Hyderabad: The Oxford dictionary has declared ‘Climate Emergency’ as the word of the year for 2019. The definitive record of the English language (referring to Oxford) found a 100-fold increase in the usage of the word. “This represents a new trend in the use of the word emergency,” Oxford said.
According to the graph put up by the Oxford English Corpus, for 2018, the frequency per billion words for ‘Climate Emergency’ was observed to be less than 1,000. However, in June-July, 2019, it spiked to 5,300. The highest was found in September, with the usage showing a 100-fold increase. As a result, Oxford announced ‘Climate Emergency’ as the word of the year.
In an official statement, they said, “‘Climate Emergency’ has been central to 2019 overall, and features in several prominent phrases. However, ‘Climate Emergency’ stands out for several reasons.”
It was observed that in 2018, ‘climate’ did not feature in some of the top words. Besides, ‘emergency’ saw seldom occurrence. However, in 2019, the combination of ‘climate’ and ‘emergency’ saw a phenomenal increase. “‘Climate emergency’ surpassed all other types of emergencies to become the most written about by a considerable margin. It was even used with over three times the usage frequency of health, the second-ranking word,” they said.
Taking a look at the equivalent data
Oxford found that for climate collocations – such as ‘climate crisis’ and ‘climate action’ (both are included in word of the Year 2019 shortlist) – ‘climate emergency’ is still the popular one. “As recorded in our corpus, it (climate emergency) exceeded more moderate or speculative pairings like ‘climate variability’ and ‘climate prediction’,” the officials added.
This data put out by Oxford is significant because it indicates a growing shift in people’s language choice in 2019.
In 2018, the top types of emergencies people wrote about were HEALTH, HOSPITAL, and FAMILY emergencies. These suggest acute situations of danger at a very personal level.
But in 2019, we see something new with CLIMATE EMERGENCY: an extension of emergency to the global level.
— Oxford Dictionaries (@OxfordWords) November 21, 2019
What is the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year?
According to the iconic dictionary, the ‘Oxford Word of the Year’ is an expression that shows usage evidence to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year.