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Oxford University Press announces ‘trump’ as Children’s Word of the Year

Oxford University Press announces ‘trump’ as Children’s Word of the Year

22 June 2017

Each year, Oxford University Press (OUP) analyses short stories submitted to BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words competition. This year there were more than 130,000 entries with ‘trump’ chosen as Children’s Word of the Year due to a significant increase in use (a total rise of 839 per cent on 2016) by entrants and the sophisticated way in which children used it to convey humour and satire, and evoke powerful descriptive imagery.

Trump was mentioned in a variety of contexts, from the US elections and politics, to tales of aliens and superheroes. Children also used it to create new words such as Trumplestilskin, Trumpyness, Trumpido, Trumpeon, and Trumpwinningtastic.

Political vocabulary is a notable area of growth in 2017, showing children’s engagement with the news and media. Results of the competition showed an increase in the use of  ‘politics’ and ‘political’ since last year, while new words and phrases in this year’s stories also included ‘Brexit’, ‘Article 50’, ‘fake news’, and ‘alternative facts’.

Vineeta Gupta, Head of Children’s Dictionaries at OUP, commented: ‘This year, the stories demonstrate creativity, style and wit, all underpinned by a sophisticated use of grammar and language. The stories have not only provided us with infinite entertainment, but also contributed to language research for children’s dictionaries. As well as this, 500 Words has led to academic research at Oxford University which will support teachers and schools.’

BBC Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans said: ‘OUP’s research is always such a fascinating insight into the minds of children today. This year’s analysis reveals just how tuned in they are to what’s going on in the world. It’s so inspiring to see how they use language so creatively, having fun with words, using humour and bringing them to life through their wonderfully unconstrained imaginations.’