The Info List - Chavacano

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or Chabacano [tʃaβaˈkano] refers to a number of Spanish-based creole language varieties spoken in the Philippines. The variety spoken in Zamboanga City, located in the southern Philippine island group of Mindanao, has the highest concentration of speakers. Chavacano
is the only Spanish-based creole in Asia. The different varieties of Chavacano
differ in certain aspects like vocabulary but they are generally mutually intelligible by speakers of these varieties, especially between neighboring varieties. While a majority of the lexicon of the different Chavacano
varieties derive from Spanish, their grammatical structures are generally similar to other Philippine languages. Among Philippine languages, it is the only one that is not an Austronesian
language, but like Malayo-Polynesian languages, it uses reduplication. The word Chabacano is derived from Spanish, roughly meaning "poor taste" or "vulgar", though the term itself carries no negative connotations to contemporary speakers and has lost its original Spanish meaning.


1 Distribution and variants

1.1 Varieties 1.2 Characteristics 1.3 Demographics 1.4 Social significance

2 Terminology 3 Historical background

3.1 Monogenetic theory 3.2 Parallel-development theory 3.3 Zamboangueño 3.4 Caviteño / Ternateño

4 Samples

4.1 Zamboangueño

4.1.1 Another sample of Zamboangueño

4.2 Ermiteño 4.3 Caviteño / Ternateño

4.3.1 Another sample of Chavacano
de Cavite

4.4 Castellano Abakay (Chabacano de Davao)

4.4.1 Castellano Abakay Chino 4.4.2 Castellano Abakay Japon

4.5 Pledge of Allegiance to the Philippine Flag

4.5.1 Zamboangueño 4.5.2 English

5 Vocabulary

5.1 Forms and style

6 Orthography

6.1 Chavacano
orthography 6.2 Alphabet

6.2.1 Letters and letter names

6.3 Other sounds 6.4 Sounds from English 6.5 Diphthongs

7 Grammar

7.1 Simple sentence structure (verb–subject–object word order)

7.1.1 Declarative affirmative sentences in the simple present, past, and future tenses 7.1.2 Declarative negative sentences in the simple present, past, and future tenses

7.2 Nouns and Articles

7.2.1 Singular nouns 7.2.2 Plural nouns

7.3 Pronouns

7.3.1 Personal (Nominative/Subjective Case) Pronouns 7.3.2 Possessive Pronouns ( Chavacano
de Zamboanga, Chabacano Abakay)

7.4 Verbs

7.4.1 Verb Tenses - Simple tenses Perfect constructions

7.4.2 Passive and Active Voice

8 Archaic Spanish words and false friends 9 See also 10 Codes 11 Footnotes 12 References 13 External links

Distribution and variants[edit] Varieties[edit]

Native Zamboangueño
speakers in Mindanao.

Linguists have identified at least six Spanish Creole varieties in the Philippines. Their classification is based on their substrate languages and the regions where they are commonly spoken. The three known varieties of Chavacano
with Tagalog as their substrate language are the Luzon-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).

Variety Places Native speakers

(Zamboangueño/ Zamboangueño
Chavacano/Chabacano de Zamboanga) Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Semporna
(Malaysia) 359,000 (Rubino 2008, citing 2000 census)[4]

Caviteño (Chabacano di Nisos/Chabacano de Cavite) Cavite 4,000 (2013)[4]

Cotabateño (Chabacano de Cotabato) Cotabato
City, Maguindanao N/A

Castellano Abakay (Chabacano de Davao) Davao Region, Davao City N/A

Ternateño (Bahra) Ternate 3,000 (2013)[4]

Ermiteño (Ermitense) Ermita Extinct

There exists a number of theories on how these different varieties of Chavacano
have evolved and how they are related to one another. According to some linguists, Zamboangueño
is believed to have emanated from Caviteño Chavacano
as evidenced by prominent Zamboangueño
families who descended from Spanish Army officers (from Spain
and Latin America), primarily Caviteño mestizos, stationed at Fort Pilar
Fort Pilar
in the 19th century. When 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 islanders to support the fort's operations. 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
Fort Pilar
during the Spanish colonial period, it was not until closer to the middle of the 20th century that borrowings from Cebuano accelerated from more migration from the Visayas
as well as the current migration from other Visayan-speaking areas of the Zamboanga Peninsula. Zamboangueño
(Chavacano) is spoken in Zamboanga City, Basilan, parts of Sulu
and Tawi-Tawi, and in Semporna-Sabah, Malaysia, and Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay
Zamboanga Sibugay
and Zamboanga del Norte. The other varieties of Chavacano
with Cebuano as their primary substrate language are the Mindanao-based creoles of which are Castellano Abakay or Chavacano
de Davao (spoken in some areas of Davao), it has an influence from Chinese and Japanese, also divided into two subdalects, Castellano Abakay Chino and Castellano Abakay Japón, and Cotabateño (spoken in Cotabato
City). Both Cotabateño and Davaoeño are very similar to Zamboangueño. Characteristics[edit] The Chavacano
languages in the Philippines
are creoles based on Mexican Spanish
Mexican Spanish
and possibly, Portuguese. In some Chavacano
languages, most words are common with Andalusian Spanish, but there are many words borrowed from Nahuatl, a language native to Central Mexico, which are not to be found in Andalusian Spanish. Although the vocabulary is largely Mexican, its grammar is mostly based on other Philippine languages, primarily Ilonggo, Tagalog and Cebuano. By way of Spanish, its vocabulary also has influences from the Native American languages Nahuatl, Taino, Quechua, etc. as can be evidenced by the words chongo (monkey, instead of Spanish 'mono'), tiange (mini markets), etc.[citation needed] In contrast with the Luzon-based creoles, the Zamboangueño
variety has the most borrowings and/or influence from other Philippine Austronesian languages
Austronesian languages
including Hiligaynon and Tagalog. Words of Malay origin are present in Zamboangueño
variety; the latter is included because although not local in Philippines, it was the lingua franca of maritime Southeast Asia. As Zamboangueño
variety is also spoken by Muslims, the variety has some Arabic
loanwords, most commonly Islamic terms.[specify][dubious – discuss] Nevertheless, it is difficult to trace whether these words have their origin in the local population or in Spanish itself, given that Spanish has about 6,000 words of Arabic
origin. Chavacano
also contains loanwords of Persian origin which enter Chavacano
via Malay and Arabic; both Persian and Spanish are Indo-European languages. Demographics[edit] 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 variety with the most number of speakers, being the official language of Zamboanga City
Zamboanga City
whose population is now believed to be over a million; is also an official language in Basilan. 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. Chavacano
speakers are possibly found elsewhere in Sabah
as Sabah
was under partial Spanish sovereignty and via Filipino refugees who escaped from Zamboanga Peninsula
Zamboanga Peninsula
and predominantly Muslim areas of Mindanao
like Sulu
Archipelago. A small number of Zamboanga's indigenous peoples and of Basilan, such as the Tausugs, the Samals, and the Yakans, majority of those people are Sunni Muslims, also speak the language. In the close provinces of Sulu
and Tawi-Tawi
areas, there are Muslim speakers of the Chavacano de Zamboanga, all of them are neighbors of Christians. Speakers of the Chavacano
de Zamboanga, both Christians and Muslims, also live in Lanao del Norte
Lanao del Norte
and Lanao del Sur. Christians and Muslims in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, South Cotabato, Cotabato
City, and Saranggani
speak Chavacano
de Zamboanga, while some of those living in Davao Region
Davao Region
speak Chavacano
de Davao. Take note that Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Maguindanao, Cotabato City, Soccsksargen
(region that composed of Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Saranggani) and Davao Region
Davao Region
became part of short-lived Republic of Zamboanga, which chose Chavacano
as official language. Social significance[edit] 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 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. As Chavacano
is spoken by Muslims as second language not only in Zamboanga City
Zamboanga City
and Basilan
but even in Sulu
and Tawi-tawi, a number of Qur'an
books are published in Chavacano. While the Mindanao-based creoles, Castellano Abakay, and Cotabateño are believed to be in danger of extinction, the Zamboangueño
variety 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, standardisation, and its future as a Spanish-based creole. In 2000, The Instituto Cervantes
in Manila
hosted a conference entitled "Shedding Light on the Chavacano
Language" at the Ateneo de Manila
University. Starting school year 2012–13, the Zamboangueño
variant has also been taught at schools following the implementation of the Department of Education's policy of Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE). It serves as a medium of instruction from kindergarten to grade 3 and as a separate subject (Mother Tongue) from grades 1 to 3. Because of the grammatical structures, Castilian 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. Terminology[edit]

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The term Chavacano
or Chabacano originated from the Spanish word chabacano which literally means "poor taste", "vulgar", "common", "of low quality", or "coarse". Chavacano
has since evolved into a word of its own in different spellings with no negative connotation, but to simply being the name of the language itself. During the Spanish colonial period, what is today called Chavacano
was also called by the Spanish-speaking population as the "lenguaje de la calle", "lenguaje de parian" (language of the street), or "lenguaje de cocina" (kitchen Spanish) to refer to the Chabacano spoken by the people of Manila, particularly in Ermita) to distinguish it from the Spanish language
Spanish language
spoken by the peninsulares, insulares, mestizos, or the elite class called the ilustrados. Zamboangueños refer to their vernacular as Chavacano, though this is sometimes spelled as Chabacano. Caviteños and Ternateños, and Ermitenses spell the word as it is spelled originally in the Spanish language – as Chabacano. Speakers in Ternate
themselves, however, use the term Bahra for both their vernacular and Ternate itself. Linguists use the term Philippine Creole Spanish which can be further divided into two geographic classifications: Manila
Bay Creoles (which includes Ternateño and Caviteño) and Mindanao
Creole (including Zamboangueño) The varieties of the language are geographically related: Ermitense, Caviteño, and Ternateño – also known as Bahra – are similar to each other in having Tagalog as their substrate language while Zamboangueño, Castellano Abakay, and Cotabateño are similar to each other in having Visayan (mostly Cebuano, Tausug, and Hiligaynon), Subanon, and Sama as their substrate language(s). Zamboangueños would call their variety Zamboangueño, Zamboangueño
Chavacano, and Caviteños would call their variety Caviteño or Chabacano de Cavite, etc., to emphasize the difference between their variety and others using their own geographical location as a point of reference. There are also other alternative names and spellings for this language depending on the varieties and context (whether Hispanicized or native). Zamboangueños sometimes spell their variety as Chavacano, or Zamboangenio. Caviteño is also known as Caviten, Linguaje di Niso, or sometimes spell their variety as Tsabakano. Ermitense 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. Historical background[edit] There is no definite conclusion on the precise history of how these different varieties of Chavacaano developed. Prior to the formation of what is today the Philippines, what existed were a collection of various islands and different ethnolinguistic groups inhabiting them. The Spanish colonization of the Philippine islands had lead to the presence of the Spanish language
Spanish language
in the islands. Though Spanish was the language of the government, the various languages originating and found in the islands remained the mother tongue of the various inhabitants. Instead of using Spanish to spread Christianity, Spanish missionaries preferred to learn the various local languages. With over 300 years of Spanish colonial rule, the Spanish language
Spanish language
came to influence the various Philippine languages to varying degrees by way of aspects like new loanwords and expressions. Creole languages (such as French-based creoles) have formed at various points in time around the world due to colonialism. As a result of contact between speakers of two mutually non-intelligible languages, creole languages have evolved in some cases to facilitate communication. This usually involves taking the vocubalury of another language and grammatical features of the native language. In contrast to the numerous French-based creole
French-based creole
languages, only three creole languages have been found to be Spanish-based or heavily influenced: Papiamento, Palenquero, and Chavacano. In the Philippines, a major difficulty in tracing the development of Chabacano is the confusion attributed to in accounts of travelers to the Philippines
between a coherent creole language, `broken Spanish', and fluent Spanish.[5] The earliest believed attestation of a coherent creole language spoken in Cavite
City comes from the Augustinian priest Martínez de Zúñiga who in his 1803 accounts of his travels in the Philippines, Estadismos de las Islas Filipinas, notes that "In Cavite
and in its suburb of San Roque, a very corrupted Spanish is spoken, whose phraseology is entirely taken from the language of the country". Mentions of a vernacular referred to as "kitchen Spanish" and "language of the market" (referring to the Manila
variety), or other terms are found in a number of texts of the 19th century. However, the kind of vernacular referred to by these terms are imprecise and these terms may refer to a fully fledged creole or to a Spanish-pidgin spoken by Chinese and Filipino merchants. The manner of formation of this type of speech found in a number of communities around the Philippines
remains unclear today. A sample of what is today called Chabacano may be found in dialogues contained in chapters 18 (Supercherías) and 28 (Tatakut) of Filipino writer José Rizal's 1891 work El Filibusterismo.[6][7] The dialogue found in chapter 18 is:

¿Porque ba no di podí nisós entrá? preguntaba una voz de mujer. ―Abá, ñora, porque ‘tallá el maná prailes y el maná empleau, contestó un hombre; ‘ta jasí solo para ilós el cabesa de espinge. ―¡Curioso también el maná prailes! dijo la voz de mujer alejándose; ¡no quiere pa que di sabé nisos cuando ilos ta sali ingañau! ¡Cosa! ¡Querida be de praile el cabesa!

In the 1883 work of German linguist Hugo Schuchardt Uber das Malaiospanische der Philippinen, he presents fragments of texts and comments of what he calls "Malayo-Spanish". However, the first to give a general study and investigation of the varieties of Chavacano
as a group was by Keith Whinnom in his 1956 work The Spanish Contact Vernaculars in the Philippine Islands . Whinnom gives an overall view of the history and grammar of what he calls "Ermitaño" of Ermita
in Manila, "Caviteño" of Cavite
and "Zamboangueño" of Zamboanga. In it, he also postulated his monogenetic theory on the origin of these vernaculars. Linguists are unsettled on how these vernaculars formed and how they connect to one another, if any. There are many theories but the two main theories of the origin of Chavacano
are: Whinnom's "monogenetic theory" and a "parallel-development" theory proposed by Frake in 1971. Monogenetic theory[edit]

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According to the Monogentic theory or one-way theory advanced by Whinnom, all varieties of Chavacano
result from a single source and that varieties are related to each other. Parallel-development theory[edit]

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The parallel development theory or two-way theory as advocated by Frake in 1971, the variants found in Luzon
and Mindanao
had evolved autonomously from each other. Zamboangueño[edit] On 23 June 1635, Zamboanga City
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. Language differences made it difficult for one ethnic group to communicate with another. To add to this, work instructions were issued in Spanish. The majority of the workers were 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. When the Sultanate of Sulu
gave up its territories in Sulu
Archipelago to Spain
within late 1700s ( Sulu
Sultanate gave up Basilan
to Spain
in 1762, while Sulu
and Tawi-tawi were not given up by sultanate because the Sulu
Sultanate only recognized partial Spanish sovereignty to Sulu and Tawi-tawi), Spanish settlers and soldiers brought the language to the region until Spain, Germany, and United Kingdom
United Kingdom
signed an agreement named the Madrid Protocol of 1885
Madrid Protocol of 1885
that recognized Spanish rule of Sulu
Archipelago. Chavacano
becomes a lingua franca of Sulu Archipelago (composing of Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Basilan); although North Borneo
(now Sabah) is not included on the Spanish East Indies
Spanish East Indies
area as stated on the Protocol and control by the United Kingdom, Chavacano has still a little impact in Semporna. From then on, constant Spanish military reinforcements as well as increased presence of Spanish religious and educational institutions have fostered the Spanish creole. Caviteño / Ternateño[edit] The Merdicas (also spelled Mardicas or Mardikas) were Catholic
natives of the islands of Ternate
and Tidore
of the Moluccas, converted during the Portuguese occupation of the islands by Jesuit
missionaries. The islands were later captured by the Spanish who vied for their control with the Dutch. In 1663, the Spanish garrison in Ternate
were forced to pull out to defend Manila
against an impending invasion by the Chinese pirate Koxinga
(sacrificing the Moluccas
to the Dutch in doing so). A number of Merdicas volunteered to help, eventually being resettled in a sandbar near the mouth of the Maragondon
river (known as the Barra de Maragondon) and Tanza, Cavite, Manila.[8] The invasion did not occur as Koxinga
fell ill and died. The Merdicas community eventually integrated into the local population. Today, the place is called Ternate
after the island of Ternate
in the Moluccas, and the descendants of the Merdicas continue to use their Spanish creole (with Portuguese influence) which came to be known as Caviteño or Ternateño Chavacano.[8] Samples[edit] Zamboangueño[edit]

Donde tu ay anda? Spanish: ¿A dónde vas? (‘Where are you going?’) Ya mirá yo con José. Spanish: Yo vi a José. (‘I saw José.’) Ya empezá ele buscá que buscá entero lugar con el sal. Spanish: El/Ella empezó a buscar la sal en todas partes. (‘He/She began to search everywhere for the salt.’) Ya andá ele na escuela. Spanish: El/Ella se fue a la escuela. (‘He/She went to school.’) Si Mario ya dormí na casa. Spanish: Mario durmió en la casa. (‘Mario slept in the house.’) El hombre, con quien ya man encuentro tu, amo mi hermano. Spanish: El hombre que encontraste, es mi hermano. (The man [whom] you met is my brother.) El persona con quien tu tan cuento, bien alegre gayot. Spanish: La persona con la que estás hablando es muy alegre. / La persona con quien tú estás conversando es bien alegre. (The person you are talking to is very happy indeed.)

Another sample of Zamboangueño

Chavacano Spanish English

Treinta y cuatro kilometro desde el pueblo de Zamboanga el Bunguiao, un diutay barrio que estaba un desierto. No hay gente quien ta queda aquí antes. Abundante este lugar de maga animales particularmente maga puerco 'e monte, gatorgalla, venao y otro más pa. Solamente maga pajariadores lang ta visitá con este lugar.

El Bunguiao, a treinta y cuatro kilómetros desde el pueblo de Zamboanga, es un pequeño barrio que una vez fue un área salvaje. No había gente que se quedara a vivir ahí. En este lugar había en abundancia animales salvajes tales como cerdos, gatos monteses, venados, y otros más. Este lugar era visitado únicamente por cazadores de pájaros.

Bunguiao, a small village, thirty four kilometers from the city of Zamboanga, was once a wilderness. No people lived here. The place abounded with wild animals such as pigs, wildcats, deer, and still others. The place was visited only by bird hunters


En la dulzura de mi afán, Junto contigo na un peñon Mientras ta despierta El buan y en Las playas del Pasay Se iba bajando el sol.

Yo te decía, "gusto ko" Tu me decías, "justo na" Y de repente ¡Ay nakú! Ya sentí yo como si Un asuáng ta cercá.

Que un cangrejo ya corré, Poco a poco na tu lao. Y de pronto ta escondé Bajo tus faldas, ¡amoratáo!

Cosa que el diablo hacé, Si escabeche o kalamáy, Ese el que no ta sabé Hasta que yo ya escuché Fuerte-fuerte el voz: ¡Aray!

The following is sample of Ermitaño taken from the April 1917 publication of The Philippine Review, the poem was written by the Filipino Spanish-language writer Jesús Balmori (who also wrote other texts in Ermitaño)[9] and is entitled "Na Maldito Arena":[10]

Ta sumí el sol na fondo del mar, y el mar, callao el boca. Ta jugá con su mana marejadas com'un muchacha nerviosa con su mana pulseras. El viento no mas el que ta alborota, el viento y el pecho de Felisa que ta lleno de sampaguitas na fuera y lleno de suspiros na dentro...[10]

According to Keith Whinnom's "Spanish contact vernaculars in the Philippine Islands" (1956), there were reportedly still an estimated 12,000 speakers in 1942 of Ermitaño. After World War II, much of Manila
was destroyed and its citizens displaced. This variety is considered to be virtually extinct. Caviteño / Ternateño[edit]

Nisós ya pidí pabor cun su papang. Spanish: Nosotros ya pedimos un favor de tu padre. (We have already asked your father for a favor.)

Another sample of Chavacano
de Cavite[edit]

de Cavite: Puede nisos habla: que grande nga pala el sacrificio del mga héroe para niso independencia. Debe nga pala no niso ulvida con ilos. Ansina ya ba numa? Debe haci niso mga cosa para dale sabi que ta aprecia niso con el mga héroe. Que preparao din niso haci sacrificio para el pueblo. Que laya? Escribi mga novela como Jose Rizal?

Spanish: Nosotros podemos decir qué grandes sacrificios ofrecieron nuestros héroes para obtener nuestra independencia. Entonces, no nos olvidemos de ellos. ¿Como lo logramos? Necesitamos hacer cosas para que sepan que apreciamos a nuestros héroes; que estamos preparados tambien a sacrificar por la nación. ¿Cómo lo haremos? ¿Hay que escribir también novelas como José Rizal?

English: We can say what great sacrifices our heroes have done to achieve our independence. We should therefore not forget them. Is it like this? We should do things to let it be known that we appreciate the heroes; that we are prepared to make sacrifices for our people. How? Should we write novels like José Rizal?

Castellano Abakay (Chabacano de Davao)[edit] Below are samples of dialogues and sentences of Chabacano de Davao in two spoken forms: Castellano Abakay Chino (Chinese style) by the Chinese speakers of Chabacano and Castellano Abakay Japon (Japanese style) by the Japanese speakers. Castellano Abakay Chino[edit]

Note: only selected phrases are given with Spanish translations, some are interpretations and rough English translations are also given.

La Ayuda Ayudante: Señor, yo vino aquí para pedir vos ayuda. (Spanish: Señor, he venido aquí para pedir su ayuda.) (English: Sir, I have come here to ask for your help.)

Patron: Yo quiere prestá contigo diez pesos. Ese ba hija tiene mucho calentura. Necesita llevá doctor. (Spanish:patron quiero pedirle diez pesos prestados.mi hija tiene calentura. Necesita un médico.) (English: I want borrow ten pesos from you.my daughter has fever.she need a doctor.)

Valentina y Conching (Conchita) Valentina: ¿¡Conching, dónde vos (tu) papá?! ¿No hay pa llegá? Spanish: ¿¡Conching, dónde está tu papá?! ¿No ha llegado todavía? English: Conching, where is your dad? Hasn't he arrived yet? Conching: Llegá noche ya. ¿Cosa quiere ako (yo) habla cuando llegá papa? Spanish: Llegará esta noche. ¿Qué quiere que le diga cuando llegue? English: He will arrive this evening. What do you want me to tell him when he comes?

Ako (yo) habla ese esposa mio, paciencia plimelo (primero). Cuando male negocio, come nugaw (lugaw – puré de arroz). Pero, cuando bueno negocio, katay (carnear) manok (pollo). Spanish: Me limitaré a decir a mi esposa, mis disculpas. Cuando nuestro negocio va mal, comemos gachas. Pero si funciona bien, carneamos y servimos pollo. English: I will just tell my wife, my apologies. We ate congee when our business goes very badly. But if it goes well, then we will slay and serve chicken.

¡Corre pronto! Cae aguacero ! Yo habla contigo cuando sale casa lleva payong (paraguas). No quiere ahora mucho mojao. Spanish: ¡Corre rápido! ¡La lluvia está cayendo! Ya te dije que cuando salgas de tu casa, debes llevar un paraguas. No quiero que te moje. English: Run quickly! The rain is falling! I already told you to take an umbrella when you leave the house. I don't want you to get wet.

¿Ese ba Tinong (Florentino) no hay vergüenza? Anda visita casa ese novia, comé ya allí. Ese papa de iya novia, regaña mucho. Ese Tinong, no hay colocación. ¿Cosa dale comé esposa después? Spanish: ¿Que Florentino no tiene vergüenza? Fue a visitar a su novia, y comió allí. El padre de su novia, regañarlo mucho. Florentino no tiene trabajo. ¿Qué le proveerá a su esposa después? English: Doesn't Florentino have any shame? He went to visit his girlfriend and ate dinner there. Her father quarrels a lot. That Florentino has no job. What will he provide to his wife then?

Castellano Abakay Japon[edit] Estimated English translations provided with Japanese words.

¿Por qué usted no andá paseo? Karâ tiene coche, viaje usted. ¿Cosa hace dinero? Trabaja mucho, no gozá. Why don't you go for a walk? You travel by your car. What makes money? You work a lot, you don't enjoy yourself.

Karâ (から) – por (Spanish); from or by (English)

Usted mirá porque yo no regañá ese hijo mío grande. Día-día sale casa, ese ba igual andá oficina; pero día-día pide dinero. Look because I don't tell off that big son of mine. Every day he leaves the house, the same for walking to the office; but every day he asks for money.

Señora, yo dale este pescado usted. No grande, pero mucho bueno. Ese kirey y muy bonito. (Op.cit.) Madame, I give this fish to you. It's not big, but it's very good. It is bonny and very nice.

Kirei (綺麗) – hermosa, "bonita" (Spanish); beautiful, bonny (English)

Pledge of Allegiance to the Philippine Flag[edit] Zamboangueño[edit]

Yo (soy) un Filipino. Yo ta prometé mi lealtad na bandera de Filipinas y el País que ese ta representá Con Honor, Justicia y Libertad que ya pone na movemiento el un nación para Dios, para'l pueblo, para naturaleza, y para Patria.


I am a Filipino I pledge my allegiance To the flag of the Philippines And to the country it represents With honor, justice and freedom Put in motion by one Nation For God for the People, for Nature and for the Country.

Vocabulary[edit] Forms and style[edit] Chavacano
(especially Zamboangueño) has two registers or sociolects: The common, colloquial, vulgar or familiar and the formal register/sociolects. Broadly speaking, the formal register is closer to Spanish, and the colloquial register to the local Austronesian languages. In the common, colloquial, vulgar or familiar register/sociolect, 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/sociolect, 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 formal register used in conversation is sometimes mixed with some degree of colloquial register. The following examples show a contrast between the usage of formal words and common or familiar words in Chavacano:

English Chavacano
(Formal) Chavacano
(Common/Colloquial/Vulgar/Familiar) Spanish

slippery resbalozo/resbaladizo malandug resbaloso/resbaladizo

rice morisqueta kanon/arroz morisqueta (understood as a Filipino rice dish)/arroz

rain lluvia/aguacero aguacero/ulan lluvia/aguacero

dish vianda/comida comida/ulam vianda/comida

braggart/boastful orgulloso(a) bugalon(a)/ hambuguero(a) orgulloso(a)

car coche auto auto/coche

housemaid muchacho (m)/muchacha (f) ayudanta (female); ayudante (male) muchacha(o)/ayudante

father papá (tata) pápang (tata) papá (padre)

mother mamá (nana) mámang (nana) mamá (madre)

grandfather abuelo abuelo/lolo abuelo/lolo

grandmother abuela abuela/lola abuela/lela

small chico(a)/pequeño(a) pequeño(a)/diutay pequeño/chico

nuisance fastidio asarante / salawayun fastidio

hard-headed testarudo duro cabeza/duro pulso testarudo/cabeza dura

slippers chancla chinelas chancla/chinelas

married de estado/de estao casado/casao casado

(my) parents (mis) padres (mi) tata'y nana (mis) padres

naughty travieso(a) guachi / guachinanggo(a) travieso(a)

slide rezbalasa/deslizar landug resbalar/deslizar

ugly feo (masculine)/fea (feminine) malacara, malacuka feo(a)

rainshower lluve talítih lluvia

lightning rayo rayo/quirlat rayo

thunder/thunderstorm trueno trueno trueno

tornado tornado/remolino, remulleno ipo-ipo tornado/remolino

thin (person) delgado(a)/flaco(a)/chiquito(a) flaco/flaquit delgado/flaco/flaquito


This article or section appears to contradict itself. Please see the talk page for more information. (January 2016)

is written using the Latin script. As Chavacano
has mostly been a spoken language than a written one, multiple ways of writing the different varieties of Chavacano
exist. Most published Chavacano texts utilize spelling systems nearly identical to Spanish, adjusting certain spellings of words to reflect how they are pronounced by native Chavacano
speakers. Since the propagation of the usage of the Filipino language
Filipino language
in education and the media as the national language, Filipino's orthography has affected how certain persons might spell Chavacano, especially since recent generations have grown unfamiliar with Spanish orthography; Most formal published works, and the general media, however more often retain Spanish-based spelling systems. Chavacano
orthography[edit] The kind of writing system used to write Chavacano
may differ according to the writer of the text. Writing may be written using a Spanish-derived writing system, where all words (including words of local origin) are spelled adhering to basic Spanish orthographic rules; it may also be written "phonetically", similar to the modern orthography of Filipino; another writing style uses a mixture of the two, spelling words based on an etymological approach. in Zamboanga, an etymological-based approach was formally recently endorsed by the local government. In principle, words of Spanish origin are spelled using Spanish rules while Chavacano
words of local origin 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
Philippine languages
(words such as kame, kita, kanamon, kaninyo). All Chavacano
words, regardless of origin, used to be written according to the Spanish orthography (kita = quita, kame = came). Furthermore, some letters were orthographically interchanged because they represented the same phonetic values. (gente = jente, cerveza = serbesa) Some additional characters like the ñ (eñe, representing the phoneme /ɲ/, a letter distinct from n but 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. The Chavacano
alphabet has 30 letters, including the special characters. It is uncommon in modern Chavacano
writings to include the acute accent and the trema in writing except in linguistic or highly formalized texts. 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 varieties. Alphabet[edit] The Chavacano
alphabet has 30 letters, including <ch>, <ll>, <ñ> and <rr>: a, b, c, ch, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, ll, m, n, ñ, o, p, q, r, rr, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z Letters and letter names[edit]

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 /ˈuve doble/

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/ zeda /ˈseda/

Other letter combinations include rr (erre), which is pronounced /xr/ or /r/, 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 in 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 mainly found in words of Philippine origin and are only indicated in dictionaries (i.e. jendê = not; olê = again) and when they are, the circumflex accent is used. Other pronunciation changes in some words of Spanish origin include:

f ~ /p/ j, g (before 'e' and 'i') ~ /h/ (in common with dialects of Caribbean and other areas of Latin America
Latin America
and southern Spain) ch ~ /ts/ rr ~ /xr/ di, de ~ /dʒ/ (when followed or preceded by other vowels: Dios ~ /jos/ ; dejalo ~ /jalo/) ti, te ~ /tʃ/ (when followed or preceded by other vowels: tierra ~ /chehra/; tiene ~ /chene/) ci, si ~ /ʃ/ (when followed or preceded by other vowels: conciencia ~ /konʃenʃa/)

[b, d, g] between vowels which are fricative allophones are pronounced as they are in Chavacano. Other sounds[edit]

-h /h/ (glottal fricative in the final position); sometimes not written -g /k/; sometimes written as just -k -d /t/; sometimes written as just -t -kh [x]; only in loanwords of Arabic
origin, mostly Islamic terms

Sounds from English[edit]

“v” pronounced as English “v” (like: vase) (vi) “z” pronounced as English “z” (like: zebra) (zi) “x” pronounced as English “x” (like: X-ray) (ex/eks) “h” like: house (/eitsh/); sometimes written as 'j'


Letters Pronunciation Example Significant

ae aye caé fall, to fall

ai ay caido fallen, fell

ao aow cuidao take care, cared

ea eya patéa kick, to kick

ei ey reí laugh

eo eyo vídeo video

ia ya advertencia warning, notice

ie ye cien(to) one hundred, hundred

io yo canción song

iu yu saciút to move the hips a little

uo ow institutuo institute

qu ke qué, que what, that, than

gu strong g guía to guide, guide

ua wa agua water

ue we cuento story

ui wi cuidá care, to take care

oi oy oí hear, to hear

Grammar[edit] Simple sentence structure (verb–subject–object word order)[edit] Chavacano
is a language with the verb–subject–object sentence order. This is because it follows the Hiligaynon or Tagalog 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. Declarative affirmative sentences in the simple present, past, and future tenses[edit] Chavacano
generally follows the simple verb–subject–object or verb–object–subject sentence structure typical of Hiligaynon or Tagalog in declarative affirmative sentences:

Ta comprá (verb) el maga/mana negociante (subject) con el tierra (object). Ta comprá (verb) tierra (object) el maga/mana negociante (subject).

Hiligaynon: Nagabakal (verb) ang mga manogbaligya (subject) sang duta (object). Hiligaynon: Nagabakal (verb) sang duta (object) ang mga manogbaligya (subject). Tagalog: Bumibili (verb) ang mga negosyante (subject) ng lupa (object). Tagalog: Bumibili (verb) ng lupa (object) ang mga negosyante (subject).

(‘The businessmen are buying land.’)

The subject always appears after the verb, and in cases where pronominal subjects (such as personal pronouns) are used in sentences, they will never occur before the verb:

Ya andá yo na iglesia enantes.

(‘I went to church a while ago.’)

Declarative negative sentences in the simple present, past, and future tenses[edit] When the predicate of the sentence is negated, Chavacano
uses the words jendeh (from Tagalog ’hindi’ or Hiligaynon 'indi' which means ’no’; the Cebuano uses 'dili', which shows its remoteness from Chavacano
as compared to Hiligaynon) to negate the verb in the present tense, no hay (which literally means ’none’) to negate the verb that was supposed to happen in the past, and jendêh 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: Present Tense

Jendêh ta comprá (verb) el maga/mana negociante (subject) con el tierra (object). Jendêh ta comprá (verb) tierra (object) el maga/mana negociante (subject).

(Eng: The businessmen are not buying land. Span: Los hombres de negocio no están comprando terreno)

Past Tense

No hay comprá (verb) el maga/mana negociante (subject) con el tierra (object). No hay comprá (verb) tierra (object) el maga/mana negociante (subject).

(Eng: The businessmen did not buy land. Span: Los hombres de negocio no compraron terreno)

Future Tense

Ay jendêh comprá (verb) el maga/mana negociante (subject) con el tierra (object). Ay jendêh comprá (verb) tierra (object) el maga/mana negociante (subject).

(Eng: The businessmen will not buy land. Span: Los hombres de negocio no comprarán terreno)

Nunca ay/Ay nunca comprá (verb) el maga/mana negociante (subject) con el tierra (object). Nunca ay/Ay nunca comprá (verb) tierra (object) el maga/mana negociante (subject).

(Eng: The businessmen will never buy land. Span: Los hombres de negocio nunca comprarán terreno)

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: Present Tense

Jendêh el maga/mana negociante (subject) ta comprá (verb) con el tierra (object) sino el maga/mana empleados.

(Eng: It is not the businessmen who are buying land but the employees. Span: No es el hombre de negocio que están comprando terreno sino los empleados)

Past Tense

Jendêh el maga/mana negociante (subject) ya comprá (verb) con el tierra (object) sino el maga/mana empleados.

(Eng: It was not the businessmen who bought the land but the employees. Span: No fue el hombre de negocio que compró el terreno sino los empleados)

Future Tense

Jendêh el maga/mana negociante (subject) ay comprá (verb) con el tierra (object) sino el maga/mana empleados. Ay jendêh comprá (verb) el maga/mana negociante(s) (subject) con el tierra (object) sino el maga/mana empleados.

(Eng: It will not be the businessmen who will buy land but the employees. Span: No sería el hombre de negocio que comprará el terreno sino los empleados)

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: Future Tense

Nunca el maga/mana negociante (subject) ay comprá (verb) con el tierra (object) sino el maga/mana empleados. Nunca ay comprá (verb) el mana/maga negociante (subject) con el tierra (object) sino el maga/mana empleados.

(Eng: It will never be the businessmen who will buy land but the employees. Span: Nunca sería el hombre de negocio que comprará el terreno sino los empleados)

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: Past Tense

No hay el maga/mana negociante (subject) comprá (verb) con el tierra (object).

(Eng: The businessmen did not buy land. Span: el hombre de negocio no compró terreno)

Future Tense

Nunca el maga/mana negociante (subject) ay comprá (verb) con el tierra (object).

(Eng: The businessmen will never buy land. Span: el hombre de negocio nunca comprará terreno)

Nouns and Articles[edit] 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 almost completely disappeared in Chavacano, except for some phrases like "una vez". 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:

el cajón (’the box’) – el maga/mana cajón(es) (’the boxes’) un soltero (’a bachelor’) – un soltera (’a spinster’) el un soltero (’the bachelor’) – el un soltera (’the spinster’)

Nouns in Chavacano
are not always precedeed by articles. Without an article, a noun is a generic reference:

Jendeh yo ta llorá lagrimas sino sangre.

(’I do not cry tears but blood’.)

Ta cargá yo palo.

(’I am carrying wood’).

Proper names of persons are preceded by the definite article si or the phrase un tal functioning as an indefinite article would:

Un bonita candidata si Maria..

(’Maria is a beautiful candidate’.)

un tal Juancho

(’a certain Juancho’)

Singular nouns[edit] Unlike in the Spanish, Chavacano
nouns derived from Spanish do not follow gender rules of the Spanish original 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 does exist in Chavacano, though it occurs rarely and mostly in the formal medium of writing, such as poems and lyrics. When accompanying a Spanish feminine noun, the 'la' as the article is more tolerated than acceptable. Among the few exceptions where the 'la' occurs is as a formal prefix when addressing the Blessed Virgin Mary, perhaps more as an emphasis of her importance in Christian devotion. But the real article is still the 'el', which makes this use of a "double article" quite unique. Thus it is common to hear the Blessed Virgin addressed in Chavacano
as 'el La Virgen Maria' (the "L" of the 'la' capitalized to signify its permanent position within the noun compound). In general, though, when in doubt, the article 'el' is always 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 / sacerdote el madre / monja

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.

Examples: el alcalde, el capitan, el negociante, el ayudante, el chufer

All names of animals are always masculine—in Spanish context—preceded by the article 'el'.

Examples: el gato (gata is uncommon), el puerco (puerca is uncommon), el perro (perra is uncommon)

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:

el cocina, el pantalón, el comida, el camino, el trapo, el ventana, el mar

Plural nouns[edit] 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 Hiligaynon 'maga' or the Tagalog '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. It may be thought of as roughly equivalent to saying in English, "the many (noun)" instead of "the (noun)s". 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 professor(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:

los caballeros, los dias, las noches, los chavacanos, los santos, las mañanas, las almujadas, las mesas, las plumas, las cosas

When in doubt, it is always safe to use 'el' and 'maga or mana' to pluralize singular nouns:

el maga/mana caballero(s), el maga/mana día(s), el maga/mana noche(s), el maga/mana chavacano(s), el maga/mana santo(s), el maga/mana día(s) que viene (this is a phrase; 'el maga/mana mañana' is uncommon), el maga/mana almujada(s), el maga/mana mesa(s), el maga/mana pluma(s)

In Chavacano, it is common for some nouns to become doubled when pluralized (called Reduplication, a characteristic of the Malayo-Polynesian family of languages):

el maga cosa-cosa (el maga cosa/s is common), el maga casa casa (el maga casa is common), el maga gente gente (el maga gente is common), el maga juego juego (el maga juego is common)

But note that in some cases, this "reduplication" signifies a difference in meaning. For example, 'el maga bata' means 'the children' but 'el maga bata-bata' means one's followers or subordinates, as is a gang or mob. 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':

el maga/mana caballeros (accepted) el maga/mana caballero (correct) el maga/mana días (accepted) el maga/mana día (correct)

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:

el maga meses, el maga mujeres, el maga mayores, el maga tentaciones, el maga contestaciones, el maga naciones, el maga organizaciones

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':

el maga mes, el maga mujer, el maga mayor, el maga tentación, el maga contestación, el maga nación, el maga organización

Pronouns[edit] Chavacano
pronouns are based on Spanish and native sources; many of the pronouns are not used in either but may be derived in part. In contrast to the other varieties of Chavacano, the variety spoken in Zamboanga uses more pronouns derived from a native Philippine language (I.e. Hiligaynon) in addition to Spanish. In Zamboangueño, 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 variety 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. Personal (Nominative/Subjective Case) Pronouns[edit] Below is a table comparing the personal pronouns in three varieties of Chavacano.

  Zamboangueño Caviteño Ternateño Chabacano Abakay (de Davao)

1st person singular yo yo yo (Chino, Japón) ako (Chino)

2nd person singular evo[s] (common)/(informal) tú (familiar) usted (formal) vo/bo tu usté vo/bo usté usted vos

3rd person singular él ele eli él

1st person plural kamé (exclusive/common/familiar) kitá (inclusive/common/familiar) nosotros (formal) nisos mijotro mihotro motro nosotros (Chino, Japón)

2nd person plural kamó (common) vosotros (familiar) ustedes (formal) vusos busos buhotro bujotro ustedi tedi ustedes vosotros

3rd person plural silá (common/familiar) ellos (formal) ilos lojotro lohotro lotro ellos

Possessive Pronouns ( Chavacano
de Zamboanga, Chabacano Abakay)[edit] 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:

  Zamboangueño Chabacano Abakay (de Davao)

1st person singular mi mío de mi de mío di mio/dimiyo mi mío

2nd person singular de vos (common) de tú (familiar) tuyo (familiar) de tuyo/dituyo (familiar) de usted/dituyo (formal) de tú

3rd person singular su suyo de su de suyo/disuyo ese (Chino, Japón) de iya (Chino)

1st person plural de amón/diamon (common/familiar) (exclusive) de atón/diaton (common/familiar) (inclusive) nuestro (formal) de/di nuestro (formal) nuestro

2nd person plural de iño/di inyo (common) de vosotros (familiar) de ustedes (formal) vos

3rd person plural de ila (common/familiar) de ellos/di ellos (formal) de ellos

Verbs[edit] In Zamboangueño, Chavacano
verbs are mostly Spanish in origin. In contrast with the other varieties, 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 called "acento agudo" 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 brincar which means the same thing. Verb Tenses - Simple tenses[edit] Chavacano
of Zamboangueño
uses the words ya (from Spanish ya [already]), ta (from Spanish está [is]), and ay plus the simple form of the verb to convey the basic tenses of past, present, and future respectively:

English Infinitive Spanish Infinitive Zamboangueño
Infinitive Past Tense Present Tense Future Tense

to sing cantar cantá ya cantá ta cantá ay cantá

to drink beber bebé ya bebé ta bebé ay bebé

to sleep dormir dormí ya dormí ta dormí ay dormí

to ask (of something) pedir pedí ya pedí ta pedí ay pedí

The Chabacano of Cavite
uses the words ya, ta, and di plus the simple form of the verb to convey the basic tenses of past, present, and future respectively:

English Infinitive Spanish Infinitive Chabacano Infinitive Past Tense Present Tense Future Tense

to sing cantar cantá ya cantá ta cantá di cantá

to drink beber bebé ya bebé ta bebé di bebé

to sleep dormir dormí ya dormí ta dormí di dormí

to ask (of something) pedir pedí ya pedí ta pedí di pedí

While the Chabacano of Ternate
(Bahra) uses the words a, ta, and di plus the simple form of the verb to convey the basic tenses of past, present, and future respectively:

English Infinitive Spanish Infinitive Chabacano Infinitive Past Tense Present Tense Future Tense

to sing cantar cantá a cantá ta cantá di cantá

to drink beber bebé a bebé ta bebé di bebé

to sleep dormir dormí a dormí ta dormí di dormí

to ask (of something) pedir pedí a pedí ta pedí di pedí

Unlike in the Zamboangueño, Caviteño, and Ternateño, Chabacano Abakay (Davaoeño) doesn't have the ya and ta prefix. The infinitives and their conjugations are somehow retained, and there are some that have simplified conjugations:

English Infinitive Spanish Infinitive Abakay Infinitive Past Tense Present Tense Future Tense

to sing cantar cantar cantó canta cantá

to drink beber beber bibío bebe bebé

to sleep dormir dormir durmió duerme dormí

to ask (of something) pedir pedir pidió pide pedí

Perfect constructions[edit] 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:

Past Perfect Chavacano
Present Perfect Chavacano
Future Perfect

ya cantá ya. ta cantá pa. / ta canta ya. ay cantá ya.

ya bebé ya. ta bebé pa. / ta Bebe ya. ay bebé ya.

ya dormí ya. ta dormí pa. / ta dormi ya. ay dormí ya.

ya pedí ya. ya pedí pa. / ya pedí ya. ay pedí ya.

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 mirá kame el película antes de ya comprá con el maga chichirías. We had watched the movie before we bought the snacks.

Past Perfect (Chavacano) Past Perfect (English)

Ya mirá ya kame el película después ya comprá kame con el maga chichirías. We had watched the movie and then we bought the snacks.

uses a verb between "ay" and "ya" to denote the future perfect and past perfect respectively:

Future Perfect (Chavacano) Future Perfect (English)

Ay mirá ya kame el película si ay llegá vosotros. We will have watched the movie when you arrive.

also uses a verb between "ta" and "ya" to denote the present perfect:

Present Perfect ( Zamboangueño
Chavacano) Present Perfect (English)

Ta mirá ya kame con el película mientras ta 'sperá con vosotros. We are already watching the movie while waiting for you.

Passive and Active Voice[edit] To form the Zamboangueño
active voice, Zamboangueños follow the pattern: El maga soldao ya mata con el criminal The soldiers killed the criminal. 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.[11] Archaic Spanish words and false friends[edit] Chabacano has preserved plenty of archaic Spanish phrases and words in its vocabulary that modern Spanish no longer uses; for example:

"En denantes" which means 'a while ago' (Spanish: "hace un tiempo"). Take note that "En denantes" is an archaic Spanish phrase. Modern Spanish would express the phrase as "poco antes de hoy" or "hace un tiempo", but Chabacano still retains this archaic Spanish phrase and many other archaic Spanish words. This word is still being used in some areas of southern Spain.

"Masquen"/"Masquin" means 'even (if)' or 'although'. In Spanish, "mas que" is an archaic Spanish phrase meaning 'although', nowadays replaced by the Spanish word "aunque".[12]

In Chavacano, the Spanish language
Spanish language
is commonly called "castellano". Chavacano
speakers, especially older Zamboangueños, call the language as "castellano" implying the original notion as the language of Castille while "español" is used to mean a Spaniard or a person from Spain.

The pronoun "vos" is alive in Chavacano. While "vos" was used in the highest form of respect before the 16th century in classical Spanish and is quite archaic nowadays in modern Spanish (much like the English "thou"), in Chavacano
it is used at the common level of usage (lower than tu, which is used at the familiar level) in the same manner of Cervantes
and in the same manner as in certain Latin American countries such as Argentina (informally and in contrast with usted, which is used formally). Chavacano
followed the development of vos in same manner as in Latin America
Latin America
– (the voseo) or, incidentally, as with English "thou" vs. "you".

"Ansina" means 'like that' or 'that way'. In modern Spanish, "así" is the evolved form of this archaic word. The word "ansina" can still be heard among the aged in Mexico
and is the only way of expressing this meaning in Ladino.

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:

"Siguro"/"Seguro" means 'maybe'. In Spanish, "seguro" means 'sure', 'secure', or 'stable', although it could imply probability as well, as in the phrase, "Seguramente vendrá" (Probably he will come).

"Siempre" means 'of course'. In Spanish, "siempre" means 'always'.

"Firmi" means 'always'. In Spanish, "firme" means 'firm' or 'steady'.

See also[edit]

Spanish language
Spanish language
in the Philippines Spanish-based creole languages


ISO 639-1: none ISO 639-2: crp[4] ISO 639-3: cbk[13] SIL code: cbk[13]


^ Spanish creole: Quilis, Antonio (1996), La lengua española en Filipinas (PDF), Cervantes
virtual, p. 54 and 55  ^ Número de hispanohablantes en países y territorios donde el español no es lengua oficial Archived 29 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine., Instituto Cervantes. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Chavacano". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ a b c d Ethnologue ^ Lipski, J. M. Chabacano/Spanish and the Philippine linguistic identity. ^ text reproduced by Filipino Scribbles ^ http://www.angelfire.com/art2/roger_santos/rizal.html ^ a b John. M. Lipski, with P. Mühlhaüsler and F. Duthin (1996). "Spanish in the Pacific". In Stephen Adolphe Wurm & Peter Mühlhäusler. Atlas of Languages of Intercultural Communication in the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas: Texts, Volume 2 (PDF). Walter de Gruyter. p. 276. ISBN 9783110134179.  ^ Balmori, Jesús (May 1917). "Poema ermitense: El que ta pensá ele; Quilaya bos; Por causa del sirena". The Philippine review (Revista filipina). Vol. II no. 5. p. 26.  ^ a b Balmori, Jesús (April 1917). "Na maldito arena (poema ermitense)". The Philippine review (Revista filipina). Vol. II no. 4. pp. 71–73.  ^ Chabacano de Zamboanga Handbook ^ Brooks 1933, Vol. 16, 1st Ed. ^ a b SIL International


Brooks, John (1 January 1933). "Más que, mas que and mas ¡qué!". Hispania. 16 (1): 23–34. doi:10.2307/332588. JSTOR 332588.  Castillo, Edwin Gabriel Ma., S.J. "Glosario Liturgico: Liturgical Literacy in the Chavacano
de Zamboanga",(Unpublished) Archdiocese of Zamboanga. Chambers, John, S.J. and Wee, Salvador, S.J., editor, (2003). English-Chabacano Dictionary, Ateneo de Zamboanga University Press. Holm, J. A. (1988). "Pidgins and creoles" (Vols. 1–2). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. McKaughan, Howard P. (1954). "Notes on Chabacano grammar", Journal of East Asiatic Studies 3, (205–26). Michaelis, Susanne., editor, (2008). Roots of Creole Structures: Weighing the contribution of substrates and superstrates, Creole Language Library Volume 33. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Rubino, Carl and Michaelis, Susanne., editor, (2008). "Zamboangueño Chavacano
and the Potentive Mode", Roots of Creole Structures: Weighing the contribution of substrates and superstrates, Creole Language Library Volume 33 (279–299). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Steinkrüger, Patrick O. (2007). "Notes on Ternateño (a Philippine Spanish Creole)", Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, 22(2). Whinnom, Keith. (1956). "Spanish contact vernaculars in the Philippine Islands". Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Forman, Michael Lawrence. (1972). Zamboangueño
texts with grammatical analysis. A Study of Philippine Creole Spanish. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University. (PH D Dissertation, Cornell University). Sippola, E. (2011). Una gramática descriptiva del chabacano de Ternate. University of Helsinki. – Dissertation presenting a detailed descriptive account of the grammar of Ternateño. (http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-7327-4) Lesho, Marivic (2013). The sociophonetics and phonology of the Cavite Chabacano vowel system. Columbus: Ohio State University dissertation. (http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1388249508) Zamboangueño
por Jose Genaro Ruste Yap – Aizon, Ph.D.:

(http://www.evri.com/media/article;jsessionid=ud7mj8tleegi?title=Home+%7C+Zamboanga+ChavacanoZamboanga+Chavacano+%7C+by+Jose+Genaro+...&page=http://www.josegenaroyapaizon.com/&referring_uri=/location/chavacano-language-0x398c30%3Bjsessionid%3Dud7mj8tleegi&referring_title=Evri[permanent dead link]) External links[edit]

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edition of, the free encyclopedia

Meta has related information at: Wikimedia Philippines/cbk-zam

at Curlie (based on DMOZ) A Blog about the Chabacano de Zamboanga Chavacano
Lessons with Audio An abridged Chavacano
dictionary "Jesus" A two-hour religious film in RealVideo dubbed in Chavacano FilipinoKastila The Spanish and Chabacano situation in the Philippines Ben Saavedra's speech on Chabacano at the University of the Philippines
(Web archive version) El Chabacano El Chabacano en Español Austronesian
Elements in Philippine Creole Spanish (pdf) Spanish world-wide: the last century of language contacts (PDF) The Puzzling Case of Chabacano: Creolization, Substrate, Mixing, and Secondary Contact by Patrick O. Steinkrüger Confidence in Chabacano by Michael L. Forman Chabacano/Spanish and the Philippine Linguistic Identity by John M. Lipski Noun phrases in Creole languages: a multi-faceted approach by Marlyse Baptista http://www.zamboanga.com/history/history_chabacano_versus_related_creoles.htm http://www.zamboanga.com/z/index.php?title=Category: Chavacano
- An interactive online chavacano dictionary. http://www.christusrex.org/www1/pater/JPN-chavacano.html http://filipinokastila.tripod.com/chaba11.html http://www.sil.org/asia/philippines/ical/papers/tardo-chavacano_reader_project.pdf SIL.org 1883 letter – correspondence of Jacinto Juanmartí to German linguist Hugo Schuchardt dated 19 November 1883 containing text of chavacano spoken in Cotabato

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