ObamaVision Tops Financial Meltdown as Top TV Word of 2009

The Death of Michael Jackson, the emergence of Susan Boyle and the rise of Hulu.com follow.

The Sixth Annual Analysis by the Global Language Monitor

Austin, Texas, USA. September 24, 2009. The Global Language Monitor today announced that ObamaVision topped the global Financial Meltdown as the most profound influences on the English Language from Television in 2009. These were followed by the death of Michael Jackson, the emergence of Susan Boyle and the rise of Hulu.com. Rounding out the Top Ten were Vampires, Dar Dour, the Wizards of Waverly Place, the phrase, ‘And that’s the way it is,’ and Jiggle. This was the Sixth Annual Analysis by the Global Language Monitor.

“The three screens in the post-Modern home became even more apparent during this television season, with viewers moving seamlessly among their flat screen TV, their laptop, and their 3G phone,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM. “This year was dominated by the advent of ObamaVision, to the newest reality show: the Global Financial Meltdown. And then Michael Jackson’s death commandeers the worldwide airways for weeks on end.”

The Top Telewords of the 2009 season with commentary follow:

  1. ObamaVision — From the primaries to the election to the Inauguration to the middle school classroom: all Obama, all the time, everywhere.
  2. Financial Meltdown – The most authentic of all reality shows. National economies on the brink! The Bailout! The Bonuses! What surprises can we expect from Season II?
  3. Michael Jackson – The biggest TV funeral in history. What’s the King of Pop’s next act?
  4. Susan Boyle – Britain’s surprise spinster singing sensation demonstrated the power of the ‘third screen’.
  5. Hulu.com – For the first time, GLM is recognizing a website (the much hailed second screen) for broadcasting made-for-television shows over the internet.
  6. Vampires – All over the tube: ever chaste (with human girls); ever so exotic and popular.
  7. Dar Dour — The Iraqi TV show that spoofs the futility (and humor) found in the pitfalls (and pratfalls) in the attempt to lead an ordinary life.
  8. Wizards (from the Wizards of Waverly Place) – Wizards that need a bit of science to maintain their powers.
  9. “And that’s the way it is” – Walter Cronkite’s shadow over television news spans the decades.
  10. Jiggle – Before HBO, ABC introduced ‘jiggle’ with Farah Fawcett as one of the main contributors to the concept.

The Top Telewords of previous years were:

2008: Beijing (from the Olympics), ObamaSpeak, followed by ‘facts are stubborn things’, ‘it is what it is,’ and Phelpsian.

2007: “Surge” from the Iraq War political and military strategy, “That’s Hot®” Paris Hilton’s popular expression that is now a registered trademark, and “D’oh!” from The Simpsons and The Simpsons Movie.

2006: ‘Truthiness’ and ‘Wikiality’ from the Colbert Show followed by ‘Katrina’, ‘Katie,’ and ‘Dr. McDreamy’.

2005: ‘Refugee’ from the coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, followed by ‘Desperation’ from Desperate Housewives and ‘Camp Cupcake’ from the on-going Martha Stewart follies.

2004: “You’re Fired!” edged “Mess O’ Potamia” followed by “Girlie Men,” “God,” and “Wardrobe Malfunction”.


Textbook Obama

Political Buzzwords Track Trajectory of Obama Presidency

Bailout, Climate Change, Birther, Healthcare Reform & Liberal at top

Obamamania and Politics of Change tumble as does Bush (as a Bogeyman)

Austin, Texas September 11, 2009 (Updated) – ‘Bailout’, ‘Climate Change’, ‘Birther’, ‘Health Care Reform’ and ‘Liberal’ were named the top political buzzwords since the Obama Inaugural. Rounding out the top ten were ‘recession’ (up some 1000% when linked to Obama), ‘Sarah Palin,’ the phrase ‘change you can believe in’ (down some 600% since the Inauguration), ‘AIG bonuses,’ and ‘Sotomayor,’ the new Supreme Court justice.  Perhaps, even more striking is the manner in which signature buzzwords such as ‘Politics of change’ (No. 37) and ‘Obamanania’ (No. 38) have tumbled.  Another finding:  the tactic of painting ‘Bush’ (No. 23) and, even, Cheney (No.28) as bogeymen is rapidly losing it effectiveness.

For the study, GLM used it proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) to track the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the blogosphere and social media as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity. The final list contains 40 words and phrases (see below).

“The top political buzzwords used since the Obama Inaugural show the sharp trajectory of his presidency,’ said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of The Global Language Monitor. “Our analysis differs from polls in that it is not what people say they think about various topics, but rather is a measurement of what words are actually being used and in which context.”

The Top Political Buzzwords since the Inaugural listes with rank and commentary follow.

Top Political Buzzwords September 1, 2009 Comment

Rank
1. Wall Street Bailout: Still resonates at very high score, no shrinkage
2. Climate Change Remains:  One of the Top 3 — for several years
3. Birther: Whatever it means, the issue looms large
4. Health Care Reform:  Health Care Reform comes in at a strong No. 4
5. Liberal:  This is not always a positive statement
6. Recession (linked to Obama):  Obama’s link to recession up 1000% since inauguration
7. Sarah Palin:  Fierce opposition to her, apparently adds to her allure
8. Change you can believe in:  Down almost 60% from January peak
9. AIG (Post-bailout Bonuses):  Bonuses after the Bailout still loom large in public mind
10. Sotomayor:  Wise Latina gets more news than Iraq War
11. Iraq War:  Fading from the public mind as Afghanistan advances
12. Socialism (linked with Obama):  Painting Obama as a Socialist apparently working
13. Outrage (Linked with Obama & AIG:  Outrage at AIG now linked to Obama administration
14. Public Option in HealthCare:  Public Option still center of debate
15. Stimulus Package:  Stimulus package still object of controversy
16. MObama (the Fashion Icon):  Michelle Obama image as global fashion icon rising rapidly
17. Beer Summit with Gates & Cambridge Police: Beer Summit resonates with all things ‘racial’
18. Middle-class taxes:  Concern is up about 170% since Inaugural
19. Current crisis as Depression:  Citations down some 50% since January
20. Transparency:  Idea of Transparency shrinking from view (down 30%)
21. Obama as a compromiser:  Continues to gain traction
22. Rush Limbaugh:  Rush bests the former president by only 5%
23. George Bush:  Warning to Dems:  Bush as Bogey man fading from view
24. Single Payer:  Healthcare solution view as government intervention; Up over 800% since Obama took office
25. Death Panel:  Up some 1500%, ranking only slightly ahead of Al Qaeda
26. Al qaeda:  Still lurking in the public mind
27. Town Hall Meetings:  Not to be easily dismissed
28. Dick Cheney:  Former No. 2,  now No. 28
29. Shovel Ready:  Where are all the ‘shovel-ready’ jobs?
30. Global Financial Restructuring:  This may take years to run its course
31. Iran election:  On the periphery of American consciousness
32. Wise Latina:  Short-term news bite, no lasting value
33. Financial meltdown:  Down 85% since January as he the new reality sets in
34. Worst Recession:  Not depression, but something different than a recession
35. Afghanistan:  Troop build-up mostly a Beltway discussion
36. Wee weeing:  According to Obama, Washington in late summer
37. Politics of change:  Biz as usual sends this plummeting 60% from Inaugural
38. Obamamania:  Yesterday’s news; down over 80% from Inaugural
39. Politics of fear:  Within 1/2 of 1% of Obamamania
40. Nuclear Iran   Drifting in and out of public consciousness

What’s the advantage of the PQI over the Polls?

The PQI is, perhaps, the ultimate ‘It is what it is’ measurement of consumer (and in this case Political) sentiment.

The PQI simply measures the occurrence of certain words or phrases in the print and electronic media (traditional or otherwise), on the Internet, and across the Blogosphere and social media, as well as accessing proprietary databases. It is by its very nature non-biased. When we take a statistical snapshot for the PQI there is no adjustment for ‘underrepresented’ groups, there are no assumptions about probability of turnout, the proportions of newly registered voters, traditional models, or expanded modularities. Rather, we take our measurements, check for the rate of positive or negative change in the appearance of a searched word or phrase (what we call velocity and momentum) and publish our results.


Words: Despair and Fear Drowning Out Hope in Global Media

Comparison of 90-days since Obama election to 9/11 and Start of Iraq War

Austin, TX February 10, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor has found that words of despair and fear relating to the global economic meltdown are drowning out those of hope in the global media in the ninety days since the US presidential election on November 4, 2008.

With thousands of global headlines centering on the deteriorating global economy followed by news of the human toll of people driven to despair and committing acts of desperation, GLM undertook an analysis of the language used in the global print and electronic media since the US presidential election.  GLM then compared their frequency of use to the ninety days following the 9/11 Terrorists attacks on New York and Washington in 2001 and the 90-day period following the outbreak of the Iraq War in 2003.  The representative fear-related words chosen:  Fear, Despair, Abandoned, Desperate/Desperation.

The analysis found that these words were used in the last ninety days with 18-23% more frequency since the historic Obama election than when compared to their use in the ninety days following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 of 2001 and 90-days following the beginning of the Iraq War in March 2003.  The one exception was that of the word fear, itself, though its use in relation to the economic meltdown was still some 85% of its use in the case of 9/11 and the Iraq War.

“The results are striking, especially, in contrast to the immense outpouring of global goodwill in response to the inauguration of Barack Omama, since the survey included the ten days immediately following Obama’s swearing in,” ” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor.

The specific breakdown of the keywords (and related variations) follows:

1. Abandoned — Abandoned appeared some 23% more frequently

2. Despair — Despair appeared some 18% more frequently

3. Desperation – Desperation appeared some 18% more frequently

4. Fear – Fear appeared some 85% of the frequency

Media and Analysts:  Call for Graphics


Political buzzwords track Obama Presidency

Top political buzzwords track trajectory of Obama Presidency

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‘Bailout’, ‘Climate Change’, ‘Birther’, ‘Health Care Reform’ and ‘Liberal’ top analysis

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‘Obamamania’ and ‘Politics of change’ tumble as does ‘Bush’ (as a bogeyman)

.

Austin, Texas September 7, 2009 – ‘Bailout’, ‘Climate Change’, ‘Birther’, ‘Health Care Reform’ and ‘Liberal’ were named the top political buzzwords since the Obama Inaugural by The Global Language Monitor. Rounding out the top ten were ‘recession’ (up some 1000% when linked to Obama), ‘Sarah Palin,’ the phrase ‘change you can believe in’ (down some 600% since the Inauguration), ‘AIG bonuses,’ and ‘Sotomayor,’ the new Supreme Court justice. Perhaps, even more striking is the manner in which signature buzzwords such as ‘Politics of change’ (No. 37) and ‘Obamanania’ (No. 38) have tumbled. Another finding: the tactic of painting ‘Bush’ (No. 23) and, even, Cheney (No.28) as bogeymen is rapidly losing it effectiveness.

For the study, GLM used it proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) to track the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the blogosphere and social media as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity. The final list contains 40 words and phrases (see below).

“The top political buzzwords used since the Obama Inaugural show the sharp trajectory of his presidency,’ said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of The Global Language Monitor. “Our analysis differs from polls in that it is not what people say they think about various topics, but rather is a measurement of what words are actually being used and in which context.”

The Top Political Buzzwords since the Inaugural listes with rank and commentary follow.

Top Political Buzzwords September 1, 2009 Comment

Rank

1. Wall Street Bailout: Still resonates at very high score, no shrinkage

2. Climate Change Remains: One of the Top 3 — for several years

3. Birther: Whatever it means, the issue looms large

4. Health Care Reform: Health Care Reform comes in at a strong No. 4

5. Liberal: This is not always a positive statement

6. Recession (linked to Obama): Obama’s link to recession up 1000% since inauguration

7. Sarah Palin: Fierce opposition to her, apparently adds to her allure

8. Change you can believe in: Down almost 60% from January peak

9. AIG (Post-bailout Bonuses): Bonuses after the Bailout still loom large in public mind

10. Sotomayor: Wise Latina gets more news than Iraq War

11. Iraq War: Fading from the public mind as Afghanistan advances

12. Socialism (linked with Obama): Painting Obama as a Socialist apparently working

13. Outrage (Linked with Obama & AIG: Outrage at AIG now linked to Obama administration

14. Public Option in HealthCare: Public Option still center of debate

15. Stimulus Package: Stimulus package still object of controversy

16. MObama (the Fashion Icon): Michelle Obama image as global fashion icon rising rapidly

17. Beer Summit with Gates & Cambridge Police: Beer Summit resonates with all things ‘racial’

18. Middle-class taxes: Concern is up about 170% since Inaugural

19. Current crisis as Depression: Citations down some 50% since January

20. Transparency: Idea of Transparency shrinking from view (down 30%)

21. Obama as a compromiser: Continues to gain traction

22. Rush Limbaugh: Rush bests the former president by only 5%

23. George Bush: Warning to Dems: Bush as Bogey man fading from view

24. Single Payer: Healthcare solution view as government intervention; Up over 800% since Obama took office

25. Death Panel: Up some 1500%, ranking only slightly ahead of Al Qaeda

26. Al qaeda: Still lurking in the public mind

27. Town Hall Meetings: Not to be easily dismissed

28. Dick Cheney: Former No. 2, now No. 28

29. Shovel Ready: Where are all the ‘shovel-ready’ jobs?

30. Global Financial Restructuring: This may take years to run its course

31. Iran election: On the periphery of American consciousness

32. Wise Latina: Short-term news bite, no lasting value

33. Financial meltdown: Down 85% since January as he the new reality sets in

34. Worst Recession: Not depression, but something different than a recession

35. Afghanistan: Troop build-up mostly a Beltway discussion

36. Wee weeing: According to Obama, Washington in late summer

37. Politics of change: Biz as usual sends this plummeting 60% from Inaugural

38. Obamamania: Yesterday’s news; down over 80% from Inaugural

39. Politics of fear: Within 1/2 of 1% of Obamamania

40. Nuclear Iran Drifting in and out of public consciousness

What’s the advantage of the PQI over the Polls?

The PQI is, perhaps, the ultimate ‘It is what it is’ measurement of consumer (and in this case Political) sentiment.

The PQI simply measures the occurrence of certain words or phrases in the print and electronic media (traditional or otherwise), on the Internet, and across the Blogosphere and social media, as well as accessing proprietary databases. It is by its very nature non-biased. When we take a statistical snapshot for the PQI there is no adjustment for ‘underrepresented’ groups, there are no assumptions about probability of turnout, the proportions of newly registered voters, traditional models, or expanded modularities. Rather, we take our measurements, check for the rate of positive or negative change in the appearance of a searched word or phrase (what we call velocity and momentum) and publish our results.


Obama’s Acceptance Speech at 9th Grade Level

 

Barak Obama\'s Acceptance Speech Delivered at 9th Grade Level

 

Delivered in more accessible language than past efforts


Other Headlines

Is Merriam-Webster its own worst frenemy?

60% of new words in 2009 Collegiate were born before today’s college students

‘New’ words average age — 29 years

Austin, TX July 16, 2009, (MetaNewswire) – Is Merriam-Webster its own worst frenemy? The answer to that question can perhaps be answered by the upcoming release of its Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition with the addition of almost 100 new words and word meanings (or senses).  The average of these “new words” is twenty-nine years, according to Merriam-Webster’s itself.  [Read more.]


Analysis: Seismic Shift to Internet in the Reporting

.of News as Evidenced by Death of Michael Jackson

“The Death of Michael Jackson has become a case study in the growing disparity between the mainstream global media and their newer Internet incarnations,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.

“The world has, indeed, witnessed a seismic shift in the reporting, analysis, and selection of news as evidenced by the recent death of Michael Jackson. In this regard, it appears as if the people have ‘voted with their clicks’ that the Internet is now an equal (if not senior) partner to the global print and electronic media.

London Telegraph:  Michael Jackson’s Death Second Biggest Story of Century

The cyber-reporting of recent events in Iran only underscores this new (and growing) phenomenon.”

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Analysis:  Michael Jackson funeral tops those of Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, Princess Diana and Mother Teresa

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Measured Global Print and Electronic Media from Day of Death to Day after Funeral

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Austin, TX July 9, 2009– In an exclusive analysis performed by the Global Language Monitor, the death of Michael Jackson, the entertainment icon, has been found to be the Top Funeral in the Global Print and Electronic Media over the last dozen years . Jackson moved ahead of Pope John Paul II, whose funeral in 2005 previously set the standard.

The results follow:

  1. Michael Jackson, June 25 – July 8, 2009
  2. Pope John Paul II, April 2 – April 9, 2005
  3. Ronald Reagan, June 5 – June 10, 2004
  4. Mother Teresa, September 5 – September 14, 1997
  5. Princess Diana, August 31 – September 7, 1997

The death, aftermath, and funeral of Michael Jackson had some 18% more stories in the global print and electronic media than that of Pope John Paul II in 2005. The analysis covered the Top 5,000 print and electronic media sites, but excluded blogs and social media since they did not have a significant presence throughout the entire period of measurement.

“The death of Michael Jackson, and the media frenzy surrounding of its aftermath and his funeral, has moved Michael Jackson to the forefront of coverage of similar prominent deaths over the last dozen years,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM.  Other prominent passings include those of Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. “The strength (and depth) of the global media coverage only adds to his already significant legacy and shows no sign of abetting.”

When measured in terms total web presence, Jackson outdistances Ronald Reagan, at No. 2, by more a factor of 10.

The results follow:

  1. Michael Jackson, died in 2009
  2. Ronald Reagan, died in 2004
  3. Pope John Paul II, died in 2005
  4. Princess Diana, died in 1997
  5. Mother Teresa, died in 1997

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Jackson Joins yet another Hall of Fame

Michael Jackson Death No. 2 Internet Story of 21st Century

Internet No. 2 (to Obama’s Election); Mainstream Media Ranking No.9

Austin, TX June 29, 2009 (MetaNewswire) – The death of Michael Jackson, the entertainment icon, is now one of the top stories of the 21st century, according to a analysis released by the Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com).  In the 72 hours after his death, Jackson jumped to the No. 9 spot for the global print and electronic media.  For Internet, blogs and social media, Jackson jumped to the No.2, only trailing the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States.  The results showed the growing disparity between the mainstream global media, and what is playing out for news on the Internet, and beyond.

The citations for Michael Jackson in the Mainstream Media numbered in the thousands; his citations on the Internet, and beyond numbered in the millions.  The analysis tracked news stories within the first seventy-two hours after the event. The events include in descending order of Internet citations include:  The Obama election, the death of Michael Jackson, the Iraq War, the Beijing Olympics, the Financial Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the death of Pope John Paul II, the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks and the Asian Tsunami.

Citations for the election of Barack Obama are five times greater than that of No. 2, Michael Jackson.  In turn, the death of Michael Jackson is cited more than double than those for the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003.

“The death of Michael Jackson has resulted in a global media event of the first order” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM.  “The fact that he has broken into the top media events of the 21st century is a testament to the global impact of the man and his music.”

Mainstream Global Media

Internet, Blogs & Social Media
Rank Story Year
Rank Story Year
1 Obama 2008
1 Obama 2008
2 Hurricane Katrina 2005
2 Michael Jackson 2009
3 Financial Tsunami 2008
3 Iraq War 2003
4 Iraq War 2003
4 Beijing Olympics 2008
5 9/11 Terrorist Attacks 2001
5 Financial Tsunami 2008
6 Beijing Olympics 2008
6 Hurricane Katrina 2005
7 Pope John Paul II 2005
7 Pope John Paul II 2005
8 S. Asian Tsunami 2005
8 9/11 Terrorist Attacks 2001
9 Michael Jackson 2009
9 S. Asian Tsunami 2005

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shakespeare-seriously-noob.jpg

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Linguists Fret as the World Celebrates Global English

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There are 10,000 other stories hailing the arrival of the 1,000,000th word from Abu Dhabi, and Tehran, to Beijing, to Sydney, to Chicago and Sri Lanka.

‘Millionth English word’ declared

A US web monitoring firm has declared the millionth English word to be Web 2.0, a term for the latest generation of web products and services.

Matt Frei reports on English’s unique linguistic evolution and then spoke to Global Language Monitor’s Paul Payack who helped find this millionth English word.

SEE ALSO


The Million Word March in Smithsonian Magazine

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THE WORLD IN WORDS:  Top Words of 2008

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The WordMan’s Guide to Global English!



For Complete Coverage of the Million Word March Click Here.


Milan upends New York as Top Fashion Capital

Paris, Rome, London follow.

Hong Kong and Sao Paulo break into the Top 10

Barcelona and Miami surge. Mumbai outdistances Delhi.

Austin, Texas. July 20, 2009. Milan has upended New York after a five year reign as the Top Fashion Capital in the Global Language Monitor’s annual global survey. Topping the list for 2009 were Milan, New York, Paris, Rome and London follow. Other top movers included Hong Kong and Sao Paulo, who broke into the Top 10, while Barcelona and Miami surged. In the ever-tightening battle for the Subcontinent Mumbai outdistanced Delhi, while Sydney further outdistanced Melbourne.

“The global economic restructuring has affected the fashion industry just as it has touched everything else,” said Millie L. Payack, director and fashion correspondent for the Global Language Monitor. “The catwalks were still crowded though with the lights dimmer, the hype a bit more restrained, and ‘recessionistas,’ of course, thriving”.

Though Milan dethroning New York, the Big Five (Milan, New York, Paris, Rome, and London) continued their domination of global fashion.

The world ‘rag’ business is estimated to be over three trillion USD. Regional rankings are provided below.

This exclusive ranking is based upon GLM’s Predictive Quantities Index, a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

The Top Thirty Fashion Capitals, change from 2008 ranking, and commentary follow.

1. Milano (+3) – Not only overtakes New York but also Rome and Paris.

2. New York (-1) – Knocked out of Top Spot by Milano after a five-year run.

3. Paris (0) – No 1. in our hearts but No. 3 in the media.

4. Rome (-2) — The Eternal City still reigns strong.

5. London (0) – London remains the laggard of the Fashion Elite.

6. Los Angeles (0) – Holding its own at No. 6.

7. Hong Kong (+4) – Leaps over Sydney and Tokyo to seize the lead in Asia/Pacific.

8. Sao Paulo (+25) – A remarkable rise, now dominating the Latin-American scene.

9. Sydney (-2) – Solidly in the Top 10 while Melbourne sinks.

10. Las Vegas (-2) – Intense media spotlight ensures a top ranking.

11. Dubai (+1) – An unlimited budget continually exceeded.

12. Tokyo (-2) – Loses a bit of luster as it slips out of the Top 10.

13. Miami (+13) – Driven by its dominance in swimwear.

14. Barcelona (+11) – Takes the Iberian spotlight.

15. Shanghai (-2) — Now third in the China/Japan rivalry.

16. Mumbai (+6) – In neck-and-neck race for primacy on the Subcontinent.

17. New Delhi (+7) – Both Delhi and Mumbai break into Top 20.

18. Rio de Janeiro (+12) – Comes on strong but Sao Paulo is stronger.

19. Berlin (-10) – Hurt by weak showing in the ‘haute’ category.

20. Singapore (-6) – Fashion infrastructure strong, but hurt by the economy.

21. Madrid (-6) – Barcelona takes the Iberian crown.

22. Moscow (-6) – Remains strong as it drops out of the Top 20.

23. Santiago (-6) – Now third behind Sao Paulo and Rio in Latin America.

24. Buenos Aires (-4) – Strong in new interpretations of classic fashion.

25. Melbourne (-7) — Slips out of Top 20 as Sydney strives ahead.

26. Stockholm (-7) – Tops in Scandinavia with Copenhagen No. 2.

27. Bangkok (+7) – Breaks into the top tier of Asian Fashion.

28. Krakow (-1) – Hold an increasingly intriguing niche in Middle Europe.

29. Prague (-1) – Strengthening its position as a fashion capitol.

30. Mexico City (Not Listed) – First time on the list.

Others in the ranking in order: Dallas, Toronto, Montreal, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Frankfurt

Johannesburg, Cape Town, Atlanta

Regional Rankings:

Asia and Oceania: Hong Kong, Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore, Melbourne, Bangkok

Europe: Milano, Paris, Rome, London, Barcelona, Berlin, Madrid, Stockholm, (Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Frankfurt)

India: Mumbai, New Delhi

Latin America: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Buenos Aries, Mexico City

Middle and Eastern Europe: Moscow, Krakow, Prague

Middle East and Africa: Dubai, (Johannesburg, Cape Town)

North America: New York, LA, Las Vegas, Miami, (Dallas, Toronto, Montreal, Atlanta)

About the Global Language Monitor

Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture. GLM’s staff and a global network of academics, professional wordsmiths and bibliophiles, monitor the latest trends in the evolution of language, word usage and word choices.

Payack’s latest book is A Million Words and Counting: How the English Language is Rewriting the World (Kensington: New York, 2008).

The GLM has been cited by CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Associated Press, UPI, Knight-Ridder, USAToday, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, The New York Times, NPR, Fox News, ABC, NBC, CBS, Chinese People’s Daily, The Sydney Morning Herald, The BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Company, CBC, The Cape Town Argus, El Pais (Madrid), The Daily Mail (Scotland), The Hindustan Times, The Gulf News (Qatar), and various electronic and print media on six continents. For more information, call 1.512.815.8836 or go to www.LanguageMonitor.com.


A Short History of Chess: The Tangles of Time


Chess yields us, when we need them most, companions in our loneliness.”

– —Mu’ Tazz

By Paul JJ Payack

As masterful a player as Emmanuel Lasker regarded chess as neither an art nor a science but rather a war in which the pieces served as troops and the players the generals. This stemmed from the notion that chess was invented as a war game and so, that is the manner in which it should executed. Undoubtedly reality is reflected in the idea that chess originated either as an aid or substitute for warfare.

Lasker maintained that to understand its creation all that is needed is an understanding of the method of classical warfare. Lasker explained that opposing armies would take their positions in nearly straight lines separated by a nearly level plain. The generals, in order to make their plans comprehensible to their commanders, would sketch the original position and later movements of their pawns and men. Lasker was fond of using the Battle of Cannae, 216 BC, as an illustration. At Cannae, the Carthaginians under the command of Hannibal defeated a Roman force nearly twice their number with superior strategy.

Lasker thought that it was entirely possible that Hannibal not only drew lines and placed stones on a board to explain his stratagems, but did so on what would one day be called a chequer-board. This was given the now familiar shape of a square divided into sixty-four smaller squares, colored black and white alternately. Though Lasker’s contention that chess was invented as a game of war is undoubtedly true, he seems to have postdated its conception by some eight centuries and misplaced it by several worlds.

After a millennium passed in the Buddhist era, various references occur to a game that seems the direct forbear of present-day chess. According to Sanskrit literature, apart from the central king and counselor, the pieces represented the quadrants of the ancient Indian army: war chariots, cavalry, elephants, and foot soldiers. The Upper Basin of the Ganges, or thereabouts, was the locale where this game first appeared. Since the area was a Buddhist stronghold, it is not unreasonable to assume that their monks had a hand in its inception. Since Buddhists oppose the killing of any form of life, it can be hypothesized that the game was invented as a bloodless substitute for war (by allowing men to engage in a combat of a higher sort).

In this version the infantrymen moved as pawns of all times and places, excepting the modern two-square debut. The cavalrymen were placed and manipulated in the same manner as the knight. The elephants’ movements were diagonal and limited to two squares, therefore they were inherently weaker than the bishops into which they were later transformed. The chariots were equal in every respect to the castles which through some ripple in history came to be called rooks. And the counselor, beside the king, moved diagonally also and only one square per move; as time passed its powers were increased to that of the bishop, thereby considerably enhancing the complexity of the game.

Chess spread rapidly (in historical terms) from the Subcontinent to the curiously diverse cultures further west, each leaving ineradicable traces of their time and culture. Persia bestowed the name to the game. Words, unlike mathematical formulae, both lose and gain in their sojourn through time and place. Aside from the usual etymological eddies, the development of the name flowed as follows. The Persian shah “king” came through the Arabic and the tangles of time to Europe as, among other variations, the Old French (e)sches, plural of (e)schek “check” derived from “shah.” From there it was but a minor simplification to the Saxon and Modern English word “chess.”

The culmination of this bloodless substitute for bloodletting is the murder of the enemy king, although the modern game ends euphemistically with the checkmate. This term, too, can be traced through a millennium to Persia. Shah mat “checkmate” means ‘the king (shah) is dead,’ where “mat” is related to the Latin stem mort- “death” found in “mortuary.”

Within a generation of the Hegira, the Arabs conquered Persia in the sacred name of Mohammed. As is usually the case, the two cultures became inextricably entwined and from that time forward it was the Islamic culture that became the primary vehicle of chess. As the game was carried from land to land it underwent a series of transmutations, some surprising and some not so surprising at all.

The Elephant was reduced to its ears. That is it was simplified (for reasons of convenience and religion) to a lump of wood, with a cut extracted from its center. An item of far more interest concerns the Arab rukh which predates the English rook for crow. It is still a matter of some controversy whether the rook was actually a chariot, a bird, or even a ship. It is highly probable that in differing cultures in differing centuries it was each.

In Arabia there seems little doubt that the chariot was replaced by a moderately prominent member the then-current mythology. In Arabian Nights the rukh was an enormous bird of gigantic girth which was inordinately wide of wing; a vast magnification of the eagle or condor. In most variations, the bird had the ability to carry an elephant, and sometimes several, in its talons. The thread of interest that lies about and through all variations of the rukh myth is that it was, whatever else, a deadly enemy of the elephant. (Later, with the aristocratization of chess, the elephant would be transformed into an ecclesiastic.)

Soon chess was a commonplace throughout the world of Islam, from Andalus in the West to the Indus in the East. The Moors carried chess to the Iberian Peninsula during the eighth century of the Christian era, and the Eastern Empire in Byzantium also learned of the game before the century had waned. From Iberia it spread to the north of Europe, while Russia seems to have acquired the game directly from India. (In Russian chess bears its original name, shakh-maty.)

During the High Middle Ages chess became a leisure time activity of the feudal lords, and the pieces began to resemble the aristocracy. (The rukh became, curiously enough, a castle.) A knowledge of ‘Nights and Days’ was considered a social grace for every genteel and parfait knight. Obviously, one reason for this was the connection between chess and war. Soon the powers of certain pieces were increased,making the game much more lively or, if you prefer, deadly.

That lump of wood with the split was not recognized in Europe as an elephant. This was understandably so, since to the folks of medieval Europe an elephant was just as much a mythological creature as the rukh, and possibly more so. To those who were unaware of its esoteric meaning, the elephant, also suggested a bishop’s mitre, an old man, a count or a fool. To this day in French the man is called Le Fou “the fool” and it is diagramed as a cap and bells.

The English, however, were the first to introduce chess diagrams to printing and since the piece remained a bishop there (and in Iceland) the bishop’s mitre would soon become the worldwide standard. However, Germans use this now universal symbol for their laufer “runner” while Russians use the mitre for their slon “the elephant.”

The evolution of the king’s counselor into the queen has been attributed to the similarity of the Arabic word fere “advisor,” to the French vierge “maiden” but probably can be more simply attributed to the make-up of the feudal court. A parallel between the historical liberation of women and the glorification of Mary by the Church could also have been factors in the metamorphosis.

And finally, a mention should be made of pawns; those so adequately named pieces which are even denied the status of chess ‘men’. They are, without exception in all cultures, represented by conveniently small and humble objects. For these there seems a universal need. History: read it and weep.

There are some 1.7 x 10 to the 29th methods of playing the first ten moves of this ancient and storied game. (The Greeks, clever as they were, didn’t even possess a symbol or number for any number larger than ten to the fourth, a myriad.) This being so, it becomes comprehensible why, while chess has ebbed and flowed through history, it has never been successful as a method of channeling the human mind to that combat of a higher sort.

To be sure, there have been wars of every possible description since its inception some thirteen hundred years ago, and when the number of possible permutations is envisioned even in this relatively simple game, it becomes obvious why there is more than adequate room for that phenomenon, war, in the universal scheme of things.

This nightmare, even when contained by a square of sixty-four smaller squares, has the potential to continue in a million billion varying guises for eons on end (and still there would remain variations untried).


Dictionaries

Is Merriam-Webster its own worst frenemy?

60% of new words in 2009 Collegiate were born before today’s college students

‘New’ words average age — 29 years

Austin, TX July 16, 2009, (MetaNewswire) – Is Merriam-Webster its own worst frenemy? The answer to that question can perhaps be answered by the upcoming release of its Collegiate DictionaryEleventh Edition with the addition of almost 100 new words and word meanings (or senses).

The ‘new’ words (with their dates of first usage) include:

New Word or TermFirst Usage

Carbon footprint 1999

Flash mob1977

Green-collar1990

Locavore2005

Memory foam1987

Missalette1977

Reggaeton2002

Sock puppet1959

Waterboarding2004

Webisode 1997

These are ‘new’ words only insofar as they were never included in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate, but on average, the words were coined more than 29 years ago (according to M-W’s own definitions).This compares with the average age of today’s college students in the mid-twenties (even with the recent shift to older students).

 

On the web, ‘waterboarding’ has some 2,000,000 references, ‘webisode’ about 5,000,000 and ‘sock puppet‘ some half million (according to Google).Last year ‘dark energy’ was added to the Collegiate Dictionary some ten years after it had become the subject of much scientific, philiosophical and popular debate.(It had about 10,000,000 references at the time.)

 

“This is perhaps why students are evermore turning to online resources to understand current affairs and class materials.The reality of today’s Internet-based communications means that new English-language words are appearing and being adopted at an ever-quickening pace,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.“It is entirely possible some of these students heard or even used some of these words while they were still in grammar school”.

 

To celebrate the coming of age of English as the first, true, global language, The Global Language Monitor announced the 1,000,000th word to enter the English language on June 10, 2009.GLM estimates that a new word appears every 98 minutes, generated by the 1.5 billion people who now use English as a first, second or business language.

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Why Webster’s inclusion of the phrase ‘dark energy’

demonstrates the obsolescence of old-style dictionaries

Austin, TX July 8, 2008  -Recently, Merriam-Webster announced the new words it was including in its latest edition of its Collegiate Dictionary.  These announcements are often viewed as a subject of amusement, with such additions as “air quotes,” “mental health day,” and “malware” to name but three of the hundred or so words added this year.

What did not amuse us, however, was the addition of the phrase “dark energy”.  You see dark energy is the hypothetical entity that makes up nearly three-quarters of the energy-mass of the Universe.  Moreover, it is the suspected culprit in the speeding up of the expansion of the Universe, which for reasons unknown, began to radically accelerate some five billion years ago.  It is key to the current understanding (and investigation) of the theoretical construct of the Universe, how it began – and how it will end.

Students of physics, philosophy, and cosmography at fine institutions such as Bucknell, the University of Texas, CalTech, and Foothills Community College, among all the others worldwide, have been pondering the phenomenon of dark energy for nearly a dozen years now.  However, they couldn’t look it up in their Funk & Wagnalls (nor their Webster’s) until now – because it was not recognized as a bona fide word.

Clearly, the methodologies of old-style dictionaries, first formulated by  Dr. Johnson in the 18th century and Noah Webster at the dawn of the nineteenth, and carried on to this day by their immediate and legitimate successors, have run their course.

Students on wired campuses can google dark energy and see it come up in nearly 10,000,000 results.  It is clearly a recognized phrase, clearly used by millions across the planet, embedded in learned papers, scientific studies, and contemporary letters.  And yet it was still not considered a legitimate word or phrase of the English Language, until the honor was bestowed upon it by the esteemed editors of Merriam-Webster.

Perhaps, it is time to realize that not only the game but he playing field, itself, has been drastically altered.  The center no longer holds.  This is undoubtedly spured on by the interconnectedness and immediacy of the Internet, and the explosion of the English language which now has some 1.35 billion speakers.  Clearly, new words and phrases are being created at an ever increasing rate.  It is now time to recognize the worthy few in a time-worthy manner: in step with their creation, development, and subsequent dispersal into our ever-expanding tongue.

– Paul JJ Payack

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