Wednesday, November 3, 2010


American Dialect Society gave birth to it.

More than a hundred authors, editors, etymologists, grammarians, historians, lexicographers, linguists, professors, researchers, scholars, university students, and writers discussed and debated on what ought to be The Word of the Year.

Twenty years saw the 121-year old ADS picked the following outstanding words: bushlips (1990); mother of all (1991); not! (1992); information superhighway (1993); cyber, morph (1994); web, newt (1995); mom (1996); millennium bug (1997); e- (1998); Y2K (1999); chad (2000); 9-11 (2001); weapons of mass destruction (2002); metrosexual (2003); red state, blue state, purple state (2004); truthiness (2005); plutoed (2006); subprime (2007); bailout (2008); and tweet (2009).

Last year, the New Oxford American Dictionary had its own choice too.

NOAD preferred “unfriend" to netbook, sexting, paywall, birther and death panel.

According to Christine Lindberg, its senior lexicographer, "unfriend has real lex-appeal." all because “it has both currency and potential longevity."

Perhaps, it had all the reason in the world why it honored carbon neutral, locavore, grass station, hypermilling, and the rest.

Erin McKean, NOAD editor-in-chief, told an inspiring success story about their WOTY in 2005: “Podcast was considered for inclusion last year, but we found that not enough people were using it, or were even familiar with the concept. This year it"s a completely different story. The word has finally caught up with the rest of the iPod phenomenon. You'd be amazed at how hard our editors campaign for their favorites. I'm surprised nobody tried to bribe me except that the only thing I really want is more cool new words!”

Here, in the Philippines, we let the delegates to the Pambansang Kumperensiya sa Pagpapayaman ng Wikang Filipino and Sawikaan 2010 decide as to what would be our “People's Choice” awardee.

More often than not, the award went to the best paper presentation.

This year it is for the word tarpo presented by Prof. Jelson Estrella Capilos, a Thomasian who serves as the DX Foundation Inc. president.

For 2010, our Salita ng Taon is jejemon!

Dr. Roland Tolentino, dean of the University of the Philippines' College of Mass Communications, defended it as if he himself is a jejemon: “Sa aking palagay, ang jejemon ay hindi naman pangalang nanggaling sa mismong hanay ng jologs, tulad ng salitang “jologs” mismo. Ipinataw lamang ito mula sa penomenong global, galing ng Latin Amerika, gamit ng naghihikahos doon at mga bakla. At kung gayon, ang paglikha ng transglobal na lokalidad ng pagkaetsapwera ng naisantabing mamamayan. Alam ng mga sub-uring ito ang kanilang pagkaetsapwera, at ang kapangyarihan ng pag-etsapwera ay ang kawalang-magagawa hinggil dito kundi ilantad ang laban sa larangan ng kultural.”

How can the jury disagree?

Closely running second was ondoy presented by Prof. Jason Petras from the U.P. College of Arts and Letters and U.P. Open University.

There was a tie between his colleague, Prof. Shedar Jocson, who fought for korkor, and, yes, Prof. Capilos who also took lobat to the top as the Salita ng Taon for 2006.

We at the Filipinas Institute of Translation (FIT) Inc. spearheaded such thankless job when our adviser, National Artist Virgilio Almario, and the Board of Directors, approved the proposal of P.T. Martin to filipinize the Word of the Year.

Six years ago, we started our search, initially with the Blas F. Ople Foundation, Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas, and Likhaan: U.P. Institute of Creative Writing.

The very first winner in 2004 was Prof. Randolf David of the U.P. Department of Sociology for his canvass, defeating Dr. Ruby Gamboa Alcantara's tapsilog; Mr. Teo Antonio's kinse anyos; Prof. Alwin Aguirre and Prof. Michelle Ong's jologs; Engr.Abdon Balde, Jr.'s salbakuta; Prof. Romulo Baquiran, Jr.'s dagdag-bawas; Dr. Jimmuel Naval's fashionista; Mr.Leuterio Nicolas' terorista/terorismo;Prof. Sarah Raymundo's text; and the late Prof. Rene Villanueva's otso-otso. Dr. Delfin Tolentinos' ukay-ukay, which we presented and performed, was the first runner-up, followed by Rene Boy Facunlaa.k.a. Ate Glow's tsika and Dr. Roland Tolentino's tsugi. Even National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera pushed his luck in the name of his favorite literary term for “effect,” that is dating!

When poet and Palanca Hall of Famer, Robert Aňonuevo, won the following year, for his huweteng, he became part of FIT Board composed of the above mentioned authors and editors with Dr. Alcantara, Prof. Baquiran, Jr., Dr. Mike Coroza, Dr. Mario Miclat, Mr. Nicolas, and Dr. Galileo Zafra who used to be director of U.P. Sentro ng Wikang Filipino, whose office, at the U.P. School of Urban Planning, is where we usually meet.

Other strong contenders in 2005 were Prof. Michael Francis Andrada's tsunami; Prof. Capilos' networking; Prof. Vladimeir Gonzales's blog; Prof. Yolando Jamendang Jr.'s wiretapping; Mr. Nicolas' e-vat; Mr. Silvestre Jay Pascual III's call center; Mr. James Kenneth Sindayen's caregiver; Ms. Sharlene Valencia's coño; and the later Prof. Winton Lou Ynion's gandára. Dr. Patrick Flores's pasawáy as well as Mr. Salvador Biglaen and Mrs. April Imson's tibak/t-back were ranked second and third respectively.

When Prof. Capilos' lobat won in 2006, he triumphed over Dr. Luis Gatmaitan's botox, second prize; and Prof. Andrada's toxic, third prize. Prof. Jamendang Jr.'s birdflu; Mr. Ruben Surriga's cha-cha; Ms. Rachelle Joy Rodriguez's karir; Dr. Naval's mall; Ms. Rosalina Mendigo's meningo; Prof. Petras' orocan; Prof. Torralba's payreted and his wife, Prof. Elyrah Salanga-Torralba's spa were also published in the book Sawikaan 2006 with the paper of our guest from Instituto Cervantes who talked about The Experience of Spain in Developing a National Language. What was memorable was the first contestant from Iloilo, Mr. Chem Pantorilla, who introduced an old Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Tagalog word – kudkod -- not only meaning “to grate” but “to chat” in the internet, too.

It opened the door to regional words like the coined – sutokil (or sugba, tola, and kilaw) -- to compete with Ms. Mendigo' abrodista; Prof. Andrada's extrajudicial killing; Ms. Rodriguez's makeover; Prof. Danila Madrid Gerona's oragon; Prof. Gonzales' partylist; Prof. Petras' safety; Ms. Pauline Hernando's telenobela' and Prof. Torralba's videoke -- in 2007 when Prof. Adrian Remodo and Prof. Kristian Cordero travelled all the way from Ateneo de Naga University to present miskol and roro and, eventually, placing first and second, respectively, with Mr. Boom Enriquez's friendster, as third-placer.

FIT officers deemed it necessary to rest in 2008 to prepare for Ambagan: Kumperensiya sa Paglikom ng Salita mula sa Iba't Ibang Wika sa Filipinas held on 5-6 March last year to gather together important words from our regions that make it to the

Anvil Publishing Inc.'s U.P. Diksiyonaryong Filipino, edited by Dr. Almario, whose revised edition was launched during Sawikaan 2010 last Thursday.

It is nicknamed “Oxford Filipino Dictionary.”

During the term of Pres. Corazon Aquino, the Oxford English Dictionary defined the word “filipina” as “domestic helper.” When we protested, that authoritative dictionary amended it. Then a modern Greek dictionary authored by George Babiniotis had an entry “filipineza” to mean “domestic worker from the Philippines or a person who performs non-essential, auxiliary tasks." Pres. Joseph Estrada reportedly urged the Greek government to immediately correct the definition to maintain its "cordial relations" with the Philippines.

No news was heard about it anymore bigger than jejemon being our Salita ng Taon!

Sticks and stones may break our bones, so they say, but words will never hurt us?


In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts... So in old England , when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them “Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down.” It's where we get the phrase “mind your P's and Q's.”


A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

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