Saturday, August 04, 2007


"Miskol" is 2006 word of the year

"Miskol" is word of the year, besting eleven other entries to the 2007 Sawikaan: Salita ng Taon conference held in UP Diliman last August 2-3, 2007. Filipino language scholars, teacher delegates, and students chose the three winning words that include "roro" and "friendster. "

Ateneo de Naga professor Adrian Remodo, miskol paper presenter, said the missed call practice among Filipinos is a world away from the New York usage. While the latter is nothing more than a missed business talk, miskol is enmeshed in the paramdam psychology of Filipinos. That split second ring on one's phone connotes "Buhay pa ako. Magparamdam ka naman." (I am still alive. Please get in touch soon.)

Akin to last year's "lobat", miskol is borne out of the Filipinos' going gaga over cell phone communication. But we claimed the technology and put it to uses peculiar to us. Language plays an important role in this cultural hijacking. We also say " Miskulin mo ako" to register a new cell number, find a misplaced phone, or simply to brag about a newly downloaded ringtone.

The runner up words, roro and friendster are almost as significant as the number one term. Roro is short for roll on-roll off or the inter-island, cross country transport system designed to spur national progress. Kristian Cordero, the Bikolano writer/presenter, said it is a relevant term as it implicates the archipelagic and waterworld transhistory of the Philippines. A political meaning also adheres to this word as the Macapagal administration highlights it as part of its developmental campaign. "Will we take the roro boat trick seriously?," Cordero asked.

Another phenomenon that gripped Filipinos in recent years is Friendster, the cyberspace personal site that connects friends and would be friends. Originally a date search program, more than five million Filipinos appropriated it as substitute to eyeballing and as a kind of conquest of the space/time barrier. Ateneo de Manila's Boom Enriquez said, Friendster and other cyperspace interlinks create a "third space" for the stressed-out yuppies. It is a place where one can present one's true or invented identity and forget the vulgarity of real life.

Other words that played important roles in contemporary Filipino life include sutukil (short Visayan sugba-tula-kilaw) , videoke, make over, telenobela, extra judicial killing, party list, abrodista, oragon, and safety.

Equally productive were the panel discussions on Filipino as global language by professors Florentino Hornedo and Ruth Elynia Mabanglo and the lectures on Mexican and French language development by Ambassador Erendira Araceli Paz Campos and First Secretary Georges-Gaston Feydeau. The participants learned insights relevant to the Filipino language advocacy.

Last year's conference papers are now available in book form, Sawikaan 2006 (Roberto T. AƱonuevo and Galileo Zafra, editors. Quezon City:University of the Philippines Press, 2007) which was launched during the conference. National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario, UP Diliman Chancellor Sergio S. Cao and book illustrator Pandi Aviado attended the event. They also opened the illustration exhibit held at the venue's adjoining gallery.

Sawikaan underscores the primary role of language in how we Filipinos perceive and make sense of the world. The roster of entries to this year's conference patently proves this. Sawikaan 2007 is funded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Blas Ople Foundation, and spearheaded by the Filipinas Institute of Translation (FIT). The UP President's Office, UP Diliman Chancellor's Office, and the UP College of Arts and Letters were also important sponsors. Visit www.sawikaan. net for more information.


Maryanne Moll said...

Hey, there's me! Haha.

Congrats to you and Adrian!

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Maryanne: So that's you? Not bad.:D

shay.delgado said...

bro i just happen to stumble at your blog while looking for bikolano bloggers. will add u to my blogroll. maorag ang blog mo! hug back!

filipinayzd_i_ph said...

Anong not bad? :D
Bali kamo sa sunod!

Kristian said...

di magbali ka. go! besides, iyo man talaga gayod an dapat na mangyari.