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Monday, September 17, 2012

Chavacano Alphabet

Chavacano words of Spanish origin are written using the Latin script with some special characters from the Spanish alphabet: the vowels with the acute accent (á, é, í, ó, ú), the vowel u with trema (ü), and ñ.

Chavacano words of local origin are also written using the Latin alphabet and are spelled in the manner according to their origin. Thus, the letter k appear mostly in words of Austonesian origin or in loanwords from other Philippine languages (words such as kame, kita, kanamon, kaninyo).

Some additional characters like the ñ (eñe, representing the phoneme /ɲ/, a letter distinct from n, although typographically composed of an n with a tilde), the digraph ch (che, representing the phoneme /tʃ/), the ll (elle, representing the phoneme /ʎ/), and the digraph rr (erre with strong r) exist in Chavacano writing.

The Chavacano alphabet has 29 letters including the special characters.

As a general rule, words of Spanish origin are written and spelled using Spanish orthography (i.e. fiesta, casa). Words of local (Philippine languages) origin are written and spelled using local orthography, but only when those words are pronounced in the local manner (i.e. manok, kanon). Otherwise, words of local origin are written and spelled in the native manner along Spanish spelling rules (i.e. jendeh, cogon).

In the old times, all Chavacano words, regardless of origin, were written according to the Spanish orthography (kita = quita, kame = came). Furthermore, some letters were orthographically interchanged because they represented the same phonetic values. (i.e. gente = jente, cerveza = serbesa)

It is uncommon in modern Chavacano writings to include acute accent and the trema in writing and usually these marks are only used in linguistic or highly-formalized text. Also, the letters ñ and ll are sometimes replaced by ny and ly in informal texts.

The use of inverted punctuations (¡! and ¿?) as well as the accent marks, diaeresis, and circumflex have become obsolete even in standard texts among modern dialects.



The Chavacano alphabet has 29 letters including /ch/, /ll/ & /ñ/:
a, b, c, ch, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, ll, m, n, ñ, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z

Letters and letter names

A a a /a/ J j jota /ˈxota/ R r ere /ˈeɾe/
B b be /be/ K k ka /ka/ Rr rr erre /ˈere/
C c ce /se/ L l ele /ˈele/ S s ese /ˈese/
Ch ch che /tʃe/ Ll ll elle /ˈeʎe/ T t te /te/
D d de /de/ M m eme /ˈeme/ U u u /u/
E e e /e/ N n ene /ene/ V v uve /ˈube/
F f efe /ˈefe/ Ñ ñ eñe /ˈeɲe/ W w doble u /ˈdoble u/
G g ge /xe/ O o o /o/ X x equis /ˈekis/
H h hache /ˈatʃe/ P p pe /pe/ Y y ye /ɟʝe/
I i i /i/ Q q cu /ku/ Z z zeta /ˈseta/
zeda /ˈseda/

Other letter combinations include rr (erre), which is pronounced /xr/ or /rr/, and ng, which is pronounced /ŋɡ/. Another combination was ñg, which was pronounced /ŋ/ but is now obsolete and is only written as ng.

Some sounds are not represented in the Chavacano written language. These sounds are mostly from words of Philippine and foreign origin. Furthermore, the pronunciation of some words of Spanish origin have become distorted or Philippinized in modern Chavacano. Some vowels have become allophonized ('e' and 'o' becomes 'i' and 'u' in some words) and some consonants have changed their pronunciation. (i.e. escoger became iscují in informal speech; tiene /tʃɛnɛ/; Dios /dʒɔs/; Castilla became /kastilla/ instead of /kastiʎa/).

Glottal stops, as in Filipino languages, are not also indicated (â, ê, î, ô, û). These sounds are present mostly in words of Philippine origin and are indicated only in dictionaries. (i.e. jendê = not; olê = again). When indicated, circumflex marks are used.

Other pronunciation changes in some words of Spanish origin include:
f ~ /p/
ch ~ /ts/
rr ~ /xr/
di, de ~ /dʒ/ (when followed or preceded by other vowels: Dios ~ /jos/ ; dejalo ~ /jalo/)
ti, te ~ /tʃ/ (when followed or preceded by other vowels: tierra ~ /chehra/; tiene ~ /chene/)
ci, si ~ /ʃ/ (when followed or preceded by other vowels: conciencia ~ /konshensha/)

Other sounds

-h /h/ (glottal fricative in the final position); sometimes not written
-g /k/; sometimes written as just -k
-d /t/; sometimes written as just -t

Sounds from English

“v” pronounced as English “v” (like: vase) (vi)
“z” pronounced as English “z” (like: zebra) (zi)
“x” pronounced as English “x” (like: X-ray) (ex/eks)
“h” like: house (/eitsh/); sometimes written as 'j'


Letters Pronunciation Example Significant
ae aye cae fall, to fall
ai ayi caido fallen, fell
ao aow cuidao take care, cared
ea eya patea kick, to kick
ei eyi rei king
eo eyo video video
ia iya advertencia warning, notice
i.e. iye cien(to) one hundred, hundred
io iyo cancion song
iu iyu saciut to move the hips a little
uo ow institutuo institute
qu ke que what, that, than
gu strong gi guia to guide, guide
ua uwa agua water
ue uwe cuento story
ui uwi cuida care, to take care
oi oye oi hear, to hear

Source: Zamboanga Chavacano Facebook Page

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