapampangan verbs are morphologically complex, and take a variety of affixes reflecting focus, aspect and mode. The language has Austronesian alignment, and the verbs change according to triggers in the sentence (better known as voices). Kapampangan has five voices: agent, patient, goal, locative, and cirumstantial. The circumstantial voice prefix is used for instrument and benefactee subjects.

The direct case morphemes in Kapampangan are ing (which marks singular subjects) and reng, for plural subjects. Non-subject agents are marked with the ergative-case ning; non-subject patients are marked with the accusative-case -ng, which is cliticized onto the preceding word.[11]

DIR:direct case morpheme CT:cirumstantial trigger

Agent trigger (or voice)




























S‹um›ulat yang poesia ing lalaki king pen king papil.

{} ya=ng {} {} {} {} {} {} {}

‹AT›will.write 3SG.DIR=ACC poem DIR boy OBL pen OBL paper

"The boy will write a poem with a pen on the paper."

Patient trigger

























I-sulat ne ning lalaki ing poesia king mestra.

{} na+ya {} {} {} {} {} {}

PT-will.write 3SG.ERG+3SG.DIR ERG boy DIR poem OBL teacher.F

"The boy will write the poem to the teacher"
or "The poem will be written by the boy to the teacher."

Goal trigger



















Sulat-anan ne ning lalaki ing mestro.

{} na+ya {} {} {} {}

will.write-GT 3SG.ERG+3SG.DIR ERG boy DIR teacher.M

"The boy will write to the teacher"
or "The teacher will be written to by the boy."

Locative trigger






















Pi-sulat-an neng poesia ning lalaki ing blackboard.

{} na+ya=ng {} {} {} {} {}

LT-will.write-LT 3SG.ERG+3SG.DIR=ACC poem ERG boy DIR blackboard

"The boy will write a poem on the blackboard"
or "The blackboard will be written a poem on by the boy."

(5) a.
Circumstantial trigger (with instrument subject)






















Panyulat neng poesia ning lalaki ing pen.

paN-sulat na+ya=ng {} {} {} {} {}

CT-will.write 3SG.ERG+3SG.DIR=ACC poem ERG boy DIR pen

"The boy will write a poem with the pen"
or "The pen will be written a poem with by the boy."

(5) b.
Circumstantial trigger (with benefactee subject)





















Pamasa nong libru ning babai reng anak.

paN-basa na+la=ng {} {} {} {} {} 3SG.ERG+3PL.DIR=ACC book ERG woman PL.DIR child

"The woman will read a book for the children"
or "The children will be read a book by the woman."

Ambiguities and irregularities

Speakers of other Philippine languages find Kapampangan verbs difficult because some verbs belong to unpredictable verb classes and some verb forms are ambiguous. The root word sulat ('write') exists in Tagalog and Kapampangan:

The object-focus suffix -an represents two focuses; the only difference is that one conjugation preserves -an in the completed aspect, and it is dropped in the other conjugation:

Other Philippine languages have separate forms; Tagalog has -in and -an in, Bikol and most of the Visayan languages have -on and -an, and Ilokano has -en and -an due to historical sound changes in the proto-Philippine /*e/.

A number of actor-focus verbs do not use the infix -um-, but are usually conjugated like other verbs which do (for example, gawa ('to do'), bulus ('to immerse'), terak ('to dance'), lukas ('to take off'), sindi ('to smoke'), saklu ('to fetch'), takbang ('to step') and tuki ('to accompany'). Many of these verbs undergo a change of vowel instead of taking the infix -in- (completed aspect). In the actor focus (-um- verbs), this happens only to verbs with the vowel /u/ in the first syllable; lukas ('to take off') is conjugated lukas ('will take off'), lulukas ('is taking off'), and likas ('took off').

This change of vowel also applies to certain object-focus verbs in the completed aspect. In addition to /u/ becoming /i/, /a/ becomes /e/ in certain cases (for example, dela ['brought something'], semal ['worked on something'] and seli ['bought']).

There is no written distinction between the two mag- affixes; magsalita may mean 'is speaking' or 'will speak', but there is an audible difference. [mɐɡsaliˈtaʔ] means 'will speak' while [ˌmaːɡsaliˈtaʔ] means 'is speaking'.

Conjugation chart
  Infinitive &
Progressive Completed
Actor focus -um- CV- -ín-
Actor focus CV- -in-
Actor focus m- mVm- min-
Actor focus mag- mág- mig-, meg-
Actor focus ma- má- ne-
Actor focus maN- máN- meN-
Object focus -an CV- ... -an -in-
Object focus
Benefactive focus
i- iCV- i- -in-
i- -i-
i- -e-
Object focus
Locative focus
-an CV- ... -an -in- ... -an
-i- ... -an
-e- ... -an
Instrument focus ipaN- páN- piN-, peN
Reason focus ka- ká- ke-



Existence and possession

To express existence (there is, there are) and possession (to have), the word atí is used:


Kapampangan has two negation words: alí and alá. Alí negates verbs and equations, and means 'no' or 'not':

Alá is the opposite of atí:[clarification needed]

E is sometimes used instead of alí:

Interrogative words

Komustá is used to ask how something is. Frequently used as a greeting ('How are you?'), it is derived from the Spanish ¿cómo está?

Nanu means 'what': Nanu ya ing gagawan mu? ('What are you doing?')

Ninu means 'who':

Nukarin, meaning 'where', is used to ask about the location of an object and not used with verbs:

Obakit means 'why':

Kaninu means 'whose' or 'whom':

Pilan means 'how many':

Kapilan means 'when':

Makananu means 'how':

Magkanu means 'how much':

Nuanti means 'to what degree':

Isanu/Isnanu means 'which':


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Kapampangan borrowed many words from Chinese (particularly Cantonese and Hokkien), such as:

Due to the influence of Buddhism and Hinduism, Kapampangan also acquired words from Sanskrit. A few examples are:

The language also has many Spanish loanwords, including kómusta (from cómo estás, 'Hello/How are you?'), suérti (from suerte, 'luck'), kurus (from cruz, 'cross'), karni (from carne, 'meat'), kórsunada (from corazonada, 'crush') and kasapégo (from casa fuego, 'matchbox') and others such as times, for counting and numbers.


See also: Reforms of Kapampangan orthography

Amánung Sísuan (honorific name for 'mother language' (literally 'nurtured or suckled language') in Kulitan, Kapampangan's indigenous writing system
Amánung Sísuan (honorific name for 'mother language' (literally 'nurtured or suckled language') in Kulitan, Kapampangan's indigenous writing system

Kapampangan, like most Philippine languages, uses the Latin alphabet. Before the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, it was written in old Kapampangan writing. Kapampangan is usually written in one of three different writing systems: sulat Baculud, sulat Wawa and a hybrid of the two, Amung Samson.[12]

The first system (sulat Baculud, also known as tutung Capampangan or tutung Kapampangan in the sulat Wawa system) is based on Spanish orthography, a feature of which involved the use of the letters ⟨c⟩ and ⟨q⟩ to represent the phoneme /k/ (depending on the vowel sound following the phoneme). ⟨C⟩ was used before /a/, /o/ and /u/ (ca, co and cu), and ⟨q⟩ was used with ⟨u⟩ before the vowels /e/ and /i/ (que, qui). The Spanish-based orthography is primarily associated with literature by authors from Bacolor and the text used on the Kapampangan Pasion.[12]

The second system, the Sulat Wawa, is an "indigenized" form which preferred ⟨k⟩ over ⟨c⟩ and ⟨q⟩ in representing the phoneme /k/. This orthography, based on the Abakada alphabet was used by writers from Guagua and rivaled writers from the nearby town of Bacolor.[12]

The third system, Amung Samson hybrid orthography, intends to resolve the conflict in spelling between proponents of the sulat Baculud and sulat Wawa. This system was created by former Catholic priest Venancio Samson during the 1970s to translate the Bible into Kapampangan. It resolved conflicts between the use of ⟨q⟩ and ⟨c⟩ (in sulat Baculud) and ⟨k⟩ (in sulat Wawa) by using ⟨k⟩ before ⟨e⟩ and ⟨i⟩ (instead of [qu]⟩ and using ⟨c⟩ before ⟨a⟩, ⟨o⟩, and ⟨u⟩ (instead of ⟨k⟩). The system also removed ⟨ll⟩ and ⟨ñ⟩ (from Spanish), replacing them with ⟨ly⟩ and ⟨ny⟩.[12]

Orthography has been debated by Kapampangan writers, and orthographic styles may vary by writer. The sulat Wawa system has become the popular method of writing due to the influence of the Tagalog-based Filipino language (the national language) and its orthography. The sulat Wawa system is used by the Akademyang Kapampangan and the poet Jose Gallardo.[12]

Prayers, words and sentences

The Church of the Pater Noster in Jerusalem, with a Kapampangan version of the Lord's Prayer on the right
The Church of the Pater Noster in Jerusalem, with a Kapampangan version of the Lord's Prayer on the right



See also


  1. ^ "2010 Census of Population and Housing, Report No. 2A - Demographic and Housing Characteristics (Non-Sample Variables)" (PDF). Retrieved 2022-05-02.
  2. ^ "2010 Census of Population and Housing, Report No. 2A - Demographic and Housing Characteristics (Non-Sample Variables)" (PDF). Retrieved 2022-05-02.
  3. ^ Ordinance No. 424, City of Angeles.
  4. ^ Orejas, Tonette (July 22, 2021). "Angeles traffic signs soon in Kapampangan". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  5. ^ Orejas, Tonette (September 7, 2021). "Drivers welcome Kapampangan traffic signs". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  6. ^ Eberhard, David M.; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D., eds. (2021). Kapampangan. Ethnologue: Languages of the World (Twenty-fourth ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  7. ^ Ulrich Ammon; Norbert Dittmar; Klaus J. Mattheier (2006). Sociolinguistics: an international handbook of the science of language and society. Vol. 3. Walter de Gruyter. p. 2018. ISBN 978-3-11-018418-1.
  8. ^ Himes, Ronald S. “The Central Luzon Group of Languages.” Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 51, no. 2, 2012, pp. 490–537. JSTOR, Accessed 27 Nov. 2022.
  9. ^ Bergaño
  10. ^ a b Forman, Michael, 1971, pp.28-29
  11. ^ In the examples, the word to which the accusative case marker attaches is a pronoun or portmanteau pronoun that is obligatorily present in the same clause as the noun with which it is co-referential. In sentences with an agent trigger, the pronoun co-refers with the agent subject. In sentences with a non-agent trigger, the portmanteau pronoun co-refers with both the ergative agent and the non-agent subject, which is marked with direct case.
  12. ^ a b c d e Pangilinan, M. R. M. (2006, January). Kapampángan or Capampáñgan: settling the dispute on the Kapampángan Romanized orthography. In Paper at Tenth International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan (pp. 17-20).