New Delhi, July 12, 2018: The Oxford University Press (OUP) held an analysis, monitoring the words used in the short stories submitted by children this year, which concluded that the Oxford’s Children’s Word of the Year 2018 is ‘plastic’.
A total of 134,000 short stories were submitted to BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans’ Breakfast Show’s 500 Words competition in which the use of the word ‘plastic’ increased by 100 per cent as compared to 2017.
On April 26, the Oxford English Dictionary’s (OED) 90th birthday celebrations were launched on BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans Show along with our regional word appeal ‘Words Where You Are’ — the first of four word appeals to take place across the year.
“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,” said Chris Evans, the host of the show.
“The OUP’s 500 Words analysis is always fascinating and so insightful about the creative ways children use language,” he added.
Increasing awareness in children
These stories showed the rising awareness among children about plastic pollution and how they are coming up with innovative ideas to battle this issue in their fictional stories.
Stories titled ‘Plastic! Plastic! Plastic!’, ‘The Plastic Shore’ and ‘The Plastic Fairy’ were written by children to show their take on the problems created by plastic pollution.
‘Ocean’ was one of the top-used words in these stories
Apart from ‘plastic’, words like ‘recycling’ and ‘ocean’ also saw an increase in usage by 100 per cent as compared to 2017.
Children brought up the issue of polluted rivers and ocean by mentioning oceanic creatures as well as vivid descriptions of the ocean water using words like ‘dark’, ‘blue’, ‘deep’ and ‘turquoise’.
An excerpt from a short story titled ‘Where’s my Reef’ written by a 12-year-old girl reads: “The once bright, flamboyant and vivacious reef turned into a dull, deserted graveyard of dead coral and fish.”
Plastic pollution battled by fictional methods by children
Children invented their own methods of tackling plastic pollution by using innovative and descriptive words. Some of these methods included the use of a ‘Reverse-o-matic Pollutinator Ray gun’ and the ‘Fantastic Sewage Super pooper Suckerupper’.
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.- Vineeta Gupta, Head of Children’s Dictionaries, OUP
With the raising awareness among children regarding this issue, the world is expecting to see a change for the betterment of our environment by drawing attention towards the improper disposal of several plastic materials.