Bongga! More Filipino words now in Oxford English Dictionary

Frank Cimatu

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Bongga! More Filipino words now in Oxford English Dictionary
In time for the election season in the Philippines, the word ‘trapo’ is also listed in the OED

BAGUIO, Philippines – As the election season starts in the country, what better way to welcome it than having the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) include one of the most popular Filipino word in politics? 

“Trapo” is one of the 1,400 words, senses, and phrases included in the 2018 edition of the OED.

“In Philippine English, a trapo is a politician perceived as belonging to a conventional and corrupt ruling class,” said the OED press statement for October.

“Trapo’s complex etymology exemplifies the multilingualism of the Philippines: it is an abbreviation of the English phrase ‘traditional politician,’ but with punning allusion to the Tagalog word trapo (‘rag’), which in turn is borrowed from Spanish.” 

In an unexpected tribute to Rene Garcia, the newly-departed vocalist of the ’70’s band, “Hotdog,” OED also included “bongga” in its dictionary. OED defines it as “extravagant, flamboyant, impressive, stylish, or (more generally) excellent.”

“Bongga ka, Day” is Hotdog’s New-Wavish hit.

Other Filipino words to make it this year are mostly culinary: bagoong, bihon, calamansi, carinderia, sorbetes, and turon.

Bagoong is defined as “a sauce or paste made from fermented or salted fish, used as a condiment.”

Bihon is “very long, thin noodles made with rice flour, or a dish made with these noodles.”

Sorbetes, instead of Filipinos’ definition as “dirty ice cream,” has been narrowed to ice cream especially made from coconut milk.

Carinderia is a food stall with limited seating, typically near the market or roadside. 

Turon, which was said to have been based on the Spanish turron (nougat), is “sliced bananas or other fruit rolled in a thin layer of pastry and deep-fried, served as a dessert or snack.”

Many of the new words are cinematic in origin, creating adjectives based on famous directors’ names, like Altmanesque, Bunuelian, Eisenteinian, Godardian, Indiana Jones, Kubrickian, Langian, Lynchian, Nollywood, Tarantinoesque and Tarkovskian. – 


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