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Street Slang—Language Isn’t Dead Yet

Takwarents, Eddie, and yorme.

Know what these words mean? You might find it curious that these words are in fact Filipino—well, Manila City street slang’s version to be exact. Recently, Manila’s mayor Isko Moreno has been getting attention with his use of colorful colloquial slang, reminiscent of how locals actually use the language. Translated in plain Filipino, the words above mean kuwarenta (forty), eh di siya (who else but him), and mayor.

Most of these words are created by simply reversing or jumbling the syllables, aptly called tadbalik (baliktad or in reverse). This is a common practice not just in the Philippines but other countries as well, with pig Latin being prime example. Still, some are culture-specific. For example, spiderman in Manileno street slang isn’t the swinging superhero most people would know. Instead, it refers to a person climbing electricity poles to connect their electricity illegally.

Want more? Here are a few more Filipino slang that you might have come across with.

Chugi

Onomatopoeia also plays in the creation of slang words. Taken from the tsug sound one supposedly hears when a person is stabbed, chugi has been used to mean die, literally and figuratively.

Jologs

The popular theory is that the word came from ‘90s teen idol Jolina Magdangal, who was hailed as the queen of baduy (cheap). The term though may have been rooted further in the past with the word diyolog or dilis, tuyo, and itlog (anchovy, dried fish, and egg), a common dish enjoyed by the masses.

Keri

A transliteration of the English verb carry, Filipinos use this word to mean can (do). For example, you’re about to leave the office, but your manager stops you and asks if you can write their speech for tomorrow morning: “Keri!

Petmalu

You aced your exams without reviewing? Petmalu! Unscrambled, the word reads malupet/malupit and has the original meaning of (being) cruel. However, millennials have given it a whole new spin and is now used to refer to something or someone being extremely cool.

Susmariosep! (And yes, the exclamation point is necessary.)

A portmanteau of the Holy Family Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, this word is often used as an interjection indicating surprise. It’s also interesting to see how the word is representative of the country’s religious affiliations.

Language ain’t dead

While you certainly can’t use slang in some situations, it shouldn’t be frowned upon. Slang is an indication of the people’s creativity and ability to create words from existing words—a proof that language is alive, evolving along with the people and the times. While these words are born n the streets and are mostly used in verbal conversations, the now-common usage of text messages, emails, and various forms of social media have made slang creep in written forms of communication as well.

Do your documents contain these kinds of seemingly untranslatable words? Don’t fret! Lexcode’s professional (and petmalu!) translation service can help make your document read as if it were in the original language.