Construal of Selected Gaddang Lexicon and their Cultural Implications | Open Access Journals

Construal of Selected Gaddang Lexicon and their Cultural Implications

Nick IR* and Evaliza LDB

1Department of Education, Nansiakan National High School, Kayapa, Philippines

2Nueva Vizcaya State University, Bayombong, Philippines

*Corresponding Author:
Nick IR
Department of Education, Nansiakan National High School
Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines
Tel: +639755708838

Received Date: 30/12/2016; Accepted Date: 19/01/2017; Published Date: 24/01/2017

Visit for more related articles at Research & Reviews: Journal of Social Sciences


Gaddang tribe is one of the earliest settlers of the province of Nueva Vizcaya, which comprised the convergence of its ethnic groups. Most of the descendants of the said ethnicity are now homed in the northern Vizcaya part particularly includes the towns of Bayombong, Solano, Bagabag, and other neighboring communities. This study was aimed to have an indepth stylistic analysis on some selected gadding terms based on the data collected from the identified Gaddang key informants, who are all residents of Bagabag – ranging the ages of 30 to 75 years of age. Based on the morphological functions of the enumerated terms, they were classified according to their functions as Noun, Adjective, Verb, while some are interjections (expressions). Meanwhile, their phonological interpretations suggested that some of these words are stressed in accordance to their morphologic functions, while some others are evidently based on the emotions conveyed in each term. Significantly, the researcher had also able to gather information on the cultural implications of these gaddang terms – from which some are used to describe family relations, superstitious beliefs, types of work, sources/types of foods, festivity, religiosity/faith in God, and a lot more to enumerate. The study hereby recommends an increase of cultural awareness of the native dialects like the Gaddang by developing adequate learning/reading materials that may be integrated in the K-12 curriculum.


Gaddang Lexicon; Construal; Cultural Implications


Gaddang tribe is one of the earliest settlers of the province of Nueva Vizcaya, which comprised the convergence of its ethnic groups. Most of its descendants are now homed in the northern Vizcaya part particularly includes the towns of Bayombong, Solano, Bagabag, and other neighboring communities like some parts of Isabela, Ifugao and Cagayan.

The Gaddang people are a linguistically acknowledged ethnic group of interconnected families partaking protracted residence in the watershed of the Cagayan River in Northern Luzon, Philippines. Gaddang speakers are testified to number around 30,000, plus another 6,000 hereditarily related Gaddang speakers whose lexis is more than 80% indistinguishable [1]. The two groups are frequently represented in notable and educational literature as a single populace; discrepancies between the Christianized "lowlanders" and the non-Christian residents in the mountains seem to be overlooked by many sources. There are both fascinating resemblances and unreconciled metamorphoses in history, location, lifestyle and beliefs between these two linked populations [2].

Gaddang language is associated to Ibanag, Yogad, Itawis, Malaueg and others. It is distinctive in that it features phonemes (the "f","v","z" and "j" sounds) not extant in many adjoining Philippine dialects. There are also prominent variances from other languages in the distinction between "r" and "l", and the "f" sound is a voiceless bilabial fricative, and not the fortified "p" sound common in many Philippine languages. Gaddang is declensionally, conjugationally and morphologically agglutinative, and is characterized by a dearth of positional/directional adpositional adjunct words. Temporal references are usually accomplished using agglutinated nouns or verbs [3].

Benchmarking on the above-discussions of related concepts and literatures on Gaddang tribe and language, this research was done as to surface the extent of using the said dialect among the native Gaddangs of the province of Nueva Vizcaya.

Objectives of The Study

The study was conducted as to elucidate the use of Gaddang terms and identify their cultural relevance. Hence, this study was also aimed at answering the following questions:

• How are some Gaddang terms (common and not common terms) being identified by the key informants be translated in Filipino and English?

• How are these Gaddang terms can be classified using construal analysis approach along its morphological functions/ meaning and phonological stress?

• What are the cultural implications of these identified Gaddang terms?


This study had embarked on the essence of qualitative approach using key informant as the main gathering tool in justifying data. A research form was formulated by the researchers purposively to solicit personal information of the identified informants, who are all residents of Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya, all are members and some are officers of the Nueva Vizcaya’s National Coalition of Indigenous People (Gaddang Tribe).

Aside from the demographics of the said informants, they were also asked to enumerate at most 5 gaddang terms, in which they had provided specific Tagalog and English translations of these terms and as well as their meaning and functions (based on Gaddang dialect) [4]. Prior to the said process of identifying key informants, a letter addressing to the president of the province’s NCIP-Gaddang group was also made in order to ask permission and thereby assisting the researchers in identifying reliable and credible officers and members of the group who are of ages 30 to 75 years – all are pure Gaddangs.

Results and Discussion

Translation of Selected Gaddang Terms in Filipino and English

Among the 50 selected gaddang terms (based on the options made by the informants during the data collection), the researcher had classified 27 common terms being used in the said dialect (these however were validated further by the same research informants) discussed in Table 1. Among these common terms were identified as common names for animals, events, plants; while others are depicting common behaviors and attitudes; still there are some that depict relationships, especially within the family or kin.

Table 1. Summary of the Translated Common Gaddang Terms in Filipino and English.

Sl.No Common Terms Root Word Filipino Translation English Translation
1 Afak/Afac Afak/Afac Banig Mat
2 Amfut Amfut Bawang Garlic
3 Aranni Ranni Malapit Near
4 Ato Ato Aso Dog
5 Baffuy Baffuy Baboy Pig
6 Bakulod Bakulod Bundok Mountain
7 Balay Balay Bahay House
8 Daffug Daffug Kalabaw Carabao
9 Dekat/Decat Dekat Malagkit Rice
10 Dios Daddaramat Daramat MagandangUmaga Good Morning
11 Dios Mabbalat Balat MaramingSalamat Thank You
12 Futuk Futu Puso Heart
13 Ganding Ganding Kambing Goat
14 Kappakel Pakel Nakakapagod Tiring
15 Katattal Atal Nakakahiya Shameful
16 Lappao Lappao Bulaklak Flower
17 Layag Layag Tenga Ear
18 Mabbambal Bambal Paglalabagamitangkamay Hand washing
19 Macasta Casta Maganda Beautiful
20 Maggatang Gatang Bumili To buy
21 Makayang Kayang Tamad Indolent/Lazy
22 Malappat Lappat Masipag Industrious
23 Masimpat Simpat Mabait Kind
24 Mattab Tab Magsalok Fetch
25 Payaw Payaw Bukid Rice field
26 Sawang Sawang Bintana Window
27 Ut’ta Uta Usa Deer

Conversely on the terms presented in Table 2, Table 3 embraces those identified gaddang terms that are not so commonly used terms (or those that are rarely uttered if so within the context of the gaddang community only). The same with the common terms, these less familiar gaddang words are also depicting names and values.

Table 2. Summary of the Translated Not Common Gaddang Terms in Filipino and English.

Sl.No Not Common Terms Root Word Filipino Translation English Translation
1 AttungannaAlo Attung/Alo Bayuhan Mortar and Pestle
2 Ballihaoan Banlaw Bendisyon ng magulang Blessing of Parents
3 Binara’yan Bira’yan Uri ng Alak Hard Drinks
4 Busi’lad Si’lad Isda Fish
5 Daleday Daleday Kuliglignayarisakahoy Cart/Carriage
6 Futaw Utaw Palakol Axe
7 Gumadang Adang Tumawid To cross
8 Kaba Kaba Bilao Basket
9 Karangat Rangat Maligno Underworld Spirit
10 Lap’pat Lap’pat Hamog Fog
11 Mabbambag Bambag Pahahatingkahoypanggatong Chucking of wood
12 Macapangua Pangua Makapangyarihan Powerful
13 Maduyog Duyog Lakwatsero Roam around
14 Manantao Nantao Kumusta Greeting
15 Mangacao Angcao Albularyo Quack doctor
16 Mappulla Pulla Pagpunlangpalay Rice planting
17 Micesira Sira Pangingisda Fishing
18 Miyao/Miyaw Iyaw/Iyao Bilao Winnow
19 Namaratu Maratu Lumikha Creator
20 Patta Atta Pahimakas Omen
21 Raddam Raddang Pagdadalamhati Grieve
22 Sohong Song Pabendisyonsabahay House blessing
23 Sunsulu Sulu Lambing Endearment

Table 3. Morphologic and Phonologic Functions of Common Gaddang Terms.

Sl.No Common Terms Meaning and Function Pronunciation (Stress)
1 Afak/Afac a. (Noun) A mattress used for sleeping
Gaddang: Iyu-sam no afak/afac nu maturug-kan.
Filipino: Gamitinmoyungbanigsapag-tulog.
English: Use the mattress when you sleep.
b. (Verb) To use as covering/mattress
Gaddang: I-afak nu no ulat.
Filipino: Ilatagmoyungkumot.
English: Lay down the blanket.
2 Dios Mabbalat (Interjection) Words used to express the feeling of gratitude
Gaddang: Dios mabbalatwayi.
Filipino: Salamatkapatid.
English: Thanks fellow.
3 Futuk (Noun) Part of the body that is responsible for the circulation of the blood
Gaddang: Malaw no futuk.
Filipino: Masakitangakingdibdib.
English: I have heartburn.
4 Kappakel (Adjective) A feeling after doing and extraneous activities
Gaddang: Kappakelingke a mallakad.
Filipino: Nakakapagodang mag-lakad.
English: Walking is tiring.
5 Payaw (Noun) A land used by the farmers to plant rice, vegetables etc
Gaddang: Dokal a payaw mi.
Filipino: Maluwangangamingbukirin/bukid.
English: We have a large rice field.

Construal of Selected Gaddang Terms

Summary of the common gaddang terms along its meaning, function and pronunciation (Stress): As presented earlier, there are gadding terms that are classified as commonly used words (27 terms) among the Gaddangs, which are still known to the said ethnic group (as claimed and validated the key informants). They are hereby presented in terms of their morphologic meaning and functions, as well as their pronunciation in terms of stress. Next table only shows 5 of the classified common gaddang words.

Based on the morphologic and phonologic analysis of some common gaddang terms, Table 4 shows that these words functions uniquely based on their meaning. Some are nouns depicting names of animals, events and places; others are adjectives which elaborate some gadding cultural behaviours and how they might regard things in general; some may also act as verbs to show action on gadding terms; while others are used as interjections such as greetings and expressions. Some terms like “Afak/afac” may also functions more than one based on how one would contextually used a given gaddang term.

Table 4. Morphologic and Phonologic Functions of Not Common Gaddang Terms.

Sl.No Not Common Terms Meaning and Function Pronunciation (Stress)
1 AttungannaAlo (Noun) A primitive instrument used for peeling rice or pulverizing an object like cocoa seeds or coffee beans Attung at Alo
2 Ballihaoan (Noun) Blessing given by parents of a newlywed couple for good fortune and long lasting relationship Bal’ya’wan
3 Karangat (Noun) Inanimate object like ghost,  monsters etc. Karangàt
4 Macapangua (Adjective) An individual who holds the highest position in the society; someone who has super powers Maca’pang’ua
5 Patta (Noun) Omen Pàtta

Summary of the not common gaddang terms along its meaning, function and pronunciation (Stress): Meanwhile, there are 23 terms that are not common among the said lists of Gaddang words being identified by the key informants. Still, they are also presented in terms of their usage and meanings, including their phonologic stress. Here are five of the unfamiliar gaddang terms (refer to Table 5).

Table 5: Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Gaddang Terms along its Meaning, Function and Pronunciation (Stress).

Functions Stress (Syllables)    
1st   2nd   3rd   Undifferentiated   Total %
F % f % f % F %    
Adjective 2 4 5 10 1 2 0 0 8 16
Adverb 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 2
Interjection 0 0 1 2 0 0 2 4 3 6
Noun 19 38 8 16 2 4 2 4 31 62
Verb 6 12 1 2 0 0 0 0 7 14
Total 27 54 15 30 4 8 4 8 50 100

Similar with the common gadding terms, the rarely used terms are also being used depending on their morphologic and phonologic connotations. However, based on the sample words out of the 23 uncommon gadding terms, 80% are used as nouns while another 20% as an adjective.

In summary, based on the stylistic analysis approach along morphologic functions and meaning, and phonologic stress of the selected Gaddang terms, Table 6 summarizes data on the said purpose based on how the key informants presented the description, meaning and functions. The researcher had classified these terms as to their functions along adjective, adverb, interjection, noun, and verb. Among these selected Gaddang terms, majority are belonging to Noun (names pertaining to things, people, event, and behaviors or values).

Table 6: Summary Table on the Cultural Implications of the Selected Gaddang Terms.

Cultural Implications Common Not Common Total %
F % f %
Description of the Gaddang values/behaviors 9 18 6 12 15 30
Association to names of things, places, events, people, animals, etc. 15 30 10 20 25 50
Definition of types of works (describe a work/equipment use for work) 6 12 8 16 14 28
Concepts on religion and Gaddang native beliefs/rituals 5 10 8 16 13 26
Terms pertaining to parts of body, plants, house etc. 4 8 1 2 5 10
Association to food/beverages (Gaddang native delicacy) 9 18 8 16 17 34
Terms depicting festivity/occasion/gathering 9 18 9 18 18 36
Measurement of distance 2 4 1 2 3 6

Meanwhile, majority of these gaddang terms are being stressed in the first syllable like “afak/afac”, in which the first letter ‘a’ is given emphasis. There are also those that are being classified as “undifferentiated” which are functioning as interjections like “Dios Mabbalat”.

Cultural Implications of the Selected Gaddang Terms:

In summary, both common and uncommon gaddang terms are carrying cultural relevance, which would be associated on how the Gaddang people of Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya perform and live with their daily living – emphasizing their native blood as Gaddang.

Based on the combined analysis on both common and uncommon terms, 50% of the identified gaddang words are associated to names; 36% are denoting Gaddang festivity or occasion/gathering; 34% are strongly linked to food/beverages and Gaddang native delicacies; 30% of these terms stand for Gaddang values/behaviours; 28% are depicting types of works or equipment needed for a work like hunting; 26% are associate with Gaddangs’ religiosity and native beliefs/rituals; 10% are words that define parts of body, plants, house, etc.; and some other 6% that are used as measurement of distance.

Some of the said identified gaddang terms may have several cultural denotations like for instance “dekat” – which is one of the best native delicacy of the tribe, hence, it may also depict festivity or social/family gathering among the gaddangs (this can be intensified with one of the town’s fiesta tagline – the Bayombong “Baggat-Dekat Festival, which is being commemorated every 1-2nd week of August).

Recommendation and Conclusion

Considering the above-discussions on the construal of some gadding terms in terms of their morphologic and phonologic functions and their cultural implications, the following conclusions are then derived.

• Majority of these gaddang terms are still common words, however, the increasing numbers of unfamiliar gaddang terms would denote that the language are less used among the descendants of Gaddang tribe in the province, which may as well be associated on the results of cultural convergence.

• Majority of the identified gaddang terms are functioning as noun and being stressed on their first syllable.

• These gaddang terms denotes cultural implications along common names; festival and gatherings; food and beverages; common gaddang values/behaviors; type/instrument of work; religion and native beliefs/rituals; parts of body, plants, house, etc; and as measurement of distance.

Thus, the researchers hereby recommend the following:

• An increase of awareness on the use of native language among the Filipino youth emulated from the local community may be one of the priority projects of the local government unit.

• The use of Gaddang or other native folklores may also be integrated in teaching core subjects of both elementary and high school, and even in the college curricula. This may foster participation among the learners in which they may learn how to appreciate cultural integration in their education.

• Future researchers may use the variables herewith to develop the framework of their study. They may use other factors of interpreting native language as to gain more in-depth analysis of their future studies.