My name is Jerome Herrera and I started to take interest in my mother tongue when I began to learn Spanish and I discovered the many glaring similarities between the two languages. This led to a journey of discoveries, a journey filled with awe as I learned how different languages, time, and people shaped the modern Chabacano de Zamboanga language.
Said in Castilian Spanish, the word Chabacano means rude and of bad taste. However, in the Chabacano de Zamboanga, bien Chabacano simply means very Chabacano. In this context, bien Chabacano is something that you would call a person who speaks Chabacano very fluently and uses deep Chabacano words.
In this blog, I write everything and anything about the modern or contemporary Chabacano de Zamboanga. If you are searching for the traditional variety of the Chabacano de Zamboanga, then you can hop on to Zamboanga de Antes, a group dedicated to preserving the traditional Chabacano de Zamboanga.
You might find it strange that a blog promoting Chabacano is written entirely in English. Well, let us not forget that Jose Rizal wrote his novels in Spanish. I chose to write this blog in English because I felt like it was the best language to communicate to the blog's intended audience, the youth. While this blog seeks to promote the Chabacano language, it does not encourage people to stop speaking Tagalog, Cebuano or English altogether.
While Chavacano and Chabacano are used by people from Zamboanga, more people spell the name of the language with a 'v' and will even go as far as saying that spelling it with a 'b' is incorrect. Some people say that the reason why Chavacano (with a 'v') is the more used spelling is because people want to differentiate the language from the Castilian Spanish word meaning of bad taste or rude. However, I chose to spell the name of the language with a 'b' because it is the spelling recognized in the Diccionario De La Real Academia Espanola (dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy. If one consults the said dictionary, Chabacano is not only defined as being rude or of bad taste, but also as a language spoken in Zamboanga, Basilan, and Cavite wherein a large part of the vocabulary is Spanish. In this blog, I only spell the name of the language with a 'v' when referring to the variants in Cavite, and Ermita.
Some texts in this blog are in Spanish (mostly to compare Chabacano and Spanish). However, my Spanish is not perfect and you may see some errors from time to time.
Today, the Chabacano de Zamboanga is facing a lot of battles in different fronts, Bisaya, English, and Tagalog are all formidable languages that threaten the Chabacano de Zamboanga. The increasing number of migrants and the fashionability of speaking in Tagalog and English are all leading to the decreasing fluency of the Zamboangueno youth in the Chabacano language. If you ask young Chabacano speakers how they feel about their proficiency in the Chabacano language, most will say that they feel they are not fluent in the Chabacano language. I actually feel the same way. Even though Chabacano was spoken in the house where I grew up, I spoke Tagalog when I was in school (initially because it was a policy at the evangelical Christian school where I studied and later because I got used to it).
Clearly, the youth has lost its confidence and pride in speaking Chabacano. Bien Chabacano seeks to instill pride and improve proficiency in the Chabacano language among the young Chabacano speakers by talking about its rich and colorful history and demystifying its grammar's many intricacies and nuances. This blog also aims to reinvigorate the usage of Chabacano among the youth of today by reintroducing words that have fallen into disuse.
Friend, thanks for taking the time to read the articles in this blog. Truly, the Chabacano de Zamboanga has a very rich and colorful history and it is high time that we know about it. I hope that through this blog, you will have a stronger sense of pride in our language and I hope that you will join me in this rediscovery of the past as we look forward to a better future.
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Learn more about me, visit my personal blog All I Can Handle!