Words of the Year

Plastic, the ocean, Emmeline Pankhurst, Donald Trump, Brexit, Korea, Grenfell Tower, unicorns, slime and computer gameFortniteare just some of the people and subjects that influence British children’s creativity and use of language, says a new report published by Oxford University Press (OUP).

Following OUP’s analysis of 134,790 short storiesfrom children aged five to 13 entered into BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans’ Breakfast Show’s 500 Words competition Plastic is the Children’s Word of the Year because of its significant increase in use (a total rise of more than 100 per cent on 2017) demonstrating the awareness and passion children have for environmental issues and the huge impact David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II had on the nation’s children. Alongside social and political issues, playground trends also proved to be fertile ground for young imaginations and in 2018 it’s all about slime.

The most mentioned game is Minecraft, with Pokémonnext in popularity, however new arrival Fortnitehad the majority of its mentions coming from boys and mostly from children aged nine to 10. Among mythical beasts, unicorns are still the favourite subject by a fantasy furlong.Chris Evans commented: “Plastic is a fantastic Word of the Year! It really shows just how incredibly engaged with and how much the young people in Britain today care about the world around them. The OUP’s 500 Words analysis is always fascinating and so insightful about the creative ways children use language.”

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