The sophistication of ‘keri lang’

A symbol of Filipino language ingenuity

Jan Writer
1 min readFeb 3, 2019


Photo from Keepcalm-o-matic

‘Keri lang’ is a sophisticated response, both intellectually and emotionally.

If you were to ask your friend, ’gusto mo bang kumain sa Jollibee’ and they answer ‘keri lang’, they are not just giving you a categorical yes or no answer which only satisfies our human need for a logical, structured and explicit reality.

‘Keri lang’ also addresses the uncertainty of human existence and epitomizes our capacity for ambiguous, connotative, and figurative communication.

When we say ‘keri lang’, we are also conveying an idea of freedom, a sense of fluidity, hesitation, empathy, compassion, and respect for other people’s choices, all the while taking into consideration our own individual happiness which is as enigmatic and elusive.

Such existential perplexity, disquietude and conflict of human life are noticeable on the face of the ‘keri lang’ speaker; it is almost always immersed in melancholy, anxiety or fatalism.

As Slavoj Žižek once posited:

Happiness was never important. The problem is that we don’t know what we really want.

The genius of ‘keri lang’ is underrated and must be thoroughly examined. It deserves its own field of philosophical study. Who knows? We might eliminate our need for it someday.