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Latin and Chabacano

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FELICEM DIEM ANNIVERSARIUM!

For those who until now are still wondering how on earth was our ethnic or racial identity from Subanen, Sama, Tausog, etc, changed by act of local legislation to “Latins of Asia,” I have taken the academic initiative of providing you the following brief historical sketch of our socio-anthropological origin.
According to Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia, “the Latins (or Latini) were a people in ancient Italy who included the inhabitants of the early City of Rome. From ca. 1000 BC, the Latins inhabited a small part of the peninsula known to the Romans as Old Latium (Latium vitus), this is the region between the river  Tiber and the promontory of Monte Circeo (ca. 60 mi or 100 km SE of Rome.”

It is believed that our new legally-adopted homeland, Latium, derives from the Latin word latius (broad), referring to the extensive plains of the region (in contrast to the mainly mountainous Italian Peninsula). Conclusively, Latini simply means “people of Latium.”

It is now common knowledge that the Chabacano dialect which according to our local experts has already been classified as a full-fledged language was used as the primary justification for the change of our moniker from “City of Flowers” to “Asia’s Latin City” on the collective presumption that this linguistic heritage is almost identical with the lingua franca of the Latins of Latium, Italy. Because of this high degree of similarity between our Chabacano dialect and the official language of the Roman Empire our top City Executive strongly believes that this new moniker is historically, linguistically, and culturally relevant and appropriate and is a great boon to our local tourist industry on account of its uniqueness.

Chabacano as a dialect in different places and countries is spoken with very little variations. In Mindanao for instance, this dialect is spoken in the Pagadian, Dipolog, Dapitan, Isabela, Cotabato, Davao, and of course, Zamboanga City. To prove that Chabacano is not unique to Zamboanga, let me cite what the WIKIPILIPINAS posted on the internet about this dialect:

“The word Chabacano-is derived from Spanish which mean “poor taste” “vulgar” “common” “tasteless” “tacky” or “course.” Chabacano speakers are concentrated in Zamboanga City, Basilan, Cavite, and some areas of Davao and Cotabato. Speakers of this dialect are also found in Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia. Some dialects based on the nearby regions are Castellana abakay spoken in Davao and Cotabateño and Castellana Japon. There are three other known dialects of Chavacano which have Tagalog as their substrate language: Caviteño, Ternateño, and Ermateño (extinct). The other dialects have Cebuano as their main substrate. Zambooangueño is the dialect with the most number of speakers being the main and official language of Zamboanga City and the de facto language of Basilan.”

It is now quite clear to us that Chabacano is a generic term given to one of the dialects spoken anywhere in the world which is derived from Spanish not Latin which the linguists or language experts classify as pidgin Spanish or Spanish -based Creole. The other Spanish-based Creole languages or dialects are the Palenguero (Columbia), Papiamento (Netherlands), Macaista Chapado (Macao, China), Fa d’ Ambo (Equatorial Guinea), Hawaiian Pidgin (Hawaii) and Yanito (Gibraltar). 

Therefore, to differentiate our version of Chabacano which generically refers to all the pidgin Spanish or Spanish -based Creole dialects in the Philippines, our dialect should distinctly be called Zamboangueño. In this manner, our visitors and guests from other cities and countries will be properly and correctly informed that our dialect is uniquely Zamboangueño. Definitely not Latin! Why our Honorable Councilors insist on calling this city as “Asia’s Latin City,” I believe they have all the valid justifications. (Note: This suggestion is purely unsolicited). 
FELICEM DIEM ANNIVERSARIUM!

by Clem M. Bascar




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