The Long and Short of It

Even before txtspeak came into common use for Pinoys, we already had a tendency to abbreviate phrases into pocket-sized terms. For one thing, we really like our acronyms as a people. Had the invention of I.T.A.L.Y. been documented, we would definitely celebrate that day as a national holiday. If you care for your healthy eyes, avoid this old list.

If only we would always be as lucky, though. After all, our government’s primary health agency is a Homerism (DOH!). It’s not as ironic, however, as the executive arm in charge of labor concerns. Doesn’t DOLE better communicate unemployment? And if you think we’re being dickish with foreign affairs, you would like to know that the DFA translates in Tagalog to KUP (i.e. Kagawaran ng Ugnayang Panlabas).

A similarly unfortunate acronym may also cause some historically bemused foreigners to wonder how our great nation of brown people had been led by white supremacists against the Spanish during the Philippine Revolution. It was a secret society too, wasn’t it?

It also causes confusion, no doubt, when they see our newspaper headlines. Many of them would ask, “Why must the government concern themselves with sexually attractive mothers when they still have to worry about militant Islamic groups?”

Those are just the acronyms – what about the dreaded contraction-through-apostrophe? I’m sure that there are a handful of unwelcome examples. For now, let’s just consider the word barangay. The barangay is simply the smallest governmental unit in the Philippines, a term that took its name from an ancient Filipino communal ship. There are several ways to shorten that word – some would use bgy, b’gy, bggy or b’ggy, while others would use brgy or b’rgy (e.g. Brgy Ginebra). It is a word that may be abbreviated in the most awesome of cases as b’gay. Running that term through local news sites will get you some interesting results. I cherry-picked two good ones for you:

PDEA probing P’panga b’gay head, cops

Mayoyao gives aid to b’gay execs,workers

Just in case you want to search Google for b’gay, good luck. Be warned that it’ll be difficult to find anything relating to barangay in the search results, so I’ll just point you to the top result: “I like men but not penises”.

Categories: [culture], [language], [pellets]

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