Jejemon, Ondoy finalists for Word of the Year

Posted at 05/28/2010 5:52 PM | Updated as of 05/29/2010 11:07 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Jejemon strikes back!

The word referring to someone who likes to deliberately exaggerate a word's spelling in texting or social networking just might be this year's 'Salita ng Taon' or Word of the Year.

It is in the running for the title along with other new words such as “unli,” “load,” “tarpo,” “spam,” “solb,” “emo,” “namumutbol,” “Ondoy,” and “Ampatuan.”

The 'Salita ng Taon' will be announced on July 30 at Sawikaan 2010: Pambansang Kumperensiya sa Salita ng Taon, an academic conference to be presented by the Filipinas Institute of Translation (FIT), Inc. in cooperation with the Blas Ople Foundation, Anvil Publishing, Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, U.P. Sentro ng Wikang Filipino, and the U.P. College of Arts and Letters.

The Blas Ople Foundation will award a cash prize to the first, second and third prize winners for the Word of the Year.

Jejemon is short for "jeje monster" and is a word patterned after the cartoon Pokemon or pocket monster. The youth who are into jejemon spell "hehehe" as "jejeje", thus the name. They also like to write "hello" in jeje-speak as "eow"; "ako" as "aqouh"; and "po" into "pfouwh."

The DepEd has frowned on jejemon and warned jejemons to use correct grammar and spelling instead.

But jejemons have found allies in the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the Commission on Human Rights, academic and student communities.

Other nominees

The other words nominated for the award have been used by Filipinos in the past two years.

"Unli" is short for "unlimited" and refers to the unlimited texting promos of cellular phone service providers.

"Load" is understood to refer to cellular phone credits.

"Spam" may refer to spam e-mails and text messages.

"Solb" means "solved" while "emo" means "emotional."

"Ondoy" is now an adjective, referring to typhoon Ondoy which flooded Metro Manila last year. People say, "na-Ondoy kami," to mean their place was flooded.

"Ampatuan" means to massacre, in reference to the Maguindanao massacre last year allegedly perpetrated by the Ampatuan clan.

In 2007, "miskol" was declared the Word of the Year. Pinoys use the term to mean not only a call that was not answered. "Isang paraan [ito] ng paramdam, pagyayabang, at iba pang ugaling Filipino," according to Sawikaan organizers.

No words made it as Word of the Year in 2008 and 2009, since the Sawikaan felt there was no new word deserving of the title. This year, many new words have sprung up which could qualify for the title.

Sawikaan accepted the abovementioned words for nomination after ascertaining that these have resulted in a big influence in the socio-cultural, political, economic, and other aspects of Filipino life. The words may be borrowed from a foreign or local language, or may be an old word which have developed a new meaning.

The Word of the Year will be an important addition to the Filipino dictionary.

At the same conference, language experts will discuss ways to develop the national language. Among the speakers will be Dr. Mario I. Miclat, dean of the U.P. Asian Center; Dr. Zeus Salazar, historian; Dr. Jaime Caro, a computer science expert; and Dr. Jesus Federico Hernandez, head of the U.P. Linguistics Department.

To be launched at the conference is the new edition of UP Diksiyonaryong Filipino published by Anvil Publishing which was edited by National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario.