‘Fake news’ is Norwegian new word of the year

The Language Council of Norway has pronounced ‘fake news’ (falske nyheter) as the new Norwegian word of the year.

'Fake news' is Norwegian new word of the year
File photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB scanpix

The expression beat other neologisms including ‘Swedish conditions’ (svenske tilstander), 'October child' (oktoberbarn) and ‘purple voter’ (lillavelger) to the award, writes news agency NTB.

“The word is not completely new, but its use has exploded over the last year,” language researcher Ole Våge, a senior advisor to the council, told NTB.

“It is a word that has set the agenda and was given a lot of attention during the 2016 US election, and that attention has continued,” language researcher Bente Karlsnes told broadcaster NRK.

Every year, the recipient of the award is chosen by the Language Council of Norway along with Norwegian School of Economics professor Gisle Andersen. The word can either be completely new, or a modern word that has characterised the year.

“The use of the phrase ‘fake news’ has exploded during the last year, and was the most used new word amongst this year’s candidates. The phrase reflects the fight for truthful news in public debate in a completely new way, both in Norway and elsewhere in the world,” Våge told NTB.

Andersen said that this year’s general election in Norway also influenced the list.

“Several of the words… show that Norwegian political debate has switched to a higher gear, in which pointed phrases and negative characterisations are becoming more normal,” the professor told NTB.

The Language Council of Norway also uses data from major national and regional newspapers in the process of selecting the word.

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