By Alexander Villafania, loQal.ph
QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – Its ubiquity among the general populace and its unique description of a certain sub-culture has made “jejemon” the Filipino word of the year, as decided by several members of the academe, private sector, and publishing firms.
Jejemon beat 10 other words for the distinction of called the “Word of the Year” during the recent Sawikaan 2010 conference held in UP Diliman. It now joins the ranks of “canvass”, “huweteng” (a local numbers game), “lobat” (short for “low battery”) and “miskol” (short for missed call), which were previously chosen.
Other contenders this year were “Ondoy,” referring to the tropical typhoon that caused massive flooding in Metro Manila last year; “tarpo”, an amalgam for “trapo”, a derogatory term for traditional politician and tarpaulin used for election campaigns; and “korkor”, referring to Koreans, who form a large community in the Philippines.
Also declared as finalists were “load”, referring to the prepaid load of mobile phones; “emo”, describing a genre of music; “spam”, referring to unwanted email; “unli”, short for unlimited calls or text messaging; and “solb”, which actually translates to “solve” in English.
“Namumutbol,” though not a commonly said word, also made it to the finals. The literary translation to Filipino means playing football though its presenter, Joselito Delos Reyes, describes it as either literally kicking something away or working for extra pay.
One word in particular, “Ampatuan”, also garnered certain votes during the event but did not make it to the top three. Ostensibly, it refers to the family of politicians in Maguindanao allegedly responsible for the massacre of at least 50 people, more than half of whom were journalists.
The selection of word “finalists”, though, generated criticisms. Those who wrote comments in the blog Forgottengfaerie.com said they have not encountered the words tarpo, korkor, and namumutbol.
The words were reviewed by members of the Filipinas Institute of Translation (FIT), the UP Sentro ng Wikang Filipino, UP College of Arts and Letters, Department of Education, and Commission on Higher Education.
The words were presented by several literary professionals who defended their word nominations. It was Rolando Tolentino of the UP Film Center who presented jejemon.
Renowned poet and writer Victor Emmanuel “Vim” Nadera, National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario and FIT Director Romulo Baquiran, Jr. were among the judges.
Nadera said the words were chosen based on significance of their use among Filipinos as well as recall and the way they were presented and written. A basis for the judging is also on the scholarly approach of the papers that presented the words.
“We’re citing the publishable value of the paper and also if it properly explores the development and etymology of the word being presented,” Nadera said in Filipino.
In choosing the word of the year, Nadera said that word should mirror dynamic evolution of the Filipino language. He said that Filipinos, in their quest to strengthen their identity, tend to “Filipinize” foreign words to describe a totally different idea.
Citing jejemon, he said it is actually a derivative of the Japanese anime Pokemon and Digimon. “Jeje” is added as derivative from the way certain people change the way they indicate their humor, replacing “hehehe” with “jejeje.”
Previous Word of the Year winners have been included in the second edition of the UP “Diksiyunaryong Filipino”, which was launched last July 29 and edited by Almario.
Almario himself said that the fast evolution of the Filipino language is also pushing the boundaries of creating a local dictionary. He said it would take another two more editions before a Filipino dictionary could encompass the majority of the new words that have been constantly added into social communications.
“It’s a never ending process of adding new words and editing old ones whose use have been enhanced or changed along the way,” Almario said.
Photo courtesy of loQal.ph.