Words that are likely to trend in 2023

After last year ended with the usual flurry of various “Words of the Year” anointed by various dictionaries, it may seem ill-fitting for January to pass without looking ahead to the words we might need to use in the New Year. After all, before the Covid pandemic, who would have thought that we would quickly become familiar with terms such as “herd immunity”, “social distancing”, “slow the curve”, “viral dose”, “protein spike” and “mRNA injections” “? Why can’t the same thing happen to us in 2023 that extends our names from 2020 to 2022?

That noble guardian of Anglophile wisdom, The Economist (which, despite being a weekly magazine, insists on calling itself a newspaper), last year chose 23 names that it thought might catch on in the near future. Some of them are too technical, in this reader’s opinion, to be the subject of everyday conversation — phrases like “post-quantum cryptography” and “cislunar”, for example. (The former would take too long to explain; the latter has to do with the space between the Earth and the Moon’s orbit). Some others are too culturally specific to apply to most of us, even those in it The EconomistThe orbit does not agree – a term like “TWAT cities”, for example, in the US related to cities where the working week is reduced to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and people work from home on Monday and Friday. But others continue The Economist The list may be the words we all need to understand before the new year is out.

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Take “synfuels”, for example. This is synthetic energy, produced artificially rather than from oil—especially useful in an era when governments are more determined than ever to ditch fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy sources. Or “green hydrogen”, hydrogen made using renewable energy by using techniques that use electrolysis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. This is both cheaper and less polluting than conventional fuel, and the West is already promoting the use of “green hydrogen” as the best form of renewable energy.

Indeed, climate change and environmental awareness may continue to have as much impact on our names in the near future as Covid has. We will have to understand about “Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions”: respectively, those directly caused by the company’s activities (Scope 1), indirect emissions (Scope 2) and all other emissions from the activities of the company’s suppliers. and customers (Scope 3). These three types of emissions will be part of the discussion about responsibility for global warming. Higher temperatures caused by climate change lead to “freezing”, or prolonged drying of a region or area – another neologism. Similarly, responses to the growing heat waves will add to our vocabulary – cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix and Tokyo are planning ways to reduce temperatures by introducing “cool roofs” (covered with white paint or reflective materials) and “cool streets” (sideways treated with special coatings) to reflect light. away from the sun so that the area retains less heat. Others may build “resilience zones” – buildings that provide air-conditioned shelters with drinking water, internet access and phone charging points – in cities to combat heat waves.

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If climate change will add to our list of frequently used neologisms, technology will continue to intervene. One term is becoming more widely used: “eSIMs” have begun to replace or replace SIM cards, the subscriber identity modules we used to insert into our phones to connect to different networks. “eSIMs” have begun to replace the physical chips and digital codes that are part of the software in your phone.

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Thanks to technology, “reality” is already undergoing a paradoxical change. We already have “virtual reality”, when you wear glasses and a headset that immerses you in another computer-generated reality. Next will be “augmented reality”, which will superimpose computer-generated objects on your view of the real world. Watch out for “mixed reality”, which will go even further by allowing real and virtual things to interact. The real and the digitally generated will merge in ways that could easily affect our vocabulary, our daily lives and one day, our intelligence!

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