Friday, October 4, 2013

Heal, Ciudad de Zamboanga

As a language enthusiast, I have high fascination about Zamboanga City, which is still in the remnants of war today. It is home to Chabacano - the only Spanish creole language of its kind in Asia that had developed and survived for over four hundred years of trades and conquests, migrations and policies.

A creole language, like Chabacano, is a conglomeration of different languages that have evolved into a native tongue of a new generation of speaker. On the case of Chabacano, it is 75% Spanish morphology with grammar and structure from local languages. Linguists continue to be mystified and baffled with the presence of Portuguese, Italian and Mexican lexical terms in this creole language.

In the past decade, language purists of Zamboanga were worried with the continuing borrowing of their language from Cebuano and Tagalog, leaning away from its Spanish superstrate. However, linguists defend and consider this phenomenon as rather dynamism which is natural to all languages. 

Recent incorporations of modern Spanish words are mainly attributed to the Spanish standardization efforts of media, establishment of Spanish call centers in the region, and the reintroduction of Spanish subject in selected schools.

There are over two million Spanish speakers in the country, large bulk of which comes form the Latin City of Asia - a sobriquet given to Zamboanga City due to the fact that it is the only Spanish speaking city in the continent. 

Among the six Chabacano dialects in the country, it is in Zamboanga City that has remained alive and kicking, so it is my opinion that this unique language should be preserved, and there is no other best way than to take care its speakers and the environment where they speak it.

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