No compensation for guessing what SA's 'word' of the year is

South Africa is known for its unique and colourful vocabulary – say "tsek" and everybody knows what you’re talking about. It’s not exactly a compliment.

"Jou ma se… whatever" is, again, not the most endearing tribute.

Every year, the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB), in association with media research companies Focal Points and Newsclip, analyses heaps of media data to determine the "South African word of the year" – a word or term that was used most frequently in the country’s print, online and broadcast media.

Last year, the word of the year was "state capture", beating "white monopoly capital" and "blesser", which were also on the shortlist.

ALSO READ: State Capture named SA word of the year

This year, "land expropriation without compensation" is South Africa’s word of the year, PanSALB spokesperson Sibusiso Nkosi announced on Tuesday.

According to PanSALB, the South African Word of the Year is a term or expression which reflects the passing year.

"Candidates for word of the year were reviewed by PanSALB and then debated their merits, choosing one that captures the philosophy, mood, or obsessions of that particular year," PanSALB said in a statement.

"All findings are based on research conducted by Focal Points and Newsclip on factual statistics found within South African media and serve as credible sources.

"Using Focal Points and Newsclip, keywords were tracked for the period 1 January to 15 October 2018. This media data [were] analysed to determine the prominence of the keywords within the media and to identify the frequency that they were used in credible print, broadcast and online media."

'Spike in frequency'

PanSALB analysed the occurrences (the number of times the keyword was used in the articles) and clip count (the number of articles in which the keyword is mentioned) of words used by the media.

It was found that "land expropriation without compensation" was used more than 25 000 times in all South African media, beating words such as "commission" (of inquiry) at 18 690, and "thuma mina" at 5 228.

"The use of the term 'land expropriation without compensation' has increased significantly in 2018," Nkosi said.

"The concept of 'land expropriation without compensation' has been in existence, but PanSALB has seen a spike in frequency this year in the context of Parliament’s effort to change the Constitution to allow land to be expropriated without compensation."

Nkosi said the choice echoes a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse.

"It does not look like the usage of the term will slow down in the near future, especially if one takes into account that Parliament is still trying to amend the Constitution to allow land to be expropriated without compensation," PanSALB said.

"The SA word of the year need not have been coined within the past 12 months. To qualify for consideration, we look for evidence that its usage has increased significantly across a broad range of media," Nkosi said.

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