A sombre word of the year to end 2012. Lexicographers at the Australian National Dictionary Centre have recognised the growing trend in Afghanistan for soldiers to die at the hands of their supposed Afghan colleagues. ‘Green-on–blue’ deaths have shot up in the last 12 months, affecting Australians in particular, and so ‘green-on-blue’ is the Australian word of the year.
The move typifies the downbeat nature of many of this year’s choices, from Omnishambles to Bluster, reflecting a sense that the last 12 months have been a difficult affair. And while that has been true, it has not been wholly the case. The Olympics-engendered feelgood summer in England was anything but depressing, and even though all of us who lived it knew it was an oasis away from the daily storm, it was no less enjoyable for all of that and no less a part of the year that has been.
Only the Van Dale dictionary in the Netherlands seems have come up with something more positive, with its Dutch word of the year unveiled as Project X-feest, a party organised via social media which ends up in a riot. Positive with a hint of negative, really.
The complexity of the year, together with the sense that one negative word doesn’t do it justice, was the reason for Wordability’s decision to go with five words of the year, each summing up a particular aspect of 2012. And if you want to rediscover those words in print as well as on your kindle, you now can, as Eastwooding with the Mother Flame: The Words of 2012 is now available as a paperback in addition to the electronic version.
So as the year draws to a close, what can we expect in 2013. Well, assuming the Mayans were wrong, we can reasonably expect more depression, more hardship and more new words which reflect the dispirited mood which pervades the globe.
But I hope we see more than that, and we see linguistic creativity continue to flourish in a positive way, giving us new words which not only make us smile but also sum up things which have occurred which have made people’s lives a little richer.