Xerox vs. Photocopy
There are debates happening these days regarding the complaint of Fuji Xerox -- the merged company of Fuji Film and Xerox -- to not use the term "xerox" to mean the physical copying of documents. There are some who agreed to this, saying that the correct term anyway is "photo copy". But there are also in the camp that shrugged this off and said "goodluck with that."
So who is correct? And can threat of legal action compel people to not use the term that has been the standard way of referring to photo copying?
Throughout history, there have been numerous times when a term was misused or mistranslated and the incorrect word has stuck. Even in the United States itself, during the 1970's, "Xerox" was the term use for photocopying. Xerography was what they called the engineering process behind photocopying.
During the 1800's When the planet Mars was being examined with newly invented telescopes, a mistranslation from the Italian word for "Channels" (as in water channels) to "Canals" (which are not naturally forming) led to an uproar to the existence of Martians.
Additionally, countries take in words from other cultures and make it their own. Koreans have long used words like "Internet" and made it part of their own language. Given the Philippines' rich history with different cultures, our language consists of words from Spain, China, Malay, English, Japanese and others.
For example: kampay is from the Japanese kanpai; siomai is Chinese shumai; lunes is Spanish; bato is Malay, etc.
So, where does this leave us with the Fuji Xerox issue? Well, the issue might just die down and Filipinos will just be left to evolve the language as had been done for generations. It is possible that with awareness, people will use the term "xerox" less and less. That is certainly the desire of Fuji Xerox. Or perhaps people will not care either way.
In the history of our country, there are words that are no longer rarely (e.g., bukang liwayway), and new words are being created (e.g., yorme) as we go through time. In the end, languages evolve, ours included. It is part of our national identity and that is how it has always been.
A people's vernacular is a continuously evolving entity. Through time, it is influenced by the events that happen in their collective consciousness. The British people, for example, have contributed the term "Brexit" as it's debated currently in their country. Pretty much in the same vein, the term "tokhang" has been coined in the Philippines. So much so that it is the 2018 Filipino Word of the Year.
The word itself is derived from the combination of two words: "Toktok" which is the sound of a door knock and "hangyo" a Cebuano word which means to politely request. In the context of the police using OPLAN (Operation Plan) Tokhang, it means to knock door-to-door and politely request to investigate a dwelling of illegal drugs and paraphernalia. But now it means something else. To better understand it, let us review a bit of recent history.
When the current Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, was still mayor of Davao City in the Philippine South, the city was considered the safest and cleanest in the entire country. This reputation in part is what made Duterte win the presidential race.
Davao's reputation was in large part due to Duterte's single-minded punishment of the drug users and dealers there. When he won the presidential seat in 2016, he was worked to expand this way of governing to a national scale.
Right away, police authorities were given the mandate to rid the country of drug elements and the blessing to execute it. Unfortunately and unsurprisingly it has devolved into heavy-handed tactics by the police. We all know the story: Police come in barging at the door and at times executing individuals without due process. The police reasoned out that the people fought or resisted arrest. Of course dead men tell no tales and cannot refute this account.
This has attracted media scrutiny from both local and international news outlets. President Duterte has fought back and Tokhang has been a contentious topic ever since. Right now, the operation is paused until further notice.
And so the word "tokhang", which initially meant something innocent is associated to a dangerous and dark time of the Philippines.
Expressions such as "ma-tokhang ka diyan" (you might get caught in operation tokhang) implies that people are wary of being framed or worse killed without judicial process. Or when people talk about someone they knew who died, they would say "na-tokhang", to mean the person who died was caught in a drug raid.
There is currently little being done about this. And it might take years after the dust has settled for what history will make up of this period in the Filipino people's history.
How about you, what do you think? Do you agree with the infamy this term has garnered? You can post comments on this word's definition page.
C5, outside of the Philippines, is more readily attributed as a type of explosive. In the Philippines, it is the name of a popular road that thousands of commuters pass through each day. It stands for "Circumferential Road #5". But what exactly does that mean? And if it is number five, where are the others?
By it's name "circumferential", one can imagine it a curved road that bounds a center. In many urban architectures, cities have taken a lot of different ways in how they design their streets and blocks. The easiest and most intuitive is the grid architecture. Made famous by such cities as New York (image below) and Chicago. These are also relatively young cities.
Still some cities defied this grid design. Boston for example simply followed the old cart roads that were there before the invention of the automobile. When it was time to pave the roads, they followed the path of least resistance instead of demolishing existing structures.
Relatively older ones follow a "radial" architecture. There is a central area or a structure and houses or establishments are arranged by significance. Imaging something similar to a bicycle wheel with a center, with spokes going out and a set of circumferential roads of varying distance from the center, connecting the radial roads, with the farther circumferential roads much longer than the inner ones.
Whereas the grid architecture is prevalent in countries like the U.S. in both it's cities and towns, the radial architecture is found in a number of Philippine cities. This is not surprising as it was introduced by the Spanish. Madrid itself has the same architecture. The town center would be the church, and according to their doctrine the closer you are to the church, the more important you are.
So now the question would be, what is the center of the circumferential roads in Metro Manila? Funny enough it is not a church. It is actually the Rizal shrine in Pasay city. Circumferential roads from C1 to C6 roughly bound this common center.
So next time a friend ask you what C5 is, or why it is so, you have something to say about it.
See it's definition page.
Bahaghari is the Filipino word for rainbow. It is a curious word because it literally means "bahag ng hari" or loincloth of the king. How was it that the word for rainbow came from the composition of those words?
Let's begin with "Bahag". It is a traditional garment worn by indigenous tribes before the coming of Europeans. It consists of a strap part that attaches to the waist, and a scarf like part that covers the front and back of one's lower half, but exposes the legs. It is mostly associated with peoples from the Cordillera region.
Today, such bahag comes in intricate designs, colors and patterns. However, long before Europeans came, it was hard to make and was such a luxury. The common folks who could afford them had them in plain colors. Rulers or kings on the other hand, were able to afford multi-colored ones. The difficulty of creating such design at the time served as a symbol of both power and reverence.
Consequently a rainbow, with it's similar multicolored bands resembled the garment's patterns, they referred to it as the King's Loincloth, Bahag ng Hari or Bahaghari.
See it's definition page.
The first mention of the word 'netizen' was on 1993 from the book "Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet" [PDF excerpt] by Michael and Ronda Hauben. Though it was a team, the term is generally credited to Michael as having invented it. It was a time when Usenets and bulletin board systems were the popular means of interacting online. And Michael was quite active.
The word is a merging of two words, Internet and citizen and basically means a "citizen of the Internet". A borderless world inhabited by online identities, typically anonymous, and by ideas.
It went to mean someone who actively participates in the online community, sharing their ideas and influencing others. Today, it means someone who regularly logs on to online communities, especially on hugely popular social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc.
With Filipinos becoming world's #1 in terms of social media consumption, it has regularly been used by news and local pop culture. This group is generally comprised of young, well-educated, intelligent sub segment of the population who are more Internet-savvy than their preceding generations.<
See it's definition page.
The City of Olongapo is a 1st class in the province of Zambales. Though it is not the capital, it is the most highly urbanized one.
The origin of the term "Olongapo" pre-dates Spanish occupation and is from the stuffs of legends. The story goes something like: during those early times, there were warring tribes that share same area of lush and fertile lands. One of tribe elders named "Apo" has gotten weary of the fighting and was seeking to make peace and unify the factions.
His plan was to pay each tribal head a visit. There were those unfortunately who did not see the positive points in unifying the tribes. After some time, his own tribe got worried and launch a search party.
After a significant search effort, his body was found with the head missing. One day, a young boy from Apo's village happened to find his head and shouted "Olo nin apo!" (The head of Apo!) He kept shouting the same phrase over and over until the area was called that and eventually settled to "Olongapo".
Today, a monument stands erect at the center of the city to commemorate this legend.
See it's definition page.
The word "tol" gained popularity in the 90's to refer to someone close, generally a male. Similar to how the word "buddy" is used in English. It started usage in local shows and later spread in local movies. These days, it is considered slang, with the emergence of other words to refer to other people like "kuya", "bes".
The word is sometimes spelled as "'tol" with a single apostrophe at the beginning to indicate it is a shortened version. The expanded word is "utol", which has a slightly different meaning and is used in slightly different contexts. It means "sibling" and can refer to both brother and sister.
Mag-utol yang si Anna at Jerry. (Anna and Jerry are siblings.)
Utol ko si Karen. (Karen is my sister.)
The word "utol" is a shortened version of another word -- kaputol. Which which has a rough literal translation of "Parts from a whole". In this case, this is the more formal word for a sibling. "Parts of a whole" refers to siblings as being parts of a whole family.
See it's definition page.
Fotobam is the Filipinized word for "photobomb", or the act of someone getting into the frame of a picture as a practical joke to sabotage the picture. The joke is on the sake of thepicture taker or the subject(s).
For as long as the camera has been around, there have been photobombers, as a light hearted way to poke fun at the then somewhat serious task of posing for pictures. But in recent times, the term has gained notoreity with the ubiquity of digital cameras and the Internet.
This was submitted for the 2016 Filipino word of the year. The winner is usually one that has captured the country's imagination and has played a significant role in the evolution of the Filipino culture for the past few years. And so why has it won first place?
Filipinos is unique in the sense that they are the most selfie-centric nation in the world. Manila was dubbed the selfie capital of the world, this despite not having an appearance-obssessed culture like second-placer New York and third-placer Milan
With this love for selfies, combined with our love for laughs, it is not surprising that we have our share of "fotobamers". And year 2016, there was a rather unique, fiery and controversial issue. For fotobamers are typically individual(s) who are playing a joke, the controversial fotobamer in this case is that of a high rise condominium that was the first to dramatically alter the skyline of the monument commemorating the country's national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal. The Rizal monument at Luneta park has stood as a picturesque landmark worthy of memorable pictures.
And it has gotten to a boiling point. Those against the altering of the skyline were indignant at the blatant lack of consideration that the monument has stayed with a relatively clean skyline for decades. While the proponents of the building say they have not broken any laws.
But whatever will the result be, the high rise building is said to fotobam the monument. Hence, the word has since been added to our vernacular.
See it's definition page.