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

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

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