Origins of the Chabacano Vene 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 vene to ask someone to come to us. Here are some sample Chabacano sentences using vene.

Chabacano: Vene 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).

Normally, Chabacano verbs are formed out of Spanish infinitives (i.e. habla from hablar, vivi from vivir, and come from comer), but vene is an exception to this rule because we never say veni in Chabacano.

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 as it is used 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 used mostly by the old Zamboangueños.

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