Fair and 'square-code' winner of Latvia's word of 2021 announced

For the 19th time, Riga Latvian Society's Latvian Language Advancement Group has announced the 'word', 'non-word' and 'winged phrase' of the year 2021, the group's representatives said January 31.

Word of the year

Latvian awards for the 'word of the year' often include neologisms developed as a result of technology advancement; last year, it was highly influenced by the Covid-19 domain. The winner of the year 2021 combined both technology and the Covid-19 era as the word 'kvadrātkods' (square-code, as a Latvianized version for QR code) took the first place.

The finalists this year were 'balstpote' (booster shot), 'līdzestība' (compliance), 'ribjosla' (rumble strip), 'staķīši' (a play on 'stabiņi' (poles) and 'Staķis' (Rīga Mayor), as an ironic expression for the bicycle barrier poles causing much controversy in Rīga), and 'tīkšķis' (a social media 'like').

Non-word of the year

The "non-word of the year" category discussed 'iekļaujoša valoda' (inclusive language), 'lokalizēt' (localize in the sense of limiting e.g. a fire), 'murālis' (a direct translation of mural), 'posts' for a post on social media.

The winner of the non-word category was 'sadarbspējīgs', as an accurate albeit clumsy translation for 'interoperable', used in the context of Covid-19 certificates.

Winged phrase of the year

The "winged phrases" are expressions that have been heard in public and stuck in people's minds in one way or another. The phrases of 2021 included Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš' address to the nation in November "Draugi, nav labi!" (Friends, all is not well!) and Jānis Eglītis, Head of the Agriculture Minister's Bureau, expression that 'You cannot pull the plug from a cow'.

The two winners of the category were the phrase uttered on Latvian Television by epidemiologist Uga Dumpis 'Sapinušies sociālajos tīklos' or 'Tangled in social networks' , as well as President Egils Levits' vaccination experience summarized as 'Ļoti labi jūtos – es neko nejūtu!' (I feel great – I don't feel anything).

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