WE’VE experienced it for more than 200 days, and it’s become part of our everyday language. And now “lockdown” has been named South Africa’s word of the year.

The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB), in association with media research company Focal Points, made the announcement yesterday as part of marking International Dictionary Day.

“The lockdown has affected various parts of our lives and continues to do so; how we conduct business, our social interactions and cultural practices,” said PanSALB acting chief executive, Willie Manana.

“In choosing this year’s SA Word of the Year we have had to take the process a step further to broaden the criteria and also consider the cultural significance and influence the word has had among South Africans,” he said

“Lockdown” was mentioned 486 224 in print, broadcast, online and further mentions on social media and in everyday conversations — all in just over six months monitored between October last year and September this year.

It beat the other short-listed candidates, Covid-19, Zoom and Jerusalema.

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.-IOL


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