Making it all up...

5th May 2006 at 01:00
Carolyn O'Grady takes a look at the best entries in our recent invented words competition

"Gierarchy" and "fabbylux". You won't find either of these words in the dictionary, but you might soon if their inventors Amy Rawson (key stage 3); and Lauren Round (KS2) have anything to do with it.

These are both winning entries in a competition organised by The TES with publishers AC Black to invent interesting and original words and their definitions for the English language. Gierarchy, which won the secondary prize, is derived from guy and hierarchy and describes a rank order of the male species as in: "With all the lads admiring his new Ferrari, Rob knew he had finally reached the top of the gierarchy."

Primary winner Fabbylux defines a luxurious and fabulous lifestyle. Among the shortlisted words were "blonderific", "broburgated" and "slunge". They mean, as you may have worked out, when a blonde does something fantastically amazing or really stupid; the way you feel when your brother will not stop annoying you; and to stand on the armrest of a sofa and fall into it. Also "Wadd" - "Where you use a person's name, then say it again with a W at the beginning instead of the first letter: Bella-Wella. Often used to lengthen pets' names, and may be taken as an insult when said to people."

The winning secondary school is Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls. "Since the beginning of the year we've had a display of newly minted words in our English classroom," says head of English, John Gallagher. "We have been constantly tracking new words and expressions, for example 'blogging', an online journal or diary, and 'elephant in the room', a phrase to indicate an issue which a group of people don't want to talk about. So when we saw the publicity for The TES competition it was the logical next step.

"We opened it up to the whole school, and had a display of new words on a huge double display board made to look like a dictionary. The response was huge and we gave out prizes to key stage winners and sent off the best entries to the competition. It encouraged a curiosity about language."

At Northview Primary in Swindon, Year 6 teacher Steve Tunney says: "We integrated the competition into persuasive writing. Pupils were asked to come up with new words for advertisements which would catch people's attention."

Each school receives pound;500 worth of reference books from AC Black; winning teachers the Bloomsbury English Dictionary and the two pupils get a copy of the Bloomsbury Concise English Dictionary.

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