The official Children’s Word of the Year may be “refugee,” but in Lancashire it is more likely to be “pies.”
Research shows that while many youngsters across Britain want to write about serious issues like Syria, people smuggling and migrant camps, some of the tastiest topics in the home of the hotpot seem to involve food.
Of the top 10 words most commonly used by Lancashire’s next generation in a national writing competition, three – pies, flake and waffles – are all more waistline than headline.
Download the Lancashire Evening Post mobile app here
Add to that an interest in extra-terrestrial or ethereal matters – with spaceship, spook and entity showing up well – children in Lancashire appear to have less weighty matters on their mind than their peers when they sit down to pen a story.
The findings come from the 500 Words competition run by Chris Evans’ breakfast show on BBC Radio 2.
Oxford University Press analysed the 54 million words written by 123,000 young people and “refugee” came out top, scoring 339 hits – almost four times more than it did in the 2015 contest.
The word “migrant” was a new entry with 34 hits – it didn’t appear once last year. And Syria, Greece, Turkey, Calais and Lesbos also featured prominently.
Astronaut Tim Peake, Star Wars, Shakespeare and social media are just some of the people and events which are influencing British children’s creativity and use of language, says the OUP.
But Lancashire’s top 10 words were: clot, spook, entity, spaceship, jeep, sergeant, pies, nil, flake and waffles.
The top 30 famous people and fictional characters are topped by Santa Claus (2,439 mentions), with Zeus second (1,206) and then Lionel Messi (1,058). But spaceman Tim Peake (586) was still beaten by Snow White (696) and Cinderella (736). Even the Tooth Fairy (493) scored more than Wayne Rooney (380).