Coronaspecial

Coronatijd, coronamaatregelen, coronacrisis, coronawerk… Dutch has adopted “corona” as a new prefix, but English hasn’t. Well, not yet. Not really. You’ve got to stick with “coronavirus measures” in full.

It’s a pity, because corona times, corona measures and corona working are pretty understandable and pithy. But so far, the hits you find for such phrases in English are largely on Dutch sites (and other non-native sources). And a couple of other points while we’re at it:

  • coronavirus is a single word, uncapitalized. That’s because it’s a class of viruses, like retroviruses or filoviruses (unlike the Ebola virus, it doesn’t give you a disease called “corona”)
  • and the plural of virus is viruses
  • well, except in the highly scientific and taxonomic sense for a family of them, where you do see viridae

By the way: not everyone knows how to restrict Google searches to filter out Dutch sources, for example. Adding site:.uk or site:.au restricts searches to the country, for example, or site:.gov.uk is just governmental sources. Adding -site:.nl filters that country domain out. It’s not always so easy for American usage, but you can quite often get down to mostly American sites by appending “Wisconsin” or “Oregon” or any other state name to the search.

Prevalence: n/a. Too new to have registered in my statistical analysis. But worth mentioning anyway, I think.
Frequency: n/a. Purely an impression: corona as a prefix is getting translated on Dutch sites as a separate word (occasionally hyphenated).
Native: no. Not the prefix use bit, anyway – though that could all change in a week or two! The bullet points can all confuse non-scientific native speakers too.

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

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