Does Zamboanga Chavacano Have Its Own Idiomatic Expressions? A Preliminary Analysis

Authors: Gefilloyd De Castro (Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology, The Philippines)
Speakers: Gefilloyd L. De Castro
Strand: Text, Context and Entextualization
Session Type: General Session


It is believed that the lexifier contributes largely to the vocabulary of the pidgin and creole languages while the substrates or adstrates influence their grammar (Crowley, 1997); however, evidence that accounts idiomatic expressions is relatively scanty and shows that idioms are likely to be adopted from the lexifier especially if the pidgin or creole still has a contact with its lexifier (Todd & Mühlhäusler, 1978). Up until now, no study is available yet regarding the idiomatic expressions in Zamboanga Chavacano (ZC), a very active Spanish-based creole language in the Philippines. Hence, this paper accounted idiomatic expressions in ZC through contrast with the lexifier, and discussion with adstrates’ speakers. Based on a preliminary analysis, ZC has a number of idiomatic expressions entirely of its own, not adopted from the lexifier nor from any of the adstrates. These idiomatic expressions are culturally-related that reflect the day-to-day life of the speakers. Interestingly, other idiomatic expressions show mixed adaptation in that while many of the idiomatic expressions are Spanish-lexified, the meaning is entirely adopted from the adstrates in view of the fact that ZC still comes in contact with them. Body parts, food, animals, among others, are used as terms in the idiomatic expressions. This paper hopes to find its place and encourage discussion in the literature of creole languages.

Keywords: Chavacano, Creole, Idiomatic Expressions, Zamboanga.