Pandemic: Impact on Ourselves and the English Language

Sometimes, I think it is so hard to see the wood for the trees. It’s a cliché, but that does not mean that it is a lie. Fourteen months ago, we were heading into another March, one that we thought looked just like any other. What did we think of then when we thought of March? Winds? Easter eggs on their way? Daffodils starting to poke through the grass verges next to grazing lambs? Looking forward to meeting family and friends over the spring and summertime to come. Planning holidays and day trips. Commuting, singing, hugging.

We all have similar stories to tell. How we packed up our desks, cleared communal spaces, went to our homes and painted rainbows for our windows. How we clapped for the NHS every Thursday evening in those early days. Homeschooling, staying at home, discovering our beautiful local green spaces so full of natural life. Worrying about our families, watching the case numbers spiral, fear of the future. In as little as fourteen months, a plethora of concepts have become commonplace: rule of six, face covering, social distancing, lateral flow test, lockdown, firebreak, furlough, self-isolating, covidiot. Zoom calls, the pinging of Microsoft Teams, online quizzes: we are living in a new way. So I think I am starting to see the wood for the trees, but I do not think it will be simple move back to pre-Covid times. The wood is the future, an interesting hybrid future full of technology and reality, where the very essence of ourselves can be explored and make connections. One thing is for sure: our language, much like ourselves, has been irrevocably changed.

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