'Lockdown' crowned SA word of the year - 'It's been mentioned more than 480,000 times since March'

19 October 2020 - 06:36
'Lockdown' was announced as SA Word of the Year.
'Lockdown' was announced as SA Word of the Year.

"Lockdown" was crowned the SA Word of the Year on Friday after being used nearly 500,000 times in six months.

The term beat "Jerusalema", "corruption", "normalise", "self-isolation" and "Covid-19" for the award from the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) and media research company Focal Points. 

PanSALB chief executive Willie Manana said the prominence of these words were tracked from October 2019 to September 2020.

“We can all attest to the rampage caused by the coronavirus. It is all we have talked about as we continue to navigate through its unforgiving rage.

"Hence, when choosing this year’s SA word of the year, we had to take the process a step further to broaden the criteria and also consider the cultural significance and influence the word has among South Africans,” said Manana.

The board said the word "lockdown" had been used 486,224 times online, in print media and broadcast since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced SA would go into lockdown on March 27.

“There is no argument that the lockdown has changed the way we live and has opened up a whole new world that has made it possible for us to work in the comfort of our own homes.

“Reaching just under half a million mentions in print, broadcast and online and further mentions on social media and in daily conversations, all in just over six months, the word ‘lockdown’ is a worthy winner,” said PanSALB.

The Word of the Year is described  as “a word, term or expression preferred to reflect the passing year in language”.