2018’s ‘Word of the Year’ comes from one of the most tumultuous periods in Trump’s presidency

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The American Dialect Society named “tender-age shelter” the 2018 “Word of the Year.”
The term was used by the US government to describe facilities designed to house babies and young children who have been separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border, due to changes in the Trump administration’s immigration policy.
In related votes, “wall” was named “Political Word of the Year” and “techlash” the “Digital Word of the Year.”

One of the Trump administration’s most-controversial policies has resulted in 2018’s “Word of the Year.”

A group of almost 300 linguists and word experts chose “tender-age shelter” as 2018’s word of the year at the American Dialect Society’s annual conference on Friday.

“The use of highly euphemistic language to paper over the human effects of family separation was indication of how words in 2018 could be weaponized for political necessity,” Ben Zimmer, chair of the American Dialect Society’s new words committee.

The vote, held this year in New York City, aims to crown the word or phrase that defined the year and saw widespread or innovative usage.

The Trump administration set up multiple “tender-age” facilities over the summer to detain thousands of babies and other young children separated from their families as a result of the Trump administration’s immigration policy at the US-Mexico border. The family separation policy sparked widespread, bipartisan condemnation throughout the last half of 2018.

Linguistically, experts latched onto the phrase “tender age” as a euphemism meant to downplay the harsh conditions of the facilities, in which the children were reported to be kept in cages and in some cases, subjected to abuse from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents. The Guardian’s Stephen Poole wrote in June that the term “has the whiff of Orwell’s Big Brother.”

This political nature of this year’s winning word continued a trend for the group of language experts. In 2017, the society chose “fake news” as the word of the year, citing Trump’s redefinition of the term from merely “falsehoods presented as news” to “actual news that is claimed to be untrue.”

In a companion vote, “wall” was named the “Political Word of the Year,” referring to Trump’s proposed wall along the US-Mexico border. Other nominees in that category included “blue wave” — referring to the Democratic Party’s gains in the 2018 midterm elections — and “lodestar” — a word used by a Trump official in an anonymous New York Times op-ed that sent the internet into …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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