PROTO EAST MINDANAO AND ITS INTERNAL RELATIONSHIPS (PHILIPPINES)
This study reconstructs Proto East Mindanao, the ancestor language from which the East Mindanao languages have developed. This is accomplished by tracing the development from the ancestor language through the intermediate proto languages, Proto North East Mindanao, Proto Central East Mindanao, and Proto South East Mindanao, to the attested daughter languages. This study also presents over 1400 reconstructed vocabulary items. The term East Mindanao used in this study refers to three groups of languages spoken on the island of Mindanao in the southern part of the Philippines (in addition to Tausug, which is spoken on the island of Jolo). These three groups are the following: (1) North East Mindanao, which includes Mamanwa, Suriganonun, Butuanaun, and Tausug. Cebuano is included in the East Mindanao reconstructed vocabulary, but its exact relationship is still uncertain. Its closest relationship seems to be with SUR. (2) Central East Mindanao, which includes Kamayo, Davawenyo-Banganga, Davawenyo-Monay, and Davawenyo-Digos. (3) South East Mindanao, which includes Mandaya-Kabasagan, Mandaya-Caraga, Mandaya-Boso, Mandaya-Maragusan, Mandaya-Islam, Mansaka, Kalagan-Kaagan, and Kalagan Tagakaulu.
The evidence from lexicostatistical comparisons, analysis in terms of probabilities, phonological features, and lexical innovations supports the establishment of Proto East Mindanao as a subgroup of the South Central Philippine language group in very close contact with the Bisayan languages. The position taken in this study is that Proto East Mindanao came from the Visayan Islands and settled on the northeastern tip of Mindanao. From there the group has dispersed southward to include much of the northeastern, east central and southeastern coastline of Mindanao.