Every year, many analysts and observers of society turn to language to help us mark where we have been, how far we have come, and where we are heading. One word has been judged as not only reflective of the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of this past year, but as having lasting potential as a word of cultural significance. The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2017 is… youthquake.
A significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.
‘a youthquake has altered the Westminster landscape’
‘couture is undergoing something of a youthquake’
Oxford English dictionary announce new words that are added to its repetiore each year. Previous words of the year reflect technological and cultural change such a 'vape' in 2014 and 'selfie' in 2013. For 2017, youthquake is an excellent word to illustrate the importance young people have on influence social change, political action and cultural norms.
Its origins come from 1965: from youth + quake, on the pattern of earthquake. The first recorded use is from the January 1965 edition of the magazine Vogue, describing the upsurge of youth culture in London that occurred in the 1960s, especially as reflected in the changing fashion of the period. The word was apparently coined by Diana Vreeland, then editor-in-chief of Vogue.
Interestingly enough, this word encapsulates the mission of YOURS - youth for road safety. SInce 2009, we have been creating youthquakes in road safety. The word itself show shows the power of young people to dramatically alter the political and cultural landscape of the society, both locally, nationally and globally.
In South Africa, young people are trained as Youth Ambassadors for Road Safety to create a youthquake in South African Road Safety.
When young people are empowered with the skills, knowledge and resources
to make powerful decisions about their wellbeing, thousands of youthquakes can shake the world as we know it. From Belizean youth
taking road safety to the national media to Kenyan youth
running campaigns in rural areas, we have seen hundreds of youth movements shake communities. Whether these movemen are yet to become fully fledged youthquakes, or perhaps they are 'youthtremors', there is no question of the power youth have in shaping society.
Other words that made the 2017 shortlist:
- Milkshake duck: Not a duck that likes milkshake, but it refers to a person or thing which trends on social media but then becomes negative.
- Unicorn: We all know this one, it doesn't refer to the fictional animal though, the word has been recognised for items or food and drink which are rainbow coloured.
- Gorpcore: This is a style of dress which is inspired by outdoor clothing.
- Kompromat: This is the name given to information collected by spies for use in blackmailing people they want to control.
- Newsjacking: This is when products or brands take advantage of a news story to promote their items.
Let's make 2018 a year of road safety youthquakes!
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