A language of Philippines

Alternate Names

106,000 (1990 census), increasing. 86,900 in Basilan Province. 35,000 monolinguals. L2 users: Few outsiders learn Yakan. Some traders for commerce purposes.


Sulu Archipelago, Basilan, and small surrounding islands; Sakol island; west Mindanao, Zamboanga east coast. Concentrated away from the coast.

Language Maps
Language Status

4 (Educational). De facto language of provincial identity in Basilan province.


VOS, VSO; prepositions; genitives after noun heads; articles before noun heads, adjectives after noun heads, numerals before and after noun heads; question word in sentence-initial position; 2 prefixes, 1 suffix; word order distinguishes subjects, objects and indirect objects, given and new information, topic and comment; affixes do not indicate case of noun phrase; non-obligatory verb affixes indicate number; passives; causatives; comparatives; ergativity; CV, CCV, CVC; nontonal.

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. Local administration, commerce, religion, oral traditional literature. Positive attitudes. Also use Chavacano [cbk], English [eng], Filipino [fil], Tausug [tsg].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 35%. Literacy rate in L2: 25%. Taught in primary schools, in Basilan. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 1984.

Arabic script [Arab]. Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Land division in families and increasing population pushes young people to seek employment in cities or other countries. Muslim.