Saturday, December 10, 2011

Baby Boomer(s): The Word

In Japanese, it's " ベビーブーマー" - pronounced "baby boomer".  In Italian, it's "babyboomer". In Hebrew, it's "בייבי בומר" (pronounced baby boomer".  In Spanish it's "baby boomer". In Russian it's "бэби-бумеров".  But all of these are merely transliterations of the English word, "baby boomer". And none of these languages can get a sense of what the word really is saying!

The key here is the word "BOOM". 

What does "boom" mean?  A "boom" is a loud and deep and sudden noise. When something large and heavy falls, the sound it makes when hitting the ground is "boom". 

In economics, there is a term "boom" when the economy is healthy and strong - an economic boom. Then there's a "boom and bust", which refers to when everything is going well, then it suddenly goes "bust" - and crashes.

So that's the background. The "baby boomer" generation refers to those born after WWII, when servicemen returned home, started families and had children. Suddenly there were many babies, and these babies are referred to as 'baby boomers". Their effect on American life and the economy was like a big "boom".

Babies born between 1946 and 1954 are referred to as baby boomers. There was a sudden need for housing, for schools, for automobiles, for jobs, everything to serve these new young families.

We are hearing the term baby boomers now because people born in 1946 are now 65 years old and are entering retirement, and are placing a new type of demand on the economy.

How do you say "baby boomer" in your language? How did these "boomers" affect life in the 1940's and early 1950's? How are they affecting and influencing life now?

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