Origins of the Chabacano Contra and Contralio

The word contra has lots of meanings in the Chabacano de Zamboanga. One of its many uses is comparison. When comparing two things/ persons, we use the word contra for the English word 'than'. Here is an example.

English: My mother is taller than my sister
Chabacano: Mas alta mi mama contra mi hermana

As we can see in the above sentence, the English 'than' becomes contra in Chabacano when making comparisons. Here is another example:

Chabacano: Mas rico el familia de John contra na familia de mio
English: John's family is richer than mine

The word contra in the first example sentence can also be contra con. This usage though is modern because que is the word used in the traditional Chabacano (just like in Spanish) when saying the English 'than'. At times, one can also make comparisons without using the word contra.

Chabacano: Mas bueno yo baila con ele
English: I dance better than him

However, the sentence above can also contain the word contra for emphasis (mas bueno yo baila contra con ele).

The Chabacano contra can also mean rather or rather than. Here is an example:

Chabacano: Rather than going today, you should go tomorrow
English: Contra este dia tu anda, debe tu anda maƱana

Chabacano: I would rather die than marry you
English: Mori ya lang yo contra casa con vos

Now that was a bit dramatic, don't you think? šŸ˜†

Another meaning of the word contra is 'enemy'. Here is an example:

Chabacano: Contra ba ese de aton?
English: Is (that guy) an enemy of ours?

Chabacano: Por que ba bien mucho el tuyo mga contra?
English: Why do you have a lot of enemies?

The word contra can also mean food that is bad for someone with allergy, diabetes, or hypertension. For example, you might say no tu come contra (don't eat a certain type of food that is bad for you).

As you may have guessed, this usage comes from the fact that contra means 'against'.

Another word for an enemy in Chabacano is contralio. This probably comes from the Spanish contrario. The word enemigo is not used very much in the Chabacano de Zamboanga. Here are some examples:

Chabacano: Contralio del gobierno de Marcos si Benigno Aquino
English: Benigno Aquino is an enemy of the Marcos government