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Rinconada Bikol
Pronunciation/riŋkonɑːdɑ biːkol/
Native toPhilippines
Native speakers
230,000 (2000 census)[1]
  • Sinabukid
  • Sinaranəw
Latin (Rinconada Bicol alphabet);
Baybayin (historical)
Official status
Official language in
Regional language in the Philippines
Regulated byKomisyon sa Wikang Filipino
Language codes
ISO 639-3bto
Geographic extent of Rinconada based on Ethnologue
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.
Signage in English and Rinconada in Baao; the Rinconada text means "biodegradable" and "non-biodegradable"

Rinconada Bikol or simply Rinconada, spoken in the province of Camarines Sur, Philippines, is one of several languages that compose the Inland Bikol (or Southern Bicol) group of the Bikol macrolanguage. It belongs to the Austronesian language family that also includes most Philippine languages, the Formosan languages of Taiwanese aborigines, Malay (Indonesian and Bahasa Malaysia), the Polynesian languages and Malagasy.

Rinconada is surrounded by and shares common features with other Bikol languages. It is bordered by Coastal Bikol to the north, Buhinon to the east, and West Miraya language immediately to the south. The language's closest relatives outside the Bicol region are Aklanon, Waray-Waray, and to a lesser extent Tagalog, especially the variants used in Batangas and Marinduque.

Rinconada Bikol is the language adopted by the indigenous population of Agta/Aeta (the Negrito) in the surrounding mountainous areas of Mount Iriga (old name is Mount Asog). The Austronesian people that have migrated to the foot of Mount Asog from the lowland Nabua introduced the language to Negritos when they began conducting trade and commerce, thus replacing the native language of the latter. The original language of the Negritos is Inagta, also known to linguists as Mount Iriga Agta, an extinct or nearly extinct language. Inagta is said to have 86% intelligibility with Rinconada Bikol and a lexical similarity of 76%.[2] Most Negritos, commonly called Agta or Aeta (Ŋod for camaraderie) today, are fluent in Rinconada Bikol, though speak a different variant.


5th congressional district of Camarines Sur

The name Rinconada is derived from the Rinconada District in Camarines Sur where the language originated, developed and is largely spoken. However, the precise origins of how the term Rinconada was assigned to the area are still unclear. Popular wisdom ascribes the name to have come from the Spanish arrinconada, 'cornered', from the root rincón, which means 'corner or small district'.[citation needed] Rinconada might have been given by the Spaniards to the then-newly explored and established colony in the southeastern corner of Luzon Island; natives formerly called the area Sumagang (Sumagaŋ), meaning 'far east'.

Adding credence to the theory of a Spanish origin are the localities of La Rinconada in Spain and La Rinconada in Chile, which was also a former Spanish colony.


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The language is divided into two main dialects and subdivided into six variants:

Sinabukid (highland dialect)

(Strong accent, flat intonation only, and with /ə/)

Sinaranəw (lakeside dialect)

(Soft accent with different types of intonation, and without /ə/)

Dialectal variation

Iriga variant
Highland dialect
Agta variant
Highland dialect
Nabua – Balatan variant
Lakeside dialect
Bato variant
Lakeside dialect
Baao variant
Lakeside dialect
Bula – Pili variant
Lakeside dialect
Central Bikol translation Filipino/Tagalog translation English translation
Namāmaɣəw iyā sadtō gilid ka sālog ku nabaretāan niyā na inarādo naŋgad ku igin niyā su ragâ, dāwâ ədâ pa ka tubig adtoŋ umā nirā. Namāmaɣəw iyā sadtō iris ka sālog ku nabaretāan niyā na inarādo naŋgad ku igin niyā su ragâ, dāwâ ədâ pa ka katbag adtoŋ umā nirā. Namāmaɣow 'yā sadtō gilid ka sālog ku nabaretāan niyā na inarādo naŋgad ku igin niyā su ragâ, dāwâ udâ pa ka tubig adtoŋ umā nirā. Namāmaɣow iyā sadtō gilid ka sālog ku nabaretāan niyā na inarādo naŋgad ku akos niyā su ragâ, dāwâ udâ pa ka tubig adtoŋ umā nirā. Namāmaɣow siyā sadtō gilid ka sālog ku nabaretāan niyā na inarādo jāday ku igin niyā su ragâ, dāwâ udâ pa ka tubig adtoŋ umā nindā. Namāmaɣow siyā sadtō gilid ka sālog ku nabaretāan niyā na inarādo dayday ku igin niyā su ragâ, dāwâ udâ pa ka tubig adtoŋ umā nindā. Namamahaw siya duman sa gilid nin salog kan mabaretaan niyang inarado giraray kan aki niya an daga, dawa dai pa nin tubig itong uma ninda. Nag-aalmusal siya sa may tabí ng ilog nang mabalitaan niyang inararo mulî ng kaniyang anák ang lupà, kahit walâ pang tubig ang kaniláng bukirín. He was eating breakfast by the river when he heard news his child ploughed the land again, even as their rice field had not water yet.


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Table of Rinconada Bikol consonant phonemes
Bilabial Alveolar Post-alveolar/Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n (ɲ) ⟨ny, ñ⟩ ŋ ⟨ng⟩
Stop p b t d k ɡ ʔ
Affricate () ⟨ts, ty, ch⟩ () ⟨dy, j⟩
Fricative s (ʃ) ⟨sy, sh⟩
Approximant w l j ⟨y⟩ (ɥ)
Rhotic ɾ ⟨r⟩



Table of Rinconada Bikol vowel phonemes
Front Central Back
Close i ⟨i⟩ ɨ ⟨ə, ë, ö, ü⟩ u ⟨u⟩
Mid (e ⟨e⟩) (o ⟨o⟩)
Open a ⟨a⟩


Diphthong (saɣəy)

Rinconada Bikol has several diphthongs or gliding vowels.

Rinconada Bikol diphthongs
[ja] yamən 'play' [aw] balaw 'fermented shrimp or krill'
[je] baba 'woman/female' [ew] sigew 'spine'
[ji] ta 'stitch' [iw] isiw 'chick'
[jo] pa 'head' [ow] aldow (Sinaranəw dialect) 'sun'
[ju] ta 'nice/pretty' [uw] taluw (Sinaranəw dialect) 'scared'
[jə] kk 'armpit' [əw] sabəw 'soup'
[wa] īwas 'wide, spacious' [ɤa] labāɣan 'laundry'
[we] su 'upside down' [ɤe] pondoɣē 'stop it, please'
[wi] wig 'broad' [ɤi] ɣî 'race, ethnicity'
[wɔ] ta 'human/person' [ɤo] kaɣon 'box'
[wu] rawut (Sinaranəw dialect) 'locked' [ɤu] daɣun 'leaf'
[wə] t 'stressful' [ɤə] baɣəw 'cold cooked rice'
[aɪ̯] maray 'good' [oɪ̯] kawoy (Sinaranəw dialect) 'wood/tree'
[ui̯] baluy (Sinaranəw dialect) 'house' [əɪ̯] sabləy 'hang'

Diacritics (kul-it)

Rinconada uses a variation of the Latin alphabet modeled on the Tagalog alphabet. But unlike the modern Tagalog–Filipino, Rinconada retains and uses diacritics (kul-it in Rinconada Bikol and kudlit in Tagalog). This is to highlight the meaning of the words and to differentiate homonyms. In return, the diacritics provide Rinconada Bikol with a unique orthography among Philippine languages. Diacritics for this language are limited to the macron and circumflex which is unlike other languages, for example Vietnamese which has several. However, due to technical difficulties and a scarcity of resources, diacritics are sometimes not available. Thus, two Rinconada alphabets were created to meet the needs of the speakers: the native and the simplified. Both can be used at the same time depending on the situation, purpose and availability of resources.

Glottal stop (rəgsad)

The Rinconada name for the letter which represents the glottal stop is rəgsad. This can only be found in the native form of alphabet, and it is limited to final vowels or vowels at the end of a word. Rəgsad is represented by the circumflex ( ˆ ).

For examples of the glottal stop, consider the Rinconada words salâ ('wrong') and turô ('drop of water/fluid'), often simply sala and turo in the simplified alphabet and in Filipino and English orthographies.



The Rinconada native alphabet has six short vowels, six long vowels, and seventeen consonants, a total of twenty-nine letters representing all phonemes in Rinconada Bikol. A long or stressed vowel is written with a macron (a diacritic placed above a vowel). It also includes the velar nasal special character /ŋ/ that represents "ng". The native alphabet contains phonemes that are native to Rinconada, thus making it the standard Rinconada Bikol alphabet.

Majuscule Forms (also called uppercase or capital letters)
A Ā B K D E Ē Ə ə̄ G H Ɣ I Ī J L M N Ŋ O Ō P R S T U Ū W Y
Minuscule Forms (also called lowercase or small letters)
a ā b k d e ē ə ə̄ g h ɣ i ī j l m n ŋ o ō p r s t u ū w y

Example of a Filipino proverb written in the Rinconada native alphabet:

A dirî tattaoŋ maglīlî sa pinaŋgalinan, dirî makaaābot sa pig-iyānan. (Tagalog: Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan.)

Letter Rinconada English translation
A aləp hungry
Ā ārak to flaunt
B bādô dress/cloth
K kamət hand
D dəlag escape
E erak pity
Ē kalē canal
Ə əŋət angry
ə̄ ə̄ sit
G gab-ī night
H sahâ offshoot
Ɣ baɣog feeds
I i you (singular)
Ī īkaw earring
J tadjok hit by a sharp pointed tool or thing
L lətəw floating
M matā eye
N nəknək small mosquitoes
ŋ ŋipən tooth
O oroŋ nose
Ō ōmol; sō a person who is not funny anymore; remote area or place
P parəy rice (unmilled)
R rayô far
S saləg floor
T tagbâ a method of harvesting using a bolo or knife
U uran rain
Ū ūri late
W warak scattered
Y yabâ love



The Rinconada Simplified alphabet is just the same as the Philippine alphabet. It has 28 letters:

Majuscule Forms (also called uppercase or capital letters)
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N Ñ Ng O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Minuscule Forms (also called lowercase or small letters)
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n ñ ng o p q r s t u v w x y z

The letters F, V and Z are included because they are native to other Philippine languages like Itawis and Ibanag. The letters C, Ñ, and Q are also included, but their usages are limited to foreign names, Filipinized words of foreign origins or loans, especially from Spanish, English and Arabic.

The simplified alphabet does not use diacritics like the macron ⟨◌̄⟩ for stressed and long vowels, the circumflex ⟨◌̂⟩ for glottal stop, or the letters for velar nasal ⟨ŋ⟩, schwa ⟨ə⟩, or velar fricative ⟨ɣ⟩, as they do not appear on a standard QWERTY keyboard. The velar nasal ⟨ŋ⟩ is replaced by the digraph ⟨ng⟩, and the two latter sounds can be replaced by ⟨o⟩ and ⟨h⟩, ⟨w⟩, and ⟨y⟩ respectively. Even with the absence of diacritics in the modern and simplified alphabet, pronunciations in the spoken language are not altered. Moreover, the long vowel sound in a word should not be omitted. One example is bə̄ət ('kind') and bəət ('want, like'). The word bə̄ət in the native alphabet is written as bəət in the simplified alphabet, making the two words the same in spelling albeit with different meanings. In this case, the pronunciation of the words depends on their place and usage in a sentence. To avoid confusion and aid in ease of reading, it is strongly recommended[by whom?] to use the native alphabet in writing Rinconada Bikol.

Features and geographic distribution

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List of phrases and expressions that are unique to each variant:

Baao variant: Gaorag na!
Nabua – Balatan variant: Labinā kan.
Agta variant: Mayaŋ na ŋod.
Bato variant: Ay tarā?
Bula – Pili variant: Paiŋōrag.
Iriga variant: Labinā man nâ!

Short imperatives

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Like other Visayan and Bikol languages, Rinconada Bikol has a short form for the imperative.

The phrase iyəwən mo ('grill it') is often shortened to iyəwā and the command phrase punāsan mo a salmiŋ ('wipe the mirror') can be shortened to punāsa a salmiŋ.

A special form is used when talking to elderly people in a polite manner. The letters "ā/a" after the root word of the verb are replaced by the letters "e/ē" if the statement is politely delivered. The letter "e" or "ē" stands for tābî which means 'please' in English, or po in Tagalog.

Example 1:

iyəw is a root word that means 'grill'.
iyəwən means 'grill it'.
iyəwən mo roughly means 'you, grill it'.
iyəwā is the shortened form of the command 'iyəwən mo'.
iyəwē is the shortened polite form of iyəwən mo tābî ('grill it please').

Example 2:

punas is a root word that means 'wipe'.
punasan means 'wipe it'.
punasan mo roughly means 'you, wipe it'.
punāsa is a shortened form of the command punāsan mo.
punāse is the shortened polite form of punāsan mo tābî ('wipe it please').

Example 3:

īmo is a root word that means 'prepare'.
imōɣon means 'prepare it'.
imōɣon mo means 'you, prepare it'.
imōɣa is the shortened form of the command imōɣon mo.
imōɣe is the shortened polite form of imōɣon mo tābî ('please prepare it').


  Absolutive Ergative Oblique
1st person singular akō ko kanakə, saakə
2nd person singular ikā, mo kanimō, saimō
3rd person singular iyā, siyā niyā kaniyā, saiyā
1st person plural inclusive kitā kanatə, saatə
1st person plural exclusive kamī namə, amə kanamə, saamə
2nd person plural kamō ninyō kaninyō
3rd person plural sirā, sindā nirā, ninda kanirā, saindā, kandā


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Family titles

Question words


General greetings:

The spoken greetings can be shortened to Aldəw and Gab-ī as they are similar to the two-syllable words bonjour and bonsoir of the French language.

Specific greetings:

People of Rinconada classify dim or dark hours as nighttime and light hours as daytime. As such, even with the introduction of modern standard time, they consider the hours of 12 midnight until 6 o'clock in the morning nighttime. Therefore, the general greeting from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. is Maray na aldəw, and Maray na gab-ī for the hours that start from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., e.g. Maray na mudtū tabî kaninyō ŋāmin!

Occasional greetings:

Uniqueness and distinction

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The vocabulary of Rinconada Bikol is rich in words with short or unstressed /i/. In fact, most root words with /i/ are unstressed. However, not all words with /i/ should be read and pronounced as such since there are several words that have stressed /ī/, especially loanwords, e.g. sīli ('chili'). Native words (root words) with stressed /ī/ are seldom or rare.

The language retains the proto-Philippine schwa vowel /ə/ that has disappeared in most Philippine languages like Cebuano, Tagalog and even the neighboring Coastal Bikol language. In Nabua, Camarines Sur, (where the language is believed to have originated), the vowel also disappeared through normal development and evolution. However, it was preserved by those who moved and migrated to the highland part of Rinconada around Mount Iriga (formerly Mount Asog) due to severe flooding in the lowlands, particularly in Nabua and Bula, thus preserving the vowel which has survived to this day in the Sinabukid dialect.

People who are new to the highland accent may find the Sinabukid dialect sounds like Ilokano, Pangasinense, or Karay-a of Antique province.[citation needed] The vowel can also be heard from the population in towns and cities speaking the Albay Bikol group of languages. The native word for this vowel in Rinconada is gəpə, and this has divided the language into two dialects – Sinabukid or Highland (with /ə/) and Sinaranəw or Lakeside (without /ə/).

Aside from the vowel /ə/, another notable aspect of Rinconada language is the occurrence of the extra consonant phoneme /ɣ/. This consonant bears the sound of mixed letters "h", "y" and "w".[clarification needed] The neighboring language of Buhinon also uses this sound - clear evidence of close ties between the two languages.[3] This phoneme has neither a corresponding letter in the Philippine alphabet nor an equivalent character on the Philippine standard keyboard. Thus, Rinconada Bikol speakers have no option but to use "h" as an alternative letter. However, in the spoken Sinaranəw dialect, the consonant /ɣ/ and the vowel /ə/ are often replaced by the letters "w" and "o", respectively.

Examples of ⟨ɣ

  1. Mimaɣəw – 'will eat breakfast'
    (Mudtū na, mimaɣəw pa sanā ikā?)
  2. Baɣəw – 'cold cooked rice'
    (Naŋagnəw na man na kānən na adī, malākabaɣəw!)
  3. Taɣəp – process of separating rice from its outside layer after milling; tahip in Filipino/Tagalog.
    (A pagtaɣəp, əsad na gīboŋ dirî dāpat pinagdə̄dəlagan.)
  4. Daɣun – plant leaf.
    (Kadakəl ka daɣun ka tanəm ni Tāta Isko.)
  5. Taɣob – cover, protect, or conceal.
    (Pakarāyən mo a pagkātaɣob ka bobon ta mauŋkaŋ ikā sīton!)

Pronunciation of ⟨e⟩ and ⟨ē⟩

The letter ⟨e⟩ in Rinconada is not the typical pronunciation of the vowel /e/ in other languages - such as the word beg and bell in English, or the word metung in Kapampangan meaning 'one' - [ɛ] in IPA (open- or low-mid front unrounded vowel). The letter ⟨e⟩ in Rinconada is pronounced similar to the letter sequence ⟨ee⟩ in English, or the letter ⟨i⟩ of most languages, but the mouth is more open and the tongue is a bit relaxed. In IPA it is [e], a close- or high-mid front unrounded vowel. So its pronunciation lies in between that of leed's [i] and led's [ɛ].

The difference between the letters ⟨e⟩ and ⟨ē⟩ is that the latter pronounced longer or prolonged.

Example: mutēte (IPA: /muteːte/) - 'chide, scold'.

Rules for [j]

Unlike other letters in the Rinconada native alphabet, the letter /j/ is always accompanied by /d/ if it is in the middle of a word. Otherwise, single /j/ is used. Moreover, it is the only non-gliding consonant that cannot be found at the end of a word in native Rinconada vocabulary.

Some words in native Rinconada and Rinconadized words of foreign origin with /j/:

The consonant [h]

Through language evolution, Rinconada Bikol almost lost the phoneme /h/, hence it is rare. It is often absent in most Rinconada words that are usually present in other Philippine languages.

There is no real /h/ sound in Rinconada. It is either silent or glided and sounds like a long tonal vowel, or vowel lengthening. The letter /h/ is omitted since it is silent; on the other hand, it is glided when in between vowels. The Tagalog words such as hangin, higop and hanggan are almost the same as the Rinconada words, but the letter [h] is eliminated since it is not pronounced. The corresponding equivalents are aŋin, igop and aŋgan; the same is the case with other Bikol words like harani, harayo, and habo, which are arāni, arayô, and abə in Rinconada, while the glided /h/ sound can be found in between the same vowels as in baha, saha, kohol, and mohon.

The disappearance of the phoneme [h] is an occurrence comparable (though not to the same degree) to that in the Kapampangan language. Nevertheless, Rinconada Bikol speakers can pronounce it with clarity and emphasis whenever they speak other languages where it is present.[citation needed]


An election campaign sticker in Rinconada Bikol written in simplified alphabet. (Note the use of umlaut (ü) instead of the schwa vowel ⟨ə⟩ to aid the Sinaranəw speakers in reading the message.)

For centuries under Spanish rule, Rinconada adopted many words from Spanish. There are a considerable number of Latin loans (sometimes obscured by being subject to Rinconada phonology and grammar), for example: estar ('address or dwelling place', from estar meaning 'stay'), soltēro ('single' but only applicable to male individuals, from soltero), ɣūben ('young' from joven), and ilyābe ('key', from llave).

Older generations tend to use Spanish loanwords more often while younger generations tend to use Tagalog words and rinconadized words from English, especially modern terminology with no counterpart in native Rinconada Bikol vocabulary.


Bawas-bawāsan mo man ŋanî a pagkātiŋ mo lalô na kin arāni na a eksam. ('Limit your habit of escaping class sessions especially when examination is approaching near').

The Tagalog word bawas-bawāsan is inâ-ināan in Rinconada and the word lalô is used in favor of the native word orog. The words kātiŋ and eksam are rinconadized words of the English cutting (cutting classes or leaving the room during school hours without permission), and exam (examination) respectively. However, the native word for cutting classes is ləəm.

Angry speech register

The angry register is unique to Bicol languages as it cannot be found in other Austronesian languages inside and outside the Philippines. It is generally used only among same-age speakers or by older speakers to younger listeners, as usage by younger speakers in addressing their elders would constitute great disrespect. On occasion, the angry register is used in sarcasm or humor, but the majority of its usage is in anger.[4]

Rinconada Bikol has contributed much to this unique feature of spoken Bicolano languages.[citation needed]


  Normal Register Angry Register

Sinabukid pronunciation

Angry Register

Sinaranəw pronunciation

eye matā malsək malsok
clothing badô lamakdô lamakdô
eat kaən ablô, gətək ablô, gotok
mouth ŋaŋā ŋurāpak ŋurāpak
sleep torog tusmag tusmag
drink inom til-ab, lablab til-ab, lablab
child igin wagə̂ wagû
chicken manok soltok, galtok soltok, galtok
dog ayam damāyə̂ daŋab, damāyô
throw baribad barambaŋ barambaŋ
mountain bukid luskid luskid
run dalagan kurībaw kurībaw
water tubig kal-eg kal-eg
rain uran dunag dunag
rice bəgas lasgas lasgas
hungry aləp gəsləp, gəlsək guslup, gulsuk
woman babayī babaknit, siknit babaknit, siknit
ear taliŋā taliŋəgŋəg taliŋogŋog
old guraŋ gusnab, gusgus gusnab, gusgus


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Sainigin is a group of selected words for babies and newborns. It is used by parents to communicate with their babies easily and to train them how to talk, hence, an introductory language. It is often described as language for babies and commonly called sainigin or "baby talk". Words are limited to two syllables and feature basic commands. Several letters are absent such as "r", "g", "s", "j", and "h". Sainigin literally means 'talking or acting like a baby'.

Normal words Sainigin words English equivalent
inom māmam drink
kaən pāpâ eat
ə̄la lālâ sit
atî āâ dirty
ədə̂ dōdô bowel
bādô dādô cloth
turog nānok sleep
wāwâ kakâ spit it out
tabid, īyî wīwî urinate
ədâ na nāna no more
erak wāwa pity


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Numbers and words (in the native alphabet) are as follows:

0 pōlô
1 əsad 11 samsad 21 darwamsad 31 tolomsad 41 pamsad 51 limamsad 61 nəmsad 71 pitomsad 81 walomsad 91 yamsad
2 darwā 12 samdarwā 22 darwamdarwā 32 tolomdarwā 42 pamdarwā 52 limamdarwā 62 nəmdarwā 72 pitomdarwā 82 walomdarwā 92 yamdarwā
3 tolō 13 samtolō 23 darwamtolō 33 tolomtolō 43 pamtolō 53 limamtolō 63 nəmtolō 73 pitomtolō 83 walomtolō 93 yamtolō
4 əpat 14 sampat 24 darwampat 34 tolompat 44 pampat 54 limampat 64 nəmpat 74 pitompat 84 walompat 94 yampat
5 limā 15 samlimā 25 darwamlimā 35 tolomlimā 45 pamlimā 55 limamlimā 65 nəmlimā 75 pitomlimā 85 walomlimā 95 yamlimā
6 ənəm 16 samnəm 26 darwamnəm 36 tolomnəm 46 pamnəm 56 limamnəm 66 nəmnəm 76 pitomnəm 86 walomnəm 96 yamnəm
7 pitō 17 sampitō 27 darwampitō 37 tolompitō 47 pampitō 57 limampitō 67 nəmpitō 77 pitompitō 87 walompitō 97 yampitō
8 walō 18 samwalō 28 darwamwalō 38 tolomwalō 48 pamwalō 58 limamwalō 68 nəmwalō 78 pitomwalō 88 walomwalō 98 yamwalō
9 siyam 19 samsiyam 29 darwamsiyam 39 tolomsiyam 49 pamsiyam 59 limamsiyam 69 nəmsiyam 79 pitomsiyam 89 walomsiyam 99 yamsiyam
10 sampōlô 20 darwampōlô 30 tolompōlô 40 pampōlô 50 limampōlô 60 nəmpōlô 70 pitompōlô 80 walompōlô 90 yampōlô 100 saŋgatos

There are no written records to indicate that Rinconada has native words for two-digit numbers (11–99). On the other hand, there is also no proof that the language has no indigenous words for those numbers. It is intriguing that Rinconada has native words for three-digit numbers (e.g. sanggatos for 100) but not for two-digit numbers. Utilization and adaptation of foreign terminology during the 333 years of Spanish colonization could be one of the reasons why the native terminology may not have been passed to the new generations. Noting that an established language needs a complete numbering system in words, thus the reconstruction of words for 11 to 99 is necessary but needs to follow and retain the indigenous or original structural form of Rinconada's orthography.


The number words for 1 to 10 and 100 are all native Rinconada while numbers 11 to 99 are all reconstructed. However, the reconstructed numbers are based on the original structure. Sampōlô (number ten) or sampu in Tagalog is the only two-digit number that has a native word with a perfect indigenous structural form. The evolution of the word sampōlô from əsadnapōlô follows the orthography of Rinconada and developed naturally over the years. Being said, it is imperative that all reconstructed numbers must follow the same format of the number 10.

The word sampōlô is derived from a portmanteau of the words əsad + na + pōlô (əsadnapōlô) which is the based tenth of one.[clarification needed] In the evolution of this number, the schwa letter ⟨ə⟩ of əsadnapōlô became silent and so the word became sadnapōlô. As with other Philippine languages, /na/ became /ŋ/, replacing the last consonant of the first word (which is /d/), and became the connector to the second word (which is pōlô) – thus, /d/ was omitted and the word became saŋ. The connector /ŋ/ becomes /m/ naturally if the next letter is /p/ or /b/, which is also the case in other Philippine languages. The word thus became sampōlô.

Structure of sampōlô (10):

  1. əsad + na + pōlô = əsadnapōlô
  2. əsadnapōlô/ə/ = sadnapōlô
  3. sadnapōlô/d/ = sanapōlô
  4. /na/ replaced by /ŋ/ = saŋpōlô
  5. /ŋ/ replaced by /m/ before /p/ = sampōlô.

From sampōlô, all two-digit numbers were given a name that was copied from it. The numbers 40 (pampōlô) and 60 (nəmpōlô) follow the same pattern as sampōlô. The exception to the naming system of numbers is the number zero (0). Though zero (0) is a single digit, there is no native word for it. Since sampōlô (10) is a combination of 1 and 0, the word pōlô was taken from it to represent zero (0) rather than using sīro or sēro. As a result, Rinconada has a complete basic set of numbers without using foreign words.

The number referenced in Php 356,817,142,590 can be translated into Rinconada Bikol as:

Toloŋgatos limamnəm na bilyon, waloŋgatos sampitoŋ milyon, saŋgatos pamdarwaŋ rībo ag limaŋgatos yampōloŋ pīso.

In English it is:

'Three hundred fifty six billion, eight hundred seventeen million, one-hundred forty two thousand and five hundred ninety pesos'.

In Filipino it is:

Tatlong daan limampu't anim na bilyon, walong daan at labing pitong milyon, sandaan at apatnapu't dalawang libo at limang raan siyamnapung piso.

Comparison chart

Decimal Numbers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
PAN, circa 4000 BC *isa *DuSa *telu *Sepat *lima *enem *pitu *walu *Siwa *puluq
Tagalog isá dalawá tatló ápat limá ánim pitó waló siyám sampu
Cebuano usá duhá tuló upat limá unom pitó waló siyám napulu
Rinconada əsad darwā tolō əpat limā ənəm pitō walō siyam sampōlô
Chamorro maisa, håcha hugua tulu fatfat lima gunum fiti guålu sigua månot, fulu
Malay satu dua tiga empat lima enam tujuh lapan sembilan sepuluh
Javanese siji loro telu papat limo nem pitu wolu songo sepuluh
Tongan taha ua tolu nima ono fitu valu hiva -fulu
Samoan tasi lua tolu lima ono fitu valu iva sefulu
Māori tahi rua toru whā rima ono whitu waru iwa tekau (archaic: ngahuru)
Marquesan e tahi e 'ua e to'u e fa e 'ima e ono e fitu e va'u e iva 'onohu'u


Coverage of Rinconada Bikol language (purple)
Coverage of Albay Bikol languages:
Buhinon Bikol (dark blue)
Libon Bikol (violet)
West Miraya Bikol (light blue)
East Miraya Bikol (blue-gray)

Although properly considered separate languages, speakers of Rinconada Bikol or Rinconada can communicate with Albay Bikol speakers with ease and without code-switching. A student from Ligao City (West Miraya speaker) studying at a university in Iriga City can understand Rinconada (any variant) and can be understood by Rinconada speakers as well. The same thing will happen if a local tourist from Rinconada visits the Cagsawa Ruins in Albay or visits Donsol, Sorsogon (East Miraya speaker) for the annual whale shark sightings. The difference between Rinconada and Albay Bikol (both are included in the Inland Bikol group) is comparable to German and Yiddish or Portuguese and Galician, while the differences between variants are comparable to those between English US, English British and English Australian. The mutual intelligibility of Rinconada and Albay Bikol is 80% to 85%, while intelligibility between variants is 95% to 98%.[citation needed]


Rinconada Bikol is a minority language in the Bicol region despite having hundreds of thousands of speakers. It is currently not used in commercial media (print, radio, television) despite the fact that there are numerous prominent Rinconada speakers in the music and entertainment industry, media, and Philippine politics. It is not among the recognized regional languages in the Philippines and remains unknown to many Filipinos as it is poorly documented, researched and promoted.[citation needed]

Currently, the major obstacle to the diffusion of the usage and teaching of Rinconada is the lack of written material in Rinconada Bikol language, namely books, newspapers, software, magazines, etc. Thus, Rinconada, along with other Inland Bikol languages and the minor indigenous languages of Bicol region, remains essentially a spoken language.

Due to the everyday exposure of younger generations to Filipino/Tagalog and English in mass media and on social networking sites, native words that are rarely used are now disappearing and being replaced by their counterparts from other languages. If it cannot be stopped by any means, this trend is more likely to continue and might endanger the language in the near future.[citation needed]


The only dictionary written for the language is Rinconada: Bikol-Filipino-English Phrasebook: with Mini-dictionary (2001) of Jason Lobel and Grace Bucad of Nabua, Camarines Sur. Several books were successfully written and published by native speakers and non-speakers alike. Some were published by Frank Peñones, Jason Chancoco, Rizaldy Manrique, Jonher Cañeba and Kristian Cordero of Iriga City. In 2004, Ragang Rinaranga: mga rawitdawit, published by Frank Peñones, was the first anthology written in Rinconada Bikol.

On June 25, 2013, the Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges (CSPC), a state college in Nabua, Camarines Sur, established the Center for Rinconada Studies to serve as the research center for the Rinconada Bikol language and heritage.[5]


Rinconada is spoken by the majority in Bula, Baao, Nabua, Balatan, Iriga and Bato in Camarines Sur (politically the fifth district of Camarines Sur province except the municipality of Buhi, where the majority speaks Buhinon). The language is dominant and the lingua franca in the southern half of the provincial capital town of Pili, the west barangays of Ocampo, and the far west barangays of Buhi; it can also be heard in neighboring places such as the northern barangays of Polangui and Libon in Albay.


Town/City Population Percentage
Baao, Cam. Sur 54,971 100%
Balatan, Cam. Sur 28,699 100% (25% of the population is bilingual with Coastal Bikol)
Bato, Cam. Sur 48,306 100%
Buhi, Cam. Sur 24,603 1/3 of the population
Bula, Cam. Sur 68,011 100%
Iriga City 105,919 100%
Nabua, Cam. Sur 80,111 100%
Pili, Cam. Sur 41,153 (half of the population)
Polangui, Albay 27,435 (1/3 of the population)
Total 479,208

Based on the population of towns and cities with a concentration of Rinconada Bikol speakers, the total number is 479,208 or almost half a million. This number is based on the population of the fifth district of Camarines Sur (Rinconada) and neighboring towns of Polangui and Pili, in which Rinconada Bikol is their de facto daily language. Moreover, the total number does not include speakers outside the Rinconada area. Some linguists place the native speaker population at an estimated 600,000 because there are many speakers outside the region who have left in search of better job opportunities. An example of this are the Filipinos enlisted in the US Navy who are from Nabua, Camarines Sur, comprising 10% of all Filipino US Servicemen. Most of these Rinconada speakers now reside mostly in San Diego, California.[6]


  1. ^ Rinconada Bikol at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Ang A language of Philippines". Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  3. ^ Ballenas, Emy T.; Borromeo, Nilo M.; Olson, Kenneth S. (December 2009). "Buhi'non (Bikol) Digital Wordlist: Presentation Form" (PDF). Language Documentation & Conservation. Vol. 3, no. 2.
  4. ^ Lobel, Jason William (2005). Galvez Rubino, Carl R.; Liao, Hsiu-chuan (eds.). "The Angry Register of the Bikol Languages of the Philippines" (PDF). Current issues in Philippine linguistics and anthropology: Parangal kay Lawrence A. Reid. pp. 149–166. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 22, 2014.
  5. ^ "CSPC@30 Kicks Off". June 19, 2013. Archived from the original on November 26, 2013. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  6. ^ "Filipino Retiress Live Good Life". Retrieved February 17, 2015.