Monday, November 22, 2010


Here’s the introductory piece in my book Showbiz Lengua: Chika and Chismax about Chuvachuchu (Anvil Publishing, 2010), the compilation of 68 columns that I wrote for YES! Magazine from 2003 to 2009.


ONCE UPON A TIME I had a language column on Pinoy English called “Carabeef Lengua.” The column “Showbiz Lengua,” which appears in YES! Magazine, a glossy showbiz monthly, focuses this time around on the language of Pinoy showbiz—the fascinating, exasperating, continually evolving lingo of the entertainment industry.

I don’t claim to be a linguist or a lexicographer. I just happen to be a diligent consulter of dictionaries. In fact, as soon as I wrote that last sentence, I checked out my Merriam-Webster to see if the word consulter is in it. I am glad to report that it is. In the process, I learned that there is such a word as consultor, which has been in use since 1611 and means “one who consults or advises; especially: an adviser to a Roman Catholic bishop, provincial, or sacred congregation.”

In other words, a consulter is a receiver, one who consults, like a consultee; whereas a consultor is a giver, one who provides consultation, like a consultant.

That’s how I describe myself in my calling card: Editorial Consultant. Which is why friends of mine who are highly paid editors often text me with questions like: “wats d korek spelling, glamor or glamour?” And without a second thought I text back: “both. bt glamour w U s preferd coz it looks more glamorous.” Before I can even receive a message of “tnx,” I am texting again: “note that glamorous s always spelld wo U. ü”

Such consultation is often given gratis et amore to friends who know my cellphone number, but I expect them to pay for my drinks the next time we meet. And when they read this, I hope they will also consider gifting me with prepaid cellphone cards.

As I was about to say before I started to ramble, strict grammarians chide us for using words that are not in a dictionary by claiming that the words in question do not exist: “The word aggrupation does not exist!” My own position on this issue is that, the moment someone uses a word, whether wrongly or wrongheadedly, it comes into existence. The question is whether the word is to be found in any dictionary.

Now the problem with showbiz lingo is that it consists of words that usually have no dictionary existence. Take the word chuvachuchu, for instance, about which I was reminded when I learned that Jolina Magdangal has a restaurant called Chuva-Chicha.

But I have filled up my allotted space, and the discussion of chuvachuchu and chicha and their cognates (achuchu, chukchak, chika, chismax, chuchuwa, chuwariwariwap, chuwap, chuchu, chibog, chichería, chicharon) will have to wait until next month.

First published in YES! Magazine, March 2003

You’ll have to get a copy of the book to read the other 67 columns in Showbiz Lengua: Chika and Chismax about Chuvachuchu. The book costs P295 and is available at National Bookstore branches in the Philippines. Last I looked, it wasn’t on I don’t know if it will ever get there.

1 comment:

TheCoolCanadian said...


I thought all these showbiz neologisms you mentioned were invented by Tita Swarding? I heard Swarding used all these words, plus: Hola Chica (Castillan, but gaining popularity); Now na; kura ka diyan; Chismux to the maximum authorichismux, "again and again & everything and everything," and so on. This last one: "again and again & everything and everything," from Swarding is still overwhelming me and I'm trying to figure out what it really means.

Ha-ha-ha. I listen to DZRH via the internet (but before "Liza the ballerina ng bayan show about Philippine Art" is Swarding's very shallow and amusing Hola Chica Radio show). Swarding's inventions are quite reminiscent of the ones Justo C. Justo used to invent in the 1970s. JJ made so many Ilongo words become part of the mainstream, like the most popular: KUNO (daw). Nowadays, the whole nation knows what kuno means. JJ also added Lafang (from LAPA: to eat), bruhing (bitchy woman), kati-katirik (loose woman), kulukadidang (paramour), claving (gay – which had taken a new form, Bading) and so many more that he should be given the title of the Father of gay lingo in RP.

Swarding, being a Bicolano, is also making some Bicol words & phases popular. There's also our kababayan Eddie Garcia who used a lot of Bicol words that are now part of the mainstream Filipino churva: Puday, manoy, buray ka ni ina mo, and so on. The Tagalog side however, only one new phrase became popular, Ramon Revilla's "Buwakang ina mo!"

And talking about dictionaries, I'm sure you have one called SLANG AND EUPHEMISM – a dictionary of OATHS, CURSES, INSULTS, RACIAL SLURS, SEXUAL SLANG & METAPHOR, DRUG TALK, HOMOSEXUAL LINGO, and other related matters. It's a Signet book by Richard A. Spears. The swearing people used from old English to modern times are priceless. He-he.

Someone should write a book on these new slang from RP. But, this book must be updated every 6 months since new words are invented in RP almost everyday.

Esperanto didn't thrive, it died a natural death.

Churva might just be the next big thing from RP – after Pacquiao, of course!