IT'S that time of a new year when popular dictionaries and Pantone declare the words and color of the year. It’s that time too when thy OC-ness is alert for something that is really, actually, basically useless piece of knowledge because who would really care what words were popular or significant in the year that was? But if you are at times into trivia, here it goes:
For Oxford dictionaries, the word of 2017 was a phrase coined in 1965---YOUTHQUAKE. YOUTHQUAKE is defined by Oxford dictionary as “a significant cultural, political or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.” If you haven’t heard of the word and haven’t used it either, don’t fret. Oxford is British as your leather brogues and the word is significant to the ‘by youth-driven general elections in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.’ But if you want a ‘konek’ to the British word choice, think of Shibby de Guzman, that 14-year-old from St. Scholastica’s College of Manila who slammed PRRD for allowing the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and for speaking against the bloody campaign against illegal drugs. Shibby was also named by Time magazine as one of the 30 most influential teenagers of 2017.
Cambridge dictionary of Cambridge English Corpus chose POPULISM as its word of the year. POPULISM is defined as “political ideas and activities that are intended to get the support of ordinary people by giving them what they want”. According to Cambridge University Press, searches for the word also spiked when Pope Francis warned against the mounting surge of populism. Populism may be popular (pun intended) but it is also notorious as it hints at an unthinking populace and an exploitative leadership.
The most popular dictionary, Merriam-Webster, however chose FEMINISM as its word of the year. The #MeToo campaign became the driving force behind the resurgence of the word. #MeToo or Me Too became viral on social media in October 2017 during the wake of allegations about sexual misconduct and harassment against Hollywood executive, Harvey Weinstein. Though the phrase was long used by social activist Tarana Burke in 2006 for a grassroots campaign, actress Alyssa Milano (of ‘Charmed’) encouraged the hashtag’s use in her tweet to speak out against misogynistic behavior and sexual assault. To quote Milano: it’s a standing in solidarity to all those who have been hurt. That includes all the hurts we get from the rape and sexist jokes we get from our government officials all the way from Malacanang to the war front in Marawi City.
Pantone Institute chose ULTRA VIOLET as the color of the year or purple shade 18-3838. Ultra Violet has been described as “dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade” that “communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.” Purple has always been the color of feminists and women’s groups and the choice compliments Merriam-Webster’s word choice.
Whatever these words and color of the year mean to each of us may the new year bring what it should -- always something to make each of us better. Our choices may not always be popular or colorful but if it makes the world kinder and better that’s where the north lies.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on January 09, 2018.
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