Ilocano is a language spoken by five to eleven million in the Philippines
. Similar enough to the Kalinga
languages to be mutually intelligible
to some extent.
A member of the Austronesian language family, Ilocano is the major language of the northern provinces of the Philippine island of Luzon. Its closest linguistic relative is Pangasinan.
Ilocano, is the everyday language in the provinces of La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and Abra, but not in Batanes, where Ivatan is the local language. It is also widely spoken in Pangasinan (the place), except in the central region where Pangasinan (the language) retains its dominance.
Ilocano is unique among the major Philippine languages -- those of large, partly urbanized and mainly Christian peoples -- as being the language of a traditional oral epic which survived long enough to be recorded by modern folklorists and anthropologists. Five versions of the story of Lam-ang were collected between 1889 and 1947.
Why did Lam-ang survive? Its setting is the frontier between Ilocano speakers and the blackest mountain home of the Igorot tribe, who were never subdued during the four centuries of Spanish rule -- and who had killed Don Juan, Lam-ang's father, before the hero was born. The threat of the Igorots was a real one until quite modern times, and the epic was as relevant as ever.
Also known by the names Iloko, Ilokano and Samtoy, Ilocano is also spoken in the Cagayan Valley, Babuyan, Mindoro, Mindanao and the USA, including Hawaii.
Ethnologue asserts the taxonomy of Ilocano as :
Western Malayo-Polynesian (531)
Northern Philippine (70)
Northern Luzon (54)
Ilocano ILO (Philippines)
The first ten numbers in Ilocano are