Language trends

Recently over on my blog, I’ve been looking into a number of language trends, some related to the current coronavirus pandemic, some more general.

Hibernation: I looked at the way people have started talking about hibernating businesses: pausing operations during the current crisis. It’s one of the few hopeful metaphors around that suggests a temporary and even natural suspension of normal life. Although I wrote the post a month ago and the process of the global economy stretching itself and waking up again is now looking like being more gradual and hesitant than it might have seemed then.


Photo by George Kendall on Unsplash

New ways of teaching and learning: In my second post, I looked at the terms we’re using to describe the new ways in which the world of education has been trying to adapt to the lack of classroom teaching. Are you talking about online teaching, remote learning or distance learning? And what about the new words (retronyms) we’ve had to adopt to distinguish those approaches from face-to-face or in-person teaching and learning or even Zoom classes?

Watching TV: Then in my most recent post, I looked into a longer term trend in the way we talk about what we watch. With more people watching content on their phones or other devices rather than sitting down in front of a conventional TV, I investigated the kind of language we might need to be teaching students to describe their contemporary lives and viewing habits.

2 thoughts on “Language trends

  1. Nicky Elliott

    Hi Julie

    Thank you very much for your email – this is really fascinating, how words are being used in these strange times we are in. I thought Brexit had given us a lot of new words, but now we have a whole lot more. It is odd how quickly we almost get used to this new situation, and start calling things ‘traditional’ which were just ‘normal’ before – I didn’t know they were retronyms, that is interesting.

    I was also interested in the new words for watching TV – I remember a teacher at school telling us she didn’t like us using the word “telly” – in the mid 70s when I was at primary school – and that we should either say ‘television’ or ‘TV’! I had forgotten all about that until I read this. It is worrying how quickly the words we use become old-fashioned! I remember when videos and CDs were new, and now they sound terribly old-fashioned to my teenager daughter.

    Thanks again for your blog posts – these have cheered me up while I have been ‘hibernating’! I hope you and your family are staying well.

    Kind regards



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