Oxford Words of The Year

Oxford words of the year
Would you like to know what words were on everyone’s lips ten years ago? We don’t need a time machine to find out! All we need is the Oxford English Dictionary, a group of linguists, a computer algorithm, and all the English-speaking people on the planet.

There is an old saying that goes, “What the heart thinks, the tongue speaks.” Indeed, words reflect our lives, wishes, and concerns: the more we care about something, the more we talk about it. Can you recall how many times recently you’ve uttered the words “school,” “Internet,” “go out,” and “play”? Surely more frequently than “demographics” or “surrealism.”

Now, what if we go beyond a single individual and consider entire communities — families, nations, or even the population of the planet? By counting the words that are most commonly used over a particular period in time, we’ll see a reflection of global cultural phenomena, trends, and historically significant events.

It’s not an impossible task: even though language itself is abstract and malleable, words can be quantified and classified. But how do you count words? You wouldn’t just eavesdrop on people’s conversations! To uncover the most commonly used words, you need a space that brings together people from different backgrounds and allows you to observe and take note of any changes. That place, of course, is the Internet!

Since 2004, a language research program titled Oxford English Corpus, run by editors of the Oxford English Dictionary, has analyzed contemporary web-based publications and identified around 150 million current words each month. Every year, the most prominent and noteworthy words are chosen, and one of them is announced as the Oxford Word of the Year.

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