CAPE TOWN – Lockdown has been named as South Africa’s most popular word of the year. It was up against contenders such as Covid-19, Jerusalema and Self-Isolation.
The SA Word of the Year is a word, term or expression preferred to reflect the passing year in language. The announcement was made earlier today by the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) spokesperson Ntombentle Huluhulu on ENCA.
“We look at social media, everyday interactions. We also make a call to the public to make submissions. This year we have had very interesting words from Zol, mute and normalise,”explained Huluhulu.
According to the board, to qualify for consideration, there must be evidence that the usage of the word or expression has increased significantly in the past 12 months across a broad range of media. The shortlisted words have according to PanSALB captured the ethos, mood or preoccupations of 2020.
“As the world faces a pandemic and a lot of uncertainty, the tenacity of the human spirit has never been more evident. Language has been at the centre of our response to the pandemic as words such as ‘quarantine’ ‘pandemic’ ‘lockdown’ suddenly became part of our everyday vocabulary” said PanSALB Acting CEO Mr Willie Manana.
Other words/terms that were considered include:
International Dictionary Day is celebrated on October 16 in remembrance of the first American lexicographer, Noah Webster who is considered to be the father of the American dictionary. PanSALB, through its National Lexicography Units, develops dictionaries in all official languages for the sustainable development of our languages and the realisation of effective multilingualism in South Africa.
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