Northern Luzon
Cordillera Central (Luzon)
Linguistic classificationAustronesian
Geographic extent of Northern Luzon languages based on Ethnologue

The Northern Luzon languages (also known as the Cordilleran languages) are one of the few established large groups within Philippine languages. These are mostly located in and around the Cordillera Central of northern Luzon in the Philippines. Among its major languages are Ilocano, Pangasinan and Ibanag.

Internal classification

Lawrence Reid (2018) divides the over thirty Northern Luzon languages into five branches: the Northeastern Luzon, Cagayan Valley and Meso-Cordilleran subgroups, further Ilokano and Arta as group-level isolate branches.[1][note 1]


Proto-Northern Luzon
Reconstruction ofNorthern Luzon languages
Lower-order reconstructions


Reid (2006) has reconstructed the Proto-Northern Luzon sound system as follows, with phonemic stress:[4]

Front Central Back
Close *i *u
Open *a
Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop voiceless *p *t *k
voiced *b *d *j *g
Fricative *s
Nasal *m *n
Lateral *l
Approximant *w *y

The sound inventory of Proto-Northern Luzon shows no innovations from Proto-Malayo-Polynesian that would set it apart from other Philippine languages. There are however two phonological innovations that characterize the Northern Luzon languages:


Lexical innovations only found in Northern Luzon languages include: *dutdut 'feather, body hair', *kəməl 'squeeze', *lətəg 'swell', *yəgyəg 'earthquake', *takdəg 'stand', *ʔubət 'buttocks'. Semantic shifts are observed e.g. in *ʔatəd 'give' (cf. Proto-Philippine *hatəd 'escort') and *laman 'wild pig' (cf. Proto-Philippine *laman 'flesh').[2]


  1. ^ † indicates that the language is extinct.

Ethnic groups

See also


  1. ^ Reid, Lawrence A. 2018. "Modeling the linguistic situation in the Philippines." In Let's Talk about Trees, ed. by Ritsuko Kikusawa and Lawrence A. Reid. Osaka: Senri Ethnological Studies, Minpaku. doi:10.15021/00009006
  2. ^ a b Robinson, Laura C. and Jason William Lobel (2013). "The Northeastern Luzon Subgroup of Philippine Languages." Oceanic Linguistics 52.1 (2013): 125-168.
  3. ^ Himes, Ronald S. 2005. The Meso-Cordilleran Group of Philippine Languages. In Hsiu-chuan Liao and Carl R. Galvez Rubino (eds.), Current Issues in Philippine Linguistics and Anthropology: Parangal kay Lawrence A. Reid, 81-92. Manila, Philippines: Linguistic Society of the Philippines and SIL Philippines.
  4. ^ Reid, Lawrence A. (2006). "On reconstructing the morphosyntax of Proto-Northern Luzon". Philippine Journal of Linguistics. 32 (1): 1–63.