The Isinay language is a Central Cordilleran language spoken by around 6,000 speakers. 1975 Census data lists 4,851 speakers in Nueva Vizcaya, 2865 in Dupax del Sur, 1769 in Bambang, and 217 in Aritao. The Isinay are greatly outnumbered by Ilocano speakers in the municipalities in which they live, and in Aritao they no longer have a community of their own.

Formal Isinay is based on the Dupax dialect. Other dialects include Aritao and Bambang. All three dialects share the same phonemic inventory (18 consonants and 4 vowels) **Note Constantino has five vowels in his inventory but says there are only four.

/A B D E G H I K L M N NG O P Ď R S T U V W Y V:/

V: vowel length

Ď: glottal stop

Spelling conventions:

acute accent = vowel length
grave accent = glottal stop after vowel
hyphen = glottal stop between two unlike vowels or after a word-medial consonant
circumflex accent = glottal stop + vowel length


All data from this outline come from Constantino 1982.

Isinay Data:

Isinay Riddles (War Lohlohmo-ar dari)

(1) Mu laví tablá, mu ehawan kandela.
(1) At night itís a (flat) board, in the daytime itís a candle.
(2) Diyóy si pinalsát, marín ma-ila di batang nar, bayáw ma-ila ri nanláaranar.
(2) Thereís a creation, its body canít be seen, but its path can be seen.
(3) Osán beyóy an amma-I, nayíd pappár na.
(3) A big house, it has no window.
(4) Osát usu-on, duwát awaton.
(4) Once you creep through, two you reach up for.
(5) War natoyad, tàdàbátanád matákuwád.
(5) The dead, itís carrying the living.
(6) Opát di ukales nar, ya tiyuwe ri butones nar.
(6) It has four buttonholes but only three buttons.
(7) Takayám, yogyokam; tamtamóm, matamtám.
(7) You ride it, you shake it; you taste it; itís delicious.
(8) Diyóy si bungan si bayawas an neyír pong-ót na.
(8) Thereís a guava fruit which has no stem.
(9) Diyóy si osán maserot an prinsesa, anona pay lar b atang nar.
(9) Thereís a beautiful princess, she eats her body.
(10) Guyuro ilár indóng ápu-ár, ya man-ulís.
(10) If you pull the G-string of my grandfather, heíll shout.
(11) Nasahsáh ri batang uwár, la-oyar deyóm uwár.
(11) My body is minced, but inside me is stewed.
(12) Duwán papari an man-ayayun dan umasòbá, umatah-óy ra elá ya beglá.
(12) Two priests who move slowly going down, when they go up, itís sudden.
(13) Biyóp uddú, biyóp deyá, danúm nanggawar.
(13) Sky up, sky down, water in the middle.
(14) Sa-on si an-anapom, mu meyapút in-aman-óh uwár, in-ibbongà siriyén dintongà.
(14) You were looking for me, but because I was small,you threw me away when you found me.
(15) Duwán sin-iva, nansùnút inpi-anà dar, marí ran poddán nan-innila.
(15) Two siblings, they were born one after the other and have never seen each other.
(16) Guyurò ri págurár, mantarô ri arawar.
(16) Pull the string, the monkey dances.
(17) Wa ri eyarad, tálinó nad bakad.
(17) As for the fence, it leads the cow.
(18) Mu ungá tay ya mansaya, mu bumi-al ya manlavus.
(18) When itís young, it wears a sarong, when itís old, nothing.
(19) Gottongô ri sií mar, supsupò ri deyá mar.
(19) Iíll cut off your feet and Iíll sip your blood.
(20) War mamappusar ot manggayhaya, war mammungar ot man-al-alikahá.
(20) The one who drops it becomes happy, the one who picks it up, angry.
(21) Wad makápuyád, ipatug na ri matdeyad.
(21) The weak one, it throws down the strong one.


(1) avò.
(1) candle
(2) dahóm
(2) wind
(3) dalím-áhonár
(3) anthill
(4) eéng
(4) clothes
(5) eyavan si intanóm
(5) where the plant climbs
(6) Hesús an nipasah.
(6) Jesus nailed on the cross
(7) ikad
(7) coconut grater
(8) itlóh
(8) egg
(9) kandela
(9) candle
(10) kompana
(10) bell
(11) langká
(11) jackfruit
(12) mutoh si ungá
(12) snot of a child
(13) niyúh
(13) coconut
(14) otá
(14) unhusked rice mixed with husked rice
(15) tangila
(15) ears
(16) tarumpu
(16) spinning top
(17) tukud si utu
(17) lice comb
(18) tungpúp
(18) bamboo shoot
(19) unás
(19) sugarcane
(20) utút
(20) fart
(21) uwet
(21) blanket

Isinay Proverbs

Ampaylamun ùbunga di biyu-ar, manlongáw pay lar ahuv nar.
Even if you cover something with bad odor, itís stench will still be smelled.
Damit màmâ.
You taste what you swallow
Mannìnî ri ma-eyo-ar, maviláy ri matáhuwár.
He who sleeps gathers eyebeams, he who is active lives.
Marín man-ùbúng ri úngotár on sipa.
A coconut shell and a plate donít mix.
Matamar inádalár, marín maalsár ugáleyár.
You can forget what youíve learned, but you canít forget your nature.
Mi-ap-ap ri ayamánanár, bayáw ot marín mi-ap-áp ri in-apobreyar.
Wealth can be hidden, but you canít hide poverty.
War gálangár ya aluuy rì bilayar.
Honor is the partner of life.
War tangilar on dilan di tajuar ya among dita an mamatoy si puri on galang.
The ears and tongues of people are like poison that kills honor and respect.



Constantino, Ernesto. 1982. Isinay Texts and Translations. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa.


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