Waray is the fifth-most-spoken native regional language of the Philippines, native to Eastern Visayas. It is the native language of the Waray people and second language of the Abaknon people of Capul, Northern Samar and some Cebuano-speaking peoples of eastern and southern parts of Leyte island. It is the third most spoken language among the Bisayan languages, only behind Cebuano and Hiligaynon.
The language name comes from the word often heard by non-speakers, "waray" (meaning "none" or "nothing" in Waray); similarly, Cebuanos are known in Leyte as "mga Kana" and their language as "Kana" (after the oft-heard word "kana", meaning "that" in the Cebuano language).[not verified in body]
During the Spanish period, texts refer to the language as simply being a dialect of "Visayan" (most linguists today consider many of these "Visayan dialects", e.g. Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Karay-a, etc., to be distinct languages). Domingo Ezguerra's 1663 (reprinted 1747) Arte de la lengua bisaya de la provincia de Leyte refers to the "Visayan tongue of the province of Leyte", Figueroa's Arte del idioma Visaya de Samar y Leyte refers to the "Visaya language of Samar and Leyte". Antonio Sanchez's 1914 "Diccionario español-bisaya" (Spanish-Visayan Dictionary) refers to the speech of "Sámar and Leyte".
Linguist Jason Lobel (2009) considers there are 25 dialects and subdialects of Waray-Waray.
Tacloban: "standard" dialect: the dialect used in television and radio broadcasts and in education
Waray is one of the many regional languages found in the Philippines and used in local government.
It is widely used in media particularly in television and radio broadcasts, however, not in print media because most regional newspapers are published in English.
The language is used in education from kindergarten to primary level as part of the Philippine government's K-12 program since 2012 in which pupils from Kindergarten to third grade are taught in their respective indigenous languages.
Waray has a total of 16 consonant phonemes: /p, t, k, b, d, ɡ, m, n, ŋ, s, h, w, l, ɾ, j, ʔ/.
Waray has three native vowel phonemes: /a/ [a], /i/ [ɛ~i], and /u/ [o~ʊ, u]. Two more /e, o/ are used in Spanish loanwords.
The use of /u/ instead of an /o/ or /ɔ/ does not change the meaning. Since they are in free variation, usage varies in different dialects or sociolects.
Waray, like all Philippine languages today, is written using the Latin script. There is no officially-approved orthography for the language and different writers may use differing orthographic styles. In general, it has become common to write the language following the current orthographic conventions of Filipino.
Native numbers are used for numbers one through ten. From eleven onwards, Spanish numbers are exclusively used in Waray today, their native counterparts being almost unheard of by the majority of native speakers (except for gatos for hundred and yukot for thousand). Some, specially the old ones, are spoken alongside the Spanish counterparts.
Waray has borrowed vocabulary extensively from other languages, especially from Spanish. These words are being adopted to fill lexical gaps of the recipient language. Spanish colonialization introduced new systems to the Philippine society.
Common Waray Waray words and its foreign and local origin
Balay (English: house) - related to Malay balai
Sarapati (English: pigeon) - related to Malay merpati
Mata (English: eyes) - related to Malay mata
Bulan (English: moon/month) - related to Malay bulan
Ini (English: this/these) - related to Malay ini
Kamo (English: you [plural]) - related to Malay kamu
Abandonada (Spanish: Abandonado/a) – abandoned
Abaniko (Spanish: Abanico) – fan
Abriha (Spanish: Abrir, Filipino: Abrihin) – to open
^Makabenta, Eduardo (2004). Pagpurulungan nga Binisaya (Waray) ha Leyte ug Samar (Binisaya-English English-Binisaya Dictionary) (2nd edition). Quezon City: Adbox Book Distributors and Eduardo A. Makabenta Sr. Foundation. p. 121.
Dictionary English Waray-Waray/Tagalog (2005) by Tomas A. Abuyen, National Book Store, 494 pp., ISBN971-08-6529-3.
Rubino, Carl. Waray-Waray. In Garry, Jane and Carl Rubino (eds.), Facts About the World's Languages, An Encyclopedia of the World's Languages: Past and Present (2001), pp. 797-800.