The Chabacano Decir

When asking someone to tell a person to do something, we follow this sentence construction pattern in Chabacano: habla con (name) na/que (what you want that person to do).

Much to my chagrin, this was how my Chabacano speaking friend at the office (who didn’t speak Spanish very well) attempted to communicate to a Mexican that he needed to tell someone to do something.

Here is an example of how this is used in full.

Chabacano: Habla con tu tata que necesita yo habla con ele.
English: Tell your father that I need to speak with him.

In Spanish, this sentence would be: dile a tu papa que necesito hablar con el.

If you have noticed, the Spanish dile or digale becomes habla con in Spanish. In Spanish, habla con would mean 'to speak with (somebody)'.

Here is another example.

Chabacano: Habla con Nena que anda le na iglesia mañana.
English: Tell Nena to go to church tomorrow.

The only time that decir is used in Chabacano is in the phrase quiere decir. The Chabacano quiere decir can be used when asking what something means. Here are some examples:

Chabacano: Cosa tu quiere decir?
English: What do you mean?

Chabacano: Cosa quiere decir ese palabra?
English: What does that word mean?

Chabacano: Cosa este quiere decir?
English: What does this mean?

The conjugated forms of decir don’t appear in Chabacano.


  1. Great blog! Someday I'm planning to write about Chabacano on my blog. Lovely language! Regards

  2. "Digale a tu papa que necesito hablar con el" is incorrect, it should be:

    Dile a tu papá que necesito hablar con el. (informal "tu" form)


    Dígale a su papá que necesito hablar con el. (formal "usted" form}

    Actually in the latter one, I would use padre instead of papá if addressing someone with usted.

  3. Hi. Thanks for the correction. I have just updated this blogpost to reflect correct grammar.