Hiligaynon is an Austronesian language spoken in Western Visayas in the Philippines. Hiligaynon is concentrated in the provinces of Iloilo and Negros Occidental. It is also spoken in the other provinces of the Panay Island group, such as Capiz, Antique, Aklan, Guimaras, and many parts of Mindanao like Koronadal City, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat. There are approximately 7, 000, 000 people in and outside the Philippines who are native speakers of Hiligaynon, and an additional 4, 000, 000 who are capable of speaking it with a substantial degree of proficiency. It is a member of the Visayan language family.
The language is referred to as “ Ilonggo” in Negros Occidental and in Iloilo. More precisely, “ Ilonggo” is an ethnoliguistic group referring to the people living in Panay and the culture associated with the people speaking Hiligaynon. The boundaries of the the dialect called Ilonggo and that called Hiligaynon are unclear. The disagreement of where what name is correct extends to Philippine language specialists and native laymen.
This study is conducted to identify the distinct features of Hiligaynon Language. Thus, there is a need to have respondents or informants to be the sources and bases of the data analyzed. The following informants are native speakers of Hiligaynon language. Ms. Mia Devonnee Grace Beltran, is a 21 years old young lady who lives in Baldostamon Village, Koronadal City for almost 21 years old. Her parents, Mrs. Nelia S. Beltran and Mr. Zalde Beltran are both Hiligaynon speakers and are well versed in the language.
Another informant is Ms. Jojie Marquez Canonigo who is not a native speaker of the language but is well spoken when it comes to Hiligaynon. She lives in Koronadal City for almost 22 years and have acquired the necessary skills to communicate and comprehend Hiligaynon. Moreover, Mrs. Gemma M. Lucman has also contributed data in this study. She is originally from Ilo-Ilo City but spent most of her life in Koronadal City. She is a native speaker of Hiligaynon Language and a teacher implementing Mother Tongue Based Language Education in her class, composed mostly of Ilonggo people.
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