One can glean a lot of insights from random conversations heard from people unwary that they are subjects of one’s unscientific, though still valid, observations. It was one of those regular ‘umpukan’ (from ‘umpok’ a Tagalog word that roughly translates to bunch) that the personnel of the college do every morning after they have logged in their names in that sad-looking Bundy clock.
They drink coffee, eat boiled corn, or if any of them is thoughtful enough, they have pandesal. And with these simple foods they nibble just before the actual, heavier breakfast, they share events from the previous days and nights. Topics can range from their criticism of the indecisiveness of their bosses in the college, television program, the next loan they will apply for, the problem student who just broke a condenser that costs their month’s salary, or, in a very hush tone, theirs or their bosses’ sex life (or the lack thereof).
“Ti sin-o run ang ‘Big Four’?” (Who now will comprise the ‘Big Four’) Asked one of them who works for the College secretary.
“Aw, bati ko takun ‘Big Five’ run tana,” (Aw, I heard it’s going to be the ‘Big Five’ this time) said the laboratory technician in the Chem Department.
“Amu ja gani ang ‘Big Balita’ katong ‘Big Night’,” (And that’s the ‘Big News’ on the ‘Big Night’) added the administrative aide of the Soc Sci Division.
“Baw, may ara pa, sigurado takun, nga ‘Big Pasabog’ si Big Brother kar-un sa gab-I,” (I think, and I’m quite sure of it, that Big Brother will have a ‘Big Announcement’) quipped my favorite administrative aide in the Dean’s office.
“Basta para kanakun, si Melissa run tana ang ‘Big Winner’.” (As for me, Melissa is going to be the ‘Big Winner’) The discussion will end here either because they feel they are already over-extending their before-work break or they do not anymore agree as to who will be the ‘Big Winner’.
The preponderance of the word ‘Big’ peppered in almost all conceivable English and Tagalog words can get in one’s nerves after being exposed to it too much. There’s Big Brother, Big Utol, Big Day, Big Night, Big Task, Big Day, the Next Big Thing. Big Whatever.
Has our obsession for anything big slowly diffused to encroach language leaving it literally desecrated? When we misuse and overuse a word, we advertently render it dead, stretching it beyond the limit of its elasticity will cause breakage.
Any of these can take the place of the overexploited ‘Big’:
a whale of a, ample, awash, bulky, bull, burly, capacious, chock-full, colossal, commodious, considerable, copious, enormous, extensive, fat, full, gigantic, heavyweight, hefty, huge, hulking, humongous, immense, jumbo, mammoth, massive, mondo, monster, oversize, sizable, stuffed, substantial, super colossal, thundering, tremendous, vast, voluminous, walloping, whopper, whopping.
Why do they have to say ‘Big’ all the time?
Now, I am irritated Big Time.