Yakan is a member of the Sama-Bajaw branch of the Malayo-Polynesian language family. It is spoken mainly on Basilan Island in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of the Philippines. There are also speakers in Sulu province and on the Zamboanga Peninsula region. In 2005 there were about 130,000 speakers of Yakan, which is also known as Yacan.
Yakan is taught in primary schools in Basilan, and used to some extent in literature. It is usually written with the Latin alphabet, but is sometimes written with a version of the Arabic alphabet.
Yakan is related to languages such as Abaknon and Mapun, which are spoken in the Philippines, and to Bajaw and Sama, which are spoken in parts of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Mang gey matau mamayam si bakas palaihan nen, gey tekka si papilihan nen.
Those who forget their roots will not grasp their future
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