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The Battle for the Top Word of the Year (#WOTY) …








The war of the words continues to rage

From the TimesRepublican

December 30, 2012

By WES BURNS – (wburns@timesrepublican.com)

Shakespeare once said: What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

I know that, technically, Juliet said it. But she isn’t real; plus, I like to picture Shakespeare as the kind of guy that would loudly recite his own writing, trudging about his house at night hurling empty bottles into the fire place and generally annoying the neighbors.

But Juliet/Shakespeare/Imaginary Alcoholic Shakespeare has a point. Just how important is a name? For that matter, how important is a word? Sure, we call that delicious brown spice “cinnamon” but would our world be inexorably different if we called it some gibberish word like “torpin” or “churdally” or “blomkamp?”

You know, it might be. I don’t think I could start off my day with a hearty bowl of Blomkamp Toast Crunch.

And Shakespeare is proven wrong by breakfast cereal, once again.

Sorry to tell you, Willie Shakes, but the word is important. Very important. In fact they pass that most important of litmus tests; words are worth fighting over.

Now, I’m not talking about some hoary old clich about going to war over words; nor am I talking about some Walter Houston-esque prospector claiming your choice of words indicates a scuffle is to commence, right after long-shotting a spittoon from across the bar.

I’m talking about that most blood thirsty and ruthless of all battles: The All-Austere Blue Blood English Language Throwdown! 2012 HD Remix edition!


To see the Top Words of 2012, go here.


In one corner we have the old guard dictionary powerhouse Merriam Webster. The premiere league lexicographers at Merriam-Webster (a place I imagine smells of wig powder and silent racism) have been telling us what words are actually words and what words are “gutter speak” for 500 years. I totally fact checked that statement, you can bring it up in conversation later, free of repercussion.

In the other corner we have The American Dialect Society, which I’m pretty sure is a cover group for some kind of James Bond villain. American Dialect Society? That sounds WAY too benign to be real; these guys are hiding a laser in a mountain somewhere.

And in the um THIRD corner we have the Global Language Monitor, which I assume is some kind of super computer.

All three of these fierce warriors of the word are fighting for the same prize: The title of Word of the Year.

You see, each of these venerable groups, plus Google, put out a list around this time of year where they pick a word they feel best describes the year as a whole. With such venerable institutions such as Merriam Webster and Global Language Bot 3000 you can imagine that the words succinctly sum up the year at large.

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2012? Socialism and Capitalism.

OK, so right out of the gate you guys are falling behind. You have two words for your “WORD of the year” entry and the two words you picked seem to have been randomly pulled out of a freshmen civics class. I’d imagine in a year full of natural and man-made disasters a lot of people didn’t really care about either, more so they just wanted their power back, or to not drown.

Alright, Merriam-Webster has only been at this since 2003 and I’m certain those tea-sippers look down upon the Internet with the same disdain they feel for what they still call the horseless carriage.

How about the American Dialect Society? They’ve been picking a “Word of the Year” since 1990 so they have to be well ready for action. And the American Dialect Society’s pick for “Word of the Year?”

What? They don’t announce it until the middle of January? Who waits until the next year to write the year in the review? Do they think some amazing word is going to come along on Dec. 29 and blow away the prospective title holder “Boo-Boo?”

The Global Language and Target Neutralization Robot has chosen “Apocalypse” as its “Word of the Year,” in a move that should terrify no one.

And what of the latest contender for “Word of the Year” kingmaker status, the good folks at Google? Their “Most Searched Word” cuts through the byzantine selection process of dictionary committees and killer robots and replaces it with some good old fashioned math.

The number one most searched word in 2012? Facebook. Oh, and number three is Yahoo.

People go to Google and search for Yahoo.

You know what? Global Language Murder Bot is right, Apocalypse is the Word of the Year. Which means I can already tell you the 2013 Word of the Year:  Goodbye.

Wes Burns is a Sunday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or wburns@timesrepublican.com.


Recent Headlines


The idea of the fashion city is now a feature of the global competition between cities


Fashion has become increasingly intertwined with city status, domestically and globally according to recent studies. The growing competition among global cities for fashion and design as well as finance and commerce is detailed by Christopher Breward and David Gilbert in their book, Fashion’s World Cities:

The idea of the fashion city is now a feature of the global competition between cities, and has become a part of broader strategies of metropolitan boosterism that give prominence to what have become known as the ‘cultural industries.’…Permutations of [London, Paris, New York, Milan and Tokyo] and a few others have been routinely incorporated into the advertising of high fashion, after the name of a designer or brand, or etched into the glass of a shop window. In some cases the name of the fashion capital is incorporated into a brand name itself (as perhaps most famously in the case of DKNY – Donna Karan New York).


Hurricane Sandy: ‘Frankenstorm’ floods the English language

CNN didn’t like the nickname, saying that it “trivializes” a dangerous weather system. It banned it from CNN broadcasts.  But there’s no stopping “Frankenstorm.” As this beast “barrels” up the coast and gets ready to “slam” the East Coast, “Frankenstorm” is also taking the English language by storm.


And the Top TV Words of the Year Are…

Television can do strange things to our speech. After watching Game of Thrones, for example, it’s hard not to talk about people in the fashion of creator George R.R. Martin. “Please meet my co-worker. This is Jim of House Finklestein, keeper of accounts, slayer of budget discrepancies, wielder of the office stapler.” In the wake of the Emmys, a media analytics company has helped quantify how popular programs and personalities are shaping our language—with a list of this year’s Top 10 television buzzwords.

Read more: http://entertainment.time.com/2012/09/25/and-the-top-television-words-of-the-year-are/#ixzz2DCK0aOFX


The Development of China a Concern to Western Countries








Big Data. Ou melhor, Big Challenge

Neste ano um dos assuntos mais falados foi Big Data. Uma pesquisa no Google Trends mostra um crescimento exponencial no interesse sobre o tema. Participei também de diversas palestras e reuniões com executivos para debater o assunto, e concluí que ainda estamos discutindo muito e fazendo relativamente pouco.

Claro que existem diversos casos de sucesso, mas a maioria das empresas ainda não tem uma visão clara do que é Big Data, do seu potencial e de como alavancar esta potencialidade. O próprio conceito de Big Data ainda está um pouco nebuloso. Veja, por exemplo, o que diz o Global Language Monitor em relação ao assunto: Big Data e Cloud estão entre os conceitos de tecnologia mais confusos da década – todo mundo usa, mas sequer sabe o que significa.


Kate Middleton spend 160,000 dollars per year to be pretty



Duchess of Cambridge, darling of fashion magazines, annually spends $ 160 000 for each of its glamorous public appearances. She must pay clothing and cosmetics, not to mention the gym, according to an estimate by the magazine L’OFFICIEL (Australia).  Last year, Kate Middleton reportedly spent 56,000 dollars to buy cute outfits. This year, the amount is expected to rise to 114,000 dollars depending on the magazine.


Obscure words and London Olympics

What is common among the Dead Rubber, Eggbeater, Fletching and Pheidippidean Pheat?

These are some of the most obscure words and phrases related to the ongoing London Olympics selected by the Global Language Monitor (GLM).  “The history of the Olympic Games spans over 2800 years, with the Games themselves persisting for over 1,000 years in the ancient world,” says Paul J J Payack, President of GLM.  “The Games have garnered a rich tapestry of linguistic innovation concerning the nature of the Games, the individual sports, and the rituals surrounding the quadrennial festival,” he said.

‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ (Olympic History); the Olympic motto in Latin for faster, higher, stronger; tops the list of words and phrases.



Top Words of 2012 to be announced December 26th (Boxing Day)

The Top Words, Phrases and Names of 2012 have been announced on Wednesday, December 26, 2012.

To see the Top Words of 2012, go here.

The Global Language Monitor’s Top Words are distinguished from similar efforts because it surveys the entire linguasphere focusing on the 1.83 billion speakers of some form of the English language.

GLM tracks words from a dozen different categories from High Tech to the Cinema throughout the year and determines which have emerged as truly influenclng the global conversation, culture, and events.

GLM tracks citations on the Internet, blogosphere, in new social media as they emerge, as well as major global electronic and print media.

To schedule an interview email info@LanguageMonitor.com or call +1.512.815.8836.

Top Words of the Year (2012) by Category Already Announced

Top Trending Words for 2012 in December 2011

  1. Kate (Middleton)
  2. Olympiad
  3. Middle Kingdom
  4. Bak’tun
  5. Solar Max
  6. The Election
  7. Deficit
  8. Rogue Nukes
  9. CERN
  10. Global Warming
  11. Europe
  12. Near-Earth Asteroid
  13. Arab Spring, successor word to


Top Trending Words for 2012 at Mid-year (July 2011)

Rank/Word or Phrase/Position in December 2011

  1. Middle Kingdom or China (3)
  2. Europe or Eurogeddon (12)
  3. The Election (6)
  4. Kate (Middleton) (2)
  5. Deficit (7)
  6. Global Warming (10)
  7. Derecho (New)
  8. Olympiad (2)
  9. CERN (9)
  10. Rogue nukes (8)
  11. Near-Earth Asteroid (11)
  12. Arab Spring, successor word to  (13)
  13. Bak’tun (4)
  14. Solar max
  15. Hen (gender-neutral personal pronoun in Sweden) (New)
  16. Obesogenic (New)


Top Tech Buzzwords Everyone Uses but Don’t Understand (SXSW)

  1. Big Data
  2. The Cloud
  3. The Next Big Thing
  4. Social Discovery
  5. Web 2.0 (3.0, and so on)
  6. Solid State
  7. CERN
  8. Solar Max
  9. De-dupe
  10. 3G/4G/5G
  11. SoLoMo


London Olympics:  Obscure Jargon

  1. Citius, Altius, Fortius (Olympic History)
  2. Dead Rubber (Tennis)
  3. Eggbeater (Water Polo)
  4. Fletching (Archery)
  5. Flu-Flu Arrow (Archery)
  6. High Drag Projectile (Badminton)
  7. Impulsion (Equestrian)
  8. Kotinos (Olympic History)
  9. Marathon (Olympic History
  10. Nutmeg or Nuttie (Football)
  11. Pankration
  12. Pheidippidean Pheat (Olympic History)
  13. Repechage
  14. The Snatch Deadlift (Weightlifting)
  15. Victor Ludorum (Olympic History)


Top Politically Correct Buzzwords of 2012

  1. ‘Hon’  (Sweden)
  2. Peanut Butter Sandwich
  3. Columbus
  4. Normal (Australia)
  5. Pet Owner
  6. Skin Lightening (India)
  7. Black Peter (Zwarte Piet) (Netherlands and Belgium)
  8. Holding Down the Fort
  9. Rule of Thumb  (UK)
  10. White Males of European Descent
  11. Handicap (UK)
  12. Christmas
  13. Prayer
  14. Global English
  15. Politically Correct
  16. Phobes
  17. Speech Codes
  18. Settled Science
  19. Dutch Treat
  20. Global Warming/Climate Change


Top Television Words of 2011-2012 Season (Telewords) (Emmy Week)

  1. Adorkable (Big Bang Theory, New Girl and Modern Family)
  2. Shell Shock (Downton Abbey)
  3. Bi-polar (Homeland)
  4. Dothraki (Game of Thrones)
  5. La Toti (Modern Family)
  6. Scripted
  7. Kate
  8. Fourth Screen
  9.  Jubilee
  10. Dramedy (Louie)


 Top Words from Hollywood (Hollywords) for the 2011-2012 Season (Oscar Week)

  1. Silence
  2. Mai oui!
  3. Iconic
  4. Transformations
  5. Separateness
  6. Domestics
  7. Dramedy
  8. Bathroom Humor
  9. Why?
  10. Muppets
  11. Ides
  12. Jolie Leg Meme


Fashion Buzzwords of 2012 (February)

  1. The Duchess Effect
  2. Peplums
  3. Braids
  4. Pyjamas
  5. Pippa’s Bum
  6. Paisleys
  7. Gatsby
  8. Pale Colors
  9. Tangerines
  10. Novelty Denim
  11. Luxe Hides
  12. African Prints
  13. Ankle Boots
  14. Mixed florals
  15. Color blocking
  16. The 1920s
  17. The 1940s
  18. The 1950s
  19. Ethical Fashion
  20. Sustainable Fashion



Top Politically Correct Buzzwords of 2012

Note:  Top Politically Correct Buzzwords of 2014 Announced May 3, 2015

His and Her, Peanut Butter Sandwich, Columbus, Normal and Pet Owner Top List

The Seventh Global Survey

Words and Phrases from the US, UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, India, Sweden and Australia

Austin, Texas, December 7-9 – ‘His and Her’, Peanut Butter Sandwich, Columbus, Normal and Pet Owner have been named the top politically correct words and phrases of the past year according to The Global Language Monitor in its seventh survey of the global media. Rounding out the top ten were Skin Lightening, Black Peter, Holding Down the Fort, Rule of Thumb, and White Males of European Descent.  The survey found words and phrases originating from the US, UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, India, Sweden and Australia.

“This year’s survey once again illustrates the difficulty in engaging in public dialogue without offending those on the right, left, center, or various combinations thereof,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of The Global Language Monitor. “We are seeing that continued attempts to remove all bias from language is itself creating an entirely new set of biases. 

To see the Top Words of 2012, go here.

The Top Politically Correct Words and Phrases for 2012 include:

  1. ‘His and Her’  (Sweden) – The Swedes once again promoting gender-neutrality, this time its with personal pronouns:  him [han in Swedish], her [hon] and he/she [hen].
  2. Peanut Butter Sandwich — Deemed by a Portland grade-school principal to be culturally insensitive to children of other cultures.
  3. Columbus –  Explorer’s Day, please.  Offensive to those who believe Columbus was the beginning of a 16th c. ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ of American Indians, Native Americans, or First Peoples.
  4. Normal (Australia) — According to new guidelines, normal persons in the presence of people with disabilities should not be referred to as ‘normal’ but rather  non-disabled persons.
  5. Pet Owner — It is becoming less acceptable to ‘own’ animals, pet owners have been transformed into ‘pet guardians’.
  6. Skin Lightening (India)– A new phenomenon where Indian women lighten their skin to achieve a ‘fair total-body complexion’.
  7. Black Peter (Zwarte Piet) (Netherlands and Belgium) — The companion of Sinterklaas (Santa Clause), most frequently portrayed by whites in blackface.  First introduced in the mid-nineteenth century, Black Peter is now considered by many, a racist stereotype.
  8. Holding Down the Fort — Possibly offensive to Native Americans, since we all know who the forts was being held down against.
  9. Rule of Thumb  (UK) — Originates from the old English dictum that a husband could not beat his wife or children with any stick wider than his thumb.
  10. White Males of European Descent –From press accounts, you would think this population segment should soon be placed on the EPA’s endangered species list.
  11. Handicap (UK) — Aside from the ‘disabled’ reference, ‘handicap can be offensive to beggars, with ‘cap in hand’.
  12. Christmas — Considered by many under siege until supporters realized that the  ‘holidays’ in ‘happy holidays’ originated from ‘holy days’ and the ‘X’ in Xmas is the Greek letter ‘chi,’ representing the first two letters of Christ.
  13. Prayer — In public the favored word substitute for ‘prayer’  is now ‘thoughts,’ as in ‘keep hen in your thoughts and wishes’.
  14. Global English – The dominance of the English language worldwide is opposed by those who think it the result of  linguistic imperialism or Western Hegemony.  Either way, not good.
  15. Politically Correct – The term politically correct is still politically incorrect (or is it incorrect?).
  16. Phobes — The Loyal Opposition? How 19th century, of you; opponents are now cast as afraid and fearful, a ‘-phobe’.
  17. Speech Codes — Limiting free-speech by declaring what is considered offensive off-limits. A hot topic on campus.
  18. Settled Science — In 1925 it was settled science that rockets would not fly in Outer Space.  Beware of Settled Science.
  19. Dutch Treat — Possibly offensive to the Dutch, since it portrays them as either (take your choice) thrifty (good) or stingy (bad).
  20. Global Warming/Climate Change — As the temperature continues to rise, the debate continues as to its primary cause.  Either phrase is a potential minefield.

The Top Politically Incorrect Terms and Phrases in previous surveys include:

  • 2009:  Swine Flu — Various governments and agencies for political motives ranging from protecting pork producers to religious sensitivity insist on calling it by its formal name: influenza A(H1N1).
  • 2008:  “He Can’t Win” – Hillary Clinton’s coded reference to Barack Obama’s ethnic background as an insurmountable impediment to him winning the US Presidency.
  • 2007:  Nappy-headed Ho — Radio personality Don Imus’ reference to the women on the Rutgers University championship basketball team.
  • 2006:  Global Warming Denier – Scientists not denying climate change, but the role of humans in the millennia-old process.
  • 2005:  Misguided Criminals – A BBC commentator attempts to strip away all emotion from the word ‘terrorist’ by using ‘neutral’ descriptions for those who carried out the 7/7 tube bombings.
  • 2004:  Master/Slave computer jargon – LA County re-labels computer documentation to remove this alleged slur that has been used for decades describing computer hierarchies.
For a complete list of Politically Correct language and controversies since 2003, click here.

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, with a particular emphasis upon Global English. Since 2003, GLM has launched a number of innovative products and services monitoring the Internet, the blogosphere, social media as well as the top print and electronic media sites.

For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email editor@GlobalLanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.