Even though, save for a handful of Spanish creoles like Chavacano, only one language family is spoken indigenously in the Philippines, more than 180 native languages are spread out across the Southeast Asian country’s thousands of islands. Indeed, Southeast Asia (including Papua New Guinea) is home to the world’s richest ethnolinguistic diversity, with hundreds of well-established languages spoken throughout the region. While nearly all languages in the Philippines come from the Philippine branch of the Austronesian language family, they’re distinct and diverse, each with its own unique characteristics. Among the Philippine languages we find the Sama languages, part of the larger Sama–Bajau subfamily.
The Sama languages make up a language family spread across the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia, but they’re primarily concentrated in the Philippines, whereas the Bajau languages, their close cousins, are more found in Indonesia and Malaysia. Altogether, roughly 445,000 people speak a Sama language as their native tongue, most of whom live in Tawi-Tawi, the southernmost Filipino province, and the Sulu Archipelago, which stretches from the Mindanao, the Phillipines’ southernmost major island, to Borneo.
With Tausug as the local lingua franca and Tagalog and English as the national ones, Sama languages face significant challenges in their vitality. We at TranslationServices.com want to give them the recognition they deserve, so we compiled our own Sama translation team.
We’d love to provide a free quote for our Sama translation services—just ask for one!
What kind of language family is Sama?
A Philippine language group from the expansive Austronesian family, the Sama languages are thought to have developed in the Barito region of Borneo, but they form an independent branch in the Barito subfamily. The Sama-Bajau family consists of nine languages, seven of which make up the Sama side of the family, although Sama-Bajau languages enjoy a high degree of mutual intelligibility in general. The six Sama languages are as follows:
Northern Sama (Balangingi, Bangingi’)
Central Sama (Siasa Sama)
Southern Sama (Sinama)
Pangutaran Sama (Siyama)
Abaknon (Inabaknon, Abaknon Sama, Capuleño, Kapul, Capul Sinama)
While all the Sama languages are fairly similar, Pangutaran Sama is somewhat divergent from the rest, and Abaknon is notable for evading the Arabic influence that permeated the other Sama languages. This is allegedly due to the Abaknon people disliking the religion of the invading Moros peoples and fleeing to Capul, an island on the other side of the Philippines.
Sama languages generally start sentences with the verb, a common pattern in Austronesian languages. However, word order is somewhat free and can change depending on the voice used, as indeed, the Sama languages feature the famous Philippine voice system, which changes the emphasis on different constituents in the sentence. Depending on the voice, pronouns in Sama may be independent or attached as clitics.
Translation to and from Sama languages: available now!
Knowing how culturally important the Sama languages are to the world and, more importantly, the Sama people, we decided to set up our own Sama translation services. We cover all six Sama languages, with passionate translators representing each one. So, no matter what you need translated to or from Northern Sama, Central Sama, Southern Sama, Pangutaran Sama, Yakan, or Abaknon, just turn to us. Here are some examples of what we translate:
Creative content. From traditional folk stories, riveting novels, and inspiring poetry to cutting-edge websites, practical mobile apps, and immersive games, our team can seamlessly translate any sort of creative content to or from Sama. This is a great way to share knowledge of Sama culture with the world or promote usage of Sama languages with new, high-quality content.
Corporate materials. We don’t discriminate between Sama businesses looking to expand abroad and foreign organizations wishing to move into the Sulu Archipelago—any organization is welcome to seek our business translation services to and from Sama. We work with everything from employment contracts and internal memos to posters, press releases, and blog posts.
Educational documents. The best way to preserve a language is to immerse children in it. We’d love to help language activists looking to translate English-language educational materials into Sama languages to give Sama children a solid education alongside a robust proficiency and literacy in their native Sama language.
Of course, we can translate a lot more than that—simply reach out and to discuss what you need for your Sama translation project!