The Iraya Mangyan Language

The Iraya language is spoken in Northwest Mindoro by over ten thousand people. It has a number of known dialects, such as: Abra-De-Ilog, Alag-Bako, Pagbahan, Palauan-Calavite, Pambuhan, and Santa Cruz. The term iraya means man or adult in the Iraya language, and is used by the Irayas as the common autonym. Genetically, it is a Western Austronesian language of the Northern-Mindoro group of languages, a small group consisting of Iraya, Tadyawan and Alangan.


Phonological Inventory
p t k ‘
b d g
s h
m n ng
l r w y
i e u a

Voiceless stops are unaspirated and unreleased of with delayed release in final position. T and D are dentals, and K and G are slightly backed. S followed by N sometimes becomes [ts]. R occurs as a flap, retroflex, or rolled. Retroflexion is usually word-initial. R following n sometimes becomes [dr]
   Of the vowels, I E U are high and A is low. E is described by Tweddel as a high, back unrounded vowel.
   Syllable types include: CV: ‘large lizard’; CVC: may ‘resemble, like’; CCV: kwi.tis ‘Sp. fireworks’; CCVC: pwis.tu ‘Sp. place, put’. In consonant clusters, only w and r can occur as the second consonant.
   Stress is phonemic on the penultimate of ultimate syllable, e.g. láwig ‘long life’ vs lawíg ‘foreigner’. Stress shift occurs with suffixation, e.g. ubán ‘tie, string’ > ubanán ‘carry by headband’.
   Although most stems are disyllabic, monosyllabic stems occur (CV, CVC), as do polysyllabic ones (CV.CV.CV; CV.CV.CVC; CV.CVC.CVC; CVC.CV.CV; CVC.CV.CVC; CV.CV.CVC.CVC; CV.CVC.CV.CVC; CVC.CV.CV.CVC).
   Various internal sandhi processes occur in Iraya, such as vowel agreement with suffixation. The suffix –en is represented by its allomorph –un after the vowel /u/: lingu-wun ‘to forget’; tudyu-wun ‘don’t be suspicious’. In both these cases w is epenthetic.

Lexical Classes

Nominative Genitive
I aku na’ay
you (sg.) kawu kumu
he/she/it iya kunin
we all (incl)
we all (excl.)
we two (incl.)
kita, kidawa
you (pl.)
you two
they all
they two


General: aru ‘which’; ruma ‘other, another’; tawa ‘he who, who’
Specific: tiya’ ‘this’; naba ‘that (near addressee); nata’ ‘that (distal)’; sika ‘that, the last’; sa’i ka ‘one (thing)’.
Locatives: tuwa’ ‘here’; saba ‘there (near addressee)’; sata’ ‘there (distal)’; baya’ ‘near, nearly, almost’; betek ‘exactly.
Temporals: aray ‘a little while ago’; bali ‘time recently past’; naruwa’an ‘past time, previously’; nguna ‘now’; baywi ‘still’; andi’ ‘while’; duma’ ‘in the future’.

bidu’ how much; much
umaning how much, e.g. how big
kayu, pakayu what
nakay why, what
saru where


Bidu’ mada dayu’ ag gura’an? How far (how much distance) is it to town?’
Umaning aku kuyay kawu? How much older am I than you?
Kayu da ay tembag? What are you going to answer?
Ma’ nakay kawu agtartaruy? Why are you trembling?
Saru ginaru? Where were (they) taken from?

  Cardinal Ordinal Distributive Multiplicative Aggregative
1 sa’i una tigsa’i (kasa’i)  
2 darawa, darwa ikadarawa, ikarawa tigarawa kadarawa, karwa asdanan
3 tatlu ikat(at)lu tagatlu katatlu, makatlu katlu’an
4 apat, upat ika’apat tig’apat ka’apat kapatan


tanan ‘both’; pad ‘plural number’ panga ‘plural number’; balen ‘no more, not anymore’; buhida ‘few, some’; bu’u’ ‘all, whole’; dapu ‘more, still yet, last past’; iben-te’ ‘small, fine, few’; uman ‘some, next time’; sibay ‘enough, sufficient’; tay-ma’ ‘each, every’; te’ ‘small, little, some’.

Other Particles:

Clause connectors: da’ ‘then, but, and, by and by’; matang ‘then, so’; maraw ‘so, while, then, because’; patluy ‘then, directly, continue’.
Phrase connectives: aw ‘yes or no; or’; ay ‘included in the group, by name’
Subordinators: angan ‘as far as, until; directly’; baygira ‘before’; ibat ‘from, beginning’; isag ‘soon, so that’; kalbas ‘after, finishing’; kaya’ ‘when, so when, therefore, what happened’; nu ‘if, when’; nga’ ‘just, then only, because’; paka ‘more than,, if, after’.
Numeral ligature: ka, e.g. ag sa’i ka bukar ‘one fruit’; ag ma’usun ka bukar ‘many fruits’
Articles: ag, da, ka
Directional/Relationals: kapet ‘in, on, to’; sa ‘in, at, on, to, from, by’; taga ‘from, belonging to’; pan ‘to, for’.
Copulative: ba, e.g. Aku ba sa kunin awakan. I am at his back (behind him).
Existential: maki ‘have, there is/are’
Negatives: ayaw ‘don’t’; wala’ ‘no, not, not yet, without’.

Non ordering particles:

Augmentative: din, adin, yadin ‘also, too, in addition’
Comparative: may ‘similar, like’; makay ‘similar, like, seemingly’; mayam ‘somewhat, same as’l midyu ‘Sp. somewhat’.
Completive: ani ‘already, done, finished, sure’.
Customary: layen ‘always’
Inceptive: tay, atay, batay ‘become, going to, will be, begin’; mada ‘have done, to be done’
Intensive: ada ‘certainly, really, responsibility’; bakay ‘very’; gayed ‘at once, real, strict, very, especially’; ma’ ‘so, somewhat (mild intensive)’; mana, amana ‘so then, surely’; naw ‘very’; ngani’, angani’, anga ‘surely, true, indeed, yes, in that way’.
Repetitive: akay ‘repeat, again’

Modal Particles:

Aptative: mistir ‘able, suitable’
Desiderative: disin ‘desirable, should’; dayu’, padayu’ ‘do not want/like’; kay ‘desire, request, respect’
Dubitative: gira ‘might, maybe, if’; karam ‘lest, perhaps, maybe’; kaynu ‘even, although, may it be’; la’ ‘perhaps (with negative)’; sigudu ‘Sp. via Tag. perhaps’.
Interrogative: di’a ‘perhaps, maybe’; is ‘oh, what, why’
Limitative: man ‘even, ever, any’; ngani ‘but, only, merely’; nanyani ‘only’
Negative: la’in ‘no, not’; na’ ‘no, not, do not’; nawed, ned ‘no, not’; tang ‘no, not, never’
Quotative: ika’, kunu ‘it is said’
Exclamatives: angen ‘yes, affirmative’; he’e ‘yes’; nawed ‘no’; adey ‘how terrible’; ka’ ‘there it is!’; as ‘oh’; kasuwal ‘surprise’; ati’ ‘disgusting’; kaspuk ‘conveys reproof’; gey ‘said to ward off spirits’; ‘i ‘extreme surprise’; yay ‘extreme fear’; wa ‘used to scare wild animals’; yi ‘expresses fear’.
Greetings: anta ‘greeting to a man, call for help, all right’; andaw ‘call for help to several people’; ayna ‘call or greeting to woman, dear’; pa’ay ‘greeting to someone you are afraid of’; sawa ‘Mrs, when others speak of someone’s wife’; su’an ‘term of endearment for young woman’; ta ‘greeting to strange man’; tu’an ‘greeting to a man friend’; ya ‘greeting to a strange woman’.

Affix Template
3 2 1 1 2 1 1 2
            -an (n)  
              -an (v)
ka- (v)   ka- (n)          
    ma- (n)          
ma- (v)              
    maka- (n)          
  maka- (v)            
    ni-       -nin  

A list of some unique affixes for nouns:
Affix Meaning Example Gloss
tal- two related people talyayaw husband and wife
-nin/-in specific, particular amay-nin father
ku- two ku-bayi two females
pal- two together pal’amut pair
kapal- one of a pair kapal’ebay partner, companion
man- general plural man-laki boys
ka- person, state kataway enemy
ma- agentive ma-rket (from reket) one who attempts
maman- one who makes mamamarkaya (parkaya) fisherman, maker of traps
taga- one who acts as tagaramus midwife
tagapa- one who acts as tagapamiya healer
tagamagpa- one in charge of tagamagpataway one in charge of contest
pan- instrumental panerey eyes (from serey ‘see’)
pagpan- thing used as pagpandu’ pointer
pinan- thing acted upon pinang’apuy something to be cooked
an- superlative an-yayakbang best in climbing
tag- season tagsubuk spring (subuk = grow)
tali-, tala- sound of tala’inga’ mooing of cow
ka- -an state, whole kapudihan praise
pag- -an place where pagtakinan place of hanging
pag- -anan plural of pag- -an pag’arunanan stopping places

Sample sentences:

Aku ba magtabuy sa na’ay ari’an nu kayu man aku maki nga’. I give to my younger brother whatever I have.
Kura namagtabuy ag lapis sa na’ay. A pencil was given to me by all of them together.
Na’ay tay atabuy ag begas sa kunin. I can give the rice to him.
Maki iraya pandayen mamanggi’ bugnuy. There are people good at stripping bognoy.
Na’ay natabuy ani. I already gave it.
Nayawak bala’ang. The bridge was destroyed by the flood.
Sa tamu maras ba maka’angas. In our opinion (he) is happy.
Tuwa’ sa tamu puru’ ba wala’ dapu iraya maliyag marsitaway. Here in our place there are no more men who want to fight.
Aku agpanlimu aray madlem. I did frightening things last night.
Kumu kay arkan tiya’. Please smell this.
Sadhan ag dalan ba isag wala’ iraya tumultul. Close the road so that no one may pass through.

All data from this sketch hail from the manuscript of Tweddell (1958).


Tweddel, Colin Ellidge. 1958. The Iraya (Mangyan) language of Mindoro, Philippines: Phonology and Morphology. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Washington.

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