Journal of Ibero-Romance Creoles

Volume 9 (2019)

Describing creole: researcher perspectives on endangerment and multilingualism in the Chabacano communities

Eeva Sippola (University of Helsinki)

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This paper discusses perspectives on language description and endangerment in creole communities, with a special focus on Chabacano-speaking communities in the Philippines. I will show how, from the early days of research on these varieties, linguists with an interest in Chabacano often present the varieties under study as endangered in a moribund state or aim to describe a ‘pure’ Chabacano system without Philippine or English influences, silencing a great deal of the daily multilingualism and hybrid language practices that have always been present in the communities. In general, this paper sheds light on the complex dynamics of discourses on endangerment and authenticity in research about multilingual communities. It also contributes to the discussion on how these types of contexts challenge common Western assumptions about language loss and on authenticity in multilingual communities. 

Keywords: Chabacano, linguistic research, ideology, authenticity, multilingual communities