Gary C. Persons

Summer Institute of Linguistics

12 February, 1980






Bolinao Morphophonemics



     The morphophonemics of Bolinao are not extensive.  Some of the processes were mentioned previously with the phonemic description (Persons, 1978)1.  They include assimilation, reduction, addition, gemination, and person marking shift of pronouns.  Some of these occur both interword and intraword.  Those occurring interword normally are optional.  Some speaker preference is observable.



     1.1  Assimilation takes place when a affix ending in/n, ng/2 is prefixed or infixed.  This includes the affixes mang, nang , pang, (Sect. 1.4) man, an, and in.  The man- and an- prefixes are governed only by assimilation.  The following formulas and examples demonstrate the process.  The /n/ is affected only by the bilabial and, to a lesser extend, by the velar points of articulation.



man-       /p/                 mam  man      /p/

       +                ---               +

an-       /b/                  am            /b/


man-                           man-g  mangg

       +    /g/         ---

an-                            an-g


man-                           mangk

       +    /k/         ---

an-                            angk


man-     /

        /  elsewhere

  an   /





man + bayo3           ----- mambayo  'to be pounding'

an + pag + adal      ------ ampag'adal  'to be


man + ka + mati      ------ mangkamati ' to dying"

man + um + ta'gan    ------ mantuma'gan 'to be


an + giling          ------ man-giling 'to be


an + ka + a'pos      ------ angka'pos 'to be nearly




     Another place where it could be said that assimilation is occurring is in the deitic pronouns.  Since /d/ can be found in the deitic pronouns in neighboring languages, this could be considered an historic /d/ which appears when enclitic.  The full locative form is iti 'here', isen 'there', itaw 'there beyond'.  These are preceded by a glottal.  When they appear as a clitic, that is, as a pronoun for the full sa form, the glottal and /i/ become a /d/.


mo 'you' + iti 'here'    ---- modti

          isen 'there'  ---- modsen

          itaw 'there'  ---- modtaw


Karate'        midtaw     naabot  mi a   ampag'irgwan

just-arrived   we-there   pursued we the  talking


ra   bana' sa...

they  about


As soon as we arrived there we picked up where they were in their talking about...



1.2  Reduction takes place with both consonants and vowels.  Loss of consonants is not very extensive.  Some examples follow.



nag + kalap     ---- nagalap 'took with or to'

ka + um + puso' ---- kumuso' 'recent developing of

                                       banana heart'

um + awit       ---- uawit 'to carry'

temper + en     ---- tepren 'believe'



     The consonant /m/ is involved in the last three examples.  It is not predictable except that it will happen on an unstressed syllable.

     Vowel reduction may occur stem medially.  The reduction takes place in the syllable next to the affix or affixes.  The reduced vowel probably represents the historical pepet vowel.  It is impossible to predict with what words this process will occur.



ma + kasaw    -----  maksaw  'strong'

naka + renge' + an-- nakarngan  'able to listen to'

na + renge'   ---- narnge'  'heard'

galat + en    ---- galten  'remove'

ma + galat    ---- maglat  'able to remove'

ma + galat +  an --- maglatan  'able to remove from'

na + busoy      ----- nabsoy  'satisfied'

gawa' + en    ----- gaw'en  'doing'

liwa + um     ----- lumwa'  'to go out'



These again all have ultimate stress so that the vowel upon which stress is expected to fall is not lost.  Also only a consonant cluster of a maximum of two may occur.

     Some instances when it is acceptable to have a cluster of three consonants are when l, r, y, w act as off-glides.


daikleng ---  di'kleng  'little'

in + um + delem  ---- dimemblem  'became dark'



      1.3  The process of addition occurs when /o/ or /i/ is root final and the word is suffixed.  /w/ and /y/ respectively are added to words ending in /o/ and /i/.  In speech the /o/ and /i/ are then reduced.



irgo + en  --- irguwen  --- irgwen   'speak'

ka + diri + an --- kadiriyan  --- kadiryan   'self'



The unreduced from is preferred in writing when this process takes place.

     Elsewhere, that is when a word ends with /a/4 and is suffixed the /w/ is used as a glide between the vowels.


ka + bista + an  ---  kabistawan  'that which is nice'


The formulas are









                     -en    -yan

                 +       ---

                     -an    -wen









     There are some word that when suffixed, an /n/ appears where a /w/ would be expected, or where no change would be expected.


kawa' +an  --- kawa'nan  'beloved one'

ka + sala + an  --- kasalanan 'sin'

ulo + an  --- ulunan 'pillow'

basa + en  --- basawen  'to read'

uli' +en uli'nen  'to go up'



Perhaps this a double suffix (en + an, an + en ) or these are a special group of words.  The appearance of the /w/ in basawen may lend support to the double suffix approach.


     1.4  Affixes ending /ng/ assimilate to the point of articulation of the following consonant with the exception of the consonants /y, w, l, r/ where no assimilation takes place.  The tendancy of ng to assimilate in this manner can be found interword also.

      Reduction also takes place with /ng/.  Following are the governing formulas and examples.







mang             /d/           ma-

nang    +       /n/    ---    na-    +  n

pang           /s/           pa-



            /ng/                      ng




      elsewhere ---        nang-   +  unreduced word




mang + basa        ---- mamasa  'to read'

mang + pa + ta'gay ---- mamata'gay  'to go up'

mang + saliw       ---- manaliw    'to buy

mang + kalap       ---- mangalap  'to get, remove'

mang + aluyon      ---- mangaluyon 'to a accompany'

mang + lipot       ---- manglipot  'to give over'

nang + yadi        ---- nangyadi   'hid'

pang + rayo + an  ---- pangraywan  'place for worship'



     One exception has been found to date.  The glottal is retained in this instance:


mang + awit  ---- mang'awit  'to carry'



      2.0  Some of these processes are occurring in order places and there are a few other processes that can be noted.


      2.1  There are some changes in the pronouns because of assimilation and reduction, and some because of honorific use.



ako  --- ako   ko

 I        I   I


mo + ya   ma

you  he   you-he


moyo +  ya  --- moya

you-all he      you-all-he


mo + ko   --- nako, kata           moko

you I        he-I   you-I and you  you-I


ko + ka  --- taka,       ta

I   you      I + you-you  I and  you


ko + ya  ---  kwa

I    he       I-he


The plural are sometimes used for the singular in an honorific sense.



     2.2  The function word a and the particle ana 'now, already, for sure',

become clitic and /a/ is replaced by /y/ in most instances following a vowel final word.


a             -y

       ----          / following a vowel final word

ana           -yna


Kalapaen may    anak   mo.

  get    you-he child  your


Lumakwan kayna.

leave    you-now



     At times a is not replaced by -y.  This seems to be in places where more emphasis is being placed on the following phrase or clause.

     In the attributive relation a, -y, and nin, -n are used.  Although a rigorous study of these has not been made it seems that the a, -y are used primarily when the first base is a nominative or adjectival idea and nin or -n is used when the first base is adverbial.


pinasyan anda'    'thoroughly elegant'

si bake' a timmekre'  ' the monkey who is sitting'



     2.3  Means of pluralization are the general sense of the word, reduplication, and use of the pronouns to accompany the word, as well as use of an infix -aw-.

     The plural infix -aw- is assimilated by many speakers of certain areas to o:


aw + lalaki  ---- lawlaki

       man         men

             ---- lullaki




     Reduction takes places on some words beginning with /a/ when the plural affix is used.


aw + anak  ---- aw'anak   ---- a'nak

     child      children       children



     2.4  Gemination occurs when reduction and assimilation take place on certain affixes.  The affixes -in- plus -um- produce this result.


in + um --- inum   inm   imm   im

in + um + rate' --- rinumate'   rinmate'   rimmate'  




The most consistently spoken result is -imm- with a prevalence of -im- in the younger speakers, and -inum- in more precise speech.



     2.5  The assimilation rules for /n/ also apply to the oblique and possessive pronoun sets which are formed by kon- and ikon- respectively plus the appropriate pronoun from the generative set.


kon + ko  --- kongko  'to me'

ikon + mo --- ikomo  'belonging to you'


The /m/ actually forms a geminate cluster ikommo in some cases, but is lost with most speakers.



     2.6  Metathesis has been observed in only a limited sense occurring in words beginning with /l/.  When this happens in isolation it can be confused with the ni- prefix.



i + laban + past  --- linaban (expected form)

                              'defended through

                              or saved out of'

                    nilaban (actual form)

mi + laban + past --- nilaban 'fought each other'













1. Stress shift and other processes were discussed in "Bolinao--a preliminary phonemic statement" by Gary Persons, 9 February, 1978.

2. ng is the digraph og / /.  When n and g come together it is differentiated by a hyphen, n-g.

3. o and u are one phonemic vowel.

4. The pepet /e/ has not been observed word finally.  If it is in the final syllable it is followed by a glottal or some other consonant.


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