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Ivatan: A language from a place closer to Taiwan than the Philippines

A group of islands lie in the seawater between Taiwan and the Philippines. This group of islands makes up the northernmost province of the Philippines: the Batanes province. Besides, it is also the smallest in population and land area. Less than 20,000 live in this province and speak the Ivatan language, whose standard is based on the Basco dialect from Basco the capital of this province located in the Batan island. 

Although the Batanes province is closer to Taiwan than the main island of the Philippines, it is not one of the languages from Taiwan. On the contrary, the Yami language, or the Tao language from Orchid Island is part of the Batanic language group. Orchid Island is a Taiwanese island less than 50 km from southern Taiwan.

Ivatan is uniquely characterized by its words, which mostly have the letter v, unlike many languages in the Philippines. Here are sample phrases from the Ivatan language.
  1. Kapian kapanu dius si cha mavekhas - Good Morning
  2. Kapian kapanu dius si cha maraw - Good Noon
  3. Kapian kapanu dius si cha makuyab - Good Afternoon
  4. Kapian kapanu dius si cha mahep - Good Evening
  5. Dios mamajes - Thank you
  6. Dios mavidin - Goodbye (used by the person who is leaving)
  7. Dios machivan - Goodbye (used by the person who is staying)

Photo by Rexy Quieta on Unsplash


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