Language Ideologies: The Chavacano Speakers in a Cebuano Setting

Author: Sherwin Toring (Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College Baliwasan, The Philippines)
Speaker: Sherwin Toring
Topic: Language Ideologies
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2020 General Session


Chavacano is a Spanish-based creole that is widely spoken today in Zamboanga City in the southern part of the Philippines. It is the only Spanish-derivative creole language that is spoken outside the Americas which eventually led to the dubbing of Zamboanga as the “Asia’s Latin City”. However, and similar to other languages, Chavacano has managed to reach the other parts of the country through local migration that is triggered by certain factors such as employment and education. Consequently, Cebu City or Province where a major Filipino language called Cebuano is the main native language, serves a common destination not just for the people of Zamboanga but also for the other local migrants in general.

Hence, this paper explores how Chavacano is brought and used by its native speakers more particularly in a Cebuano linguistic setting. It aims to describe the effects of contact between two different languages and the attitude of both the native and non-Chavacano speakers towards the Chavacano language. This was done using a phenomenological approach particularly through the conduct of semi-structured interviews with nine Chavacano speakers who have all sojourned to Cebu for a respective reason and duration. Consequently, the interviews revealed that a new linguistic setting allows the individuals to value more their own language upon learning the positive attitude of the non-Chavacano speakers towards both the Chavacano and the Cebuano language. This attitude is manifested in the narratives that show respectively the interests of the non-Chavacano speakers in learning the creole language and the kind of loyalty they have for their own language. In turn, the paper suggests for the preservation of Chavacano not just for its uniqueness but also for its contribution to the identity of the people of Zamboanga.

Keywords: Chavacano language; language ideology; creole language; Zamboanga; language attitude