Do you happen to talk or text like this: ‘Eow PowZ, mUsZtAh nHa?’ Then perhaps you’re a Jejemon
HAVE YOU RECEIVED A text message like this: “Eow PowZ, mUsZtAh nHa?” If so, most likely you’ve had a “Jejemon” experience. It isn’t a new breed of Pokemon that Ash and Misty have found. This terminology has been popping up everywhere even in Facebook.
According to UrbanDictionary.Com, it is anyone with a low tolerance for correct punctuation, syntax and grammar. This definition is limited to the linguistic style of Jejemons. But in reality, Jejemon is a new breed of hipsters who have developed not only their own language and written text but also their own sub-culture and fashion.
For brevity, I will limit this article to Jejemon language, which for lack of grammatical “canon” on how to call it, I will call it the “Jejenese” and their alphabet, “Jejebet.”
The Jejenese is not just confined to Pinoy Jejemons. Just before I wrote this, I played “Warcraft” and found a European opponent who enjoys typing “jejejeje” in a very wide context, much to my disdain as he sabotages my online quests. Another group of foreign Jejemons, although their Jejemonism seems so trivial to actually classify them as Jejemons, are the Thais who type “hahaha” this way: “5555.”
You will see a lot of these in your Thai friend’s Facebook status messages. Since, the number 5 translates to “ha” in Thai, as explained by my friend Pakorn Dokmai. I’m sure many of you have personal encounters with other foreign Jejemons, be in Manila or abroad. So we can assume that Jejemon is a worldwide phenomenon.
Will the real Jejemons please stand up?
Text messaging is the first ever evidence that the Jejemons are not just fictional creatures; they really exist. They have a set of eyes (and obviously the time) that can easily decipher the word hidden in jumbled letters, alternating capitalization, over-usage of the letters H, X or Z and mixture of numeric characters and our normal alphabet. To be able to understand Jejenese or to Jejetype is definitely a skill.
In a commentary, “Intellectualizing a Language,” by Dr. Ricardo Ma. Nolasco published on June 13, 2009, in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, he said that: “We will never be able to develop our languages for higher thinking unless we begin basic literacy and education in them.” With the prevalence of Jejemon, will the long process of intellectualization of our Filipino language be held back? I believe that the answer depends on one’s lenience with the Jejemons. Just as whether or not the Jejenese and the Jejebet wreak havoc on major languages depends on how one perceives Jejemonism.
Who uses the Jejemon language anyway? Let’s call them, the Clans, or as the Jejemons would probably spell it, cLaNzZ. In Warcraft lingo, groups that operate like “Alliance” or “Horde.”
The Jejemons find their place in their world by finding a clan, or a regular group of people they text and talk with in Jejenese. Regardless of whether they know each other or not, they will talk to other members of these clans and even meet up with them in Jejelands (frequent hang-outs).
If these clans can be considered, as Bonifacio P. Sibayan, whose work was published in the website of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts puts it, as Sub-domains of a Controlling Domain of language, then the continued use of Jejemonized-Tagalog, such as: “iNgAtz puh” and “xeNXia Nah” can contribute to the process of Filipino intellectualization. But then again, an intellectualized language is that language that can be used for giving and obtaining a complete education in any field of knowledge from pre-school to the university and beyond.
If Jejenese is used as the medium of instruction in public schools, imagine how would the first line of our National Anthem be spelled in Jejenese: “bAiAn9 mA9ieLiWh pUrlAsh n9 xIlan9aNaN …” or Jose Rizal’s last work: “mEih UltIMoiX aDioSxH.” Fortunately, this is an extreme scenario. That’s why others take the more mortifying definition of Jejemon given by UrbanDictioary.Com: “Low IQ people who spread around their idiocy on the web.”
But Jejemons, too, have constitutional right to free speech and expression that we may run afoul if we prevent them from speaking and writing the way they do or as annoyed Internet users propose—ban them from the web. All we can do is to make a matinding pakiusap (strong appeal) to all Jejemons, as language can only be intellectualized by using it, mangyaring gamitin nyo nang tama ang wika (please use the language properly).
Philippine Daily Inquirer