Every year, Oxford Dictionaries announced an international word of the year. That is one word that reflects the passing year in language, and the 2016 word is very telling indeed as we seem to be moving into a world where the truth is unimportant indeed.
The 2016 Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year is ‘post-truth’, and dictionary editors say usage of the word has leapt 2,000% in the last twelve months. The first spike in frequency for post-truth was during this year’s EU referendum vote in the UK with another spike reported during the US presidential election campaign.
The spike in usage is notable and reflects world events because post-truth is defined to describe the irrelevance of truth in today’s politics, as in “post-truth politics”. The official definition according to the OED is “Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
We’ve seen a year charged by political and social discourse, fuelled by the rise of social media as a news source. Already since the US presidential election we have seen Facebook and Twitter brought to task over false news stories as this year we have seen social media play a huge part in social trends.
It seems we are drowning in information, but starved of wisdom in this modern world and it’s a world that needs new words to reflect the fast changing shifts in morals and ideas.
With such a political and turbulent year, these weren’t the only political words to reach the shortlist. Both the new term ‘alt-right’ to describe a new generation of right wing voters, and ‘Brexiteer‘ to describe a EU out voter were in the running, plus several other words that have captured the craziness that has been 2016. Non political words shortlisted were adulting, chatbot, coulrophobia, glass cliff, hygge, Latinx and woke were also considered for the word of the year.
And that, according to Oxford is the year in linguistics.
Yo. il meet u 2moro n den we cn dcyd wats 2 b done 4 Claire’s bday. Pls ask Anne 2 join us 2. Oh n I saw d vid u sent. Lol. So kul! Anyway, cu 2moro. Lmk d tym. Gtg.
If you were able to read and understand that entire message perfectly, you officially speak texting lingo.
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For many human beings words form part of our communication, and without them many of us would be lost. Language fascinates, frustrates, and entices us. As Reading Addicts it is part of our daily ritual to fall head first into pages upon pages of the written word and get lost in there for hours.
We often find ourselves re-reading an elegantly constructed sentence just to feel it trip through the mind a few more times. Other times our knowledge fails us and we reach for a dictionary, feeling that small thrill of learning a new piece of lexiconic excellence.
Your fellow language lovers at For Reading Addicts have collated a list of language-orientated books we think you may find useful or enjoyable as you continue your quest of expanding your mind through literature.
Please peruse and enjoy!