The Economist have given an honourable mention to the Nigerian Yoruba phrase ‘japa’, a colloquial word for migrate.
The media outlet publishes about 3.5 million words in its newspaper annually and picks their word of the year at the end of the year.
This year, it made an honourable mention of the Yoruba phrase ‘Japa’ in its word of the year article of 2023.
Although Japa is not the publication’s word of the year, the honourable mention goes a long way to show how wide the phrase has spread in the world.
The article read, “Before naming a word of the year,Johnson turns to colleagues to find out what those in different fields and in various countries are talking about.”
“It is a salutary reminder that the world is much bigger than the English language and that, even in largely English-speaking countries, the stock of words is constantly being refreshed by the languages with which English makes contact.”
“Our senior correspondent in Africa suggested coup as the word of the year-there have been two successful ones there in 2023. But an honourable mention should go to the Yoruba verb japa, used colloquially in Nigeria to describe making a quick escape from a precarious situation. Recently it has been extended to mean escape from Nigeria itself, which is plagued by misgovernment.” the article read.
The word of the year for The Economist 2023 is ChatGPT