What writing system(s) does this language use?


Cebuano and almost all of the languages in the Philippines are written using the Latin alphabet.

Upper case A B C D E F G H I J K L M N Ñ NG O P Q R S T U V W Z X Y Z
Lower case a b c d e f g h i j k l m n ñ ng o p q r s t u v w x y z

The Cebuano alphabet includes all of the same letters we use in English, along with 'Ñ' (enye), which the Filipinos borrowed from the Spanish, and 'Ng', a digraph already available as a single character in Baybayin.


Engraved — to carve into a material.


Colonize — to migrate and settle a place and occupy as a colony.


digraph — when two letters are used to show one sound.

How many people speak this language?


There are 28.9 million native speakers of Cebuano as of 2020.

Where is this language spoken?

Distribution of Cebuano language

Cebuano is spoken in the Philippines by the Visayan ethnolinguistic groups native to the islands of Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, the eastern half of Negros, the western half of Leyte, and the northern coastal areas of Northern Mindanao and the Zamboanga Peninsula. In modern times, it has also spread to the Davao Region, Cotabato, Camiguin, parts of the Dinagat Islands, and the lowland regions of Caraga, often displacing native languages in those areas (most of which are closely related to the language)

What is the history of this language?


Cebuano is an Austronesian Language. It was thought that the Austronesian language came from Taiwan and migrated southwards through sailing. They first reached Batanes islands, by around 2200 BCE.

Soon after the Age of Contact came and the Philippines started trading with other people like Persians, Arabs, Malays, Indians, Japanese, and Chinese. The people who traded with the Filipinos also introduced their language and culture, and soon after the Filipinos started using words from their languages and dressed, ate, and lived like them.

The Spaniards came and introduced Spanish, taught the Filipinos Spanish, and soon after many Spanish words entered the Language. The Americans came and introduced English and encouraged the use of English, so English words also entered Cebuano. Cebuano therefore is one of the most diverse languages of the world, with Sanskrit, Malay, Javanese, Mandarin Chinese, Nahuatl, Persian, Arabic, Japanese, Spanish, and English loanwords.


loanwords — words in a language that have been borrowed from other languages.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?

  • Potenciano Aliño (c. 1864 – 1909) was a Cebuano Visayan writer. He is credited for having first translated Jose Rizal's Mi Ultimo Adios (Kataposan nga Panamilit). He was born in 1864. He died in 1909 at the age of 44.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?

Tubag Responses
oo yes
dili no
siguro probably, perhaps
Mga Pagbati Greetings
Kumusta? Hi, how are you?
Maayo man, salamat. I'm fine, thank you.
Maayong adlaw. Good day.
Maayong buntag. Good morning.
Maayong udto. Good midday.
Maayong hapon. Good afternoon.
Maayong gabii. Good evening.
Asa ka gikan? Where have you been?
Daghang salamat Thank you
Walay sapayan. You're welcome.
Panamilit. Good-bye.
Basic phrases
Kabalo ka mag-Iningles? Do you speak English?
Asa ang banyo? Where is the bathroom?
Ganahan ko'g . . . I like . . .
Ayaw ko'g . . . I don't like . . .
Ako si . . . My name is . . .
Unsay imong ngaran? What's your name?
Numero Numbers
usa one
duha two
tulo three
upat four
lima five
unom six
pito seven
walo eight
siyam nine
napulo ten
Counting Units
gatos hundred
ribo thousand
milyon million

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?


Ako si Takuri is a children song in Cebuano language. This song is simple and has many rhymes.

Ako si Takuri, gamay ug dako
Kini ang kuptanan ug kini ang ipisan
Kon mubukal, mukulo-kulo
Ihaon mo ako ug ibubo

The translation of that song is

I'm a little teapot, short and stout
Here is my handle and here is my spout
When the water is boiling, here me shout
Hold my handle and pour me out