A timeless language PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 02 August 2015 14:18


BY Jack Edward Enriquez

So inspiring to note that majority of the Zamboanguenos, particularly the intellectuals, are very supportive to the call for the preservation of our beautiful Chavacano language.  Of course, we have to admit that there are also those who are not interested or have don’t-care-at-all attitude. Or they prefer the Tagalog, Bisaya or English. That’s reality.

After all, to preserve the Chavacano does not mean that we have to discard other languages like the Pilipino which is our national language and English, the universal language. The language is a medium of communication which is very important for our growth, expansion and development. The more languages we can master the easier for us to grow, to expand and to develop — so we break out of our shell and explore the world. However, we should not leave our original language to rot in a corner or just die a natural death because that is our beginning, our innate identity as a people in this particular section of the archipelago. We should not renounce our identity and take the role of an incognito or impostor. Anyone who has no identity is like a slave or nobody on this planet. Our point is — we were born Zamboanguenos, we should also die as Zamboanguenos with the Chavacano clinging to our tongues.

On radio and TV, Chavacano is usually spoken and the newscast in Chavacano, though seldom seen in print. In the church the mass is celebrated in Chavacano with the prayers, songs and the readings all in Chavacano. According to a Chavacano writer, however, there are minor discrepancies like words not properly used, haphazard in spelling, etc. Generally speaking, it’s heart-rejoicing that Chavacano is now being spoken in all corners of the city including exclusive places like offices, city council and the Church unlike before only in barbershops, markets, drinking joints, etc. Also we have published books about Chavacano dictionary (translation ) written by erudite individuals. Kudos for their praiseworthy works!

Evidently we’ve gone a remarkable distance from where we started, though still many things have to be done by our city officials. Chavacano advocates and the Zamboanguenos in general in the pursuit of our goal to mount Chavacano on a pedestal as a language for peace and unity.

We got many ideas as to what more still can be done. All we need is to put those ideas into action. For example: to hold a Chavacano story writing contest similar to the A de Z University project in 2003. We can also revive the Chavacano poem writing contest held by City Schools Division. In print, we can also hold a contest on in-depth newswriting and feature writing in Chavacano. For a wider participation, make it into two categories: students and open to all. We can also go into Chavacano radio - TV drama production and stage plays.

Based on feedbacks, it is suggested that we should have a standard for Chavacano spelling and translation in order to make it a formal language at par with the other languages of the world. We should come up with lexicography to be followed as a standard. First and foremost, CHAVACANO is how should be spelled. Not CHABACANO. If we want to present Chavacano as a formal and respected language not only here in this city but throughout the world, it should be spelled properly with the essence of dignity.

A Chavacano writer and poet proudly said: Let’s cherish the dream of the Zamboanguenos — to be united as one strong people in one marvelous city with one timeless language, the Chavacano.