Words at play

When good conversations boil up, there are a few words and phrases that we use that is often understood by us (the family) alone. Some of them are just made-up words or, Ilocano phrases (because Ilocano is our first language) that eventually becomes our expression. Eventually, they became part of our conversations.

Some of the expressions that we use are inspired by a certain person or something that he did. An example of it is “daddy stories”. Our dad would tell stories but when he notices that no one is interested or, if everyone is too interested in it, he would make something up and add it to the real story. The story then becomes false. Now, we use “daddy stories” when we describe an untruthful story (e.g. “What a daddy story, misleading people about what really happened”).

“Ayuh!” This is an Ilocano expression that we often use. We say this when we are irritated about something or, when are already frustrated. This became special to us because by merely mentioning it, one already knows what the other is feeling.

“Mama old” and “Papa old.” We do not consider both as expressions but, they are how we address our grandparents. We did not want to call them “lolo” or “lola” but we wanted to them to be called “mama” and “papa”. But because every time we address them that way, and our parent are around, everyone gets confused on who is calling who. They came up with an idea of adding “old” to “mama” and “papa”, because they were already old anyway, to avoid confusion.

“Smartmatic.” After the election when the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) first started using the PCOS machines, a few markers that were used were left. The markers had Smartmatic’s name printed on its side. Because my mom works for the COMELEC, we would see her using those markers, and when we would borrow from her those markers, she would say, “Oh ayan, gamitin mo muna itong Smartmatic.” Weirdly enough, after, we did not address markers as “markers” at home anymore. We already call them “Smartmatic” even if it is not from Smartmatic anymore. (e.g. “Paabot naman ng Smartmatic, kahit anong kulay”).

“Daya”. For our family, “daya” means our business establishment or construction supply. “Daya” is the Iloco translation of west, and our construction site is located on the west side of our town. However, our house is located on the east side of our town. Without any reason, we started addressing our construction site as “daya” especially when we are at our house and would talk about our construction site. (e.g. “Nanapan ni daddy’m diay daya” or “Your dad already went to our construction site”).

People are fond of playing with words. Maybe this became an effect of the evolution of language. Without noticing it, we grow to create our own words, phrases or expressions even if not everyone can understand. They turn into codes of our own that we can only appreciate. K KRYSTAL GAYLE DIGAY


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