Philippine Embassy and Oxford English Dictionary celebrate Philippine contributions to English

London — An event celebrating the uniqueness and creativity of Philippine English, as seen through the lens of the Oxford English Dictionary, was held at the Philippine Embassy on Friday, 14 June 2019, hosted by the recently inaugurated Sentro Rizal London.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is one of the largest and longest-running language research projects in the world. From its first edition to its latest, the OED has included a large number of words and senses from emerging varieties of English from across the globe, one of which is Philippine English.

The OED’s third and current edition sees the addition of a number of words originating in the Philippines. There are new senses of existing English words like gimmick meaning ‘a night out friends’ and viand meaning ‘a meat, seafood, or vegetable dish that accompanies rice in a typical Filipino meal’; loanwords from Filipino like bongga (‘extravagant, flamboyant; impressive, stylish), halo-halo (a dessert made of mixed fruits, sweet beans, milk, and shaved ice), and kilig (exhilaration or elation caused by an exciting or romantic experience), from Chinese, like pancit (‘noodles’), and from Spanish, like pan de sal (‘a bread roll’) and despedida (‘a going-away party’); and formations in English that are only used in the Philippines, like kikay kit (‘a cosmetics case’), comfort room (‘a toilet’), OFW (‘Overseas Filipino Worker’), and trapo (‘a politician perceived as belonging to a conventional and corrupt ruling class’).

These words and many more will be discussed at the event, which will be attended by His Excellency Antonio Lagdameo, Ambassador of the Philippines to the Court of St James, who will officially open the event and lead the signing and turnover ceremony of the latest edition of the OED. Representing the OED will be Mr John Simpson, former Chief Editor of the dictionary, who will speak about how Philippine vocabulary has been covered by earlier editions of the OED, and Dr Danica Salazar, the dictionary’s World English Editor, who will talk about more recent Philippine additions. Also participating in the event is Dr Ariane Borlongan of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, editor of a handbook on Philippine English soon to be published by Routledge, who will share his thoughts on the current state of Philippine English research.

“Filipinos have enriched the English vocabulary since the language was first introduced to the country on a wide scale at the turn of the 19th century.  Since then, Filipinos have not only contributed new words but have also expanded the meanings of existing ones,” said Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo.  “The Embassy through Sentro Rizal London is proud to work with OED in sharing how Philippine English has evolved over the years.”

“The OED is pleased to have this opportunity to collaborate with Sentro Rizal and to present its work on Philippine English to a Filipino audience in London,’ says Dr Salazar. ‘The dictionary is committed to making space for words from the Philippines, as by doing so, we recognize how its Filipino speakers contribute to the richness and diversity of English.”

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