This year has been a roller-coaster ride carrying with its drastic overhauls and dynamic shifts in not just economies and trade, but in language too.
As the world struggles to deal with the “new normal” Corona virus has wrought on our towns, urban areas and communities, the society faces the challenge of figuring out how to discuss the impact of the virus on our everyday lives. Due to this new fact, numerous new words have become part of the normal dictionary. A speedy sweep through web searches hurls quite a significant mishmash of searches in India.
Initially, the searches brought results for the medical terms such as PPE kits but as the lockdowns continued getting extended, the searches indicated results for the social and emotional outcomes of the Corona virus.
It is almost surprising to see the swiftness with which English language evolved during the lockdown!
Here are some words that people heard the most in the last 7 months:
1.Lockdown: Till a few months ago, “lockdown” was used basically in prisons as a protocol for controlling prisoners. We have heard enough of this word to not realize what it implies. It is such a wistful irony that our present condition in this prison of pandemic is relatable to the prisoners in the early 1970s.

2.Social distancing: It is amazing how rapidly social distancing went from being a phrase used by sociologists studying social, racial, class and gender relations to one that’s repeated all over social media, on the news and in private conversations multiple times a day. It is all around us and it has begun to get on a lot of people’s nerves, either because they are sick and tired of hearing the similar guidelines over and over again or because the expression itself invokes a feeling of depression and loneliness.

3.New normal: The phrase “new normal” is a paradoxical expression used to indicate a life event that is strange and has a long-lasting effect on someone’s day-to-day routine. For example, a couple who just had their first child might tell their loved ones that they are adjusting to their new normal.
But using the phrase to describe efforts to battle a global pandemic implies a sense of lastingness that makes any individuals awkward. This might be one time when it is smarter and better to challenge ourselves to find a new phrase, rather than depending on one we already know. If you check for synonyms for new and normal, you think of strange and bizarre routine, unusual norm and unfamiliar order.
Those all appear to more readily capture the inherent weirdness of this current time, which is sadly expected to become usual or typical.

4.Essential: Essential workers like healthcare workers, grocery store workers, sanitation workers and many others are out on the bleeding edges during this pandemic, yet the word essential has still become a state of dispute for some individuals. Why are we so sick and tired of it?
Maybe because it lacks specificity. In many instances, the word essential doesn’t seem to capture the importance of these roles in the same way as the synonyms like crucial, pivotal, fundamental and necessary. It also leaves out a significant component: a different word for essential. Many laborers are doing risky jobs out of necessity as the ability to social distance is a bed of roses for those who have the means and methods, a safe and earthly abode as well as adaptable work. Essential is not always the right and clearest way to state that.

5.Unprecedented: It is a trending word on everyone’s lips. They are right. This is an unprecedented situation that all of us are going through now. Yet, maybe every leader, media source, commercial and celebrity does not have to utilize this word so regularly.
After all, unprecedented has around 30 synonyms. Rather than pulling this one out of word bank, try: bizarre, unmatched, extraordinary, remarkable, unusual or unheard – of.

These are the words of which we are more aware of because of so much information that is readily available at our fingertips with rolling news and social media. We are all bonded by a common language that captures the stresses, difficulties and humor of this extraordinary time. Will it have a lasting impact on language? Once all this comes to a finite end, which will take some time, we will likely remember corona language with mixed feelings. And, hopefully, in twenty years of time #coronials, #quaranteens and #coronababies will relate it to a specific period in history – however and hopefully not their whole lives.

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