definition of Wikipedia
|Philippine Creole Spanish|
|Chavacano or Chabacano|
|Spoken in|| Philippines
|Region||Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, Basilan, Cavite City, Ternate, Cavite, Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Davao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Semporna in Sabah, Malaysia, Filipino diaspora and other regions with Chavacano communities|
|Native speakers||870,000 (All variants)
2,500,000 (All variants)
Zamboangueño - Chabacano de Zamboanga or Zamboangueño Chavacano (Zamboanga City variant)
Caviteño - Chabacano Caviteño or Chabacano de Nisos (Cavite City variant) (200,000 speakers)
Ternateño - Chabacano Ternateño or Chabacano di Bahra (Ternate, Cavite variant) (7,000 speakers)
Cotabateño - Chavacano de Cotabato (Cotabato City variant of Zamboangueño Chavacano) (20,500 speakers)
Castellano Abakay - Chabacano de Davao or Abakay (Davao City variant) with sub-dialects: Castellano Abakay Chino (Chinese style) and Castellano Abakay Japon (Japanese style) (18,000 speakers)
Ermiteño - Chabacano de Ermita (Ermita, Manila variant; extinct)
|Writing system||Latin (Spanish alphabet)|
|Official language in||Recognised as a regional language in the Philippines; recognized as a minority language in Malaysian state of Sabah (Chavacano de Zamboanga).|
Chavacano or Chabacano, (Spanish pronunciation: [tʃ'a βaka' ŋo], sometimes referred to by linguists as Philippine Creole Spanish, is a Spanish-based creole language spoken in the Philippines. The word "Chavacano" is derived from the Spanish word, meaning "poor taste," "vulgar,", for the Chavacano language which was developed in Cavite City, Ternate and Ermita, and also derived from the word chavano which was coined by the people of Zamboanga. Six different dialects have developed: Zamboangueño in Zamboanga City, Davaoeño Zamboangueño / Castellano Abakay in Davao, Ternateño in Ternate, Cavite, Caviteño in Cavite City, Cotabateño in Cotabato City and Ermiteño in Ermita.
The Chavacano language is the only Spanish-based creole in Asia. It has survived for more than 400 years, making it one of the oldest creole languages in the world. It is the only language to have developed in the Philippines (a member of Philippine languages) which does not belong to the family of Austronesian languages, although it shows a characteristic common to the sub-classification of Malayo-Polynesian languages, the reduplication.
This creole has six dialects. Their classification is based on their substrate languages and the regions where they are commonly spoken. The three known dialects of Chavacano which have Tagalog as their substrate language are the Luzón-based creoles of which are Caviteño (spoken in Cavite City), Bahra or Ternateño (spoken in Ternate, Cavite) and Ermiteño (once spoken in the old district of Ermita in Manila and is now extinct).
Zamboangueño Chavacano emanated from Caviteño Chavacano as evidenced by prominent Zamboangueño families who descended from Spanish Army officers, primarily Caviteño mestizos, stationed at Fort Pilar in the 19th century. When these Caviteño officers recruited workers and technicians from Iloilo to man their sugar plantations and rice fields to reduce the local population's dependence on the Donativo de Zamboanga, taxes levied by the Spanish colonial government on the islands' inhabitants to support the fort's operations, and with the subsequent migration of Ilonggo traders to Zamboanga, the Zamboangueño Chavacano was infused with Ilonggo words as the previous migrant community was assimilated.
Most of what appears to be Cebuano words in Zamboangueño Chavacano are actually Ilonggo. Although Zamboangueño Chavacano's contact with Cebuano began much earlier when Cebuano soldiers were stationed at Fort Pilar during the Spanish colonial period, however, it was not until closer to the middle of the 20th century that borrowings from Cebuano accelerated as a result of more migration from the Visayas as well as the current migration from other Visayan-speaking areas of the Zamboanga Peninsula. Zamboangueño is spoken in Zamboanga City, Basilan Province, parts of Sulu Province and Tawi-Tawi Province, and in Semporna-Sabah, Malaysia and the rest of the Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Norte. The other dialects of Chavacano which have, primarily, Cebuano as their substrate language are the Mindanao-based creoles of which are Castellano Abakay or Chavacano de Davao (spoken in some areas of Davao), this dialect has an influence from Chinese and Japanese, also divided into two sub-dialects namely Castellano Abakay Chino and Castellano Abakay Japon, and Cotabateño (spoken in Cotabato city).
|Chavacano dialects||Places||Native speakers|
|Zamboangueño (Zamboangueño Chavacano)||Zamboanga City, Basilan Province, Sulu Province, Tawi-Tawi Province, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Sabah, Senporna||600,000 (Zamboanga City Alone)|
|Caviteño (Chabacano di Nisos)||Cavite City||200,000|
|Cotabateñ (Chavacano de Cotabato)||SOCCSKSARGEN||20,500|
|Castellano Abakay (Chavacano de Davao)||Davao Region||18,000|
|Ermiteño (Chabacano de Ermita)||Ermita Distict||Extinct|
The Chavacano languages in the Philippines are creoles based on Mexican Spanish and Portuguese. In some Chavacano languages, most words are common with Andalusian Spanish, but there are many words borrowed from a Native American language called Nahuatl which aren't found in Andalusian Spanish. Much of the words in the Chavacano vocabulary are mostly derived from Mexican Spanish, while its grammar is mostly based on other Philippine languages, primarily Ilonggo, Tagalog and Cebuano. Its vocabulary, has influences from the Italian language, Portuguese and the Native American language Nahuatl as can be evidenced by the words chongo (monkey, instead of Spanish 'mono'), tianggue (mini markets),etc. The vocabulary of the Ternateño dialect, in particular, has a major influence from the Portuguese language and the language of Ternate in Indonesia since the speakers of the said dialect are the descendants of the Indonesian soldiers brought by the Spaniards in the area. This can be seen in the use of the word 'na' instead of the Spanish 'en'.
In contrast with the Luzon-based creoles, the Zamboangueño dialect has the most borrowings and/or influence from other Philippine Austronesian languages including Hiligaynon, Subanen/Subanon, Bangingi, Sama, Tausug, Yakan, Tagalog and Ilocano origin are present in Zamboangueño dialect.
The highest number of Chavacano speakers are found in Zamboanga City and in the island province of Basilan. A significant number of Chavacano speakers are found in Cavite City and Ternate. There are also speakers in some areas in the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Norte, Davao, and in Cotabato City. According to the official 2000 Philippine census, there were altogether 607,200 Chavacano speakers in the Philippines in that same year. The exact figure could be higher as the 2000 population of Zamboanga City, whose main language is Chavacano, far exceeded that census figure. Also, the figure does not include Chavacano speakers of the Filipino diaspora. Notwithstanding, Zamboangueño is the dialect with the most number of speakers, being the official language of Zamboanga City whose population is now believed to be over a million.
Speakers can also be found in the town of Semporna in the eastern coast of Sabah, Malaysia—not surprisingly—because this northern part of Borneo is close to the Sulu islands and the Zamboanga Peninsula. This region was once part of Spanish Philippines until the late 19th century.
A small number of Zamboanga's indigenous peoples, such as the Tausugs, the Samals, and of Basilan such as the Yakans also speak the language. In the close provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi areas, there are Muslim speakers of the Chavacano de Zamboanga.
Chavacano has been primarily and practically a spoken language. In the past, its use in literature was limited and chiefly local to the geographical location where the particular variety of the language was spoken. Its use as a spoken language far exceeds than its use in literary work in comparison to the use of Spanish in the Philippines which was more successful as a written language than a spoken language. In recent years, there have been efforts to encourage the use of Chavacano as a written language, but the attempts were mostly minor attempts in folklore and religious literature and few pieces of written materials by the print media. In Zamboanga City, while the language is used by the mass media, the Catholic Church, education, and the local government, there have been few literary work written in Zamboangueño and access to these resources by the general public is not readily available.
While the Luzon-based creoles, Davaoeño, and Cotabateño are believed to be in danger of extinction, the Zamboangueño dialect has been constantly evolving especially during half of the past century until the present. Zamboangueño has been experiencing an infusion of English and more Tagalog words and from other languages worldwide in its vocabulary and there have been debates and discussions among older Chavacano speakers, new generation of Chavacano speakers, scholars, linguists, sociologists, historians, and educators regarding its preservation, cultivation, standardization, and its future as a Spanish-based creole. In 2000, The Instituto Cervantes in Manila hosted a conference entitled "Shedding Light on the Chabacano Language" at the Ateneo de Manila University.
Because of the grammatical structures, Castillian usage, and archaic Spanish words and phrases that Chavacano (especially Zamboangueño) uses, between speakers of both contemporary Spanish and Chavacano who are uninitiated, both languages appear to be non-intelligible to a large extent. For the initiated speakers, Chavacano can be intelligible to some Spanish speakers, and while most Spanish words can easily be understood by Chavacano speakers, many would struggle to understand a complete Spanish sentence.
Chavacano or Chabacano originated from the Spanish word chabacano which literally means "poor taste", "vulgar", "common", "of low quality", "tacky", or "coarse". During the Spanish colonial period, it was called by the Spanish-speaking population as the "lenguaje del calle", "lenguaje de parian" (language of the street), or "lenguaje de cocina" (kitchen Spanish to refer to the Chabacano spoken by Chinese-Filipinos of Manila, particularly in Ermita) to distinguish it from the Spanish language spoken by the peninsulares, insulares, mestizos, or the elite class called the ilustrados. This common name has evolved into a word of its own in different spellings with no negative connotation, but to simply mean as the name of the language with that distinct Spanish flavor. However, most of its earlier speakers were born of mixed parentage – Chinese migrants and Spanish and Latin American soldiers and civil servants during the Spanish colonial period.
Zamboangueños usually, though not always, spell the name of the language as Chavacano to refer to their language or even to themselves as Chavacanos, and they spell the word as Chabacano referring to the original Spanish meaning of the word or as Chabacano referring also to the language itself. Thus, Zamboangueños generally spell the name of the language in two different ways.
Caviteños, Ternateños, and Ermitaños spell the word as it is spelled originally in the Spanish language – as Chabacano. Davaoeños (Castellano Abakay), Cotabateños, and especially those from Basilan province tend to lean more on the Zamboangueño spellings. The dialects of the language are geographically-related: Ermitaño, Caviteño, and Ternateño are similar to each other having Tagalog as their substrate language while Zamboangueño, Abakay Spanish, and Cotabateño are similar having Visayan (mostly Bisaya, Hiligaynon and Tausug) as their substrate language(s). A Zamboangueño would call his dialect Zamboangueño, Zamboangueño Chavacano or formally as Chavacano de Zamboanga, a Caviteño would call his dialect Caviteño or Chabacano de Cavite, and etc. to emphasize the difference from one another using their own geographical location as point of reference.
There are also other alternative names and spellings for this language depending on the dialects and context (whether Hispanicized or native). Zamboangueños sometimes spell their dialect as Chavacano, or Zamboangenio. Caviteño is also known as Caviten, Linguaje di Niso, or sometimes spell their dialect as Tsabakano. Ermitaño is also known as Ermiteño while Ternateño is also known as Ternateño Chabacano, Bahra, or Linguaje di Bahra. Davaoeño is also Davaweño, Davawenyo, Davawenyo Zamboangenyo, Castellano Abakay, or Davao Chabacano/Chavacano. Cotabateño is also known as Cotabato Chabacano/Chavacano.
Speakers from Basilan consider their Chavacano as Zamboangueño or formally as Chavacano de Zamboanga.
On June 23, 1635, Zamboanga City became a permanent foothold of the Spanish government with the construction of the San José Fortress. Bombardment and harassment from pirates and raiders of the sultans of Mindanao and Jolo and the determination to spread Christianity further south (as Zamboanga was a crucial strategic location) of the Philippines forced the Spanish missionary friars to request reinforcements from the colonial government.
The military authorities decided to import labor from Luzon and the Visayas. Thus, the construction workforce eventually consisted of Spanish and Mexican soldiers, masons from Cavite (who comprised the majority), sacadas from Cebu and Iloilo, and those from the various local tribes of Zamboanga like the Samals and Subanons.
Ethnolinguistic differences made it difficult for one tribe to communicate with another. To add to this, work instructions were issued in Spanish. The majority of the workers was unschooled and therefore did not understand Spanish but needed to communicate with each other and the Spaniards. A pidgin developed and became a full-fledged creole language still in use today as a lingua franca and/or as official language, mainly in Zamboanga City.
From then on, constant Spanish military reinforcements as well as increased presence of Spanish religious and educational institutions have fostered the Spanish creole.
The Merdicas were a Malayan tribe of Ternate, in the Moluccas, which was a small Spanish colony. Ternate had been a Portuguese colony before the Spanish rule. In 1574, the Merdicas volunteered to come to Cavite to support the Spaniards against the threat of invasion from the Chinese pirate known as Limahong.
Today, the place is called Ternate and the community of Merdicas and their generations continued to use their Spanish creole (with Portuguese influence) which came to be called as Ternateño or Ternateño Chavacano.
In Zamboangueño (formal):
In Zamboangueño (familiar):
Chavacano (especially Zamboangueño) has two registers: The common or familiar and the formal register.
In the common or familiar register, words of local origin or a mixture of local and Spanish words predominate. The common or familiar register is used ordinarily when conversing with people of equal or lower status in society. It is also used more commonly in the family, with friends and acquaintances. Its use is of general acceptance and usage.
In the formal register, words of Spanish origin or Spanish words predominate. The formal register is used especially when conversing with people of higher status in society. It is also used when conversing with elders (especially in the family and with older relatives) and those in authority. It is more commonly used by older generations, by Zamboangueño mestizos, and in the barrios. It is the form used in speeches, education, media, and writing.
The following examples show a contrast between the usage of formal words and common or familiar words in Chavacano:
|English||Chavacano (Formal)||Chavacano (Common/Familiar)||Spanish|
|housemaid||muchacho (m)/muchacha (f)||ayudante/ayudanta/atchay (female)||muchacha(o)|
|hard-headed||testarudo||duro cabeza/duro pulso||testarudo|
|married||de estado/de estao||casado/casao||casado|
|(my) parents||(mis) padres||(mi) tata y nana||(mis) padres|
|ugly||feo (masculine)/fea (feminine)||malakara||feo(a)|
Chavacano words of Spanish origin are written using the Latin script with some special characters from the Spanish alphabet: the vowels with the acute accent (á, é, í, ó, ú), the vowel u with trema (ü), and ñ.
Chavacano words of local origin are also written using the Latin alphabet and are spelled in the manner according to their origin. Thus, the letter k appear mostly in words of Austronesian origin or in loanwords from other Philippine languages (words such as kame, kita, kanamon, kaninyo).
Some additional characters like the ñ (eñe, representing the phoneme /ɲ/, a letter distinct from n, although typographically composed of an n with a tilde), the digraph ch (che, representing the phoneme /tʃ/), the ll (elle, representing the phoneme /ʎ/), and the digraph rr (erre with strong r) exist in Chavacano writing.
The Chavacano alphabet has 29 letters including the special characters.
As a general rule, words of Spanish origin are written and spelled using Spanish orthography (i.e. fiesta, casa). Words of local (Philippine languages) origin are written and spelled using local orthography, but only when those words are pronounced in the local manner (i.e. manok, kanon). Otherwise, words of local origin are written and spelled in the native manner along Spanish spelling rules (i.e. jendeh, cogon).
In the old times, all Chavacano words, regardless of origin, were written according to the Spanish orthography (kita = quita, kame = came). Furthermore, some letters were orthographically interchanged because they represented the same phonetic values. (i.e. gente = jente, cerveza = serbesa)
It is uncommon in modern Chavacano writings to include acute accent and the trema in writing and usually these marks are only used in linguistic or highly-formalized text. Also, the letters ñ and ll are sometimes replaced by ny and ly in informal texts.
The use of inverted punctuations (¡! and ¿?) as well as the accent marks, diaeresis, and circumflex have become obsolete even in standard texts among modern dialects.
The Chavacano alphabet has 29 letters including /ch/, /ll/ & /ñ/:
a, b, c, ch, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, ll, m, n, ñ, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z
|A a||a /a/||J j||jota /ˈxota/||R r||ere /ˈeɾe/|
|B b||be /be/
||K k||ka /ka/||Rr rr||erre /ˈere/|
|C c||ce /se/||L l||ele /ˈele/||S s||ese /ˈese/|
|Ch ch||che /tʃe/||Ll ll||elle /ˈeʎe/||T t||te /te/|
|D d||de /de/||M m||eme /ˈeme/||U u||u /u/|
|E e||e /e/||N n||ene /ene/||V v||uve /ˈube/|
|F f||efe /ˈefe/||Ñ ñ||eñe /ˈeɲe/||W w||doble u /ˈdoble u/
|G g||ge /xe/||O o||o /o/||X x||equis /ˈekis/|
|H h||hache /ˈatʃe/||P p||pe /pe/||Y y||ye /ɟʝe/
|I i||i /i/
||Q q||cu /ku/||Z z||zeta /ˈseta/
Other letter combinations include rr (erre), which is pronounced /xr/ or /rr/, and ng, which is pronounced /ŋɡ/. Another combination was ñg, which was pronounced /ŋ/ but is now obsolete and is only written as ng.
Some sounds are not represented in the Chavacano written language. These sounds are mostly from words of Philippine and foreign origin. Furthermore, the pronunciation of some words of Spanish origin have become distorted or Philippinized in modern Chavacano. Some vowels have become allophonized ('e' and 'o' becomes 'i' and 'u' in some words) and some consonants have changed their pronunciation. (i.e. escoger became iscují in informal speech; tiene /tʃɛnɛ/; Dios /dʒɔs/; Castilla became /kastilla/ instead of /kastiʎa/).
Glottal stops, as in Filipino languages, are not also indicated (â, ê, î, ô, û). These sounds are present mostly in words of Philippine origin and are indicated only in dictionaries. (i.e. jendê = not; olê = again). When indicated, circumflex marks are used.
Other pronunciation changes in some words of Spanish origin include:
|ae||aye||cae||fall, to fall|
|ao||aow||cuidao||take care, cared|
|ea||eya||patea||kick, to kick|
|i.e.||iye||cien(to)||one hundred, hundred|
|iu||iyu||saciut||to move the hips a little|
|qu||ke||que||what, that, than|
|gu||strong gi||guia||to guide, guide|
|ui||uwi||cuida||care, to take care|
|oi||oye||oi||hear, to hear|
Chavacano is a language with the verb–subject–object sentence order. This is because it follows the Tagalog and Cebuano grammatical structures. However, the subject–verb–object order does exist in Chavacano but only for emphasis purposes (see below). New generations have been slowly and vigorously using the S-V-O pattern mainly because of the influence of the English language. These recent practices have been most prevalent and evident in the mass media particularly among Chavacano newswriters who translate news leads from English or Tagalog to Chavacano where the "who" is emphasized more than the "what". Because the mass media represent "legitimacy", it is understood by Chavacano speakers (particularly Zamboangueños) that the S-V-O sentence structure used by Chavacano journalists is standardized.
Chavacano generally follows the simple verb–subject–object or verb–object–subject sentence structure typical of Tagalog and Cebuano in declarative affirmative sentences:
The subject always appears after the verb, and in cases where prenominal subjects (such as personal pronouns) are used in sentences, they will never occur before the verb:
When the predicate of the sentence is negated, Chavacano uses the words jendeh (from Tagalog or Cebuano ’hindi’ which means ’no’) to negate the verb in the present tense, no hay (which means ’not’) to negate the verb that was supposed to happen in the past, and jendeh or nunca (which means ’no’ or ’never’) to negate the verb that will not or will never happen in the future respectively. This manner of negating the predicate always happens in the verb–subject–object or verb–object–subject sentence structure:
The negator jendeh can appear before the subject in a subject–verb–object structure to negate the subject rather than the predicate in the present, past, and future tenses:
The negator nunca can appear before the subject in a subject–verb–object structure to strongly negate (or denote impossibility) the subject rather than the predicate in the future tense:
The negator no hay and nunca can also appear before the subject to negate the predicate in a subject–verb–object structure in the past and future tenses respectively. Using nunca before the subject to negate the predicate in a subject–verb–object structure denotes strong negation or impossibility for the subject to perform the action in the future:
The Chavacano definite article el precedes a singular noun or a plural marker (for a plural noun). The indefinite article un stays constant for gender as 'una' has completely disappeared in Chavacano. It also stays constant for number as for singular nouns. In Chavacano, it is quite common for el and un to appear together before a singular noun, the former to denote certainty and the latter to denote number:
Nouns in Chavacano are not always precedeed by articles. Without an article, a noun is a generic reference:
Proper names of persons are preceded by the definite article si or the phrase un tal functioning as an indefinite article would:
Unlike Spanish, Chavacano nouns do not follow gender rules in general. In Zamboangueño, the article 'el' basically precedes every singular noun. However, this rule is not rigid (especially in Zamboangueño) because the formal vocabulary mode wherein Spanish words predominate almost always is the preferred mode especially in writing. The Spanish article 'la' for feminine singular nouns do exist in Chavacano. When in doubt, the article 'el' is safe to use. Compare:
|English singular noun||Chavacano singular noun (general and common)||Chavacano singular noun (accepted or uncommon)|
|the virgin||el virgen||la virgen (accepted)|
|the peace||el paz||la paz (accepted)|
|the sea||el mar||la mar (accepted)|
|the cat||el gato||el gato (la gata is uncommon)|
|the sun||el sol||el sol|
|the moon||el luna||el luna (la luna is uncommon)|
|the view||el vista||la vista (accepted)|
|the tragedy||el tragedia||el tragedia (la tragedia is uncommon)|
|the doctor||el doctor||el doctora (la doctora is uncommon)|
And just like Spanish, Chavacano nouns can have gender but only when referring to persons. However, they are always masculine in the sense (Spanish context) that they are generally preceded by the article 'el'. Places and things are almost always masculine. The -o is dropped in masculine nouns and -a is added to make the noun feminine:
|English singular noun||Chavacano singular noun (masculine)||Chavacano singular noun (feminine)|
|the teacher||el maestro||el maestra|
|the witch||el burujo||el buruja|
|the engineer||el engeniero||el engeniera|
|the tailor/seamstress||el sastrero||el sastrera|
|the baby||el niño||el niña|
|the priest/nun||el padre||el madre|
|the grandson/granddaughter||el nieto||el nieta|
|the professor||el profesor||el profesora|
|the councilor||el consejal||el consejala|
Not all nouns referring to persons can become feminine nouns. In Chavacano, some names of persons are masculine (because of the preceding article 'el' in Spanish context) but do not end in -o.
All names of animals are always masculine—in Spanish context—preceded by the article 'el'.
Names of places and things can be either masculine or feminine, but they are considered masculine in the Spanish context because the article 'el' always precedes the noun:
In Chavacano, plural nouns (whether masculine or feminine in Spanish context) are preceded by the retained singular masculine Spanish article 'el'. The Spanish articles 'los' and 'las' have almost disappeared. They have been replaced by the modifier (a plural marker) 'maga/mana' which precedes the singular form of the noun. Maga comes from the native Tagalog or Cebuano 'mga'. The formation of the Chavacano plural form of the noun (el + maga/mana + singular noun form) applies whether in common, familiar or formal mode.
There are some Chavacano speakers (especially older Caviteño or Zamboangueño speakers) who would tend to say 'mana' for 'maga'. 'Mana' is accepted and quite common, especially among older speakers, but when in doubt, the modifier 'maga' to pluralize nouns is safer to use.
|English plural noun||Chavacano plural noun (masculine)||Chavacano plural noun (feminine)|
|the teachers||el maga/mana maestro(s)||el maga/mana maestra(s)|
|the witches||el maga/mana burujo(s)||el maga/mana buruja(s)|
|the engineers||el maga/mana engeniero(s)||el maga/mana engeniera(s)|
|the tailors/seamstresses||el maga/mana sastrero(s)||el maga/mana sastrera(s)|
|the babies||el maga/mana niño(s)||el maga/mana niña(s)|
|the priests/nuns||el maga/mana padre(s)||el maga/mana madre(s)|
|the grandsons/granddaughters||el maga/mana nieto(s)||el maga/mana nieta(s)|
|the professors||el maga/mana profesor(es)||el maga/mana profesora(s)|
|the councilors||el maga/mana consejal(es)||el maga/mana consejala(s)|
Again, this rule is not rigid (especially in the Zamboangueño formal mode). The articles 'los' or 'las' do exist sometimes before nouns that are pluralized in the Spanish manner, and their use is quite accepted:
When in doubt, it is always safe to use 'el' and 'maga or mana' to pluralize singular nouns:
In Chavacano, it is common for some nouns to become doubled when pluralized (called Reduplication, a characteristic of the Malayo-Polynesian family of languages):
In general, the suffixes -s, -as, -os to pluralize nouns in Spanish have also almost disappeared in Chavacano. However, the formation of plural nouns with suffixes ending in -s, -as, and -os are accepted. Basically, the singular form of the noun is retained, and it becomes plural because of the preceding modifier/plural marker 'maga' or 'mana':
Adding the suffix -es to some nouns is quite common and accepted. Nouns ending in -cion can be also be pluralized by adding the suffix -es:
However, it is safer to use the general rule (when in doubt) of retaining the singular form of the noun preceded by the modifier/plural marker 'maga' or 'mana':
Chavacano pronouns are based on native (Tagalog and Cebuano) and Spanish sources; many of the pronouns are not used in either but may be derived in part.
In Chavacano de Zamboanga, there are three different levels of usage for certain pronouns depending on the level of familiarity between the speaker and the addressee, the status of both in family and society, or the mood of the speaker and addressee at the particular moment: common, familiar, and formal. The common forms are, particularly in the second and third person plural, derived from Cebuano while most familiar and formal forms are from Spanish. The common forms are used to address a person below or of equal social or family status or to someone is who is acquainted. The common forms are used to regard no formality or courtesy in conversation. Its use can also mean rudeness, impoliteness or offensiveness. The familiar forms are used to address someone of equal social or family status. It indicates courteousness, and is commonly used in public conversations, the broadcast media, and in education. The formal forms are used to address someone older and/or higher in social or family status. It is the form used in writing.
Additionally, Zamboangueño is the only dialect of Chavacano which distinguishes between the inclusive we (kita) – including the person spoken to (the addressee) – and the exclusive we (kame) – excluding the person spoken to (the addressee) – in the first person plural except in the formal form where nosotros is used for both.
Below is a table comparing the personal pronouns in three dialects of Chavacano language.
|1st person singular||iyo
|2nd person singular||evo[s] (common)
|3rd person singular||el
|1st person plural||kame (exclusive/common/familiar)
|2nd person plural||kamo (common)
|3rd person plural||sila (common/familiar)
The usage modes also exist in the possessive pronouns especially in Zamboangueño. Amon, Aton, ila and inyo are obviously of Hiligaynon(Ilonggo) but not Cebuano(Bisaya) origins, and when used as pronouns, they are of either the common or familiar mode. The inclusive and exclusive characteristics peculiar to Zamboangueño appear again in the 1st person plural. Below is a table of the possessive pronouns in the Chavacano de Zamboanga:
|1st person singular||mi
|2nd person singular||de vos (common)
de tu (familiar)
de tuyo (familiar)
di tuyo (familiar)
de usted (formal)
di usted (formal)
|3rd person singular||su
|1st person plural||de amon (common/familiar) (exclusive)
diamon (common/familiar) (exclusive)
de aton (common/familiar) (inclusive)
diaton (common/familiar) (inclusive)
de/di nuestro (formal)
|2nd person plural||de inyo (common)
de vosotros (familiar)
de ustedes (formal)
di ustedes (formal)
|3rd person plural||de ila (common/familiar)
de ellos (formal)
di ellos (formal)
In Zamboangueño, Chavacano verbs are mostly Spanish in origin. In contrast with the other dialects, there is rarely a Zamboangueño verb that is based on or has its origin from other Philippine languages. Hence, verbs contribute much of the Spanish vocabulary in Chavacano de Zamboanga.
Generally, the simple form of the Zamboangueño verb is based upon the infinitive of the Spanish verb, minus the final /r/. For example, continuar, hablar, poner, recibir, and llevar become continuá, hablá, poné, recibí, and llevá with the accent on the final syllable.
There are some rare exceptions. Some verbs are not derived from infinitives but from words that are technically Spanish phrases or from other Spanish verbs. For example, dar (give) does not become 'da' but dale (give) (literally in Spanish, to "give it" [verb phrase]). In this case, dale has nothing to do with the Spanish infinitive dar. The Chavacano brinca (to hop) is from Spanish brinco which means the same thing.
Chavacano (especially Zamboangueño) uses the words ya (from Spanish ya [has/have been]), ta (from Spanish está [is]), and hay plus the simple form of the verb to convey the basic tenses of past, present, and future respectively:
|English Infinitive||Spanish Infinitive||Chavacano Infinitive||Past Tense||Present Tense||Future Tense|
|to sing||cantar||canta||ya canta||ta canta||hay canta|
|to drink||beber||bebe||ya bebe||ta bebe||hay bebe|
|to sleep||dormir||dormi||ya dormi||ta dormi||hay dormi|
|English Infinitive||Spanish Infinitive||Chabacano Infinitive||Past Tense||Present Tense||Future Tense|
|to sing||cantar||canta||ya canta||ta canta||di canta|
|to drink||beber||bebe||ya bebe||ta bebe||di bebe|
|to sleep||dormir||dormi||ya dormi||ta dormi||di dormi|
In Zamboangueño, there are three ways to express that the verb is in the present perfect. First, ya can appear both before and after the main verb to express that in the present perspective, the action has already been completed somewhere in the past with the accent falling on the final ya. Second, ta and ya can appear before and after the verb respectively to express that the action was expected to happen in the past (but did not happen), is still expected to happen in the present, and actually the expectation has been met (the verb occurs in the present). And third, a verb between ta and pa means an action started in the past and still continues in the present:
|Chavacano Past Perfect||Chavacano Present Perfect||Chavacano Present Perfect|
|ya canta ya||ta canta ya||ta canta pa|
|ya bebe ya||ta bebe ya||ta bebe pa|
|ya dormi ya||ta dormi ya||ta dormi pa|
The past perfect exists in Chavacano. The words antes (before) and despues (after) can be used between two sentences in the simple past form to show which verb came first. The words antes (before) and despues (after) can also be used between a sentence in the present perfect using ya + verb + ya and another sentence in the simple past tense:
|Past Perfect (Chavacano)||Past Perfect (English)|
|Ya mira kame el pelicula antes ya compra kame con el maga gulusinas.||We had watched the movie before we bought the snacks.|
|Past Perfect (Chavacano)||Past Perfect (English)|
|Ya mira ya kame el pelicula despues ya compra kame con el maga gulusinas.||We had watched the movie and then we bought the snacks.|
|Present Perfect (Chavacano)||Present Perfect (English)|
|Hay mira ya kame el pelicula si hay llega vosotros.||We will have watched the movie when you arrive.|
Zamboangueño Chavacano also uses a verb between "ta" and "ya" to denote the present perfect:
|Future Perfect (Zamboangueño Chavacano)||Future Perfect (English)|
|Ta mira ya kame el pelicula mientras esperando con vosotros.||We are already watching movie while waiting for you.|
To form the Zamboangueño Chavacano active voice, Zamboangueños follow the pattern:
El maga soldao ya mata con el criminal The criminal was killed by soldiers.
As illustrated above, active (causative) voice is formed by placing the doer el maga soldao before the verb phrase ya mata and then the object el criminal as indicated by the particle con
Traditionally, Zamboangueño does not have a passive construction of its own.
Chabacano has preserved plenty of archaic Spanish phrases and words in its vocabulary that modern Spanish no longer uses; for example:
On the other hand, some words from the language spoken in Spain have evolved or have acquired totally different meanings in Chavacano. Hence for Castillian speakers who would encounter Chavacano speakers, some words familiar to them have become false friends. Some examples of false friends are:
There are currently no language material where one could learn Chavacano outside the region.
However, several projects are underway to produce language material in the form of cds and books/booklets in order for the foreigner to learn. One, in particular, is a project called "Basic Chavacano". It is an audio instruction (cd/booklet) for Zamboangueño Chavacano. As information is gathered more will be reported.
|Zamboangueño Chavacano edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
|Spanish-based creole languages|
In the Americas: Palenquero
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