The effects of coronavirus on language and culture

Zu den deutschsprachigen Blogs Coronavirus and Culture
Zu den deutschsprachigen Blogs Coronavirus and Culture

It has been over a year since lockdowns across Europe began, and despite the arrival of spring, it is unlikely that we will return to a life reminiscent of the before times anytime soon. In fact, certain aspects of life today may remain when we commence the new normal. If you have been paying any attention to the news over the last year, you might be familiar with these phrases.

Jennifer is a Berlin-based freelance copywriter. She loves writing about food, language, technology, and culture.

The before times is a common term used today to refer to life before we knew what Covid-19 meant. The new normal refers to what life will be like following the passing of the Covid-19 pandemic—one where masks, hand sanitizer, and curfews are likely to become an ordinary part of everyday life.

The Coronavirus, also known colloquially as the Rona, has brought the world to its knees. It has led to millions of mortalities, widespread illness, economic distress, and has disrupted the life of every person on the planet. It has also led to the creation of many terms, phrases, and memes that we are unlikely to ever forget—long after this time has passed.

“Should we set up a Zoom?” In the past, this sentence may have not made any sense. But these days, we know exactly what it means: a video chat. As many individuals settled into remote work life, weekly or even daily Zoom meetings have become the norm. But not everyone was well-versed in the use of these types of tools. There are countless videos of Zoom-call blunders, including the woman who took her entire work team with her during a bathroom break—by accident, of course!

Speaking of toilets, remember the early days of the pandemic when individuals were more concerned about running out of toilet paper than anything else? Only those of us who lived through COVID-19 times will recall the mad dash (and fighting) that went on for toilet paper at supermarkets around the world.

How about social distancing? What does that even mean? Social distancing is another term that became popular over the last year. It refers to the practice of staying a certain distance (the consensus is about 6 feet, or 2 meters) away from others to avoid potentially catching the virus. All of this in the name of flattening the curve. What curve? Flattening the curve refers to lowering the number of coronavirus infections—the curve meaning the rising rate of the virus.

It’s hard to keep up with how quickly the world changed throughout this pandemic. Not only was language and the way we speak impacted, but other forms of communication were also affected. Uncountable memes surfaced in reference to the many moving parts we are facing with references to quarantine-life, vaccination blunders, and much more.

So, what exactly will life look like post-Corona? It’s anyone’s guess. Hopefully we will look back on these days not only with relief but also with awe and inspiration at how quickly the world tried to come together to solve a universal problem.