This week, we’re looking at how language evolves, and how and why new words and phrases are added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Updated four times a year, and the October 2019 version includes 203 new words.
This list is dominated by words from the Star Wars universe, including lightsabre and Jedi.
In fact, the Star Wars universe has been recognised five times; Padawan (an apprentice Jedi), the Force (a mystical universal energy field that certain individuals, such as the Jedi, can harness to gain special powers or abilities) and Jedi mind trick have also been added.
The word kapow (representing the sound of an explosion, gunshot, hard punch or blow, commonly found in comics) also made the list.
TV advertising has also made an impact on our language:“Simples”, the catchphrase of Compare the Market meerkat Aleksandr Orlov, is included. Its first use was in a tweet from January 2009, when the advertising campaign was launched.
Other additions include slang terms, such as sumfin (something), whatevs (whatever), chewy (chewing gum) and chillax (to calm down and relax).
This PDF resource includes this article, as well as accompanying activity ideas:
Debate whether it’s necessary to evolve the language when we have over 170,000 words already
Write a short story that includes the following words: kapow, padawan, ange, nomophobia and summum malum
Create your own dictionary definitions for these three imaginary words: breffingle, nopperhast, yoochitrat
Investigate and define three English words that originated from each of the following cultures: Anglo Saxon, Norman, Viking and Indian