An analysis of more than 90,000 short stories written by under-13s from across Britain for a BBC Radio 2 competition has found that their mothers feature more heavily in their work than any other character. This is from the Telegraph…
Research by Oxford University Press found that mums were “far and away” the most popular object of children’s stories this year.
According to figures, the word – in its various forms and regional variations such as “mom” and “mam” – was featured more than 115,000 times.
Mothers comfortably outscored fathers, with figures showing that dads barely crept into the top 15 most featured terms.
However, the study showed that fathers were often portrayed in the “action man” role in several of the best-written stories – fighting aliens, blowing things up and even building a time machine.
The disclosure was made in an analysis of entries to the “500 Words” competition run as part of the Chris Evans breakfast show on BBC Radio 2.
Lexicographers insisted the 40 million words employed provided a significant insight into the lives of schoolchildren and the way in which they use English.
Contrary to concerns over the death of language, rising numbers of children were said to be using their imaginations to invent their own words such as “fabdabidabulous” and creatures including the “dulbodogfragonaffe”, which has the head of a duck, mane of a lion, neck of a giraffe and body of a horse.
The most popular new word was “gangnam”, after the single by the South Korean musician Psy, while rising numbers of children made reference to the “onesie”.
James Bond was most popular fictional character – name-checked almost 1,000 times – after the success of the latest 007 film Skyfall, while boy band One Direction was the most popular music act.
The London Olympics also left an enduring legacy, with Usain Bolt being named more often than any other sportsmen.