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Social Distancing, Zoom, PPE: How 2020 Has Changed Our Everyday Language




A face mask lies on a German-English dictionary during an English class at the Friedrich-Schiller-Gymnasium (Friedrich-Schiller high school) in Ludwigsburg, southern Germany, on May 4, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
A face mask lies on a German-English dictionary during an English class at the Friedrich-Schiller-Gymnasium (Friedrich-Schiller high school) in Ludwigsburg, southern Germany, on May 4, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images

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Social distancing, quarantine, PPE and even Zoom. Those are just a few words that have been thrust into our everyday vocabulary thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. 

You might not have even noticed how seamlessly the words now roll off the tongue during daily conversations with friends, family and coworkers. A new Los Angeles Times piece titled, “From COVID to curbside, 2020 changed our vocabulary too” dives into the most commonly used words of 2020 and questions whether the drastic events of the year have reshaped our language for good. Although many of these words aren’t newly created words themselves, they’re used with unprecedented prominence. And the shift isn’t just covid-related. Other monumental events like the death of George Floyd and historic calls for social justice have also played a role in how we speak to each other. With so many words used throughout the year, which one do you think best sums up 2020? Join the conversation by calling 866-893-5722. 

With guest host Austin Cross   

Guest:

Deborah Netburn, science and features writer at the Los Angeles Times, her latest piece is “From COVID to curbside, 2020 changed our vocabulary too;” she tweets @DeborahNetburn