File picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

It's official,  “land expropriation without compensation” has been voted the  South African Word of the Year.

The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) in association media research companies Focal Points and Newsclip proclaims announced this on Tuesday October 16. 

Although land expropriation without compensation is more of a phrase than a word, the three companies found that it had been used over 25 000 times in all South African media (print, broadcast and online) beating words like Commission (of inquiry) at 18 690 and Thuma mina at 5 228.

PanSALB said the South African Word of the Year was a term or expression preferred to reflect the passing year in language. They said they reviewed candidates for word of the year then debated their merits, choosing one that captured the philosophy, mood, or obsessions of that particular year.  

"All findings are based on research conducted by Focal Points and Newsclip on factual statistics found within South African media and serve as credible sources.

"Using Focal Points and Newsclip keywords were tracked for the period  January 1 to October 15 2018. 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.

"It was found that land expropriation without compensation was used over 25 000 times in all South African media (print, broadcast and online) beating words like Commission (of inquiry) at 18 690 and Thuma mina at 5228."

PanSALB said the use of the word land expropriation without compensation  increased significantly in 2018 although it had always been in existence.

"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 especially if one takes into account that Parliament is still trying to amend the constitution to allow land to be expropriated without compensation. 

 "The SA Word of the Year need not have been coined within the past twelve 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)," PanSALB said.