MANILA, Philippines - Not even a typhoon can stop the jejemon, a person who likes to deliberately exaggerate a word's spelling in text messaging and social networks.
Despite being bashed by the grammar police, he certainly had the last laugh, or should we say, "jejeje."
Besting 9 other finalists, jejemon was chosen as Salita ng Taon (Word of the Year) in this year's Sawikaan 2010 organized by the Filipinas Institute of Translation Inc. (FIT). The academic conference was held in the University of the Philippines from July 29 to 30.
The winning word was chosen based on its impact on the socio-cultural, political, social, economic and other aspects of Filipino life in the past 2 years.
With its victory at this year's Sawikaan, jejemon has become a significant addition to Filipino vocabulary and a welcome dictionary entry.
The word jejemon is said to be derived from jeje -- a substitute word for heheor the SMS term for laughter -- and mon, taken from the popular cartoon of trainable monsters called Pokemon (pocket monsters).
People branded as such deliberately exaggerate ordinary words by adding or subtracting letters, or by using a mixture of upper-case and lower-case letters -- even numbers -- in written communication.
The word "hello," for instance, is translated to jejespeak as eow.
The Department of Education has frowned on jejemons and warned them to use the correct grammar and spelling of words instead.
Other groups, however, have expressed support, if not indifference, to those who are part of the new subculture.
Closely running second in the Sawikaan 2010 was Ondoy, an adjective referring to a typhoon with the same name which hit Metro Manila late last year.
Other finalists include those that have been used by Filipinos in the past 2 years such as:
- Unli - refers to the "unlimited call and text messaging" promos offered by mobile service providers.
- Load - mobile prepaid credits.
- Solb - a Tagalog word for "problem solved."
- Emo - a shortened version of the word "emotional."
- Ampatuan - the last name of a clan linked to a massacre in Maguindanao.
- Spam - refers to spam e-mails and text messages.
- Tarpo - refers to tarpaulin streamers and posters.
- Namumutbol - a word derived from "football."
In the last Sawikaan held in 2007, the Word of the Year was miskol, a Tagalog term for "missed call," or a call that was not answered.
No words made it as Word of the Year in 2008 and 2009, since Sawikaan organizers felt there was no new word deserving of the title.