‘Hay’ is most popular word amongst Devon children

Hay is the most popular word

Hay is the most popular word - Credit: Getty Images/Creatas RF

The word ‘hay’ has been revealed as the most popular used by Devon children who entered a popular short story competition.

The 500 Words short story competition on BBC Radio 2 broadcaster Chris Evans’ popular breakfast show attracted over 120,000 entries from children across Britain.

According to a report published by the Oxford University Press, which analysed the stories, themes such as technology and social media, current fiction and popular culture, and international affairs were all common choices of topic for the young generation of 2015.

Following this analysis an insight can be gained into how young people are using and manipulating the English language, as well as telling us a bit more about their lifestyles and influences.

The hashtag symbol, for example, has been named as ‘Children’s word of the year’, showing the influence of technology, social media sites such as Twitter and ‘text-talk’ on the young people of today.

But OUP also completed regional breakdowns of the most popular words being used by children in different areas of the UK, so we thought we’d take a look and see what sort of vocabulary is being used by the young citizens of Devon.

Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that the agricultural roots and country loving lifestyle of the Westcountry rang true in the stories submitted by the local children, with ‘hay’ being the most popular word being used.

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Other frequent choices in the top 10 included ‘ponies’, ‘gravel’, ‘undergrowth’, ‘moors’ and ‘flock’.

Rivalled only by the likes of Somerset and Wiltshire, our love of the land and influences from the likes of Exmoor, Dartmoor and extensive farmland evidently play a significant role in the imagination of our young people.

While Cornwall’s entries refer frequently to the likes of ‘beaches’ and ‘shores’, and Somerset’s to ‘orchards’, ‘sparrows’ and ‘blackberries’, it seems comforting to realise the prevalence of the Devon landscape as a source of our creative inspiration this year.

The word ‘troll’, however, at number three, is perhaps less easily explained.

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