Maxim Behar for Bulgarian National TV: The Words of 2021 in Bulgaria

Maxim Behar was a guest in the Bulgarian National TV 's studio and commented the most searched three words in 2021 in Bulgaria, according to a survey on the Internet platform "How to write", in which all Bulgarians could participate. How the words climbed the rankings, on what occasion they are used, and whether their meanings have to do with politics are the questions answered by the PR expert.

Host: Judging, anti-vaxers, and scratching - the Bulgarian words of 2021. How and why these words become part of our daily lives and what is the contribution of the political elite to this. Good morning to Dorothea Nikolova from the literacy platform "How to write?" And to the expert on political PR and communication Maxim Behar.
But is it clear who first used the winning word this year, namely "judge" and on what occasion?

Maxim Behar: This was a politician in my opinion, if I'm not mistaken, a former minister. But look, this is Bulgaria - I judge, I delete, such slightly more aggressive verbs, not to mention that I judge is not part of the Bulgarian language at all and never was. There is only one word in the world. First, the methodology in the world is as follows - it is very clear which is the most mentioned word in online media, whether social media or websites or anywhere. There is only one word in the world for 2021, according to Oxford, and this is the shortest word in the history of word verification in general, for the last 50-60 years and this is VAX. V-A-X (VAX) or vaccinate.  2021 was the year when the first anti-covid vaccine was introduced and that's the word. Of course, I appreciate this with respect to the methodology they put into the site, I see here that Gogo Lozanov, Kosta Kostov, Valeria Veleva, Joro Toshev, said their words or shared their words, but I think that 2021 had two main words in Bulgaria, one is “battle” because it was a battle, a battle, a battle - for covid, against covid, for vaccines, against vaccines. And the other, unfortunately, is "fear." All of last year we were numb, in fear of what would happen.

Host: Now, however, you say that "VAX" or vaccinate is the word of the year worldwide. How, then, can we explain the phenomenon that the word "anti-vaxer" is in second place in our country? ...

Maxim Behar: I am surprised that it’s not at first, looking at what is happening.

Host: What is the contribution of politicians in the imposition of this type of words, because we remember and "vacation", just as "judge" suddenly became so much a symbol of a word years ago?

Maxim Behar: You know, if words like “judge”- fictional, incorrect words in the Bulgarian language are the most popular for any given year, they are, in the end, they were popular because they were mentioned with irony. Well, who will say "everyone judges for themselves" seriously in Bulgaria, except for a minister, for example, somewhere on some television? And then it all comes up like a ball of irony, I mean come on, who's going to seriously say judge or scratching? Politicians, unfortunately, use very few words and we all know that and some of these words are sometimes made up from somewhere and they start to become an ironic orb, attached to the politicians so that they can somehow be made fun of or show that they are people who handle few words.
Host: I interrupt you because a ball of questions arises in my head and I recall, we all remember the elite political speech of the early ‘90s, we all remember the oratory of Lilov, Lukanov, Blaga Dimitrova, Stefan Savov, Ginyo Ganev, and many others. How did we come to this brutal rape of our language? Why did we allow it?

Maxim Behar: I am sorry to say so directly, but the political class, not only in Bulgaria, in many other countries, all over the world is at an extremely low level. Who is involved in politics? Many people know that politics is about people who can't make money any other way. Generally speaking. There are decent people and there are capable people, people who want to change something, but in the end from these people, young people who are currently "We Continue the Change" I hear much more meaningful sentences – with a verb, adjective, noun, things they want to say, they say them in an interesting way, Boyko Borissov was also an atypical politician, he had a very interesting way with words, Kiril Petkov, current Bulgarian Prime Minister, I also see that there is a speech we have never heard, but the mass of politicians they speak as they speak at home or in the neighborhood. Why? Because they don't know another language.

Host: Now this is the question - is it because they do not know another language or is it because they think that this is the easiest communication channel?

Maxim Behar: No, no, no. If they could talk like the politicians you mentioned in the 1990s, if they could talk like that, they would, but this school of thought simply doesn't exist anymore, it is not only educational, it is intellectual - a school of communication, a school of writing.

Host: However, we see more and more people in the parliamentary rostrum coming out looking for words in their pockets. What can we expect such people to do for the state?

Maxim Behar: This is a continuation of my idea that people are unprepared, not only in terms of speaking, but they do not know how this system works and this is proven by one of my topics in one of my books - the Global PR Revolution. Maybe I've devoted 30 to 40 pages to it, what we call democracy doesn't work anymore - It doesn't work. It is not possible for a person who does not have enough education, training, does not even know how to do something right - to wait four years for them if this happens in a corporation or a company and the general manager makes a mistake - the next day he leaves. Here, however, we are waiting for four years until the next election cycle, and these are people who can have their comfort for four years only because they were elected for one reason or another on a proportional system, that is, elected for their party.

Watch the whole interview here.

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