Native toPhilippines
Native speakers
14,000 (2000)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
bnj – Eastern Tawbuid
twb – Western Tawbuid

The Tawbuid language is a language spoken by Tawbuid Mangyans in the province of Mindoro in the Philippines. It is divided into eastern and western dialects. The Bangon Mangyans also speak the western dialect of Tawbuid.

Geographic distribution

The Tau-buid (or Tawbuid) Mangyans live in central Mindoro.

In Oriental Mindoro, Eastern Tawbuid (also known as Bangon) is spoken by 1,130 people in the municipalities of Socorro, Pinamalayan, and Gloria.[1]

In Occidental Mindoro, Western Tawbuid (also known as Batangan) is spoken by 6,810 people in the municipalities of Sablayan and Calintaan.[1]


Western Tawbuid


Front Central Back
Close i ɨ u
Mid e ɔ
Open a


Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d g
Fricative f s
Liquid lateral l
flap ɾ
Approximant w j

Historical comparison

Comparison with related languages shows a gradual loss of /k/ > /h/ > /Ø/. For example:

Tagalog: ako, > Buhid: aho > Tawbuid: au ‘I’
kami > hami > ami ‘we’

There is a residual /k/ in the 1st person singular, in the affix /ak-/, usually shortened in speech to /k-/. E.g. kadasug kban (or akban) ‘I will arrive.’


There are no glottal phonemes, either /h/ or /ʔ/, in Tawbuid.
The glottal stop [ʔ] may be realized between adjacent identical vowels. Normally though, in connected speech, two adjacent vowels are either merged to form a lengthened vowel or differentiated by stress. For example:

fakafanyuun ‘love’ may be pronounced /fakafanyu'ʔun/ or /fakafan'yu:n/
fagfanyaan ‘waiting place’ /fakfanya'ʔan/ or /fakfan'ya:n/
naali ‘dug’ /na'ali/ or /na'ʔali/

Notice that in the above, the stress precedes the glottal, whereas without a glottal, the stress is in the normal position for that particular stress pattern.
Vowels following /i/ and /u/ offer different interpretations as to whether a linking /y/ or /w/ is present. For example:

siu or siyu ‘elbow’
tua or tuwa grammatical marker


There is a remarkable absence of assimilation at the point of articulation of nasals with following sounds. For example:

lanbung ‘shade, clothing’ (rather than */lambung/) (Cf. Tagalog: ‘lambung’)
sangdaw ‘animal trap’ (not */sandaw/)
angru ‘dried bulu (kind of bamboo)’ (not */anru/)
anbul ‘taken, died’ (not */ambul/)

Description of phonemes

/i/ close front spread

occurs syllable initial, middle and final
idu ‘dog’
lino ‘lake, sea, body of water’
katsi ‘now, today’

/e/ half close front spread
established as a phoneme in contrast with /i/ by minimal pairs

lili ‘said while tickling pig’
lele ‘tongue’
liplip ‘blink eyes, flash light’
leplep ‘tongue’

occurrence in similar environment:

seud ‘steam or boil to cook’
siun ‘right-hand side’

Historically this was most likely /ay/. It is a common occurrence in languages around the world for /ay/ to become /e/, as in French and English. (Tagalog also exhibits this trend, with ‘may’ being pronounced /me/ in connected speech.) Comparison of Tawbuid with related languages shows this:

wase ‘axe’ , cf. other dialects, including Alangan, Ilocano: ‘wasay’
sunge ‘horn’ , cf. Tagalog ‘sungay’
abe ‘winged bean’ Cf. Iraya ‘abay’.

Within Tawbuid, /ay/ and /e/ alternate with different grammatical forms of the same word.

sable ‘cross a hill’
sablayan ‘the place where you arrive after crossing a hill’
-duge ‘a long time’ (root word)
kadugean or kadugayan ‘elapsed time’

/a/ open central unrounded
Vowel which occurs in syllable initial, mid and final positions.

amlung ‘species of vine’
ban ‘species of tree’
fana ‘arrow’

/o/ half-open back rounded
established as a phoneme in contrast with /u/ by minimal pairs

biu ‘species of shell’
bio ‘eagle’
susu ‘breast’
soso ‘rinsed nami’

As with /e/, this is probably a historical development of /aw/. A similar process occurred in English and French.

o ‘you (singular)’ Cf. Buhid ‘haw’.
ano ‘fan palm’ Cf. Tagalog ‘anahaw’
fiso ‘bush knife’ Cf. Alangan, Indonesian, ‘pisaw’

/u/ close back rounded
syllable initial, middle and final

u ‘finger nail, toe nail’
ugak ‘crow’
fagut ‘tame’
alu ‘mortar’

/ɨ/ close central unrounded
syllable initial middle and final

vtv ‘immediate, subsequent’
gvnas ‘pull leaves off stalk’

In orthography, the letter ‘v’ is used. In the 1950s when the Reeds started writing the language, that was a convenient (and unused) letter on the typewriter. It is the least frequent vowel (>1%), and in fact the least frequent phoneme (>0.5%) in the language. It mostly occurs with /a/ or /ɨ/ in an adjacent syllable. In all but one word (tibanglvn) /a/ and /ɨ/ are the only vowels used. (One exception noted: the name of a river near Tundayaw is Guribvy.)

/b/ voiced bilabial plosive
syllable initial and final. For example:

bio ‘eagle’
kalub ‘fall face down’

/p/ voiceless bilabial plosive.
environment: syllable initial (but rare word initial) and final
[p] voiceless unaspirated bilabial plosive
environment: syllable initial

patuy ‘compressed lump of soaked nami’
paras ‘small mouse species’
agipan ‘scorpion’
apalya ‘ampalaya, bitter gourd’
napsug ‘full, satisfied with food’

[pʰ] voiceless slightly aspirated bilabial plosive
environment: word final

tap ‘number’

/p/ is established as a phoneme in contrast with /f/ by the following:
there is at least one minimal pair:

tapi ‘count (imperative)’, from root ‘tap’ plus suffix -i
tafi ‘slash, chop mark from a knife’

/p/ is in contrastive distribution with /f/ under the following circumstances:

/f/ is never syllable-final, but /p/ can be.
/f/ cannot be followed by /ɨ/, but /p/ frequently is. (e.g. /yapvs/ ‘skin boil’, /yafus/ ‘cockroach’)

/d/ voiced alveolar plosive
syllable initial and final.

dufa ‘armspan’
galiad ‘have a cut under one’s toe’
baladbad ‘woodpecker’

Realised as [t] before voiceless consonants, most frequently in the verb form CVd-root-an.

/kadkafanyu'an/ > [katkafanyu'an] ‘loving one another’

/t/ voiceless alveolar plosive
environment: syllable initial and final


[t] voiceless unaspirated alveolar plosive

environment: syllable initial

take ‘arm’
makatu ‘able’
[tʰ] voiceless slightly aspirated (or released without aspiration) plosive

environment: word final

mabiat ‘heavy’
meut ‘vegetation’

/g/ voiced velar plosive
environment: syllable initial and final, or initial cluster.

gewan ‘come here’
ragbas ‘cut grass’
salug ‘floor’

realised as [k] before voiceless consonants, for example in the verb prefix g-, and prefixes tag-, fag-.

/gted/ > [kted] ‘holding’
/'gfili/ > ['kfili] ‘choosing’
/tagti'ug/ > [takti'ug] ‘the one who is sleeping’

/k/ voiceless velar plosive
environment: syllable initial and final
[k] voiceless unaspirated bilabial plosive
environment: syllable initial

kesug ‘love, cherish’
nasuksuan ‘hidden’

[kʰ] voiceless slightly aspirated plosive
environment: word final

sinduk ‘peck’
atsik ‘click’

There is a tendency for the initial /k/ to be lost in Tawbuid compared to similar words in related languages. For example:

Tag. kasalanan > Tb. asalanan ‘sin’
Tag. Kinarawan > Tb. Inaruan ‘river name’
Tag. katay > Tb. ate ‘kill (root word)’

/f/ voiceless labiodental fricative
environment: syllable initial only. See comments on /p/ for contrastive features.

faglon ‘second most recently born child in a family’
fatfat ‘thrash around’

Rare in Austronesian languages. Historically related to Tagalog and other Philippine languages. /p/. For example:

afuy ‘fire’ (Tagalog: ‘apoy’)
fana ‘arrow’ (Tagalog: ‘pana’)
fag grammatical linker (other Mangyan languages except Buhid, ‘pag’)

/s/ voiceless alveolar fricative
can occur in all syllable positions, and in the initial consonant cluster /st/. The affricate /ts/ is treated as a unit rather than two successive consonants.

/m/ bilabial nasal
can occur in all syllable positions.

/n/ dental nasal
environment: syllable initial and final and syllabic

nanan ‘cooked sweet potato’
ntama [n'tama] ‘cooked’

/ŋ/ velar nasal
environment: syllable initial and final and syllabic

ngenge ‘baby, youngest child in family’
song ‘cough’
ngurang [ŋ'guraŋ] ‘matured, grew up’

/l/ voiced alveolar palatalized lateral
environment: syllable initial and final

laman ‘so that, in order to’
menal ‘bitter, astringent tasting’

/R/ voiced alveolar flap
environment: syllable initial and (rarely) final

ria ‘ginger’
makerker ‘shoddy’

/w/ voiced bilabial approximant
environment: syllable initial and final

waswas ‘chop with knife’
taw ‘person’
madaylaw ‘tiring’

/y/ voiced palatal approximant
environment: syllable initial and final

yukyuk ‘kind of spirit’
sumyu ‘finger, toe’
advy ‘expression of pain’

Stress patterns
Primary stress in Tawbuid is either final or penultimate. Most words are stressed unpredictably, and in some speakers, all syllables seem to be equally stressed. Modification in stress occurs in affective speech (see below).
Some syllable patterns have predictable stress. A word containing two adjacent syllables with CVC patterns are stressed on the second of those two syllables, whether final or not.

/nabag'bag/ ‘attacked with knife’
/bulat'lat/ ‘species of grass’
/fag'lon/ ‘second most recently born child’
/fan'dagum/ ‘charm made of resin’
/kafan'donan/ ‘night is falling’

Words with two identical CVC patterns interrupted by /-ar-/ or /-al-/ are also stressed on the second of those two CVC syllables.

/falung'fung/ ‘sapling’
/balang'bang/ ‘thigh’

Where the final and penultimate syllables are open, and the vowels are the same, the stress is penultimate.

susu ‘breast’
lele ‘tongue’
langipi ‘wasp species’
gigi ‘dent’
soso ‘rinsed nami’
vtv ‘immediate’

But when the vowels are different, stress can occur unpredictably.

final: /nla'fi/ ‘flattened’
penultimate: /'lafi/ ‘shoulder’
final: /a'fuy/ ‘fire’
penultimate: /'kafuy/ ‘cry noiselessly in sleep’

A root word can change its stress when affixes are added, because affixes carry their own inherent stress.

/'sadi/ ‘one’ (penultimate)
/ma'sadi/ ‘united’ (penultimate)
/fagmasadi'un/ ‘unity’ (final)
/namasadi'an/ ‘agreement’ (final)

In affective speech (utterances in which the speaker wishes to convey emotion), lengthening may change stress:

/na'taw/ ‘what?’ may become /:na:taw/ when said with rising pitch on the first syllable and low pitch on the second. This indicates acute surprise.

Secondary stress and tertiary stress
In words of more than three syllables there is a secondary and even a tertiary stress.

/²fagma³balyan¹anun/ ‘power’
/³fag²kedkesu¹ganun/ ‘mutual love’

Within the Western Tawbuid region, there are distinctive accents as well as vocabulary preferences. Taking the rebuke lag katanya ‘don’t do that’:

Balani: mid, mid, mid-to-high rising, low.
Lagutay: mid-low falling, mid, mid-low falling, mid-low falling
Anawin: mid, mid, mid-semitone higher, mid.

A rebuke or any utterance conveying a negative emotion is frequently said with lips rounded throughout.

Syllable patterns
monosyllabic words are: e, o, u
Some words beginning with a vowel have a V syllable initial pattern.

alu, ogo, umu, vtv ‘pestle’, ‘water-skater’, ‘royal jelly’, ‘immediate, subsequent’


emad, ifag ‘louse’, ‘sister/brother-in-law’ V-CVC

C – in the case of the completed aspect prefix /n-/

ndasug ‘arrived’ C-CV-CVC


agbvt, ‘great, large’ VC-CVC
amlung ‘species of vine’
ekwan ‘share of harvest’


ban ‘species of tree’ CVC
dot ‘species of snake’
tap ‘number’
faglon ‘second youngest child’ CVC-CVC
fadeg ‘field’ CV-CVC


ste ‘here’ CCV
glo, gbul ‘going’, ‘getting’ CCV
tsiuy ‘there’ CCV-VC

CVC with semivowels

inday ‘which?’ VC-CVC
araw ‘forest’ V-CVC
fuyfurit ‘species of bat’ CVC-CV-CVC
baybay ‘plentiful’ (root) CVC-CVC


  1. ^ a b c Eastern Tawbuid at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Western Tawbuid at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)