Gary Persons
Summer Institute of Linguistics
9 February, 1978



0 Introduction
1 Phonology
1.1 Phonological paragraph
1.2 Breath group
1.3 Pause group
1.4 Stress group
1.5 Syllable
1.5.1 Syllable patterns
1.5.2 Ambivalent sequences and segments Gemination Vowels sequences
1.6 Segments
1.6.1. Variation Consonants Vowels
1.6.2 Contrast of Phonemes Consonants Vowels
2 Morphophonemics
3 Orthography
4 Text
5 Future study



0 Introduction

The Bolinao language (also called Binobolinao) is a member of the Zambali language group and is very closely related to the language of Sambali. They are members of the Malayo- Polynesian language family.
Bolinao is spoken in portions of the municipalities of Bolinao and Anda in the province of Pangasinan. There are a few other native speakers scattered in other municipalities (see 1970 Pangasinan, Philippine Census). According to the census, which seems to be relatively accurate on this point, there are 27,581 mother tongue speakers of Bolinao. An estimate of the number of speakers that use it as their normal mode of speech would be somewhat lower, that is in the vicinity of 15-20,000.
The name “Bolinao” was chosen instead of “Binabolinao” because “Binabolinao” carries the connotation of being the old language. Bolinao, although being influenced by Pilipino taught in the school system, has been modified and supplanted to the greatest extent by Ilocano. It has in the past been influenced by Pangasinan but at present is being affected primarily by the two languages previously mentioned.
There are some differences in the way Bolinao is spoken in the Poblacion of Bolinao, on Santiago Island, and in Anda. These seem to be minor, however. A few words are divided differently semantically; one difference that is noted by some speakers is the extent to which the original Bolinao r of this dialect has been replaced by l in Poblacion, Bolinao. It seems that what is spoken in the Poblacion has been influenced more by the other languages in this respect. Also, Viray (1929) noted that the town of Bolinao favors a truly indistinct vowel of the original Malayo-Polynesian, whereas Anda pronounces it [o].
For this statement the source of data is basically from the Poblacion of Bolinao. A further comparison of phonetic differences in the Bolinao-speaking areas needs to be done in the future.

1 Phonology

In general, distinctive features on a higher level will dominated lower level features although they individually combine in a wave form that is influenced one by the other in a systematic manner. These have not all been analyzed as yet, but a few of them will be noted as well as the phonological features of the segmental phonemes.

1.1 Phonological Paragraph
The highest level distinctive feature noted was found at the end of a thought pattern which may signal the completion of a story, change of material focused upon, or change of speaker. It is manifested by a low to high glide initially and a downward trend in pitch and intensity fading into silence over the last pause segment. It is conditioned by semantic features.

1.2 Breath group
The breath group is the next lower phonological unit and is distributed on the higher level just discussed. It is also the unit in which one or more pause groups are distributed. It is marked by silence and breath intake as well as tonal variation, intensity, and, in some cases, length. The typical shape of the intonation pattern is mid tone falling slightly to a down glide on the final syllable for a statement and some interrogative that are marked by a question word. For most interrogatives marked by a word, and all those unmarked, the pattern starts somewhat higher, between mid and high, than the statement, and then drifts downward with an up-glide found to a high tone on the final syllable. A mid to high up-glide on a single stress group functioning as a breath group is an indication of surprise or fear. Other variations at this level include the level intensity or rising intensity with lengthened final syllable when affirming one’s position or being very sure of one’s position in a statement he has made. There is room for much study on this level.

1.3 Pause group
The pause group serves as a matrix for the stress group. From one to nine stress groups have been observed within the pause group. The nucleus of a pause group is a stress group carrying more intensity than the remainder. The intensity normally also carries a slightly higher pitch. The nucleus occurs in present data on the first stress group or the first stress group following an inversion of the expected grammatical order. Also, a secondary nucleus has occurred final and/or on the fourth stress group in longer pause groups.

1.4 Stress group
A stress group is the phonological unit within which syllables are distributed. The nucleus of each stress group is a syllable marked by increased intensity which also causes slight rising of pitch and a tendency towards length. This is optionally preceded by from one to four syllable margins and/or followed and one or two. From one to six syllables have been observed in a stress group.
The base of the stress group is normally made up of two syllables. Upon this base is built the stress group by addition of various grammatical units. These would include affixation of verbs, affixation for class change, particles, pronouns and some connectors. Pronouns of more than one syllable or combinations of pronouns, particles, or connectors form another stress group. A single syllable pronoun, although included in the rhythmic unity of the stress group, does not affect the placement of stress. It carries its own length. The base carries the length associated with the stress group. Secondary stress or length may occur with these morpheme changes.

lalak`o ‘to walk’ manlumalak`o ya ‘he is walking’

The occurrence of stress in any word is unpredictable but it defines a syllable on which it falls as being one of the three last syllables of the stress group.
Stress on an open syllable of the base in manifested by length, and this length remains on the syllable as the stress moves. Affixation of the base causes the stress to remain in the same position relative to the last syllable. If this is an open syllable it will also be lengthened.

nakaqidaq ‘laid down’ maqidaton ‘to make offering’

There is also the occurrence of secondary stress but this is predictable from primary stress and observance of the word. It has the same features as the primary stress including resulting in length on open syllable but it is weaker in all respects and especially in pitch.
If the word is formed by reduplication, secondary stress will occur on the same syllable as stress normally does in the base. Otherwise, it occurs on the second syllable following or on the third preceding syllable.

kaqinsanan ‘a little later today’

If this third preceding syllable is preceded by a stressed syllable, the secondary stress is deleted. In some cases it appears that the secondary stress occurs on the second preceding syllable but this is generally because of vowel deletion (see Gemination)

Timmombok ‘following’ tomombok ‘to follow’

Data are insufficient to predict the change of stress when a change of grammatical class occurs.

1.5 Syllable

1.5.1 Syllable Patterns
The syllable consists of an obligatory onset and peak with an optional coda. All consonants may appear either in syllable onset or coda slot, and all vowels may appear in any peak slot. Vowel consonant sequence is not restricted. Restrictions at higher level junctures of the vowels and consonants have not been observed with the exception of the pepet (see Vowel variations). Normally these consonants (C) and vowels (V) occur in two basic syllable patterns, CV and CVC. In a word with an apparent initial vowel, a glottal precedes the vowel.
There are many loan word that do not fit these patterns. For instance ‘work’, contains a CCV pattern.
There are a few instance of a consonant cluster in the onset position of the syllable in non-loan words thus forming a CCV pattern.

traq or traqtraq ‘leftovers’ diqkleng ‘small’
mangontra `oppose’

The word traq is probably reduction occurring from the loss of a weak vowel since in Sambali of Tina this word is tolaq. The back high vowel has been observed to manifest this characteristic weakness in other environments. In Bolinao, however, this does leave us with a non-suspect initial consonant cluster (but this is weak in view of the limited statistical evidence). The example of diqkleng at times seems to manifest itself as having a geminate cluster dikkleng.
Length is the minimal difference between many words and is considered to occur on the syllable level.

sa.lay ‘egg’ salay ‘a tree used for making

It remains on the same segments, which is the peak slot of an open syllable in the base, regardless of affixation. Higher level features may induce some variation of the length. Since length does not occur normally in other syllables apart from stress, the CV’ syllable may be considered a separate syllable. However, because this syllable type can be predicted from placement of stress it is not an emic type but is a variation of the CV syllable.

Examples of CV syllables are pa ‘particle’, no ‘if when’. Examples of CVC syllables are ket ‘then’, tan ‘and’, qet, qey, and liq ‘particles’, and sin ‘previous’.
In stress groups with penultimate stress on the base the only stop observed in the coda slot of a penultimate CVC syllable is the glottal. Otherwise the consonants found there are all continuants.
The most favored base pattern for a stress group is CV.CVC: di.laq ‘tongue’, la.ŋit ‘sky’, ŋa.ran ‘name’. CVC may be found initially also either as a prefix or as the first syllable of the base: qaq.soŋ ‘motar’, mag.qirgo ‘to speak. An open syllable may occur finally: sa.ŋa ‘branch’, siq.ko ‘I’. Bases with more than two syllables do occurs: CV.CV.CVC qa.da.lan ‘disciple’: CV.CVC.CV ‘trousers’; CV.CV.CV.CV ‘tamarind’; CV.CV.CV ‘spouse’; CV.CV.CV.CVC.ŋo.baŋ ‘beetle’; CVC.CV.CVC ‘church’; CV.CVC.CVC si.naq.paŋ ‘cooked rice’.
Some of these may be considered to be derived from other bases.

1.5.2 Ambivalent sequences and segments
In accordance with the non-suspect syllable pattern of CV and CVC, the following clusters which occur medially in the stress group are interpreted as separate consonant phonemes: py, by, ty, dy, gy, sy, ly, qy, gw, rw, gw, yt, yd, yn, yŋ, mp, mn, nt, nd, ns, ŋq, qn, ts, st, dt, qt, qk, qg. Other clusters found medially are: mn, nb, ŋl, rg, rn, ŋr, lt, lb, ln, sq, pr, lk, gt, tr. Consonant clusters have not been observed in the coda slot.

ts is interpreted as two segments since its occurrence is only at syllable boundaries and the inversion st also occurs.
r occurs only in consonant position in non-suspect data and is therefore interpreted as a consonant. In rapid speech if it is preceded by e , the vowel tends to be dropped and the r becomes the peak of the syllable.
The syllable patterns interpret the glottal as a consonant phoneme. Gemination
There is consonant gemination in Bolinao, although not extensively; it is normally the result of vowel syncopation.
The examples of gemination that have been observed have often been the combination of the infixes -in- + -om-. This combination is not always complete in the gemination process. And some of the younger speakers do not pronounce the geminate cluster and indeed some of the words seemingly have resulted in reduction.

sinomobliq– sinmobliq ‘returning’
tinomaqgan ‘waiting’
*tinomombok–*tinmombok–timmombok ‘following’
*tinomekreq– *tinmekreq– timmekreq–timekreq-
*(not observe)

Another example not involving these infixes is

*sibibibyay– sibibbyay ‘alive’

One speaker wrote, and insisted that was the way the following word for ‘gall’ was said, is appro. The investigator did not hear the geminate cluster pp.
Madeline Erhman (1967) in her work mentioned the following:-
*makakaqlis — makkaqlis ‘is laughing’

A similar observation made is:
alalaki — allaki ‘bigger’

Both forms have been heard. It is interesting to note the change of stress in the two forms.
Isaias Cacho (1955) in his Ortografia mentions several words that he says have double consonants. These may or may not be geminate cluster. Further checking needs to be done. The consonants he mentions are pp, tt, dd, kk, gg, mm, nn, ll, rr, and yy.
The geminate cluster, because they fit into the CV and CVC patterns, are interpreted as two consonants . Vowel sequences
There are no non-suspect vowel cluster in Bolinao. All occurrences of the non-suspect vowels within any given word are separated by one or more consonants.

simbaqan ‘church’ qagtay ‘liver’

Suspect vowel clusters fall into three groups in which the ambivalent segments of i/y and o/w are interpreted by the CV and CVC syllable patterns.
a) There are sequences of two vocoids in which the first is a high non-syllabic vocoid.

banyo ‘bathroom’
kababalyan ‘town mate’
waleŋ ‘forehead’
timaqway ‘crying/shouting
wiri ‘left side’
yamot ‘root’

b) There are sequences of two vocoids in which the second is a high non-syllabic vocoid.

qagtay ‘liver’
qapoy ‘fire’
qawro ‘day’
qakolaw ‘old woman’
qaydan ‘stair/ladder’

c) There are sequences of three vocoids in which the second is always a high non-syllabic vocoid.

maŋyater ‘escort’
qasawa ‘spouse’
babayi ‘female’
bowaya ‘crocodile/alligator
qabaya ‘shoulder
awit ‘load’
bayawas ‘guava
saliwen ‘to buy

The CCV (c) (see 1.5.1) syllable is used to interpret the following:

nakaqagwanta ‘endure’
byat ‘heaviness’
lwag ‘ladle’
tyimpo ‘time/season’
taqkyay ‘arm’
qirgwen ‘to speak’
tyan ‘stomach’

1.6 Segments

The contrastive features chart of Bolinao segments is as follows:

labial front back glottal

stop vls. p t k q
stop vd. b d g
fricative s
nasal m n ŋ
flap r
resonant w l y

tense (close) i o
lax (open) ɜ a

In relatively recent loan words f, v, h, and ts may be found. f and v are normally in variation with p and b in these cases.

1.6.1 Variation Consonants

The voiceless stops all have unreleased allophones in syllable coda position.
The consonant phonemes at the bilabial point of articulation are p, b, m, w. They have no other allophones (except p as above mentioned).
At the dental point of articulation t, d, n, s occurs. When these are followed by a y they each have a palatalized allophone that is in free variation with them. t has the additional allophone mentioned above.
l is a voiced fronted lateral.
r is a voiced fronted alveolar vibrant. Normally it is expressed as a flap but in emphatic speech it tends to become a trill.
k, g, ŋ, are articulated at the velar point of articulation. They do not have other allophones (again, except k).
y is a voiced palatal non-syllabic vocoid.
Glottal stop q may occur in any consonant position. Vowels
The vowel phonemes of Bolinao are i, o, a, ɜ. These phonetic norms are the variants as peaks of open syllables.
i becomes a mid open front unrounded vocoid [ ] contiguous to r in a stressed syllable. Preceded by a velar in a final syllable and followed by t it becomes a high open front unrounded vocoid [ ]. When preceded by a y or r in an open syllable it becomes a mid close front unrounded vocoid [e]. Elsewhere it is the high close front unrounded vocoid and at times carries some of the quality of [e], especially when lengthened.
o is manifested as varying between mid and high close back rounded vocoid [ ] except in the ultimate or post stress syllable of the word.
Here it is manifested as the mid allophone.

a, if in any syllable closed by y, becomes a close low central vocoid. Otherwise, if it is preceded by w, it becomes backed. Or, if it is preceded by m, n, p, t, k, g, q in an unstressed non-final syllable it becomes a mid open central unrounded vocoid [^]. It has the standard value elsewhere.
ɜ is phonetically a high open central unrounded vocoid [ɜ]. Following a bilabial this tends to be backed. If, however, in a closed syllable, a glottal or velar precedes it, it becomes [ ] varying with [ ] both tending to be centralized. In other environments it is manifested as [ɜ]. The phoneme does not occur in the peak slot of the word initial syllable of the form qV(C) or in a final open syllable. qesed `awl’ is the only observed exception to this.

The phonemes have a mass modification of spread lips, such as in smiling, in phonemes where this is possible. The teeth normally are visible in speech. The allophones of the vowels can be in free variations in the basic ranges of each vowel for some speakers, while others prefer one or the other allophones in some or all contexts.

1.6.2 Contrast of Phonemes Consonants
The following sets of words illustrate the phonemic contrast of consonants:

p/b paya ‘water jar’ baya ’ember’
sepsep ‘suck’ sebseb ‘quench a fire’
pitibaktibak ‘talking harsly’ tipak ‘to fly’

s/t saŋa ‘branch’ taŋan ‘thumb’
maqis ‘corn’ paqit ‘intestine’
losok ‘hole’ nalotoq ‘cooked’

t/d taltal ‘to pound’ daldal ‘thin hair’
yamot ‘root’ gamod ‘superstition’
qatep ‘roof’ naqadet ‘steadfastness’

d/r damolag ‘carabao’ ranom ‘water’
gaqod ‘paddle’ manaqor ‘cheat’
qadalan ‘follower’ qararem ‘deep’

d/l dotdot ‘pull out from’ lotlot ‘hand drill’
lompad ‘to fly’ makobpal ‘thick’
telek ‘deafness’ pedek ‘eyelash’

r/l ropa ‘face’ lota ‘ground’
maŋosar ‘use’ armosal ‘breakfast’
borak ‘flower’ bolaq ‘falsehood
bolag ‘blind’

l/y labi’ ‘compassion’ yabi ‘night’
taltal ‘to pound’ taytay ‘bridge’
bolaŋ ‘cockfight’ manoyaŋ ‘child-in-law’

b/w biri ‘rooster’ wiri ‘left side’
naŋayab ‘to call’ bayaw ‘brother-in-law
qobi ‘yam’ qowi ‘rattan’

s/y sabot ‘hair’ yamot ‘root’
byas ‘rice’ byay ‘life’
mamasa ‘to read qabaya ‘shoulder’

g/k gilgil ‘skin disease’ kikil ‘triangular file’
qanag ‘termite’ anak ‘child’
masager ‘angry’ manaker ‘to tie’

q/ salay ‘egg’ saqlay ‘neck scraf’
qopa ‘hen’ qopa ‘wages’

q/k qabaya ‘shoulder kabayo ‘horse
nanaboq ‘fell’ nabok ‘intoxicated
mataqaw ‘deep sea’ manakaw ‘to steal’

n/ bolan ‘moon’ bolaŋ ‘cockfight’
naqmet ‘lost’ ŋaqmin ‘all’
wanan ‘right side taŋan ‘thumb’ Vowels
The following sets of words illustrate the phonemic contrast of vowels

a/o balbal ‘hit some’ bolbol ‘pubic hair’
qaŋot ‘odor’ qoŋot ‘coconut’
mata ‘eye’ bato ‘stone’

a/e baŋbaŋ ‘chisel’ beŋbeŋ ‘wind or water break’

i/o boloŋ ‘leaf’ poliŋ ‘dirt in the eye’
qibi ‘to give’ qobi ‘yam’
qobi ‘yam tobo ‘sugar cane’

i/e bakiq ‘send to errand’ bakeq ‘monkey’

e/o baboy ‘pig’ bebey ‘mouth’
qilek ‘mosquito’ qilog ‘river’

2. Morphophonemics
Some morphophonemic processes taking place are as follows:

a.) Reduction
na + galat -> naglat

b.) Assimilation
1.) k/g  0 / vel.
nag + kalap  nagalap
2.) qi  d / V__t
mo + qiti  modti
3.) Ŋ + labial  m
Ŋ +dental, alveolar  n
Ŋ elsewhere  ŋ

maŋ + saliw  manaliw
maŋ + bayo  mabayo

4.) a + en, an  awen, awan
o + en, an  wen, wan

qirgo + en  qirgwen

5.) The function word qa and the particle qana `already’ optionally combine with a preceding vowel to become y, yna, respectively.

ya + a  yay
na + qana  nayna
na + qana+ a  naynay

3. Orthography
The phonemic transcription will be used as the orthographic representation in all cases except the following:-
1.) ŋ is written as the digraph ng. A hyphen will be used between n and g to distinguish these two sounds when they occur from [ŋ] which is represented by ng.

2.) The back rounded vowel o is represented as o in all pronouns, in the final syllable of a word, or post-stress, and as u elsewhere.
3a.) Suprasegmentals and word final glottal are optional but not included in the regular orthography.
3b.) Word initial and intervocalic glottals are not written.
3c.) A glottal stop preceding or following another consonant will by represented by a hyphen.
4.) Borrowed words or proper names retain their traditional spelling but may be allowed to alternate with a spelling that would fit the orthographic transcription.
This results in a transcription relatively close to that which is being written by speakers of Bolinao. Also, the transfer to and from the national language should be minimized. Present speakers of the older generation generally use c and qu for the k and use the e for both the mid close front unrounded vocoid [e] and the high open central vocoid [ɜ].

4. Text
The following phonological features are indicated in the text below:
phonological paragraph juncture (#), intonation patterns, breath group juncture (//), pause group juncture (/), stress relating to pause group (“), stress group juncture (+), and stress relating to the stress group (‘).

si + sayay + istodyanti #
one student

Maqin nin + sayay + anak // sitin + anak +
There-was one child this child

na ibbwat ya + sa pobri + nin pamilya//sitin + anak +
came from he from poor of family this child

mampagqadal ya + sa manila // sin + dandani + yayna +
studying he in Manila when almost he-already

nin + ma yadiq + konan +
of to finish it-directional

korso na / nagmasakit ya /
course his was sick he

ket + nakora an yan + karmaq /
then unfortunate he fate

ket + nati ya // wanin +
then died he likewise

ana / a bere ran / matoqtoa na /
already sorrow they parent-pl.his

nin sitin + anak #
this child

Text according to suggested orthography

Si sayay istodyanti

Main nin sayay anak. Sitin anak nangibwat ya sa pubri nin pamilya. Sitin anak mampag-adal ya sa Manila. Sin dandani yay na nin mayadi konan kurso na, nagmasakit ya, ket nakurangan yan karma, ket nati ya. Wanin ana a bereng ran matu-tua na nin sitin anak.

Free translation

The Student

There was a young man who came from a poor family. He took up his studies in Manila and when he was nearly ready to graduate he became sick. Unfortunately, he died. As a result his parents were very sad.

5. Future study
As has been mentioned, the higher level systems could use much more study, specifically on the intonational patterns and phonological discourse markers.
In the stress group, further analysis is needed in relation to the movement of stress and its predictability especially in class changes.
There is still the question of interpreting a CCV (C) syllable and whether or not in the orthography this should be expanded with a pseudosyllable as is done in Pilipino -iy, uw, etc. This would need testing for speaker acceptance since a few people have reacted against it in the past.
An interesting area of study may be the use of the glottal in positions where phonemes have been deleted.
Also consonant gemination should be further studied and analyzed as to its sociological effects on the writing. It seems that the younger generation does not recognize this phenomenon in most cases.
This is a preliminary phonemic statement and there may be pressures exerted on it for change as more data are observed. This is a good starting point, however, from which to launch further study and begin to expand work in other areas. It is hoped it will be useful in the further study and preservation of the minor languages around the world as well as a benefit to the people of Bolinao in their total life.


Cacho, Isaias. 1955. Ortografia – panumbukan sa
pannurat sarita Bolinao (ANBONINO). Anda,
Pangasinan. 1967 handwritten copy of 1955 ms.
Ehrman, Madeline E. 1967. Grammatical description of
Bulinaw: A progress report on the analysis
resulting from the first eleven hours of data
elicitation, Ms.
McFarland, Curtis D. 1977. Northern Philippine
linguistic geography. Study of languages
and cultures of Asia and Africa
Monograph series no.9.
Pike, Eunice V. 1974. Tagmemic phonology,
Unpublished ms.
Pike, Kenneth L. 1947. Phonemics: A technique for
reducing languages
to writing. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan
Schuster, Margarete S. 1975. Sambali Tina phonemes
and orthography. Ms.
Viray, Felizeberto B. and Otto Scheerer. 1929. The
Sambali dialect of Bolinao. The Archive – a
collection of papers pertaining to Philippine
linguistics no.7.