How our language has changed thanks to COVID-19

We've been told to 'isolate and chill' thanks to COVID-19, and because of that the English language has blossomed - bubble, cluster, and now Delta roll off our tongues with ease.

And the use of some of those words may have helped our overall response.

On February 28 last year New Zealand's world changed with our first confirmed case of coronavirus.

And so did our vocabulary. First we were told we were moving to 'level 4', we were asked to "be kind" - and not to forget staying in your 'bubble'.

Experts believe that kind of language has helped our overall response to the pandemic.

"The way we are told about things is really important about whether we engage with what we're being told. The caring inclusive nature of the language the Prime Minister has been using is really important," says Paul Warren, Professor at Victoria University of Wellington's school of linguistics and applied language studies.

"If there's a way that I find it easier to understand then that's what I'll adopt and then start using," adds Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Part of the team of 5 million agree.

"Going forward we'll remember bubbles differently," one person says.

"Bubble just felt like a natural way to describe something that really needed to be contained," Ardern says.

More recently we've heard a lot more about vaccines, 'Delta', and to stay safe when you "spread your legs".

That's a reference to COVID Response Minister Chris Hipkins, who said at a press conference: "In higher density areas it is a challenge for people to get outside and spread their legs when they're surrounded by other people."

That went unintentionally viral, but the meaning is if you're surrounded by other people you should probably socially distance and as epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker says: "wear a mask".