’Yan ang Lodi Ko—Petmalu!

(On Acknowledging an Ongoing Cultural or Linguistic Development)

I find absurdity in those who comment against the use of the currently trending (in social media such as Facebook) colloquial words such as “lodi” (palindrome of idol) and “petmalu” (syllabic jumbling of ‘malupet’/skillful, agile, or awesome). The commenter said, “Ano ba naman yan, mga salitang pang-skwakwa; ang baduy naman!”

What an irony and a display also of ignorance.

Why?

The commenter was ridiculing those who use colloquial words such as lodi and petmalu without realizing that she herself had just also used colloquial terms such as skwakwa (squatters) and baduy (having bad taste; uncool; untrendy).

The point I was making concerning this is that newly coined words such as lodi and petmalu need not be ridiculed.

Because, one, the urge or tendency to coin new words (neologisms) usually through word-spelling reversal (“lodi,” from ‘idol’) or word-pronunciation reversal (“lodya,” from ‘idol’) or syllabic jumbling (“petmalu,” from ‘malupet,’ meaning “exceptional”) to provide one’s clique or generation its own codified lingo is a universal phenomenon; Second, almost every word in a dictionary has undergone this process known as linguistic evolution or development, usually starting from a word’s initially being only a slang/vulgar to colloquial until it becomes a legitimized or dictionarized word through the passing of time, depending on the frequency or popularity of its usage.

Therefore, to laugh at an ongoing cultural or linguistic development is absurd and anti-academic. Anyone who laughs at this does not have a long-term foresight. She fails to realize or foresee that these seemingly funny words can become serious, legitimate words in the future.

For instance, the word ‘butterfly’ is a legitimate word, nothing funny nor absurd with it. But, if one will research its etymology or origin, one might be surprised to find out that the word ‘butterfly’ was coined from the observation that such insect loved perching on butter or secreted cream-like substance, thus the coined word ‘butterfly.’ Funny during that time, but now it’s a dictionary word.

The Last Leaf

In the end, only those who don’t really use colloquial words, ever, have the right to ridicule those who do, without becoming a hypocrite in the process.

Besides, one has to realize that perhaps all the words in the dictionary began their linguistic lives as neologisms. So, one should acknowledge that the seemingly laughable new words that coined usually by teenagers have their validity in the bigger picture of linguistic development.