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Word of the year 2014: web surfers chose the word separatysta

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Web surfers chose the word separatysta.

As a result of the internet plebiscite, organised in collaboration with the National Centre for Culture, the noun separatysta (Eng. ‘separatist’) was chosen the word of the year (formerly also chosen the word of April), winning almost half of the votes.

Porf. Jerzy Bartmiński’s comment.

Two other words with next best results were: kilometrówka (English ‘mileage’, the world of April) and aneksja (English ‘annexation’, the word of March).

The proposals of the web surfers for the word of the year were also the following words and expressions:

wybory (sfałszowane), selfie, oznaczyć, tagi and otagowany post, masakra, beka, Pendolino, lol, szczujnia, bynajmniej, zielone ludziki, uprzejmi ludzie, święty, zapitka, twitteromania, target, studniówka, system wyborczy, smartfon, przewodniczący, projekt, odejście, bezglutenowy, narracja, lajkilajkować, kredyt, kompromitacja, kobieta z brodą, klimat, klawo, instagram, gender, exit poll, embargo, epicki, dron, dodać, być eko, bieda, afera (taśmowa), Ukraina, Soczi, Krym.

Thank you all for your votes!

We would also like to thank everyone who published the link for voting on their FB pages and on the SnC website.

The [web surfers’] choice of ‘separatysta’ for the word of the year 2014 does not surprise me at all. Separatist and separatism had already become signs of our time, at least of the political one. Year 2014 saw the annexation of Crimea and the separatist conflict in Ukraine, where the European and, to some extent, world order crumbles, and we, Poles, have reasons to worry for our future. Yet the truth is more general: separatists have been knocking on Europe’s door for quite a long time and the spectre of separatism has been hunting Europe, threatening the integration process at the national level (although paradoxically maybe not the entire European Union, which has been supporting the autonomy of regions!). Because we observe not only the pro-Russian separatism of Donietsk and Lugansk in Ukraine, which threaten the country’s integrity; we also notice similar movements in the West of Europe: of Scots and Welsh in the United Kingdom, of Basques and Catalonians in Spain, of Bretons in France, of Flemings in Belgium.

Separatism is separating oneself, detachment, isolation from a bigger whole – from a country or a nation. This word’s connotations are rather negative, as the process of separation as such is painful, or, as it can be seen on the example of Ukraine, even tragic, marked with blood. A peaceful, civilized alternative for separatism is autonomy, regulated by legal agreements. Until recently, it was Crimea to be an autonomous republic in Ukraine.

This problem arises also in Poland, since in 1990, when the Silesian Autonomy Movement started, whose aim is to create an autonomous region within the historical borders of the Upper Silesia, aiming at the autonomy of the Silesian Province during the Second Polish Republic. Silesian autonomists, however, strongly declare they do not want to be separatists, they do not want the autonomy to lead to detachment of the region from the state.

Jerzy Bartmiński

translated by P. Wielecki