Karanténkert, koronamém, pánikvásárló, vécépapírkrízis… words we have not used before in the Hungarian language. What do they mean? How did they appear in our and other languages? How long these words live? Questions linguistics research and answer in the last few months since the coronavirus epidemic broke out in the world.
Ágnes Veszelszki is an associate professor at the Corvinus University of Budapest, the head of the Communication and Media Studies Department and also an enthusiastic researcher of languages. In a recent study, she aimed to collect and examine more than two hundred new Hungarian words and expressions, all created by the coronavirus epidemic. These appeared in our language quickly, and many people started to use them in everyday conversations — both oral and written — and everyone understood them immediately.
The epidemic created new words and made other already existing ones more frequent in our language, begins Veszelszki on the website E-nyelv.hu. With the help of an online form, the professor created a survey and was able to collect more than two hundred new words and expressions from acquaintances, friends and mostly university students at Corvinus. Veszelszki emphasises that these words appeared in the past five months in the Hungarian language but did not “stay with us” forever. Although they were born quickly, once the epidemic ends, they will disappear in a short time.
Let us see some examples!
From the English version of covidiot, the Hungarian form was born from COVID + dinka, without an additional “d” in the word. Dinka is the funny expression of idióta, which means idiot. The person who is covidinka is someone who does not care about the virus and its consequences.
The expression megkoronáz means that someone crowns a man or woman to be a king or queen. From the Hungarian name of the virus (koronavírus) the word megkoronázódik was born. This means that someone gets the disease; someone is crowned with the virus as the word “korona” means crown in Hungarian.
to read the study of Ágnes Veszelszki (Hungarian-language)