Autronesian Elements in Philippine Creole Spanish

Aireen L. Barrios

Date of publication:

June 30, 2006


One hypothesis of creoles is that the superstrate or lexifier language of a creole contributes to its vocabulary, while its grammar comes directly from its substrate (Crowley, 1997). A look at the lexicon and grammar of Philippine Creole Spanish or Chabacano shows that this theory works specifically for its ariant Zamboangueño. Terms for numbers, days of the week,
months, and body parts are obviously derived from Spanish. Some properties of its grammar, on the other hand, show obvious Austronesian traces, particularly Tagalog and Cebuano. Zamboangueño exhibits a prototypically Philippine-type verb initial word order. The influence of Cebuano on Zamboangueño is conspicuously manifested in the plural personal pronoun series in the si-type, kon-type, and di-type pronouns. The si-type plural pronouns are the nominative kame (1p, excl.), kita (1p, incl.), kamo (2p ), and sila ( 3p ). Zamboangueño has also created the di-type and kon-type forms based on the Cebuano genitive pronouns amo (1p, excl.), ato (1p, incl.), inyo (2p), and ila (3p),
resulting in the genitive pronouns diamon (1p, excl.), diaton (1p, incl.), diinyo (2p), and diila (3p), and the accusative pronouns kanamon (1p, excl. ), kanaton (1p, incl.), kaninyo (2p ), and kanila ( 3p ). The Zamboangueño nominative noun marking si, which marks phrases whose heads are personal names, corresponds to the personal si in Tagalog and Cebuano. Finally, like Tagalog and Cebuano, the Zamboanguefto plural marker mga, which is pronounced variously as maga, mana, and maIJa, is used when the noun it precedes is explicitly plural.

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