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  • Ilocano Dictionary and Grammar: Ilocano-English, English-Ilocano
  • Lawrence A. Reid
Carl Ralph Galvez Rubino . 2000. Ilocano Dictionary and Grammar: Ilocano-English, English-Ilocano. PALI Language Texts, Department of Linguistics, University of Hawai'i. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. lxxxvi + 778 pp. ISBN 0-8248-2088-6. US$34.00.

Among the Philippine languages, Ilokano is ranked third in terms of its number of mother-tongue speakers (probably over 8,000,000), yet there has never been a good, widely available dictionary of the language until now. The two major Ilokano-English dictionaries prior to this work (Vanoverbergh 1957, henceforth V, and Geladé 1993, henceforth G) were both published in the Philippines by Catholic Missionary Press and were based on an original Ilokano-Spanish dictionary (Carro 1888). All were written by missionary linguists primarily as aids to new missionaries beginning their work in the northern Philippines. The present work, prepared by a linguist with the broader community of scholars interested in the language in mind, as well as the needs of Ilokano language learners outside the Philippines, contains in addition to the approximately 20,000 headwords, a more sophisticated cross-referencing system than in earlier works, equivalent forms (not necessarily cognates) in Tagalog and other languages for many of the roots, an English index, and a short grammatical description. The appendix contains charts of grammatical forms, such as articles, pronouns, and demonstratives, as well as several charts listing verbal affixes. There are a few maps showing the northern Philippine provinces where most native Ilokano-speaking people live, and finally 46 (untranslated) Ilokano traditional songs, a number of the words of which cannot be found in the dictionary itself.

Although Rubino (henceforth R) states that he used the Vanoverbergh dictionary as a base for his own work, he notes that he has searched an extensive body of Ilokano literature, much of it appearing in the highly popular Bannawag and Burnay magazines, and his own body of spoken Ilokano data collected throughout the Ilokano-speaking region for new lexical material. However, most of the forms, both native and borrowed, appear in G, whose work was also available to R. Comparing some one thousand entries in R with those in G (which contains 18,500 main entries) from thirty randomly chosen pages, I was able to identify only about twenty-five entries that could be characterized as previously undescribed native Ilokano roots. In addition, there were a similar number of botanical or fish terms, apparently taken from older published materials on these topics, that were not in G.1 Close to fifty entries not in G were derived forms of roots listed elsewhere in the dictionary. In addition, there were a dozen variant forms, several cross-references, and a half dozen terms identified as borrowed from Tagalog or other geographically adjacent Philippine languages. Finally [End Page 238] there were about thirty Spanish borrowings that do not appear in G. A few variant forms, obsolete terms, and Spanish borrowings found in G do not appear in R.

The introductory material to the dictionary provides information on the orthography, a chart of the Ilokano pre-Hispanic syllabary, and an affix cross-reference list, containing some 400 prefixes and prefixal combinations, fourteen suffixes and suffix-enclitic combinations, nine infixes and infixal combinations, and forty-four enclitics and enclitic combinations. No functional explanations or meanings are provided in the list, although each of the affixes and the clitcs, as well as some of their combinatorial possibilities, appear as entries in the dictionary with appropriate explanations of their meanings and distributions. The list also includes a summary statement of the reduplication patterns in Ilokano. With reference to the CV- pattern, R states, "When a reduplicated root results in an open syllable of CV structure, the vowel of the open reduplicated syllable is lengthened with inherent secondary stress" (xxxii). This is only true, however, of those reduplicative functions that developed from *CVC-, in which the original final C was a glottal stop or a glide (xvii), and resulted in a pattern in which the vowel carried length and secondary stress. There are other CV- reduplications in Ilokano, such as many noun plurals and verbs having plural...


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