Birmingham City University analyses the key words of the decade so far

An academic study has revealed that Bitcoin, emojis and Trump are among the world’s most talked about new topics since the turn of the decade.

Researchers at Birmingham City University in the UK trawled tens of thousands of the internet’s most popular English language websites to find words which had emerged for the first time since 2010, or increased significantly in usage over the last seven years – with ‘Bitcoin’ emerging as the front runner.

Changes in the digital world dominated the results, with top words also including ‘emoji’, ‘iOS’, ‘selfie’, ‘memes’ and ‘esports’. Politics also featured highly with key words including ‘Trump’, ‘Brexit’ and ‘Obamacare’.

The word ‘snowflake’ saw a dramatic increase in usage, most likely attributed to the rise of the phrase ‘Snowflake Generation’, used as a derogatory term for young adults of the 2010s.

Millennials will have been pleased to see that ‘onesie’, ‘Thrones’ (Game of) and ‘influencers’ also emerged. However, while the word ‘hipster’ is being used much more often today, it failed to feature in the top 5,000 words and was found to have been in common usage since before 2010.

Football stars ‘Cristiano’ (Ronaldo) and (Lionel) ‘Messi’ were mentioned frequently, while the word Markle (Meghan) experienced a boom as a result of the Suits star’s engagement to Prince Harry.

Matt Gee, from the Research and Development Unit for English Studies at Birmingham City University, said:

“The changes we observe in language reflect the changes we see in our everyday lives.

“This study reveals new words that have been coined in recent years in a quantifiable way and gives us a snapshot of the topics that have dominated the web since 2010.”

The study is based on data from a special online tool called WebCorp Linguist’s Search Engine which was developed in 2010.

A new phase of the project started recently giving the project team the chance to perform an updated analysis of word usage on the web.

There was also an increase in office speak with ‘webinar’, ‘analytics’, ‘cybersecurity’, ‘cloud-based’ and ‘infographics’ all featuring highly.

Social media platforms were also represented with ‘Instagram’, ‘Snapchat’, ‘WhatsApp’ and ‘Pinterest’ all emerging as new, while the changing face of music saw words like ‘SONOS’ and ‘Spotify’ on the rise.

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