Panahon and Bagay: Metonymy and the Close Reading of Dictionaries to Understand Filipino Temporality

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This article demonstrates how the close reading of words used in lexicographic definitions of the word panahon point to a Filipino understanding of temporality. These definitions resort to metonymy to concretize the abstract. Although different meanings cloud its meaning, panahon is understandable in a given instance when it refers coincidentally to something else. Etymologically, panahon is related to nahon and taon, which embody the opportune and the material, suggesting that panahon is articulable through the encounter of things (bagay), whose thinghood/appropriateness is knowable only by chance (pagkakataon). Kasaysayan (history) is a bagay that is always implicated in the panahon it attempts to render.