Sunday, September 8, 2013

Origin of Filipino Lolo and Lola

A happy grandparents day to my grandparents and to all the grandparents around. I am not fond of celebrating this special day, but if my own grandparents are still alive today, I would have told them how well they brought me into this world, having lived a part of my childhood life with them. However, as what the title of this post intends to discuss, this is not a time to get sentimental.

LOLO and LOLA are Filipino kinship titles used before name of elderly persons to imply status of being grandfather and grandmother. The terms are also used to any male or female acquaintance generally over sixty years old regardless of affinity. In the Filipino culture, it is considered as a sign of respect to the old ones.

I believe that the Filipino kinship terms for grandfather and grandmother were derived from the final syllable of Spanish words abuelo and abuela.This is the same case for other Filipino kinship terms such as manong and manang which are obviously adapted from Spanish hermano and hermana, meaning uncle and aunt.

From the original Spanish abuelo and abuela, the words probably evolved when children cannot pronounce the entire words that are,  as a matter of fact, foreign to the local tongue. So, the parents of the olden times must have used a motherese language to simplify the terms for the struggling children, making it into lo and la.

So, how did they evolve into lolo and lola? Reduplication is a common feature of the Filipino language and other local languages in the country. Hence, over time, the Filipino speakers must have turned the shorter namesake into sweeter endearment called lolo and lola.

My Lolo Gunding and Lola Tina.

So, once again, a meaningful day to my grandparents and all the grandparents out there. Thank you for everything that you do to make the world a lovelier and happier place to live.

*Disclaimer: Not for scholarly purpose. 


  1. Please note that Hermano and hermana are spanish for brother and sister. The spanish for uncle and aunt are tio and tia


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