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R. David Zorc

Language Research Center & Dunwoody Publishing and Press

Hyattsville, Maryland


The Bashiic Languages as a Macrogroup of Philippine Languages

I have gone about the subgrouping of the Bashiic languages via much of what I did for Bisayan in my dissertation (1975, published 1977): subgrouping on the basis of lexicon (Swadesh 100 & a new Zorc 100), functors (100 grammatical items), and innovations. It seems quite clear to me now that:

  1. There is a Bashiic macrogroup composed of Yami (3 lects), Itbayaten, Ivatan (2 lects), and Ibatan/Babuyan.

  2. Yamic (Imorod, Iraralay, and Ivalino) is a subgroup that separated at least 800 years ago.

  3. Itbayaten is the center of a complex that includes Ivatan and Ibatan (which I call the “Vasayic” subgroup)

  4. “Batanic” consists of the two Ivatan lects (Ivasay and Isamorong) and Ibatan (Babuyan)

While there are well over 100 etyma that descend from PAN *baqəRuh ‘new’, *baRah 'ember', *batux ‘stone’, *bituqən ‘star’, *Caliŋa ‘ear‘, *daNum ‘water’, *daRaq ‘blood’, etc.) this Bashiic group has made hundreds of independent innovations replacing otherwise widespread PAN, PMP, or PWMP etymologies (e.g., *amuŋ ‘fish’ – PAN *Sikan, *aʔɣəp ‘night - PAN *Rabiʔih, PMP *bəRŋi, PWMP *maləm, *bulək ‘belly’ - PAN *tiaN, *hikəɣ ‘sleep’ - PAN *qinəp, PMP *tuduR ~ *tiduR, PPH *hələk , *hilak ‘white’ - PAN-F *puNi ‘whiteness’, PMP *putiq ‘white’, *tawur ‘heart’ – PMP *pusuq ~ *pusuŋ) It seems that some member of what I now call “the Y-Group” (it was called “the Northern Extension” in my dissertation, consisting of the Central Luzon languages, Ayta, Sambalic, Kapampangan, or Remontado, as well as North Mangyan, all of which show PAN *R > y) moved north and took over the original languages resident in the Bashi Channel, but leaving both a superstratum (new forms) and a substratum (old or original forms). This Bashiic group also shares a sufficiently convincing number of Proto-Philippine (*bulbul ‘body hair, feathers’, *ipus ‘tail’) and Proto-Northern-Philippine innovations (*ʔunás ‘sugarcane’, *sabuŋ ‘flower, blossom’) so that its membership within those superordinate groups is secure.


R. David Zorc has been blessed with over 50 years of experience in comparative-historical linguistics, lexicography, language teaching, language analysis, curriculum development, and applied linguistics. He has conducted research on 80 languages of the Philippines, Aboriginal Australia, Armenia, and Africa, encompassing the Austronesian, Southern Bantu, Cushitic, Indo-European, and Pama–Nyungan language families. His publication of 32 books on 24 languages, 43 journal articles, and 32 presentations at international conferences solidifies his reputation as one of the world's leading authorities on the less-commonly taught languages, especially of the Philippines. He has produced six dictionaries (Aklanon, Eastern Armenian, Somali, Tagalog Slang, Filipino Etymological, and Yolngu-Matha). He was awarded the Brother Andrew Gonzalez, FSC Distinguished Professorial Chair in Linguistics and Language Education by the Philippine Linguistic Society in 2005.

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