The Most Popular Word for School Children in Surrey


This is amusing.
‘Skis’ is the most popular word amongst school children in Surrey, according to a report by the Oxford University Press.

The study analysed 120,421 entries for the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast Show’s 500 WORDS short story competition by children aged five and 13 years old.

It also found that ‘Hashtag’ – and the ‘#’ symbol used to represent it – is unmistakably the ‘Children’s Word of the Year’.

Indeed, consistent with the cyberspace theme, the study also found that ‘Android’ was in the top 10 words for Surrey’s school kids.

The list of top 10 key words for Surrey is as follows:

  • skis
  • poachers
  • flea
  • beanstalk
  • android
  • sunflowers
  • yeast
  • gecko
  • hoard
  • airship

Vineeta Gupta, Head of Children’s Dictionaries at Oxford University Press says, “Language is constantly changing and adapting. Children are true innovators and are using the language of social media to produce some incredibly creative writing. What impresses me most is how children will blend, borrow, and invent words to powerful effect and so enrich their stories.”

Interestingly, the fast pace of the world of technology means that certain words are now on the ‘endangered’ list, such as: ‘mobile’, ‘ipod’, and even ‘TV/Television/Telly’ are becoming less popular. ‘Facebook’ and ‘Email’ are on the decline, with emphasis moving over to ‘Instagram’, ‘YouTube’ and ‘Snapchat.’

Children have responded to events in the year, such as the centenary of World War I. This year’s research into trends has also uncovered that many children do conform to common gender stereotypes. Girls write enthusiastically of ‘cupcakes’, ‘unicorns’, ‘marshmallows’, and ‘flowers’, and they love words associated with beauty and fashion, such as ‘dip-dying’ and ‘loom bands’. For boys, ‘burgers’, ‘space’ and ‘cars’ are the focus!

If you hold an active interest in words (if not WHY NOT?!) then I have another book to recommend.

Bill Bryson Mother Tongue review

It’s called Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson. It tracks the use of the English Language and examines how words like ‘Shampoo’ and ‘OK’ got into our dictionaries. Brilliant for amateur lexicographers!

Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson, £7.99, was published by Penguin in 2009.

2 thoughts on “The Most Popular Word for School Children in Surrey”

  1. Interesting….I can see why skis would be popular, but I wonder why ‘poacher’? Maybe it’s some slang I don’t yet understand…

Leave a Reply