In the last few weeks, a particular style of verbal communication known as Jejemon has garnered both notoriety and comedy among people. While it has gone on for a several years, only now has it really gotten attention as a point of concern for language experts, due to its prolific usage among the younger Net-savvy generation. Jejemon users have one or more of the following characteristics, especially with written communication:

  • They spell existing words in a typically disjointed and technically incorrect way.
  • Uppercase and lowercase letters are freely interspersed throughout the words (Sticky Caps Syndrome).
  • Rules of subject-verb agreement and proper count are rarely adhered to.
  • New yet technically nonexistent words are often created as forms of expression.
  • Numbers often substitute actual letters, such as 1 for I, and 3 for E.

Personally, as a bit of an English perfectionist, I consider such misuse of the language a pet peeve. Not that I am an authority in English, but please! At the very least, cut out on the indiscriminate casing and horrendous spelling. You may actually get more respect that way.

The "jejemon" phenomenon, unlike other trends in Web 2.0, is a terrible way to go.

Users may think they are trying to sound cool and all using such “slang” terminology, but this in fact promotes the improper use of the language since it openly plays with the rules of proper casing, grammar and spelling. They also end up causing further confusion to others with whom they communicate, since it requires that fellow users have an understanding of Jejemon spelling and casing as well.

To be honest, I have a handful of younger friends who are guilty of this offense. Somehow, I just manage to hold my murderous rage in since I stick to weighing them more in character than their way of spelling.

When cellphones became commonplace, people started resorting to use of “text” lingo and spelling shortcuts to make use of the 160-character limit placed on single-send SMS. Alas, the language soon self-destructed with words like “Okay” being replaced with a simple “K”. At one point, English educators complained about how the “butchering” of words was numbing people into accepting these as proper grammar and spelling.

It seems that the same thing may happen with the “Jejemon” phenomenon. Looks like we just lost our English proficiency badge again.

And if you are still in the dark as to the seriousness of all this, you may want to try this “Jejemonator” at the following link:

http://kalokohan.guissmo.frih.net/jologs.php

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In light of the build-up to the upcoming World Cup football tournament in South Africa in June, I started thinking of the pros and cons of being a citizen of a basketball-crazy nation.

As a fan of basketball myself, it is a sport where “height is might”, as the adage goes. Despite notable small players like 5’3″ Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues, 5’7″ NBA Slam Dunk champion Anthony “Spud” Webb, 6’0″ Allen Iverson and even 6’1″ Hall of Famer Nate “Tiny” Archibald, the sport has been largely dominated by the bigger men of at least 6’6″ and greater.

On the average, Filipinos are not among the tallest nationalities in the world. But we certainly thrive in sports where height is not a primary consideration, such as Efren Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante in pool, Rafael “Paeng” Nepomuceno in bowling, Wesley So and Eugene Torre for chess, and Manny Pacquiao and Gabriel “Flash” Elorde for boxing.

So why not get into a sport like football? There are a several advantages:

  • Height is not necessarily might. Quickness, good body control and solid player instincts are key attributes in this sport, which was proven by the success of Asian squads in the 2002 event.
  • Many schools actually promote football as one of the primary sports in Physical Education subjects, as well as intra and inter-school sporting events. Thus, opportunities for developing the sport’s future stars are as good as basketball, if not better.
  • The relative simplicity of the required equipment makes it an attractive option. As little as a ball and two marked goalposts areas will suffice.
  • The sport encourages team play much more than basketball, given the size of the playing area and the number of participants. Even the likes of Ronaldinho get the goals because they have teammates who share the ball. Much as I like Allen Iverson, ball-hogging is not going to win championship titles.

Allen "The Answer" Iverson was known as a prolific scorer despite his small frame. However, he has earned his share of criticism for his selfish style of play and controversial antics on and off the court.

At one point, I started wondering why even after 333 years of Spanish colonialism, the American import of basketball became the national pastime. Then, an American friend of mine pointed out that global football was in its infancy in Spain at the time of the local revolution for independence. Thanks for the pointer, Rob.

But imagine if football indeed were the national pastime. We might actually be in the World Cup right about now. Not that I’m forsaking my love for basketball, but football is the game that might keep us on the map long after Pac-Man, Bata or Paeng retire.

Having one of the oldest national football teams in Asia, we certainly should be somewhere up there already. Sadly, that hasn’t been the case.

Currently, when watching football matches, I just have to keep reminding myself that goals are measured in quality and not in quantity.

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The ongoing eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull has led to one of the worst international airline shutdowns since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Now, it seems there is  growing chaos in pronouncing its unique name, especially among non-native Icelandic speakers. Try reading it as AYA-feeyapla-yurkul and you’ll get pretty close.

Now that National Geographic Channel will be showing a special episode of Naked Science dedicated to this opening in the earth, it looks like I get dibs on the TV this Friday.

*****

Floyd “Pretty Boy” Mayweather Jr. outclassed “Sugar” Shane Mosley in their Labor Day bout. Looks like Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao won’t be retiring anytime soon, now that the former “Pound-for-Pound King” has made a case for their much-awaited bout.

This time, I’m hoping Manny will give in to the blood test, if only to silence the critics for good. Win or lose, I’ll consider him a true “Pound-for-Pound King” for that.

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