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Word of the day from the Oxford Dictionary: “bakya” from the Philippines


Marc Jayson Cayabyab (The Philippine Star) – June 24, 2021 – 12:00 am

MANILA, Philippines – The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) introduced the Tagalog word “bakya” as the word of the day on Tuesday, marking its important contribution to Filipino English.

The OED on its official Twitter account posted its definition of bakya as a “type of backless sandal with a thick wooden sole and a strap of rattan, plastic or other material, traditionally worn in rural areas of the Philippines and sometimes having a richly carved ornament. or painted heel.

The dictionary has also given the word “colloquial” or “pejorative” definition to describe someone “who lacks sophistication or sophistication” or who is “rural, rustic (and) nerdy”.

On Facebook, English editor-in-chief of OED World Danica Salazar said bakya is a “Tagalog loan” of the Hokkien word for wooden shoes.

The dictionary cites the American colonial period publication “Annual Report of the Director of Forestry of the Philippine Islands” in 1915, which described bakya as “wooden shoe soles” or “clogs” common in the Philippines and a product of local industry at the time.

The dictionary also cited the Fookien Times Yearbook in 1960 which traced the pejorative root of the term to a description of a “bakya audience” who frequented local cinemas.

These publications showed that the word’s “shoe meaning” has been used in Filipino English since 1916 and the derogatory meaning since the 1960s, Salazar said.

The dictionary also cited a 2015 tweet from an internet user. @MsSheenRiego about the “bakya” description of the phenomenal Filipino TV couple AlDub.

“So some people say watching Aldub is so bakya … So what?” »Read the tweet quoted in the dictionary.

In her 1981 article titled “Philippine Popular Culture: Dimensions and Directions, The State of Research in Philippine Popular Culture” published in the Philippine Studies journal of Ateneo de Manila University, the late critic and historian Doreen Fernandez stated that the meaning The word “pejorative” was coined by a director in the late 1950s to describe popular films consumed by the masses.

“The bakya, the wooden shoe worn by the lower classes, was used to symbolize the low taste reflected in the films, with their melodrama, crying, fighting, romantic formulas and stereotypical character,” Fernandez wrote in the newspaper.

In a 2007 journal entry published in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, the late UP professor emeritus Teresita Maceda defined bakya as an “elite derogatory term for the ‘low’ taste of the Filipino masses or for the Filipino pop culture the masses appreciate.