Dr Laura Bailey, Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics, recently spoke to Kent Online for an article titled How the ‘Covid-19 pandemic created new words and phrases including covidiot, furlough and support bubbles’.
This new vocabulary has helped us to better understand and make sense of the change and disruption to our everyday lives. From social distancing to self-isolation the coronavirus pandemic has led to an explosion of new words and phrases.
Laura said: “Anything that people are going to talk about that either introduces new things or behaviours or concepts you need new terms for. We already had the word ‘quarantine’. You can still use it in the sense of bringing an animal in from another country – it has to be quarantined for four weeks. But we know when we are talking about quarantine now we are talking about the two weeks of staying inside your own house if you develop symptoms.”
Dr Bailey also commented on the suggestion language could be weaponised in times of emergency with war metaphors such as “on the frontline” coined by politicians.