Sunday, May 4, 2014

Yakan Cultural Language

The Yakan's native language is Arabic, however The Yakan language is written in Malay Arabic script and

native words have been adapted into the alphabet. However, it is difficult for Arabic speakers to read the

Yakan script—the syllables are frequently disconnected and some letters are formed differently. The

structure and syntax reveal strong Malay-Indonesian influences, particularly Javanese, which probably

occurred prior to the introduction of Islam.37 Very few Yakan are literate in their written language or any

language. Though Basilan Island is home to settlers from groups with high literacy rates, it has one of the

lowest provincial averages in the Philippines. Only 69.4% of Basilans are literate, as opposed to a national

average of 92.6%.38 Moreover, schooling increases the likelihood of Yakan moving far from their native



 The Yakan of Basilan Island: Another Unknown and Exotic Tribe of the Philippines. Sherfan, Andrew. 
“Chapter 1: A General Background on Basilan Island [pp. 16–17]. 1976. Cebu City: Fotomatic.

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