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About Pangasinan Language

The Pangasinan language (Pangasinan: Salitan Pangasinan; Spanish: Idioma pangasinense) is one of the twelve major languages in the Philippines.

The language is spoken by more than one and a half million Pangasinan people (indigenous speakers) in the province of Pangasinan alone. Pangasinan is also spoken in other Pangasinan communities in the Philippines, and by Pangasinan immigrants in the United States. Pangasinan is the primary language in the province of Pangasinan, located on the west central area of the island of Luzon along the Lingayen Gulf. It is the official regional language in the province of Pangasinan, with a total population of the province of 2,934,086 (National Statistics Office: 2008 Census).


The Pangasinan language belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian languages branch of the Austronesian languages family. Pangasinan is similar to the Tagalog and Ilocano languages that are spoken in the Philippines, Indonesian in Indonesia, Malay in Malaysia, and Malagasy in Madagascar. The Pangasinan language is very closely related to the Ibaloi language spoken in the neighboring province of Benguet and Baguio City, located north of Pangasinan. The Pangasinan language is classified under the Pangasinic group of languages. The Pangasinic languages are:

  • Pangasinan
  • Ibaloi
  • Karao
  • I-wak
  • Kalanguya
  • Keley-I
  • Kallahan
  • Kayapa
  • Tinoc

The Pangasinic languages are spoken primarily in the provinces of Pangasinan and Benguet, and in some areas of the neighboring provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, and Ifugao.

Pangasinan is an agglutinative language.


Pangasinan is the primary language of the province of Pangasinan, located on the west central area of the island of Luzon along Lingayen Gulf. The people of Pangasinan are also referred to as Pangasinan. The province has a total population of 2,943,086 (2008), of which 1.5 million speak Pangasinan. Speakers of the language are concentrated mostly in central Pangasinan. Pangasinan is spoken in other Pangasinan communities in the Philippines, mostly in the neighboring provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, and Benguet, and by Pangasinan immigrants in the United States.


Austronesian-language speakers settled in Maritime Southeast Asia during prehistoric times, perhaps more than 5,000 years ago. The indigenous speakers of the Pangasinan language are descended from these prehistoric settlers, who were probably part of the prehistoric human migration that is widely believed to have originated from Southern China via Taiwan about 100 to 200 thousand years ago.

The word Pangasinan, means “land of salt” or “place of salt-making”; it is derived from the root word asin, the word for "salt" in the Pangasinan language. Pangasinan could also refer to a “container of salt or salted-products”; it refers to the ceramic jar for storage of salt or salted-products or its contents.


Traditional Pangasinan has fifteen consonants: p, t, k, b, d, g, m, n, ng, s, h, w, l, r and y. There are five vowels: a, e, i, o, and u. This is one of the Philippine languages which is excluded from [ɾ]-[d] allophone. Modern Pangasinan has incorporated from English and Spanish the following seven consonants: c, f, j, q, v, x, and z.


Modern Pangasinan consists of 27 letters, which include the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet and the Pangasinan letter NG


The ancient people of Pangasinan used an indigenous writing system. The ancient Pangasinan script, which is related to the Tagalog Baybayin script, was derived from the Javanese Kawi script of Indonesia and the Vatteluttu or Pallava script of South India.

The Latin alphabet was introduced during the Spanish colonial period. Pangasinan literature, using the indigenous syllabary and the Latin alphabet, continued to flourish during the Spanish and American colonial period. Pangasinan acquired many Spanish and English words, and some indigenous words were Hispanicized or Anglicized. However, use of the ancient syllabary has declined, and not much literature written in it has survived.

Pangasinan Literature

The Pangasinan language was preserved and kept alive despite the propagation of the Spanish and English languages. Pangasinan written and oral literature flourished during the Spanish and American period. Writers like Juan Saingan, Felipe Quintos, Narciso Corpus, Antonio Solis, Juan Villamil, Juan Mejia, and María C. Magsano continued to write and publish in Pangasinan. Felipe Quintos, a Pangasinan officer of the Katipunan, wrote Sipi Awaray: Gelew Diad Pilipinas (Revolucion Filipina), a history of the Katipunan revolutionary struggle in Pangasinan and surrounding provinces. Narciso Corpus and Antonio Solis co-wrote Impanbilay na Manoc a Tortola, a short love story. Juan Villamil translated José Rizal's Mi Ultimo Adios in Pangasinan. Pablo Mejia edited Tunong, a news magazine, in the 1920s. Mejia also wrote Bilay tan Kalkalar nen Rizal, a biography of Rizal. Magsano published Silew, a literary magazine. Magsano also wrote Samban Agnabenegan, a romance novel. Pangasinan Courier published articles and literary works in Pangasinan. Pioneer Herald published Sinag, a literary supplement in Pangasinan. Many Christian publications in Pangasinan are widely available.

Many Pangasinans are multilingual and proficient in English; Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines; and Ilokano, a neighboring language. However, the spread and influence of the other languages is contributing to the decline of the Pangasinan language. Some Pangasinans are promoting the use of Pangasinan in the print and broadcast media, Internet, local governments, courts, and schools in Pangasinan. In April 2006, the creation of Pangasinan Wikipedia was proposed, which the Wikimedia Foundation approved for publication in the Internet.


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