Oxford Languages, the organisation behind the long-lasting Oxford English Dictionary (OED), has reworked its annual ‘Word of the Year’ idea to include the unprecedented surge in the usage of sure phrases in 2020, emphasising that ‘coronavirus’ had grow to be probably the most incessantly used nouns within the English language by April this yr.
Its ‘Words of an Unprecedented Year’ report examines the themes that had been a spotlight for the language monitoring for the yr, together with COVID-19 and all its associated vocabulary, political and financial volatility, social activism, the surroundings, and the speedy uptake of recent applied sciences and behaviours to assist distant working and dwelling.
Lockdown, WFH (do business from home), assist bubbles, keyworkers, furlough and circuit-breaker are simply a number of the pandemic-related lexicography tendencies for this yr, the organisation stated on Monday.
“As our ‘Word of the Year’ process started and this data was opened up, it quickly became apparent that 2020 is not a year that could neatly be accommodated in one single ‘word of the year’, so we have decided to report more expansively on the phenomenal breadth of language change and development over the year,” stated Oxford Languages, a part of the Oxford University Press (OUP).
“We? cast our net wide to capture how English around the world expressed its own view, sometimes sharing the collective expressions for the phenomena endured globally this year,?and at other times using regionally specific words and usages,” it stated.
For India, the phrase that stood out was e-pass – or an official authorities doc authorising an individual’s motion throughout quarantine.
“I’ve never witnessed a year in language like the one we’ve just had. The Oxford team was identifying hundreds of significant new words and usages as the year unfolded, dozens of which would have been a slam dunk for Word of the Year at any other time,” stated Casper Grathwohl, Oxford Languages President.
“It’s both unprecedented and a little ironic – in a year that left us speechless, 2020 has been filled with new words unlike any other,” he stated.
OUP stated it used “evidence-based data” to discover this yr’s language developments.
“We saw new words emerge, and historical words resurface with new significance, as the English language developed rapidly to keep pace with the political upheaval and societal tensions that defined the year,” it stated.
The report notes that whereas the phrase coronavirus dates again to the 1960s and was beforehand primarily utilized by scientific and medical specialists, by April this yr it had grow to be probably the most incessantly used nouns within the English language, exceeding even the utilization of the phrase time. By May, it had been surpassed by COVID-19.
Similarly, the time period social distancing dates to the mid-20th century within the basic sense of being distant from others, and to the early 21st century within the particular sense of sustaining distance from others in an effort to scale back the unfold of an infection, however earlier than 2020 it was comparatively uncommon.
In March this yr, as governments internationally launched measures to cut back the unfold of COVID-19, social distancing – together with the associated verb socially distance and the adjective socially distanced – surged in frequency, the report finds.
“Other notably frequent words in our corpus in March and April this year reflect other measures taken to control the virus, including shelter-in-place, stay-at-home (in stay-at-home order), self-isolate, and self-quarantine,” it stated.
The report additionally acknowledged that phrases together with masks up, anti-mask, anti-masker and mask-shaming had been “among the proliferation of words reflecting attitudes towards the issue of mask-wearing”.
Superspreader, a phrase courting again to the 1970s, spiked in October when coronavirus instances unfold within the White House.
Two phrases which have seen a progress of greater than 300 per cent since March are distant and remotely. And reflecting the proliferation of on-line conferences, the phrases mute and unmute have additionally had a major rise in utilization this yr.
Other phrases registering a surge in utilization embrace workcation (up 500 per cent) – a vacation through which you additionally work – and staycation (up 380 per cent) – a vacation at dwelling or in your house nation.
According to Johns Hopkins knowledge, there are 58,696,029 COVID-19 instances and 13,88,724 deaths internationally.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is printed from a syndicated feed.)