Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Filipino Slang: Susmaryosep

This is a series of blog entries that will attempt to tackle various Filipino slang words that have their roots in English but have been appropriated for our own. I am no logophile though so if you have something to add on my subjective history, feel free to comment. Also, I am constantly looking for words to tackle so if you have suggestions, just leave a comment. Currently scheduled to appear every Tuesday.

For me, one of the more "basic" expressions is the slang Oh My God (or its l33t-speak equivalent, OMG). It can convey everything from surprise to dismay. Susmaryosep isn't as versatile and is probably more of the latter than the former but it also invokes the name of a deity. In this case, it's the amalgam of three prominent Christian figures (and the latter two almost achieve deity-like status in certain parts of the country): Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Unfortunately, as much as one of the ten commandments is to not take the Lord's name in vain (which is more interesting in the Jewish context and why they never spell God's name with vowels), Filipinos probably break this precept often by their use of swear words. Amalgamations also aren't uncommon in Philippine history. The other, more popular amalgam name is Gomburza from the martyrs Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora.

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