The Chabacano Desculpa

TV Patrol asks its viewers for its Opinion del Pueblo segment: Con quien ba debe desculpa na largo hora black out que ta experiencia el ciudad de Zamboanga este maga tiempo? Porque canila debe desculpa?


When I first saw this post on TV Patrol Chavacano's Facebook page, I did not understand their question. To be honest, I don't know the Chabacano word desculpa. I do know the Spanish word disculpar and I thought that the Chabacano desculpa meant the same thing. However, the definition of the Spanish disculpar does not fit in the sentence above because disculpar in Spanish means to forgive or to excuse.

I asked a friend whom I know from this blog and he also said that the word desculpa/disculpa in Chabacano should mean to excuse or forgive. But if you read the sentence above, it sounds like the word desculpa means to blame or accuse (someone). In that post's comments, I see other people also using the word desculpa to mean to blame or accuse (someone).


Finally, I tried asking some Bien Chabacano people about this word. My friend at the office told me that it means to blame someone. My brother's wife also said the same thing.

My dad doesn't know the word desculpa in Chabacano. However, he did say that it might come from the word culpa which, as a noun, means 'a fault' and as a verb, means 'to blame (someone)'. He also added that desculpa might mean to blame (someone) because of the presence of the word culpa in desculpa. Five points for creativity, dad! ūüėú

Normally though, the presence of the prefix des- would mean that something is being removed. Take for example these Spanish words: desague (drainage), descarillar (derail), desatar (untie).

My friend also asked about this word in a Facebook group and it looks like there are many people who are saying that the word desculpa means to blame or accuse (someone).


Personally, the words that I know in Chabacano which mean to blame someone are menta, acusa, and culpa.

This word exists as well in the Portuguese language and is spelled as desculpar, its meaning is the same as the meaning of the Spanish word disculpar.

In Camins' Chabacano dictionary, neither the word disculpa nor desculpa exists. In Santos' Chabacano dictionary (which is one of the most recent Chabacano dictionaries), only the word disculpa exists and he defines it as 'to excuse'. It looks like whoever plans to make the next Chabacano dictionary should take into account this definition of the word desculpa in Chabacano.

3 comments:

  1. We need to correct this wrong usage of word because if not, we might experience the same fate of the word Corregí had undergone to Correctá and Desmayo (disappointed) to Desmayado (fainted).



    Antes na mercedes, cuando tené kame allá un proyecto ta supervisá, tené gat yo con quien ya oí ya habla "disculpá conmigo, pasa lang yo." " permiso, pasa lang yo." "Dejá conmigo pasa, gracias."

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  2. Hi everyone! I am a Filipino who is trying to relearn chabacano here in the states of USA, which makes it hard because of all the different Spanish dialects here.. I spoke to my coworker who is from Spain and can speak very old style Spanish.. he was surprised of the choice of words filipinos use because they are words that south Americans do not know.. (Filipinos just can't spell correctly) the proper way to use this word is "de es culpa" not "desculpa" much like how we use "pandesol" which is an embarrassment here in the states because it's spelled "pan de sol" I hope this helps clarify everything.. Here is how it should've been written: Porque canila debe de es culpa

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