PILLS: Forming Interrogative Sentences in Surigaonon: More Than the Basic

  • Date: 22 May 2023 | 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Venue: UP Department of Linguistics Facebook Page

Forming Interrogative Sentences in Surigaonon: More Than the Basic
Philippine Indigenous Languages Lecture Series (PILLS)
22 May 2023 | 2:00 PM | Livestreaming via Facebook & YouTube

This month’s installment of PILLS will feature PhD student Ava Villareal who will be presenting her study on Surigaonon. Surigaonon is a language spoken in the northeastern area of Mindanao.


Interrogative sentence formation is often described as part of basic sentence construction, which is usually included in a basic grammar sketch of a language under study. In this study, interrogative sentence formation in Surigaonon is analyzed both as part of basic sentence formation and also as part of complex sentence construction, particularly in the process known as relativization for forming WH-Subject interrogative sentences. On the other hand, some interrogatives in Surigaonon contain the grammatical feature aspect, e.g., Unhon [ENG How] (CONT and IMPERF) / Tag-uno (PERF) and Kun-o [ENG When] (CONT and IMPERF) / Kagan-o (PERF). This affects the process of interrogative sentence formation in the language. This study uses a combination of transformational generative, semantic grammar, and rule writing in analyzing the interrogative sentence formation in Surigaonon. The same theoretical framework was used by Jonathan Malicsi in his book Gramar ng Filipino (2013). The corpus used as a basis for analysis of this study is formed by collecting and browsing previous literature, checking other sources of data and references which include both traditional publications and online sources, transcriptions of interviews with native speakers; Surigaonon translations of published materials written in English or Filipino; online Surigaonon materials, e.g., Surigaonon translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses written materials; and sentences formed and translated by myself as a native speaker. Describing how interrogative sentences in Surigaonon are formed is crucial to providing a grammatical analysis and description of Surigaonon syntax. This primarily contributes to the ongoing initiatives in Surigaonon language documentation and aids language educators under the mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTB MLE) program.