The Oxford Children’s Word of the Year 2018 is ‘plastic’
Following OUP’s analysis of over 134,000 short stories submitted to the 2018 BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans’ Breakfast Show’s 500 Words competition, Oxford Children’s Dictionaries have announced the Oxford Children’s Word of the Year 2018!
Plastic is the Oxford Children’s Word of the Year because of its significant increase in use in 500 Words (a total rise of more than 100% from 2017), the awareness and passion children demonstrated for environmental issues, and the creative solutions to combat them that children invented in their stories.
Children use plastic in their stories in an emotive way with titles such as: The Plastic Shore, The Mermaid’s Plastic Mission and The Evil Mr Plastic.
“Sea animals are dying because of you and your plastic! Nets get caught around dolphins’ necks. Plastic used for bottles gets tangled around sea turtle shells…” (Save The Planet, boy aged 7).
The words ‘recycle’ and ‘recycling’ have also seen an increase in frequency of over 100%. In their stories children are taking matters into their own hands to come up with inventive solutions to the plastic problem with, for instance: a ‘Reverse-o-matic Pollutinator Ray Gun’ for “zonking all the polluting machines around the world” (The Bookworm, boy aged 13); the ‘Fantastic-sewage-sooperpooper-suckerupper’ to “stop sewage going into the sea so people could swim in it without it being horrible” (Professor Igotit and the Fantastic-sewage-sooperpooper-suckerupper, boy aged 5); and ‘The three plastic-eteers’, “a team fighting against plastic rubbish” (The Three Plastic-eteers, girl aged 8).
Vineeta Gupta, Head of Children’s Dictionaries at OUP says: “Children have shown they are acutely aware of the impact plastic has on our environment and how it will affect their own future. They have used their stories to devise imaginative ways to combat this issue and bring about change in their world.”
Chris Evans says: “Plastic is a fantastic Word of the Year! It really shows just how incredibly engaged with and how much the young people in Britain today care about the world around them. The OUP’s 500 Words analysis is always fascinating and so insightful about the creative ways children use language.”
Discover more insights into the children’s language from this year’s BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition, from Emmeline Pankhurst to unicorns, slime and the computer game Fortnite.