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About Kapampangan Language

Kapampangan, also spelled Capampan͠gan, is one of the major languages of the Philippines. It is the language spoken in the province of Pampanga, the southern half of the province of Tarlac and the northern portion of the province of Bataan. Kapampangan is also understood in some barrios of Bulacan and Nueva Ecija and by the Aitas or Aeta of Zambales. The language is also called Pampangan, Pampango, Capampan͠gan, Pampangueño, and Amanung Sisuan. The latter literally means "breastfed language" and is analogous to the term "native language."


The word Kapampangan is derived from the rootword pampang which means "river bank." Very little is known about the language prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. In the 18th century, two books were written by Fr. Diego Bergaño. He authored Vocabulario de la lengua Pampanga and Arte de la lengua Pampanga. The Kapampangan Language produced two literary giants in the 19th century. Father Anselmo Fajardo was noted for his works Gonzalo de Córdova and Comedia Heróica de la Conquista de Granada. Another writer, Juan Crisostomo Soto, was noted for writing many plays. He authored Alang Dios in 1901. The Kapampangan poetical joust "Crissotan" was coined by his fellow literary genius Nobel Prize nominee for peace and literature in the 50's, Amado Yuzon to immortalize his contribution to Pampanga's Literature.


Kapampangan is one of the Central Luzon languages within the Austronesian language family. Its closest relatives are the Sambal languages of Zambales province and the Bolinao language spoken in the town of Bolinao, Pangasinan.

These languages share the same reflex /j/ of the Proto-Austronesian consonant *R.

Geographic distribution

Kapampangan-speaking areaKapampangan is primarily spoken in the provinces of Pampanga and in the southern towns of the province of Tarlac (Bamban, Capas, Concepcion, San Jose, Gerona, La Paz, Victoria,and Tarlac City). It is also spoken in isolated communities within the provinces of Bataan (Abucay, Dinalupihan, Hermosa, and Samal), Bulacan (San Miguel, San Ildefonso, Hagonoy, Plaridel, Pulilan, and Calumpit), Nueva Ecija (Cabiao, San Isidro, Gapan City and Cabanatuan City), and Zambales (Olongapo City and Subic).

The Philippine Census of 2000 stated that a total of 2,312,870 out of 76,332,470 people spoke Kapampangan as their native language.


Standard Kapampangan has 21 phonemes: 15 consonants and five vowels. Some western dialects of Kapampangan have six vowels. Syllable structure is relatively simple. Each syllable contains at least a consonant and a vowel.


Stress is phonemic in Kapampangan. Primary stress occurs on either the last or the next-to-last syllable of a word. Vowel lengthening accompanies primary or secondary stress except when stress occurs at the end of a word.

Historical sound changes

In Kapampangan, the Proto-Philippine schwa vowel *ə has merged to /a/ in most dialects of Kapampangan. It is preserved in some western dialects. For example, Proto-Philippine *tanəm is tanam (to plant) in Kapampangan, compared with Tagalog tanim and Cebuano tanom and Indonesian tanah (land, earth).

Proto-Philippine *R merged with /j/. For example, the Kapampangan word for "new" is bayu, while it is bago in Tagalog, baro in Ilocano, and baru in Indonesian.

Loan words

Kapampangan has a plethora of Spanish loan words, given its more than three hundred years of occupation. Among a few examples are suerti from Spanish suerte (luck), curus from cruz (cross), carni from carne (meat), corsunada from corazonada (crush), casapego from casa fuego (matchbox), and machura from mal hechura (ugly-looking).

Due to the influence of Buddhism and Hinduism from the surrounding islands, Kapampangan also acquired words from Sanskrit.


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