Sunday, November 26, 2006

Chavacano pronouns

Before summer started, there was a proposal to start a Wikipedia for Chavacano. My vote was in conditional support; the condition was that the type of Chavacano had to be specified (in this case, Zamboangueño). It passed sometime thereafter. One of the reasons why I had conditional support was that the three varieties of Chavacano are different from each other. And to illustrate this, I showed the pronouns in each of the three main living Chabacano varieties, Zamboangueño, Caviteño, and Ternateño. A chart of which is below (and now in the Chavacano article on Wikipedia):

1st person singulariyo
2nd person singularevo(s) (common)
vo(s) (common)
tu (familiar)
uste(d) (formal)
3rd person singularel
1st person pluralkami (exclusive)
kita (inclusive)
nosotros (formal)
2nd person pluralkamo (common)
vosotros (familiar)
ustedes (formal)
3rd person pluralsila (common & familiar)
ellos (formal)

Zamboangueño evidentally has the most complex pronoun system out of the three. Not only does it retain the inclusive and exclusive distinction in "we" which is characteristic of many Philippine languages but there are also various levels of formality.

In more polite speaking, the Spanish pronouns are used; tu, usted, nosotros, vosotros, ustedes, and ellos. Since nosotros is used, the inclusive/exclusive distinction is loss.

In more casual speech, not only Visayan pronouns are used (kami, kita, kamo, and sila) but also Spanish-based innovations (evos & ele).

Caviteño and Ternateño seem to the more Spanish-based innovations than Zamboangueño does. Vo seems to come from Spanish vos, which is an old way of saying "you" that survives in some South American (especially Argentina) and Central American dialects of Spanish.

The Ternateño mijotro (we) and lojotro (they) appear to based on the Spanish mis otros (my others) and los otros (the others). Ustedi and tedi are based on Spanish ustedes (plural "you"; you guys, you all).

As far as Caviteño nisos, busos, and ilos are concerned, I'm somewhat puzzled. I could be wrong, but they appear to be from nosotros, vosotros, and ellos but I'm not sure where the -os ending came from. It's most likely to mark the plural.

To end this entry, below is a photo taken by Guillermo Gomez Rivera on his trip to Ternate a few years ago. In English, it says "We receive all of you with all our hearts."