Another year is coming to a close. For many a time to take a step back and reflect on the events that took place in the year to date. When it comes to languages, Lingoholics among us are looking back on new words that have enriched our day-to-day life. Languages are dynamic and new words coming to life through events taking place in the world, is proof of that. And as linguists simply love lists, official institutions in several countries organize Word of the year elections to select the word or expression that has attracted a great deal of interest throughout that year. Here are a few examples of words that relate to events that had an impact on local society.
The English Oxford Dictionary has elected post-truth as Word of the Year 2016, an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. It was chosen as it was frequently used this year in reference to Brexit and the United States presidential election. Want to know more on post-truth? Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xcW7Tg5E34
The word treitervlogger won the Dutch title in the election organized by Van Dale Dictionary. With over a third of a total of over 100.000 votes, we can conclude that it made quite an impact on Dutch society this year. A treitervlogger is a video blogger who makes short videos of his or her friends while harassing people for their own amusement. The word was used in Dutch news reports on video blogger Ismail Ilgun making videos in his hometown Zaandam, which often involved harassing and threatening young people. His video blogs had a lot of attention in Dutch media and eventually the blogger was arrested for sedition.
In France, the word réfugiés (refugees) was unanimously elected Word of the Year at the 12th edition of ‘Festival du Mot’. The election of this word shows the impact the refugee situation has had in France, both from a human and emotional as well as a political point of view.
These are just a few examples, but there are Lingoholics and therefore Word of the Year elections all over the world.
We are curious to know which word walked away with the title in your language. Feel free to comment!