From Gangnam to hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, student essays give insight into student psyche - 29 May 2013
As any primary teacher will tell you, children's creative writing can provide a fascinating insight into popular culture and language development.
Oxford University Press has today released an analysis of more than 90,000 short stories written by children aged 13 and under, revealing the ever-changing obsessions and interests of young people.
Here are some highlights from the report, which analysed 40 million words from entries to the annual 500 Words short-story competition on Radio 2's Chris Evans breakfast show.
1. The most popular new words this year are "Gangnam", which appears 287 times, and "onesie", which is used 121 times.
2. The most popular celebrities are the band One Direction with 566 mentions, singer Tulisa with 339 appearances, and teen star Justin Bieber with 170 mentions.
3. The words "Olympic" and "Olympics" are used 1,823 times this year, compared with 1,506 times in 2012.
4. The word "Mum" is the children's top noun, with 115,000 occurrences. ("Dad" appears in the top 20, with about half the number of uses.)
5. The most popular tech words for boys are "PS3", "Xbox" and "download"; for girls they are "email", "iPod" and "text".
6. The longest story titles are "John the world famous, internationally most wanted, ham sandwich stealing Platypus" and "Jeff the Hippie and Mighty Mollusc; The Ancient Banana Blasters of Vindaloo".
7. Jack and Lucy are the most popular names in the stories. Lucy is used 14,420 times and Jack 19,900 times.
8. Boys and girls use the names of boys in their stories, but girl names are used mainly by girl authors.
9. Among the longest words used by the young authors are "floccinaucinihilipilification" (the habit of estimating something as worthless) and "hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia" (the fear of long words).
10: Chocolate is the most-mentioned food or drink, with 9,954 uses.
We hope you enjoyed these intriguing insights into the minds of modern schoolchildren. What are the obsessions of budding writers in your classes? Do you teach Twilight-obsessed goths or Britain's Got Talent addicts? What is the longest word they've ever used?
We'd love to know.
Don't be afraid to tell the blog's editor Ed Dorrell what you think
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