When the Eskaya community first came to light on the island of Bohol in the southern Philippines, much speculation centred on the group's origins but there was no detailed analysis of their unusual language and script. Eskaya people consider their language to have been the deliberate creation of a legendary ancestor, a narrative that is consistent with the fact that Eskayan appears to be a near total relexification of Boholano-Visayan, the dominant language of Bohol. This paper outlines the phonotactic differences between the two languages, revealing that Boholano-Visayan native roots are disyllabic and take the form C (G) V (G)/(C) while Eskayan roots range from one to five syllables with the form C (C)/(G) V (G)/C (C). This structural discrepancy is less stark when borrowed terms are taken into consideration. In effect, the legendary creator did not confabulate new terms from scratch but relied on the nativised structures of Spanish and English words as lexical models.
|Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society
|Published - 2015