Spoken L1 Language: Eastern-Southern Bontok

Comments on subclassification

Reid, Lawrence A. 1976 :v Ronald S. Himes 2005 Lawrence A. Reid 2019

AES status:
not endangered
David M. Eberhard and Gary F. Simons and Charles D. Fennig 2020
Bontok, Eastern (ebk-bkb) = 5 (Developing).

Retired in ISO 639-3: Split into Eastern Bontok [ebk] and Southern Bontok [obk]

  • Change request: 2009-073
  • ISO 639-3: bkb
  • Name: Finallig
  • Reason: split
  • Effective: 2010-01-18

Excerpt from change request document:

The present reference name used with [bkb], Finallig, is erroneous; that name should be used to refer only to the dialect spoken in the community of Barlig, Mountain Province, the Philippines, and cannot appropriately be used to refer to the language of other closely related dialects of Eastern Bontok that are spoken in the Barlig municipality, such as Kenachakran (spoken in Kadaklan), or Linias (spoken in Lias), who would never label their language variety as Finallig (see Fukuda 1997:11, 1980), or to the distinctively different Southern Bontok varieties.

Currently this code element (as described in the Ethnologue) has three "alternate names": Eastern Bontoc, Kadaklan-Barlig Bontoc, and Southern Bontoc. The term "Kadaklan- Barlig" appears nowhere in the literature, although Kadaklan and Barlig do so separately (see Fukuda 1997:11, 1980, etc.). The term Southern Bontoc was proposed by Busenitz (1973) in an unpublished SIL survey.

Although Eastern Bontok is closely related to Southern Bontok (that is the dialects spoken in the communities of Can-eo, Talubin and Bayyo) , each has a markedly different phonology from the others., e.g., the pre-vocalic variants of /b/ and /d/, which are voiceless (and fricativized) in Central and Eastern languages are voiced in Southwestern Bontok, and the aspirated voiceless variant of /g/ found in Central and Eastern languages is lost, i.e., /g/ has no prevocalic variant at all. Eastern Bontok dialects of both Barlig and Kadaklan have a unique palatalized, voiceless, fricativized variant of /b/ and /d/ before /a/, written fia (hence Fiallig, the local pronunciation of Barlig) and cha, respectively, which is not found in the Southern dialects. The reflex of *schwa in Southern Bontok is schwa, as in the Central Bontok dialects, whereas in the Eastern dialects it has fallen together with a back vowel /u/ (sometimes also represented as o). Southern dialects also have developed an /o/ vowel, but from a completely different source than the Eastern dialects (see Kikusawa and Reid 2003 for the developments in the Talubin dialect that is known as Tinoveng).

There are a wide range of both morphological and syntactic features that distinguish Eastern and Southern dialects, discussed in Kikusawa and Reid (2003). The Southern dialects of Talubin and Bayyo are strongly influenced also from their proximity to the neighboring languages to the south, the various dialects of Ifugao. These communities are located on the main road between Bontoc town and the Ifugao municipality of Banaue.

Although Talubin and Bayyo are listed as dialects of Eastern Bontok based on an unpublished SIL survey by Busenitz in 1973 (cited by Fukuda 1997:11, Busenitz called all Eastern dialects Southern), my own research shows that the varieties are distinct enough in phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon to be considered separate languages.

Apart from the linguistic differences between the two groups of dialects, speakers of the Eastern Bontok varieties have rejected the label Southern Bontok, since historically they have been enemies (especially of the Can-eo people), and even today have vivid memories of headhunting exploits of one group against the other.

The reference name "Bontok, Eastern" matches the proposed macrolanguage name "Bontok", and correctly positions them geographically in the Eastern area of Mountain Province. The communalects of Kadaklan and Barlig are referred to as Eastern Bontoc in several publications (Fukuda 1980, 1981, 1992,1997, and Pang 1998.)

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