Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier



Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Hispanic Literatures & Linguistics

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Patricia Gubitosi

Second Advisor

Luiz Amaral

Third Advisor

Emiliana Cruz

Subject Categories

Spanish Linguistics


Cavite Chabacano is one of the Philippine Creole Spanish varieties that emerged during the Spanish colonial occupation of the Philippines. It is a Spanish-lexified, Tagalog-substrate contact language spoken in Cavite City in the Manila Bay region. An evaluation conducted by Lesho and Sippola (2013) using the UNESCO framework for assessing language vitality indicates that the creole variety is critically endangered. The number of Cavite Chabacano speakers is currently in decline due to the position of Tagalog being the majority language in Cavite City.

Pronominal variation in the speech of Cavite Chabacano speakers and language shift from Cavite Chabacano to Tagalog in Cavite City are explored in this dissertation. That said, the objective of this dissertation is multifaceted. First, it presents support to theoretical claims on codeswitching as a socially motivated act. Second, it assesses the role of codeswitching in language shift. In particular, it investigates Matrix Language turnover hypothesis by Myers-Scotton (1998), which puts forward that intrasentential codeswitching may cause language shift. Third, it provides an assessment of the degree of language shift within the community, and the speakers’ attitudes towards the languages spoken within it and towards codeswitching. Fourth, it documents a critically endangered creole variety. Variationist analysis of recorded dyadic conversations between speakers of Cavite Chabacano and quantitative analysis of their language use and attitudes using a survey questionnaire were employed to carry out this work.

The results show that the social factor groups of age, topic of conversation, education, and language use at work; and linguistic factor groups of number, and person are found to be significant in the pronominal variation in Cavite Chabacano. Although the use of Tagalog pronouns in Cavite Chabacano is at a low rate, the significant variables in these factor groups suggest that Cavite Chabacano is converging to Tagalog. In addition, the results indicate that although speakers have a positive attitude towards the creole variety, it shows to be of no aid in maintaining it. Notwithstanding, speakers deem that learning the creole variety is valuable and that it should be a requirement in the school curriculum.