Every one of the 40 million words from the story-writing competition has been collated and analysed by lexicographers at the Oxford University Press, in order to monitor and track children’s language.
Among the top five two-noun words for kids were “time machine”, “space ship”, and “tree house”.
By the time people reach adulthood, these words have been replaced by the more mundane, functional terms like “car park” and “kitchen sink”, according to OUP’s adult version of the language database.
We tend to become more humdrum about our lives, says Ferguson. “We read more literature based about the here and now, kitchen sink type stuff.”
Children’s worlds are constantly expanding, the world is their oyster, she says.
However if we’re looking for the missing link that unites generations, it appears to be “ice cream”, which reaches the top five for both kids and adults.