Her messages always make him smile
Her messages always make him smile

Do you know your lockdown lingo? Test yourself

Coronavirus has changed how we live - and the language we use.

Terms such as COVID-19 and PPE are now part of our vocabulary and colourful slang has also sprung up in our response to the pandemic.

Words such as 'Rona' (the short version of coronavirus), 'Coronacation' (making the most of being in one place), 'Iso' (short for isolation), 'Covidiot' (those who disobey social distancing rules), 'Coronababies and Coronials' (children conceived during lockdown) have all crept into our daily corona-speak.

Other words including 'Virtual Happy Hour', 'Zoom-bombing' (crashing a Zoom chat), 'Zumping' (getting dumped on Zoom), 'Coronalusional' (the distorted reality caused by anxiety) and 'Coronaphobia' (fear of catching COVID-19) have also become common words we use.

 

Social researcher Mark McCrindle said he wouldn’t be surprised if some isolation slang officially made it into the dictionary this year. Picture: Supplied
Social researcher Mark McCrindle said he wouldn’t be surprised if some isolation slang officially made it into the dictionary this year. Picture: Supplied

Social researcher Mark McCrindle told News Corp many of these words carry Australians' typical approach to the English language where we shorten words.

"Many of these words have become mainstream and there's a sense of the Aussie humour coming out to play here," he said.

"But these words are shared more widely across the world, and it shows how widespread the experience has been."

Mr McCrindle said he wouldn't be surprised if some of these words officially made it into the dictionary this year.

"Social distancing has to be the word of the year, or even the acronym WFH (Work From Home), these phrases have been picked up so fast," he said.

Many of these words have been used on social media and online video chat platforms, and global experts say they are born out of how we now socially connect with each other.

West Virginia University Professor of Linguistics Dr Kirk Hazen told News Corp angst, dread, and anxiety are the motivational engine that power people to regain some agency by creating new words.

"By deploying irony, sarcasm … people are marking their words with awareness and knowledge of what is going on."

Terms such as COVID-19 and PPE are now part of our vocabulary and colourful slang has also sprung up in our response to the pandemic. Picture: iStock
Terms such as COVID-19 and PPE are now part of our vocabulary and colourful slang has also sprung up in our response to the pandemic. Picture: iStock

 

Michigan State University's Dr Betsy Sneller, who is studying the affect of COVID-19 on language said sociocultural crises almost always have an impact on language.

"Part of the reason for this is that people's patterns of interactions change drastically and this changes language," she said.

"She pointed to previous social upheaval caused by wars, mass migrations, disasters and plagues that also made a mark on our language.

"The Dutch had a history of 'pox'-related insults thought to date back to the Black Death."

But now many young people are driving the lingo.

Virginia Tech's Professor Katie Carmichael said: "The online domain - in which memes and slang dominate and can quickly evolve and pass between communities on social media, and where young folks are the 'tastemakers' - is going to be the predominant vehicle for change."

"Anybody who uses 'Rona' instead of 'COVID-19' is doing so to be seen as part of a group (young, cool, whatever)," Dr Hazen added.

"Most slang has a short life and depends on newness and how widely it is used."

"A blend like 'Zumping' may make it further than this crisis," she said.

"The pizzazz of creating new words is the same as before, as is the social uses of doing so.

"But what is new is the opportunity the lowdown provides for focused reflection and it is worth the time to check out who we are."

 

 

Originally published as Do you know your lockdown lingo? Test yourself