the words that will survive the pandemic

the words that will survive the pandemic

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Teleworking by coronavirus

The pandemic of coronavirus It will pass, but the words will remain. Right now we cannot guarantee which will be the lucky ones, those who will make a career beyond this emergency situation we are experiencing, but some will be added to the lexicon and expressions of our language and we will say them with complete normality.

For many decades after the Civil war, it was common to hear someone say that he was not in his right mind, “touched by the bombs”, with the sense that the extreme situation of a warlike conflict of these characteristics, having heard the bombs whistle closely, had upset.

For many years we heard about post-war cruelty and ration cards, that older people told young people in all kinds of details: “A war should have happened,” they scolded us when we did not value certain things. After the dictatorship, the transition came, the coup, the culture of ball … Facts and times that leave a mark on the tongue. It is logical that the language we speak for the next decades will keep words and expressions of what has been lived today.

On the other hand, the fact of having to resort to many tools that work through the network has also made it easier for people to learn a little more about the world of the internet. The most clumsy have had to wake up to telework, while those who until now had ignored this virtual world have put their batteries to contact telematically with other people.

We have summarized this pandemic in ten words, a decalogue that also brings together the other related ones.


Confinement has changed the usual landscape. If until now, when it was talked about, it was related to political punishment, such as when Unamuno was confined in Fuerteventura or Jovellanos in Mallorca, today confinement is preventive and beneficial for the inmate.

Future use: When someone wants to disappear for a few hours from circulation so that they do not have to put up with anyone or do any activity that requires concentration. “I’m going to confine myself for a few hours, to see if I finish my homework.”


The great protagonist, who has acted with nocturnalness and malice. If, when the Mobile was suspended, many voices considered that it was not so bad, at this point it can be seen that I wish it had started taking more drastic precautions before.

Future use: Due to its high aggressiveness and contagion power, it can become synonymous with what a toxic person is today. “Her husband is a coronavirus.”


If until now it was used mainly when driving, to maintain the distance between vehicles, now it prevents the spread of the coronavirus.

Future use: it can coexist with expressions like “let the air run”, when someone gets too close to another and they feel violated in their living space. It should be said that, until today, the distance between people was very different according to the cultures. European Mediterranean societies are closer and more socially touched than the Nordic ones. Those of the Maghreb, on the other hand, still have a shorter social distance; it is usual for two friends to walk arm in arm down the street.

Historical events and episodes leave expressions that speakers incorporate into the language


When the crisis broke out, some hypochondriacs tried to put humor in the networks when they asked them if they were calm: “All our lives we have prepared for this,” they replied, but it is known that this is not the case.

Future use: No changes are anticipated. All life has been like this.


The labels on the networks also mark a moment or a stage. The one now used to enforce confinement as the best preventive tool to avoid being infected is also a declaration of intent: I am a responsible citizen and I sacrifice myself and my fellow citizens.

Future use: If you survive the coronavirus, it will change to an ironic sense. To avoid going according to which places, the speaker will express that he prefers to stay at home. New version of “home sweet home”.


If reading the magnificent novel by Garcia Marquez Love in the time of cholera could make lovers love a false quarantine so that they can be together without being disturbed, the current quarantine, which most of them are going through without health problems, is testing many couple relationships that, from this predicament, will be reinforced or battered.

Future use: If a good number of the current 50s are children of the baby boom , those born in nine months, if the rebound in birth is significant, perhaps they will be the quarantine boom or coronavirus boom .


Pontius Pilate coined one of the most famous phrases in the Gospels, when he ignored the condemnation of Jesus by washing his hands. Two thousand years have passed before this expression has acquired a new meaning, associated with hygiene and the prevention of contagion.


Teleworking does not acquire new meanings, but it does uncover itself as the great unknown. From now on, surely many workers and companies, who have been forced to implement this practical tool, will ask to telework. Without confinement and in its proper measure, it can greatly facilitate life.


The video call has been another of the great discoveries of the health crisis. If the phone call was considered intrusive by some people today, now it turns out that we have resorted to video calls to see each other’s faces. A major paradigm shift, which will irretrievably backtrack when the virus has been defeated. As a side benefit, video calling has shown many people the possibilities that new connections offer.

Confinement is causing an unprecedented situation, which changes habits that the language reflects


For some time now, thanks to the mobility of people around the world, telematic communications and, by rebound, virtual relationships, have become more frequent. With the pandemic, most have been forced to maintain these relationships if they did not want to be isolated. Now that some people have discovered it, they may want to continue exploring these virtual pathways, which do not spread physical illnesses, but can have psychic consequences.

In a few years we will know how the coronavirus has left its mark on words. Once upon a time there were the headgear of the bombs and from now on, due to the consequences of the long confinement, perhaps there will be the headgear of confinement.


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