New thoughts on the origins of Zamboangueño (Philippine Creole Spanish)

John M. Lipski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Zamboangueno is the largest and most stable variety of Philippine Creole Spanish (PCS). The pioneering work of Whinnom (1956) grouped all PCS varieties together as 'Spanish contact vernacular-ff-," while the first serious study of Zamboangueno, by Frake (1971), stated that "Philippine Creole Spanish is not simply a Philippine language with unusually heavy Spanish lexical influence, nor is it Spanish with a large number of Philippine loan words. It is a distinct language, easily distinguishable from both its Romance and its Austronesian progenitors...". Two prevailing viewpoints exist on the origins of Zamboangueno, which shows both striking similarities and significant differences with respect to Manila Bay PCS dialects. The first holds that Zamboangueno is the direct offshoot of transplanted Manila Bay PCS, used by garrison troops and enriched by central and southern Philippine elements. The second is that Zamboangueno was formed in situ by repatriated slaves from all parts of the Philippines, who were recaptured from the Moslems of the Sulu Sea and set ashore at Zamboanga's Fort Pilar. The present study attempts to reconcile the similarities and differences among PCS dialects, thereby situating Zamboangueno in a refined geneological perspective. It is suggested that, although certain features of Zamboangueno almost certainly come from Manila Bay PCS, this did not result from a transplantation of a flourishing Manila Bay PCS variety in Zamboanga. Rather, Zamboangueño was formed gradually in a largely downward fashion from received Spanish, aided by two additional components. The first is the inevitable pidginization that resulted in the Spanish garrison at Zamboanga, reinforced by the concentration of freed slaves from all parts of the Philippines. The second was a continuing trickle of Manila Bay PCS speakers into Zamboanga, as well as a general awareness, by Spanish and Zamboangueno speakers, of linguistic features prevailing in Manila Bay PCS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-231
Number of pages35
JournalLanguage Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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