Dictionary book

Bongga, kilig, pandesal enter the Oxford dictionary


MANILA, Philippines – The third and latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) sees the addition of a number of words originating in the Philippines such as bongga, despedida, gimmick, halo-halo, kikay kit, kilig, Filipino worker abroad or OFW, pandesal and trapo, also expanding the meaning of some existing English words.

An event celebrating the uniqueness and creativity of Filipino English, seen through the lens of OED, was held at the Philippine Embassy in the UK, hosted by the recently inaugurated Sentro Rizal London.

OED is one of the largest and oldest linguistic research projects in the world. From its first edition to its last edition, OED has included a large number of words and meanings from emerging varieties of English from around the world, including Filipino English.

There are new meanings of existing English words like gimmick or evening with friends and meat, which means “dish of meat, seafood or vegetables that accompanies rice in a typical Filipino meal”.

Words borrowed from the Filipinos include bongga (extravagant, flamboyant; impressive, elegant), halo-halo (a dessert made of mixed fruits, sweet beans, milk and crushed ice) and kilig (euphoria or elation caused by an exciting experience. or romantic).

Other borrowed words come from Chinese, such as pancit (noodles) and Spanish, such as pandesal (bun) and despedida (departure party).

English courses that are only used in the Philippines include the kikay kit (cosmetic case), comfort room (toilet), OFW, and trapo (traditional politician perceived to belong to a corrupt ruling class).

The new additions to OED were discussed at the event, in the presence of Philippine Ambassador to the UK Antonio Lagdameo, who opened the signing and renewal ceremony for the latest edition of the dictionary.

“Filipinos have enriched the English vocabulary since the language was first introduced to the country on a large scale at the turn of the 19th century. Since then, Filipinos have not only brought new words, but also broadened the meaning of those that already existed, ”Lagdameo said.

He added that the Embassy through Sentro Rizal London is proud to work with OED to share the evolution of Filipino English over the years.

The OED was represented by John Simpson, its former editor-in-chief, who explained how the Filipino vocabulary was covered by previous editions of the dictionary and Danica Salazar, editor-in-chief of the dictionary’s Global English, who spoke of the most recent Filipino additions.

“OED is pleased to have this opportunity to collaborate with Sentro Rizal and present his work on Filipino English to a Filipino audience in London,” said Salazar.

“The dictionary is committed to making room for words from the Philippines, because in doing so, we recognize how its Filipino speakers contribute to the richness and diversity of English,” she added.

Also attending the ceremony was Ariane Borlongan from the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, editor of a textbook on Filipino English to be published by Routledge, who spoke about the state of English research in the Philippines.