Basa Magindanaw
بس ماگینداناو
Native toPhilippines
RegionMaguindanao del Norte, Maguindanao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao Region, Sarangani
Native speakers
1.5 million (2010)[1]
  • Tau sa Ilud
  • Tau sa Laya
  • Biwangen
  • Sibugay
Arabic (Jawi)
Official status
Official language in
Regional language in the Philippines
Regulated byKomisyon sa Wikang Filipino
Language codes
ISO 639-3mdh
Maguindanao language map.png
  Areas where Maguindanao is the majority language
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Maguindanao (Basa Magindanaw, Jawi: بس ماگینداناو), Maguindanaon or Magindanao is an Austronesian language spoken by a majority of the population of Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur in the Philippines. It is also spoken by sizable minorities in different parts of Mindanao such as the cities of Zamboanga, Davao, and General Santos, and the provinces of North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, as well as Metro Manila. This was the language of the historic Sultanate of Maguindanao (1520–1905), which existed before and during the Spanish colonial period from 1565 to 1898.


The Maguindanao language is the native language of the Maguindanao people of the province of Maguindanao located in the west of Mindanao island in the south of the Philippines. It was the language of the Sultanate of Maguindanao, which lasted until near the end of the Spanish colonial period in the late 19th century.

The earliest works on the language by a European were carried out by Jacinto Juanmartí, a Catalan priest of the Society of Jesus who worked in the Philippines in the second half of the 19th century.[2][3] Aside from a number of Christian religious works in the language,[5] Juanmartí also published a Maguindanao–Spanish/Spanish–Maguindanao dictionary and reference grammar in 1892.[6] Shortly after sovereignty over the Philippines was transferred from Spain to the United States in 1898 as a result of the Spanish–American War, the American administration began publishing a number of works on the language in English, such as a brief primer and vocabulary in 1903,[7] and a translation of Juanmartí's reference grammar into English in 1906.[8]

A number of works about and in the language have since been published by both local and foreign authors.

Maguindanao language in Arabic script on Maguindanao royal seal from the 18th century
Maguindanao language in Arabic script on Maguindanao royal seal from the 18th century



Maguindanao vowels
Front Central Back
Close i ɨ ~ ə u
Mid (e) (o)
Open a

The vowels [e] and [o] only occur in loanwords from Spanish through Tagalog or Cebuano and from Malay.


Maguindanao consonants
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d () ɡ
Fricative s (z) h
Nasal m n ŋ
Tap ɾ
Lateral l
Approximant w j

The phonemes /z/ and /dʒ/ only appear in loanwords. The sound [dʒ] also appears an allophonic realization for the sequences /d + s/ (e.g. [dʒaɭumˈani ka] /(ə)dsalumani ka/ 'repeat that!') and /d + i/ (only before another vowel before vowel, e.g. [ˈmidʒas] /midias/ 'stockings'); the sound [z] also appears as an allophone of /s/ before voiced consonants. /ɾ/ can also be trilled [r]. Intervocalic /d/ is realized as [ɾ].[9][10]

/ɾ/ and /l/ are interchangeable in words which include a written l, and the prevalence by which it is used or is dominant denotes the local dialects of Maguindanao. /l/ may also be heard as a retroflex [ɭ] in intervocalic positions.[9] The Laya (Raya) or lowland dialect of Maguindanao, spoken in and around Cotabato City, prefers the flapped r over l, while the more conservative upland variety spoken in Datu Piang and inland areas favors l.



Personal pronouns

As in the Maranao language, Maguindanao pronouns can be also free or bound to the word/morpheme before it.

Maguindanao free and bound pronouns[11]
I saki aku ku laki
you (singular) seka ka 'engka ~ nengka leka
he/she/it sekanin sekanin nin lekanin
we (dual) sekita ta ta lekita
we (including you) sekitanu tanu tanu lekitanu
we (excluding you) sekami kami nami lekami
you (plural) sekanu kanu nu lekanu
they silan silan nilan kanilan


Maguindanao numerals:

1 isa/sa
2 dua
3 telu
4 pat
5 lima
6 nem
7 pitu
8 walu
9 siaw
10 sapulu
20 dua pulu
30 telu pulu
40 pat pulu
50 lima pulu
60 nem pulu
70 pitu pulu
80 walu pulu
90 siaw pulu
100 magatus
1,000 sangibu


English Maguindanao
black maitem
white maputi
red maliga
orange kulit
yellow binaning
green gadung
blue bilu
purple lambayung
pink kasumba
gray kaumbi
brown sikulati


English Maguindanao English Maguindanao
How are you? Ngin i betad engka? Good morning Mapia mapita
Good noon Mapia maudtu Good afternoon Mapia malulem
Good day Mapia gay Good evening Mapia magabi
I will go now Lemu aku den Until next time Sampay sa tundug a kutika
You're so diligent Sangat i katulanged nengka / Matulanged ka a benal You're so kind Sangat i kalimu nengka / Malimu ka a benal
You're so beautiful Sangat i kanisan nengka / Manisan ka a benal Thanks! Sukran!
Thank you! Sukran sa leka! Thank you very much! Sukran a benal!
You're welcome Afwan Welcome! Talus ka!
Yes Uway No Di
None Da Not Kena
Who? Entain? What? Ngin?
Where? Endaw? Which? Endaw san?
When? Kanu? How? Panun?
Why? Enduken? This Inia
That Intu/Nan There San
Here Sia In Lu


Writing system

Maguindanao is written with the Latin script, and used to be written with the Jawi script. Among works on the language published by Jacinto Juanmartí, his sacred history Compendio de historia universal contains Maguindanao texts in both Jawi and the Latin script.[4]


Maguindanao alphabet – Latin script
Letter Name Sound
A a [a]
B ba [b]
D da [d]
E e [ə]
G ga [g]
H ha [h]
I i [i/e]
J ja [ʒ]
K ka [k]
L la [l]
M ma [m]
N na [n]
Ng nga [ŋ]
P pa [p]
R ra [ɾ/r]
S sa [s]
T ta [t]
U u [u/o]
W wa [w]
Y ya [j]
Z za [z]


Maguindanao alphabet – Jawi script
Character Name
ا alip
ب ba
ت ta
ث t̲a
ج jim
ح ḥa
خ xo
د dal
ذ ḏal
ر ro
ز zai
س sin
ش šin
ص ṣod
ض ḍod
ط ṭo
ظ ẓo
ع 'ain
غ ǧain
ڠ nga
ف fa
ڨ pa
ق qaf
ک kaf
گ gaf
ل lam
م mim
ن nun
و wau
ه ha
ء hamza
ي ya
ى ya without dots

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. ^ Juanmartí, Jacinto, S. I. (1833-1897). Biblioteca Virtual de la Filología Española (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-10-10.
  3. ^ a b Aguilera Fernández, María (2018). "Literatura misional y hagiografía en el siglo XIX: Jacinto Juanmartí, un misionero jesuita en Filipinas (1833–1897)" [Missionary literature and hagiography in the 19th century: Jacinto Juanmartí, a Jesuit missionary in the Philippines (1833–1897)]. Hispania Sacra (in Spanish). 70 (141): 321. doi:10.3989/hs.2018.024.
  4. ^ a b i.e., Compendio de historia universal desde la creación del mundo hasta la venida de Jesucristo y un breve vocabulario en castellano y en moro maguindanao [Compendium of universal history from the creation of the world to the coming of Jesus Christ and a brief vocabulary in Spanish and Moro-Maguindanao] (in Maguindanao and Spanish). Singapore: Koh Yew Hean. 1888.((cite book)): CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  5. ^ such as a Maguindanao–Spanish bilingual "sacred history", with a short wordlist, in 1888,[4][3] in which Maguindanao was written in both Arabic characters and the Latin alphabet
  6. ^ i.e., Juanmartí (1892a) and Juanmartí (1892b)
  7. ^ i.e., Porter (1903)
  8. ^ i.e., Juanmartí (1906)
  9. ^ a b Eck, Jerry (1972). Sketch of Magindanao phonology. Nasuli, Malaybalay, Bukidnon: SIL.
  10. ^ Racman, Tenex; Zorc, R. David (2009). Maguindanaon: Dialogs and Drills (PDF). Dunwoody Press.
  11. ^ Allison, E. Joe (1979). "Proto-Danaw: A Comparative Study of Maranaw, Magindanaw and Iranun". In Gallman, Andrew F.; Allison, E. Joe; Harmon, Carol W.; Witucki, Jeannette (eds.). Papers in Philippine Linguistics No. 10. Pacific Linguistics, Series A, No. 55. Canberra: The Australian National University. pp. 53–112. doi:10.15144/PL-A55.53.