Meet Jerome Herrera, the host of the @AsiaLangsOnline Twitter account for December 10-16, 2019

Photo provided by Jerome Herrera.

As part of a new social media campaign to celebrate linguistic diversity online throughout Asia, every week a different language activist and advocate will be taking turns managing the @AsiaLangsOnline Twitter account to share their experiences with the revitalization and promotion of their native languages. This campaign is a collaboration between Rising Voices, the Digital Empowerment Foundation, and the O Foundation.

Each week, the upcoming host will answer several questions about their background and will give a brief overview of their language. This Q&A is with Jerome Herrera (@jeromecherrera) who will provide a sneak preview of what he will be discussing during his week as host.

Rising Voices: Please tell us about yourself.

I started to take interest in my mother tongue when I began to self-study Spanish and I discovered the many glaring similarities between the two languages. This led to a journey of discoveries, a journey filled with awe as I learned how different languages, time, and people shaped the modern Chabacano de Zamboanga language.

Aside from the Chabacano language and personal finance, I am also an advocate of donating blood regularly. Last August 2018, I received the Blood Galloner award from Red Cross.

RV: What is the current status of your language on the internet and offline?

Online, there is much interest in the language driven by nostalgia among those who are part of the Filipino diaspora. Offline, we are seeing a decrease in Chabacano speakers due to preference for other languages such as English and Filipino (the Tagalog based Philippine national language.

RV: On what topics do you plan to focus during the week that you’ll manage the @AsiaLangsOnline Twitter account?

I'd like to talk about:
  • The different ways (especially the young Chabacano speakers) that can be done online and offline to help keep the Chabacano language alive.
  • Similarities between Chabacano and Spanish
  • Origins of certain Chabacano words.
  • What is the local government doing to help keep the Chabacano language alive
  • Is the Chabacano language still relevant today?

RV: What are the main motivations for your digital activism for your language? What are your hopes and dreams for your language?

I want the youth to feel proud of the Chabacano language because there is a sentiment among them that to speak Chabacano is cursi or uncool.

My hope is that one day Zamboangueños will understand and appreciate the importance of the Chabacano language and its significant place in the world stage as well its very unique and colorful history.

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