Origins of the Chabacano Embusterias

In Chabacano, the word for a liar is embustero. An embustero is somebody who tells embusterias or lies. These words are spelled with an “i” in the Chabacano dictionary of Camins (imbustero, imbusterias). The Spanish meaning of embustero is generally a deceitful person. The word embusteria does not exist in the Spanish language. In most Spanish dictionaries, you wouldn’t find that the word embustero can also mean a liar however according to the WordReference.com website; this word can also refer to a liar in the Spanish language (this usage though is labeled as informal). So there you go, as like many words in the Chabacano language, it is either informal or vulgar in the Spanish language, owning up to its name.

In the Chabacano dictionary of Camins, the Spanish words menti, mentiroso/a, and mentira exist and preserve their Spanish meaning. However, these words are seldom used or not used anymore today in the Chabacano language. I have yet to encounter a Chabacano speaker who uses these words.

The verb to lie in Chabacano becomes ta man or tan embustero. If you read my post about the Chabacano man, you would know that we put this word in front of a noun for it to become a verb. Ta meanwhile is used to denote that it is in the present tense.

Here are different ways to ask someone if he/she is telling is the truth in the Chabacano language:

Chabacano: Ta habla ba tu el deverasan conmigo OR ta habla ba tu el verdad conmigo?

In this examples above, the word deverasan is the word more used.

Chabacano: Tan embustero ba tu conmigo?

Here are some examples of how we use the words embustero (adjective, liar),

embusterias (noun, lies), and tan embustero (verb, to lie):

Chabacano: No tu cre con ese gente. Embustero ese gente.
English: Don’t believe that person. That person is a liar.

Chabacano: Na infierno anda el mga gente embustero.
English: Liars will go to hell.

Chabacano: No quiere mas yo cree na de vos mga embusterias!
English: I don’t want to believe in your lies anymore!

Chabacano: Basta ya de habla embusterias!
English: Stop telling lies!

Chabacano: Hinde bueno man embustero.
English: It is not good to lie.

Chabacano: No tu debe man embustero na tuyo mga mayores.
English: You shouldn’t lie to your elders.

While the Chabacano dictionary of Camins only has the word imbusterias (meaning lies), the more recent Chabacano dictionary of Rolando Arquiza Santos only has the word imbusteria (meaning lie). This is very puzzling. It is an indication that both words exist with their meanings unclear.

One theory that I have is that this resulted from the influence of people who lose their s if it’s found at the end of the word. It is not common knowledge but there are people who eat their s much like Spanish speaking people do (for example the surname De Los Rios becomes De Loh Rioh). Let me give you an example. I don’t speak with the accent I have mentioned earlier however I tend to say pie (pieh) and not pies. The word for both feet and foot in Chabacano is pies (you won’t find the word pie in any Chabacano dictionary). So I believe what we have here is a word (pronounced in this manner or with this accent) which has crept to mainstream Chabacano and is now deemed as the correct pronunciation.

To clarify, you can use the word embusteria (without an “s”) to mean both lies and lie. At least to my ears it wouldn’t sound bad to say basta ya de habla embusteria or no quiere mas yo cree na de vos mga embusteria (using the examples above). My ears don’t have any objections either if one will use the word embusterias (with an “s” to mean both lies and lie.