Kalat na kalat ngayon sa social media sa Pilipinas yung mga salitang kanto na gaya ng “lodi” (baligtad na baybay ng ‘idol’) at “petmalu” (jumbled syllabication ng ‘malupit’), at marami ang kumukutya rito dahil pauso na naman daw ng mga kabataang mahilig sa mga salitang balbal.
Pero hindi na naman bago ’yan! Iyong mga ibang nakatatanda e para namang hindi dumaan sa pagkabata.
There is really nothing special, surprising, nor stupid in the currently trending social-media street lingo such as “lodi” (reverse spelling of idol, without regard for the pronunciation; for, phonetically, it should have been “lodya”) and “petmalu” (jumbled syllabication of ‘malupet,’ which means virtuosic in the context it was being used).
These so-called codified language or linguistic change, usually coined by young people to provide themselves a sort of a secret language or group lingo, has been in existence since time immemorial.
For instance, the Philippine writer Marcelo H. del Pilar (1850–1896) used the pseudonym ‘Plaridel’ (a syllabic jumbling of his surname).
Jeprox and the Rest of the 1970s
In the 1970s, the Philippine music artist Mike Hanopol coined the word “jeprox” (syllable reversal of “project”; derived from Projects 1–8 in Quezon City where, according to Hanopol, many of his band’s fans hailed from). In fact, over the years, “jeprox” has become a recognized Filipino colloquial that means “old Rockers or Rock-music enthusiasts”; it may be regarded as a Filipino counterpart of the ‘’60s-originating term hippie (from “hip,” meaning culturally or fashionably cool), which in the 2010s has evolved into hipster, which means “young Indie/Alternative music fans.”
Some more syllabic-jumbling lingo that originated in that decade included “haybols” (‘bahay’ / house), “ermat”/”erpat” (mother/father), “repapips” (‘pare’/friend), “dehins” (‘hindi’/no), “alaws” (‘wala’/none), and “senglot” (‘lasing’/drunk).
Bagets and Back to the ’80s
In the 1980s, inspired by the popular teen-oriented movie Bagets (1984, Viva Films), the term “bagets” (derived from the Filipino word ‘bago,’ which means “new”) has long become a widely used colloquial word in the Filipino culture that means “young ones.”
Ona Ibas Om in the ’90s?
In the 1990s, word-reversal lingo became a trend. For instance, “Naas oyat atnup?” (‘Saan tayo punta?’ / Where are we going?). The primary purpose of this was to allow groups of friends to converse with each other in public without others understanding what they were talking about. This way, they could talk about anything they want without worrying about eavesdroppers especially when the topic they were tackling was either confidential or risqué.
Back to the Present
So now, what’s new or wrong with the trending, newly coined words such as ‘lodi’ and ‘petmalu’?
They’re simply the current generation’s contribution to the neverending linguistic evolution and development. Let time decide the fate of these words. After all, every word in a dictionary underwent this long process—from gibberish to colloquialism to legitimacy. And although some words succeed into becoming dictionary entries through time, many fade away and get lost in the garbage of oblivion. Well, that’s the nature of etymology for you.
The Last Leaf
And, mind you, such linguistic corruption or the young ones’ urge to create their own secret language—no matter how absurd or funny sounding such coined words may be—occurs not only in the Philippines but also in perhaps any other culture or country.
For instance, in Canada, loonie (one-dollar coin) and toonie (two-dollar coin) are examples of coined words that began as simply parts of street lingo but which have eventually developed into beoming legitimate parts of Canadians’ everyday language…especially of those who love fried chicken on a Tuesday.