Southern Cordilleran
northern Luzon
Linguistic classificationAustronesian

The Southern Cordilleran languages are a group of closely related languages within the Northern Luzon subgroup of the Austronesian language family.[1][2] They are spoken in an area stretching from the southern shore of the Lingayen Gulf to the highlands of Quirino province. The most widely spoken Southern Cordilleran language is Pangasinan, one of the eight major languages of the Philippines.

Internal classification

The subgroup was first proposed by Zorc (1979).[3] Himes (1998) classifies the Southern Cordilleran languages as follows:[2]


Proto-Southern Cordilleran
Reconstruction ofSouthern Cordilleran languages

Proto-Southern Cordilleran has been reconstructed by Himes (1998).[2]


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


The comparison table (taken from Himes (1998)[2] and Zorc (1979)[3]) illustrates the correspondences between the Southern Cordilleran languages, including inherited vocabulary as well as Southern Cordilleran innovations.

Comparison table
Words inherited from Proto-Austronesian (PAn)
Ilongot Pangasinan Ibaloi PSC PAn Meaning
ma:go a:gɨw ʔágɨw *ʔa:gɨw *qaləjaw 'day'
dɨ:nom danúm čánom *dánum *daNum 'water'
Southern Cordilleran innovations
Ilongot Pangasinan Ibaloi PSC PAn Meaning
ʔa:gɨt agát ʔagát *ʔágat (*laqia) 'ginger'
bɨsik batík bɨtík *bɨtík (*laRiw) 'run'
tɨɣí salí sɨdí *sɨlí (*qaqay) 'foot'
-to -tu -to *-tu (*nia) 'his/her'
kɨyó kiyɨ́w kiyɨ́w *kɨyɨ́w[a] (*kaSiw) 'tree'
tóʔo tuʔú túʔu *túʔu[b] (*Cau) 'person'
  1. ^ *kɨyɨ́w is an irregular reflex of PAn *kaSiw
  2. ^ *túʔu is an irregular reflex of PAn *Cau


  1. ^ Reid, Lawrence A. (2006). "On reconstructing the morphosyntax of Proto-Northern Luzon, Philippines". Philippine Journal of Linguistics. 37: 1–64.
  2. ^ a b c d Himes, Ronald S. (1998). "The Southern Cordilleran Group of Philippine Languages". Oceanic Languages. 37 (1): 120–177. JSTOR 3623282.
  3. ^ a b Zorc, R. David (1979). "On the Development of Contrastive Word Accent: Pangasinan, a Case in Point". In Nguyễn Đ.L. (ed.). Southeast Asian linguistic studies, Vol. 3. Pacific Linguistics, C-45. pp. 241–258. doi:10.15144/PL-C45.241.