This has been a bugger of a year for obvious reasons but it’s also been a year of expanding our vocab – which a word nerd like me fully encourages and embraces!
In a matter of weeks, coronavirus fundamentally changed our way of living and working. It closed businesses, transformed working patterns, shifted our human interaction. As a result, new vocabulary appeared as a shorthand way to discuss the impact, articulate worries and poke fun at the craziness of the situation. Linguistic creativity is alive and well! (and is not uncommon in times of social crisis!) Collective cultural reference points work as a kind of uniting factor in times of trouble, and in the absence of regular social contact, shared talk is an important part of helping people feel connected.
So as we came to grips with the ‘new normal’ we figured out how to talk about the virus. And an explosion of new words and phrases entered our dialogue to help us make sense of the changes we experienced.