Sunday, March 19, 2006

Language and Literature of the Pangasinense

Pangasinan is spoken in the central part of the province while Ilocano is spoken mostly by the people in the western and eastern towns. Bolinao has a dialect of its own.

Pangasinan language belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian family of languages spoken by nearly 2,000,000 people.

Of the eight principal native languages in the Philippines, Pangasinan ranks last (2.26%). Cebuano ranks first. It is spoken by nearly first (24.39%) of the people. Tagalog which used to be first, now ranks a close second (23.82%); followed by Ilocano (11.14%); Hiligaynon or Ilongo (9.99%); Bicolano (6.96%); Waray-waray (4.62%); and Kapampangan (3.43%).

While no written literature maybe found, the province of Pangasinan has a rich and varied folk literature. An example of this is the "Aligando," probably the longest local folksong at 563 lines (excluding four quatrains). It is also considered an original Christmas carol, and takes about an hour and a half to perform. Other examples of this ancient oral tradition include 631 proverbs, maxims (diparan), 465 riddles and puzzles (pabitla), numerous myths, legends (uliran), tales of supernatural creatures, and love songs known as Petek. The storytellers, known as Tumatagaumen, wove tales for every season.

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