The Chabacano Habla and Conversa

I recently made friends with a speaker of the Chabacano de Zamboanga. This new friend learned her Chabacano from her Zamboangueno. She, however, has never set food on Zamboanga soil. Growing up in Manila and having only her family to practice her Chabacano with, she speaks the language with some nuances.

Imagine having lived with siblings, and parents in one house (like the reality show Big Brother). Wouldn't your vocabulary be very limited and too functional (read bland and without color)? Well, that is the case with my dear friend.

One peculiarity I recently noticed with her Chabacano is that she never uses conversa (pronounced as combersa in Chabacano) and would often replace it with habla. So I immediately set out to correct my new friend's blundering Chabacano. I wrote for her a guide for when to use habla and conversa in Chabacano.

When to use the Chabacano habla:

-Reported Speech:

Ex: Ya habla si Maria a las cinco daw tu conele encontra na airport.
English Translation: Maria said that you fetch her from the airport at five o clock.

-To ask someone to repeat something:

Ex: Cosa tu ya habla?
English Translation: What did you say?

-Command (specific) *there is something specific that the speaker wishes someone to say

Ex: Habla daw tu cosa tu quiere.
English Translation: Come on, tell me what you want.
Habla tu con tuyo tata loco ele.
English Translation: Tell your father that he is crazy.


When to use the Chabacano conversa:

-To refer to the act of speaking:

Ex: Ya conversa comigo ayer si Maria
English Translation: Maria spoke to me yesterday
Otra clase man ese mujer ta conversa
English Translation: That woman speaks differently

-Command (General)

Ex: Conversa daw tu mas suena

Conversa daw tu comigo
English Translation: Come on, talk/ speak to me

In Spanish, hablar and conversar are used interchangeably. Although, it is said that conversar is not used often in Spain as it is in Mexico.

Now I do hope that I wrote a comprehensible and accurate guide here. If you do find any errors, please feel free to correct me.

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