Phonological, Lexical, and Morphological Analysis of the Philippine East Miraya Bikol-Pilar Dialect

Angela E. Lorenzana


  • Angela Lorenzana


Phonology, Lexicon, Morphology, East Miraya, Philippines


The paper describes the vowel phonemes of the Pilar variety of East Miraya Bikol spoken in the Philippines. It also reports on the level of mutual intelligibility of this variety with other East Miraya dialects, and identifies its more common derivational and inflectional morphemes. It employed five instruments: the Swadesh list, the Praat, the JPlot Formant, the Pear Film, and the Math 139 Frequency Counter. Many Bikol speakers do not distinguish between [ɛ] vs. [i], and [ɔ] vs. [u] in pronouncing native words, and therefore consider each pair of sounds as belonging to one phoneme. The Pilar dialect, therefore, has a threevowel system: a low central /a/, a front /i/ (with two allophones [i] and [ɛ]) and a back /u/ (with also two allophones [ɔ] and [u]). Historical spelling and practice, however, necessitate the use of five vowel symbols, namely “a,” “e,” “i,” “o,” and “u” to represent the Pilar phonemes in writing. The greatest mutual intelligibility using Pilar dialect as the point of reference occurs with Pilar and Daraga dialects while the lowest is with Pilar and Donsol dialects despite the fact that Pilar and Donsol are municipalities of Sorsogon Province while Daraga is a town in Albay Province. Words in the Pilar dialect may be formed by a root or stem plus one or more affixes, or they may consist of a particle, which is invulnerable to affixation but cannot stand alone without a host. On the whole, the study found derivational and inflectional morphemes, which signal a wide array of modal and aspectual expressions.