This was disclosed by the Pan South African Language Board in association with media research companies Focal Points and Newsclip yesterday.
The phrase was used more than 25 000 times in all South African media. The other two contenders were “commission” (of inquiry) at 18690 and “thuma mina” with 5228.
The Word of the Year is a term or expression preferred to reflect the passing year in language.
Language Board spokesperson Sibusiso Nkosi said all findings were based on research conducted by Focal Points and Newsclip on factual statistics found within South African media and served as credible sources.
Nkosi said candidates for word of the year were reviewed by the Language Board and their merits debated.
One was chosen, which captured the philosophy, mood, or obsessions of that particular year.
The use of the phrase was measured between January and October this year.
“Using Focal Points and Newsclip, keywords were tracked for the period January 1 to October 15.
“This media data was analysed to determine the prominence of the keywords within the media and to identify the frequency that they were used in credible print, broadcast and online media,” he said.
The Language Board said the use of the phrase “land expropriation without compensation” increased significantly in 2018 although it had always been in existence.
“The concept of land expropriation without compensation has been in existence, but the Language Board has seen a spike in frequency this year in the context of Parliament’s efforts to change the Constitution to allow land to be expropriated without compensation.”
The choice echoes a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse. It does not look like the usage of the term will slow down in the near future, as Parliament is still trying to amend the Constitution to allow land to be expropriated.
“The SA Word of the Year need not have been coined within the past 12 months. To qualify for consideration we look for evidence that its usage has increased significantly across a broad range of media (print, broadcast and online),” Nkosi said.