Word of the Year

La Voz de Galicia – December 1, 2023 →

Cristina PatoI believe that neither the word of the year in Galician or Spanish have not yet come out, but the American dictionary Merriam-Webster has already chosen theirs: authentic. According to their web page, conversations about artificial intelligence, identity, and social media generated a high number of searches of the word «authentic,» a term that is «difficult to define and subject to debate.» And the truth is that it is curious to think about the other words in the list compiled by Merriam-Webster because after «authentic,» we find «deepfake» (ultra false), dystopic, «deadname» (necronym) and kibbutz, and all of them create a good summary of the concerns of North American society.

This week, the Spanish Royal Academy (RAE) announced the new additions to its dictionary. Among them are not only anglicisms of the digital world such as «big data» or «banner,» but also words such as «chundachunda» (strong, beaty music). Among its 4,381 entries, there is a new meaning for gender identity: «the perception that every person has about their own gender that may or may not coincide with their biological sex,» and for the word non-binary: «does not perceive their gender identity in binary terms as man or woman.»

It is fascinating to look to linguistics novelties as a reflection of society to try to learn from all of them. And it is fascinating to see what the ideas are that occupy the languages we inhabit with respect to the word of the year. And even though the processes of selection depend on the organizing entity, I am always curious to know what words will be chosen by the RAE or the RAG, because in some way, whether we want to or not, those words represent our society’s preoccupations.

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