Origins of the Chabacano Bene and Uste

I was watching an Argentine film when I heard this woman telling his husband, “Veni, Veni!” She was obviously calling on her husband to come to her.

Now, in my attempt to learn Spanish, I have learned that the imperative form of venir is ven (informal) and venga (formal), so you could probably imagine how perplexed I was to hear this form of venir. My shock was replaced by amusement when I realized that in Chabacano, we say bene to ask someone to come to us. Here are some sample Chabacano sentences using bene:

Chabacano: Bene aqui!

Standard Spanish: Ven/ Venga aca!

English: Come here

According to my research, veni is the informal imperative form of venir in some countries like Argentina, and Guatemala (where vos is used).

Another thing that I heard when I was watching this film is the word uste. This word also exists in Chabacano and is used exactly the same way in Spanish. According to some forums online, uste is a colloquial form of usted and is used in some indigenous communities, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia.

Sadly though, uste is fast disappearing from the Chabacano de Zamboanga. Much like vosotros, and nosotros, this is a word spoken mostly by the old Zamboanguenos.

To me, these are important discoveries which cements Zamboanga city’s claim to being Asia’s Latin city.

1 comment:

  1. Exactly, Jerome.

    Uno ese del mana razones si porque na todo mi mana obra lingüística, ta preferí yo usá "vosotros, usted, nosotros(kita/kame) y ellos", ese para manda recorda canaton que estos palabras ta existí na de aton vocabulario..