Hard times bring new words

The New York Times has published an interesting article on the new words and terms being used by Europe’s citizens as a result of the economic crisis.

Some of the terms are lifted directly from English. Take “spreaddite acuta”, or acute spreaditis, used by the Italian media to describe Italy’s bond-yield problems. Or “downgradare”, referring to credit-rating downgrades by agencies like Standard & Poors.

Here’s the audio version of some of the new terms, used in context.

One depressing observation by the New York Times is that:

Europe’s crisis has gone on so long that it is defining a generation, which has been given names like the “Ni-Nis” in Spain for the legions of young people who are neither studying nor working.

“I’m sadly all too familiar with the Ni-Nis because I’ve had to cope with one at home,” said Carmen Blanco, 43 and unemployed, referring to her 20-year-old daughter, who dropped out of high school and has been living with her. The expression, Ms. Blanco said, “really makes clear this situation of nothingness and hopelessness.” [my emphasis]

Here in the UK we have the term “NEET“, referring to young people not in education, employment or training. But that pre-dates our current economic troubles.

The crisis has also brought words and expressions previously used only by economists into common usage. Here in the UK, who’d have thought before 2008 that “quantitative easing” would be tripping so readily off our tongues?

Other posts you might like:

English words the world likes…

…and the words the world just can’t abide

Faffing around: frequently added frequentatives 

By Marian Dougan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Recent Posts