Zamboanga Chabacano


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    Chavacano or Chabacano [tʃaβaˈkano] is a group 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. Other currently existing varieties are found in Cavite City and Ternate, located in the Cavite province on the island of Luzon. Chavacano is the only Spanish-based creole in Asia.

    Zamboanga Chabacano is one of the varieties of the Spanish-based creole on the Philippines commonly known as Chabacano (see also Sippola, this volume, on the two Manila Bay creoles, Ternate Chabacano and Cavite Chabacano). Despite its pejorative original meaning, ‘tasteless, vulgar’, the name Chabacano is used by the speech community as a self-designation. Alongside Papiamentu and Palenquero in the Americas, Chabacano, with its variety Zamboangueño, is one of three Spanish-based creoles worldwide with the highest number of speakers. It shares interesting features with other European-based creoles in Asia, a fact that distinguishes it from the Atlantic creoles. Furthermore, unlike these, Zamboanga Chabacano has been acquiring a mixed character, especially from the 20th century onwards.

    The Zamboanga Chabacano Verb

    Zamboanga Chabacano has three verbal markers relating to tense, aspect, and mood: ay- (irrealis marker), ya- (perfect(ive) marker), and ta- (progressive marker), plus the zero marker. Morphonologically, the markers can be defined as prefixes. Combinations of the markers are not possible at all. Unmarked non-stative verbs mostly do not occur with past reference. The temporal adverb ya ‘already’ behind the unmarked dynamic verb or a verb prefixed with ya- marks a completive.

    Tense-Aspect-Mood markers