Friday, September 14, 2007

Ekuva matata

From fionski, I learned that the word 'churky' is the new 'chorva'. Churky, like its predecessors, is an all-purpose utility word for something you dont have a word for: "Metanoia, theosis, and other similar churky". Like that. She mentions in a blog post that she first heard of it in a male-dominated department of a customer service center she used to work for. I found that strange at first. Churky is so... I was going to say gay, but that's not right. Gayspeak is more elaborate, more over-the-top. Chuvachuchu, an earlier form of churky, is an example of gayspeak. No, 'churky' is too cute. As this word is currently used by "cigarette smoke reeking, beer lugging, cuss loving men," one can only speculate that the word is used to soften up their macho image to be less threatening to the opposite sex. They can land more chicks that way. But I digress.

What I would like to do instead is try to trace the origins of the word. This would be a highly-speculative exercise, needless to say, but one that could be the basis of a more scientific study.

I mentioned before that the word can be directly traced to 'chorva'. It's easy to see why the Pinoy male steeped in a macho culture would reject it. It's too soft. The use of the R-V combination makes it so. The R sound itself is soft, but the V and its related F sound--an unvoiced version of V--is typically associated with gayspeak. It would make sense therefore for a heterosexual male to replace those sounds with the clunkier, harder K sound in churky.

Before 'chorva'--and Ive never heard a heterosexual male use the word--was 'chuva'. Again not a word Ive heard used by a heterosexual male for the same reason as above. Too soft, and too close to gayspeak, particularly to 'chuvachuchu' which probably spawned it. And here the trail ends it seems. Where did 'chuvachuchu' come from?

Here is my hypothesis: There is a more traditional word, still in use in everyday, normal language, that is used as an all-purpose word. That word is 'kuwan'. "Nakuha mo na ba yung kuwan, Juan?" It's a high-context word like churky and chuva, in that one needs to know the context in which it is used to be able to ascertain its meaning. "Kaka-kuwan ko lang e" in itself doesnt give much information. One has to know the circumstances in which 'kuwan' is used for the sentence to have any meaning. The steps from 'kuwan' to 'chuvachuchu' is not as farfetched as it seems. The K sound and W sound in kuwan morphed into the CH and V sounds respectively. The transitional words 'kuvan', 'kvan', 'chuwan', 'chwan', 'chuvan' and 'chvan' are our missing links. If we find records of the use of any of these transitional words in any Filipino language, then the search area is considerably narrowed. For now, we will assume that these transitional words existed, albeit briefly. And given that a lot of Filipino languages arent written languages, records of their use could be hard to come by. We could also speculate that these transitional words occurred at random; from a random speech impediment, for example. This would make the transition words even more impossible to track down, but for now we'll postulate their existence.

You may ask, "What if the word 'chuvachuchu' didnt directly descend from any of the transition words at all but is a result of some homosexual guy's creativity?" I would have to say that is highly unlikely because the evidence we now have, albeit circumstantial, point to a gradual transition from 'kuwan' to 'churky' and therefore, any hypothesis that involves creativity by an unknown gay person is probably not true.

In any case, I prefer the word 'ek-ek'.

1 comment:

fionski said...

At the moment, I prefer saying churky over anything else. Churky doesn't sound that gay, it does sound cute!