COVID-19 has by far and wide been the main driving force behind the uprise of words and expressions, both in English and other languages. This new vocabulary has made a difference in helping people make sense of the abrupt changes that have now become a part of our ordinary lives.
This coronacoaster of what we call life in 2020 hasn’t been easy, but these terms have kept us linguists secure and educated amid these frightening times. And let’s be honest, what sounds more superior than coping with a global pandemic through some fun wordplay?
Here’s our roundup of a few of the modern tongue in cheek terms born from this phenomenal time – or coronageddon if we must. Established terms such as “self-isolating”, “pandemic”, “quarantine”, “lockdown” and “key workers” have usefully been coined as our top terms considering that they were what all of us had to understand quick unless we wanted to be labelled as ‘covidiots’.
A “Covidiot” is somebody who openly disregarded lockdown restrictions, additionally we also came across other terminology the moment that we collectively had to transition to working remotely, namely: “covideo party”(online parties through Zoom or Skype), and “covexit” (the procedure for leaving lockdown), whereas coronavirus has procured modern descriptors – with the most popular one being “Miss Rona”.
This modern lexicon has become a utilitarian shorthand for talking in almost every coronavirus-related discussion, from the effect the virus has had on our working lives, to the impact of quarantine. This overflow of new terms, neologisms and linguistic advancement that we have seen within the past few months just goes to show the influence that linguistic imagination has on the world through conversation which has reshaped our outlook on the world.
In doing so, it has brought individuals together around a set of collective social terms– a kind of linguistic “social glue”. Due to the absence of social contact, shared conversation was obviously an imperative part of what kept all of us united.
In fact, a positive way to look at the spread of COVID19 and its implications was the realisation that although physically apart, we are probably the closest than we have ever been in recent years. Think about the SARS flare-up in 2002 or Swine Flu pandemic in 2009, we surely didn’t have the same rise in terminology, and social media is obviously the reason why.
It is undeniable that social media constitutes a great portion of our lives and it has become an outlet in which we share our experiences with family, friends and even unknown users. During global times of struggle such as war, language has always adapted to reflect society’s experience, with COVID19 being no different. ‘Doomscrolling’ is a term that has picked up to depict the hypnotizing state as a result of constantly scrolling on social media and endlessly reading horrifying news. Another favourite would be ‘Blursday’, which captures the debilitating sense of time when days just started to blend in with one another.
Overall, linguists have identified that a high number of these terms right now won’t persevere, the ones with a more solid chance of sticking around post-pandemic are those that depict enduring behavioral changes, such as ‘zoombombing’, a different take on ‘photobombing’ which refers to joining an unknown video call.
Either way, here at Transcripta we’re enjoying the new terms that are popping up on our well-sanitized radar every week or so!