Experts explain 'lodi,' 'petmalu,' and 'werpa'

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 26) — In a country that is home to at least 60 million internet users and spends an average of four hours  on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, it's no surprise that new lingo evolves.

Earlier this year, netizens shortened "best friend" into "bes." This morphed into "beshie"' or "beshiecake."

If you're active on social media, you may have come across the terms "lodi," "petmalu," and "werpa."

 

 

 

 

"Lodi" is "idol" spelled in reverse. "Petmalu" is a syllabic reversal of 'malupit', the Tagalog term for "cruel." 'Werpa" is another syllabic reversal of the word "power."

But experts say this style of twisting words and making it part of our daily conversation is nothing new.

'Tadbaliks' part of history

University of the Philippines Linguistics professor Jay-ar Igno refers to the word reversal as the 'tadbalik' style of wording.

"Hindi siya masama, ito ay bahagi ng natural na katangian ng wika at ang wika ay nagbabago sa pagdating ng panahon" the professor explains.

[Translation: It's not bad for our language. It's the nature of every language to change and adapt to chaning times.]

He also calls this trend a result of Filipinos' creativity.

"Ang pagkakaroon ng mga ganitong salita product siya ng creativity ng tao. May kakayahan tayo mag-create o makabuo ng expression na produkto rin ng nag-eexist na salita."

[Translation: New words like these shows our creativity and our ability to create expressions and words out of existing words.]

Language is evolving

Roy Cagalingan of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino tells CNN Philippines that this manner of reversing or rearranging letters of a word can be traced back to the 19th century Philippine revolution.

"Kung mula tayo sa panahon ng 'erpa', panahon ng 'yosi,' panahon ng 'batsi', o kung anuman 'amats,' bumabalik lang ang fashion sa ibang panahon." Cagalingan said.

Translation: It started with 'erpa" (pare), yosi (sigarilyo/cigarette), batsi (sibat), and amats (tama), it's like fashion that comes and goes.

"Hindi lang ito noong 70s nangyari rin ito kahit noong panahon ng katipunan o himagsikan," he adds.

[Translation: This did not only happen in the 70s, it only happened during the revolution.]

Katipuneros used secret codes in order to hide their identity and evade authorities. Writer-patriot Marcelo Del Pilar used the pen name 'Plaridel' a jumbled  version of his last name 'Del Pilar'

Experts say only time will tell if these words will become part of the Filipino language or turn obsolete.

"May life span ang mga salita, ma-oobsolete o hindi na pwede gamitin o pwede ring mula sa slang magiging bahagi siya ng pang araw araw na pananalita at magiging standard," says Cagalingan.

Translation: Words have their own life span, it can become obsolete, it can also be part of our everyday coversation.

But they say it helps make the Filipino language capture the spirit of the times, by defining a subgroup.

An example of this is Filipino gay lingo or 'beki lingo', which until now is being used  by the LGBT community and even outsiders.

As Filipinos spend more time on social media, expect more words new words from an old trend to be part of the online community.

"Reaksyon din kasi natin ito sa gusto nating magkaroon ng wika sa social media na malapit nga sa tinatawag nating 'slang' na code siya ng ilang sub-group," says Cagalingan. "Code siya ng ilang mga tao para magkaunawaan," he added.

Translation: This is our way of creating our language in the digital space. Words that maybe unique but netizens can all understand.