The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) and Focal Points, a media research company, have included “Jerusalema” in the shortlist for SA Word of the Year 2020.
The word has gained popularity in tandem with the song Jerusalema by local artiste Master KG featuring Nomcebo.
Jerusalema has become a massive global hit since its release last year, racking up more than 184 million YouTube views at the time of publishing.
It has also spawned the Jerusalema dance challenge that has put South Africa on the global entertainment and fitness map.
SA Word of the Year shortlist
Besides “Jerusalema,” two more words are on the 2020 shortlist – “COVID-19” and “Lockdown.”
According to PanSALB, the SA Word of the Year is a word, term or expression that captures the ethos, mood or preoccupations of the year in question.
To be considered, the usage of a word or expression must have increased significantly over the past 12 months across a wide range of media.
PanSALB Acting Chief Executive Willie Manana said, “As the world faces a pandemic and a lot of uncertainty, the tenacity of the human spirit has never been more evident.
“Language has been at the centre of our response to the pandemic as words such as ‘quarantine,’ ‘pandemic’ and ‘lockdown’ suddenly became part of our everyday vocabulary.”
The Board also considered words such as “corruption,” “normalise” and “self-isolation,” but they did not make the shortlist.
PanSALB will announce the SA Word of the Year 2020 on Friday, 16 October, 2020 at the Windmill Casino and Hotel in Bloemfontein, Free State.
The event will coincide with the International Dictionary Day which is held annually on 16 October in memory of Noah Webster, who published the first American dictionary in 1806.