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Top 15 HollyWORDS of The Year

HollyWords — Top Words of the Year from Films

WBAL, Baltimore, NBC Nightly News

Naturally, I’m way too uncreative and lazy to actually have come up with this list; it comes courtesy of the Global Language Monitor. I have no idea who they are or what they do, but I’m relatively sure they’ve put some severe sanctions on Sarah from Real World Philly, whose declarations of “How dare her!” plague my very soul. But for those of you want to see these top 15 words in action, I figured I’d be a benevolent soul and put ‘em to use in a sentence so you can get the gist on how to use ‘em correctly.



1. Pinot (Sideways): Recently, I compared myself to a pinot to try to show a waitress my “true self”; she suggested that unbuttered toast, being both bland and unpleasant, was a more appropriate metaphor.

2. Genius (Ray): The next film snob who tells me Lars Von Trier is a genius is going to be smacked…hard.

3. Hand Washing (Aviator, etc): I’ve tried obsessively hand washing for months, but I suspect I’ll always feel unclean ever since my hand accidentally grazed against a White Chicks DVD.

4. “Mo chuisle” (Million Dollar Baby): In Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood was originally going to buy a robe for Hilary Swank that read “girlie tough” but since they were out he settled for Mo chuisle.

5. Gipper (The Knute Rockne Story): My theory is that James Brolin’s portrayal of The Gipper (Ronald Reagan), not pneumonia, was what led to his demise.

6. Neverland (Finding Neverland): Remember the good old days when Neverland conjured up images of boys refusing to grow up instead of…well…ewwww?

7. Antiquity (Troy, etc.): In the eyes of Roman Polanski, Lindsay Lohan is probably an antiquity by now.

8. OCD (The Aviator): The portrayal of people with OCD in transparent attempts to win an Oscar is going to be the wave of the future. The wave of the future. The wave of the future.

9. Girlie Men (Arnold): When Chris Rock implied that only girlie men watch the Oscars, he pretty much ensured that he was no longer going to be invited to Orlando Bloom’s Oscar parties.



10. Yo! (Garden State): Yo, Zach! I beg of thee, please tell me that Mandy freakin’ Moore is the one who makes you like you’re at a Motel 6 and not like you’re “home”?

11. Animation (Incredibles, etc.): Due to her excessive use of Botox, Nicole Kidman is no longer able to show any animation on her face whatsoever.

12. Snub (Giamatti, Saarsgard, etc): With this year’s snub of actors like Paul Giamatti, Peter Saarsgard, and Javier Bardem, the Academy continues to prove it’s about as good a judge of talent as anybody who publishes Michael Medved.

13. Small screen (Depp, DiCaprio, etc.: With flicks like Hitch and Welcome To Mooseport, isn’t it clear that we must ensure by any means necessary that stars of CBS comedies like Kevin James and Ray Romano need to stay on the small screen instead of further polluting the big one?

14. Frass (Sideways): The people who created this “relevant” list insist that the word frass from Sideways has profoundly influenced the English Language, but have you ever heard a person say this word? Ever?

15. Fahrenheit (Fahrenheit 9/11): I had a really good line I was going to use about a certain fella who’s not a fan of Fahrenheit 9/11, but I hear the weather in Guantanamo is unbearable this time of year.

Related tune: No More Words by Berlin (Windows Media via cdzlimited.org)

Some Useful Links

Truth: The Top Trending Global English Word for 2017 (#WOTY)

 

The Word Fake Rooted in Ethnic Slur Against Hindi and Muslim Holy Men

 Harvard Takes the Top Politically (In)correct Word of the Year Award for replacing House Master with Faculty Dean

 

June 6, 2017 (Update) Austin, TEXAS, and NEW YORK — The Global Language Monitor (GLM) today announced that Truth is the Word of the Year for 2017.  GLM also announced that the Global English Word of the Year for 2016 is not a word but a meme: the blood-soaked image of Omran Daqneesh, five years old, sitting in an ambulance while awaiting treatment in Allepo, Syria. (Click Here to see Top Global English Words of 2016.)

Covfefe, the Trumpian Typo heard ‘round the world, has crossed the threshold to make the 2017 #WOTY list, with some 400,000+ media citations alone.  At this moment, the word ranks at No. 12a between ‘wikileaks’ and ‘non-binary’.

 Rank

 2017 Words of the Year

1 Truth Let’s face it.  The conversation is all about truth, or lack thereof. Since the mid-’80s, citations of word truth are up some 40%
2 Narrative Narratives are replacing facts in politics
3 #Resist From Latin resistere, from re- + sistere to take a stand
4 Brexit British Exit from the European Union
5 Bigly Of considerable size, number, quantity, extent, or magnitude; large.
6 Nuclear Option In the US Senate, allowing confirmation of various political appointees with a simple majority vote
7 Nuclear Option (NK) The use of nuclear weapons by either side in the current North Korean standoff
8 MOAB GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast  AKA Mother Of All Bombs
9 Dumpster Fire According to Webster’s disastrously mishandled situation
10 Opioids More deaths than gun violence and automobiles combined
11 Latinx Neologism for Hispanic heritage of any stripe
12 Wikileaks Publishes secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources.
13 Non-binary Gender identity defined as neither male nor female
14 Memory Care Euphemism for treating Alzheimer and other forms of dementia
15 Anthropocene The current geological time period where human activities have had a major environmental impact on the Earth.
16 Post-Truth Oxford: objective facts are less influential  than appeals to emotion or the narrative
17 Alt-right Alternative right, far-right groups that reject mainstream conservatism
18 ALT-Left Alternative Left, far-left groups that reject mainstream Liberalism
19 Populism Political movement claiming  to represent the interests of ordinary people against the elite and privileged
20 Safe Place Where students can retreat to avoid hearing unpleasant facts of the human condition
The Global Language Monitor © 2017, 2016 All Rights Reserved

 

During the last 18 months, the world of language in the Industrialized West reflected the turmoil undergoing much of the political systems throughout the Year 2016 and continuing into early 2017, said Paul JJ Payack, presdent and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor..

However, it would be a mistake to characterize this time with the World, as a whole, in turmoil. After all, having one nation exiting the EU block of some twenty-eight counties along with the the election of what by European Standards is a Center-Right government in the United States does not equate to 1914, 1939, 1968, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the on-going Middle East conflagration, and/or the emergence of China onto the world economic stage earlier this century, or even the Global Economic Restructuring of 2008 and what continues in its wake.

If you kept abreast of the daily press reports, you would think an outbreak of mass hysteria or at least amnesia had swept over the nations of the West. The world’s leading print and electronic media acted as if the concept of truth had been circumvented, or even, contravened, and sounded alarm after alarm that what we all knew as facts were no longer discernible. The source of this disruption in the news cycle, of course, was what came to be known as fake news and post-truth.

As the various organizations that announced their particular choices for their Words of the Year (WOTY), 2016 had the dubious distinction of being labeled a ‘dumpster-fire’ by the American Dialect Society thereby furthering the concept of fake news. How else could a phrase that was scarcely uttered anywhere in the world in 2016 be chosen for this ‘honor’?

For historical comparisons of a number of the terms used in this analysis, GLM used the Google Ngram Viewer.   You can use the Ngram Viewer to chart frequencies of comma-delimited search strings.  The Google Ngram Viewer uses yearly counts from sources printed between 1500 and 2008, though in some cases later dates of publications are included.

In the first example, frequencies of citations between and among a number of words used to describe the Top Words of the Year for 2016 are plotted between 1940 and the present.

Figure 1. Relative Frequency of citations among words used to describe the Top Words of the Year for 2016

Figure 2. Close-up on Relative Frequency Among Some Top Words of the Year for 2016

Figure 3.  Comparisons for the Words Truth Vs. Lie Since 1740

This is why early in the century, the Global Language Monitor put into place a methodology that clearly states that each considered word or phrase must adhere to the published criteria (see below). The methodology calls for words and phrases from the entire global English linguasphere to be considered, as well as each fulfilling geographic and demographic requirements. This automatically excludes the lists created by those organizations that rely on polls and other such non-scientific tools

A Methodology Optimized for the Wired World -- GLM’s Word of the Year rankings are based upon actual word usage throughout the English-speaking world, which now approaches some 2.38 billion people, who use the language as a first, second, business language. To qualify for these lists, the words, names, and phrases must meet three criteria: 1) found globally, 2) have a minimum of 25,000 citations, and 3) have the requisite ‘depth’ and ‘breadth’ of usage. Depth is here defined as appearing in various forms of media; breadth that they must appear world-over, not limited to a particular profession or social group or geography. The goal is to find the word usage that will endure the test of time.

Global Language Monitor began to use newly available technologies to document the Words of the Year for Global English at the turn of the 21st century, with the idea to encapsulate and capture the essence of the preceding twelve months in a sort of linguistic amber.

Consider for a moment that fact that in 2009 GLM named ‘twitter’ as the Global English Word of the Year, not only as a social media phenomenon but as a potential Weapon of Mass Disruption (or even destruction). Witness: 1) the Arab Spring and 2) the actions of one Donald J. Trump.

Political Correctness

In a time so debilitated by the specter of political correctness (both from the left and the right), it seems rather demeaning to advance the concept of ‘fake news’, once you study its etymology, tracing back the origins of the word ‘fake’.

Cambridge Dictionaries’ definition of fakir: A Muslim (or, loosely, a Hindu) religious ascetic who lives solely on alms. Origin: Early 17th century: via French from Arabic faqīr. Fakir, Arabic Faqīr (“poor”), originally, a mendicant dervish. In mystical usage, the word fakir refers to man’s spiritual need for God, who alone is self-sufficient. Although of Muslim origin, the term has come to be applied in India to Hindus as well.

Fakirs are generally regarded as holy men who are possessed of miraculous powers, such as the ability to walk on fire or to subsist by looking only at the face of God.

In a Languagelog posting by Mark Liberman, How Fakirs Became Fakers, Edmund Wilson comments (from the grave) that Fakirs began to become entwined with fakers with a common usage that arose out of the American spiritualism craze of the 19th century.  This is where one can witness the shift in meaning for the word fakir, from an Islamic religious ascetic to the Hindu “Yogi,” to a sort of street corner or carnival barker or “producer of illusions”.

In other words ‘fake news” joins a long list of ethnic slurs that have imbued American English since before the founding of the republic. They are too many to repeat. However the most common of these might be ‘ethnic-group’ giver’ or ‘ethnic-group rich’. Specifically, using the term fake news could be said to humiliate and/or cast aspersions upon Muslim and/or Hindu holy men. Recent searches of the New York Times found 869 instances of ‘fake news,’ while searches of The Washington Post found 1,352. None mentioned the historical dubiousness of the practice.

You can see this linguistic shift peaking around 1940 and continuing to this day.

Figure 4. Shift in Meaning Between Fakir and Faker During the 1940s

In retrospective, even the whole idea of fake news and post-truth is a bit of an over-reaction. The organizations that were disrupted the most by the appearance of unchecked, non-verifiable and inadequately sourced stories, were those upon which the world came to rely and depend upon to safeguard the information delivered to their audiences as verifiably true. To continue in these roles as stewards of truth, it was incumbent upon them to put into place new methods of testing information.

The unvarnished truth is that the dominant news gathering and distribution organizations fell behind the curve as sources of information multiplied by orders of magnitude. Neither did they comprehend the astonishingly rapid advances in computing power. Finally, the evolution of communication and social media tools advanced far more quickly than the old line media’s ability to adapt to and absorb them.

Decades of reporting on the decline of the US manufacturing base never seemed to register to old media as applicable lessons for themselves. In the mid-’80s, an HBS case study inquired as to which fared better — companies with strategic plans in place or those that had none. The answer: a dead heat. Apparently, companies without strategic plans were able to adjust more quickly to changing market conditions while companies with strategic plans all too often, steadfastly rode these plans straight into oblivion.  (For more information on this phenomenon, check ou the first two editions of In Search of Excellence.  Prepare to be shocked.)

What is Truth?

The debate over what is truth has been ongoing since the search for an ‘honest man’ by Diogenes the Cynic, the dialogues of Socrates as recorded by Plato, the Confessions of Augustine, the Summa of Aquinas, and the monastic scriptoria of Medieval Europe.

In the scriptoria of the Middle Ages, an elaborate system was constructed to ensure that no discrepancies were introduced into Scripture or highly-prized scholarly works — before the coming of movable type and the printing press. Can you imagine the decibel level of a discussion that played out over the misrepresentation of a single iota when dealing with the work of a Church Father, the Apostle Peter (or Paul), or the words of the Lord himself? This, of course, was complicated by the fact that there were few grammatical rules, little or no punctuation, no spaces between and among words, nor between sentences or paragraphs, and the like.

Even the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Harvard and Yale engaged in the same sort of tussle about the owner of Truth as the Right and Left are engaged in today.  Harvard chose the Latin word Veritas (Truth) on its official seal, while Yale considered the matter closed by adding Lux et Veritas.  (Light and Truth) to its own shield.  Three hundred years later, in an academic world perhaps overly concerned with political correctness, Harvard won top honors for the Top Politically (in)Correct Word of 2016.

Watching the nightly news and reading the traditional (for the last two centuries, that is) media, one has the distinct sense that what they perceive as unprecedented almost chaotic circumstances is actually that of the normalcy of the new reality, that of communications at the speed of light that the internet has foisted upon us.

We keep hearing about this most unusual of election cycles, but this is only true when looking through the prism (and historical construct) of the traditional news gathering operations. What is called the 24-hour News Cycle is actually just the tip of the tsunami washing over the planet at an ever-quicker pace. Indeed, the nature of the beast hasn’t changed at all. It is our outdated techniques, that haven’t kept up with the new reality: News now emanates at the speed of thought, from tens of thousands or, even, millions of sources.

Can you imagine the uproar in the monastic world when documents would be would be produced with little or no vetting against the time-honored standards?

In 2008 GLM published an article, “Is Merriam-Webster its own Best Frenemy,” where we noted that its newest additions to its Collegiate Dictionary, were older than most entering college students at the time (28 years vs 18!)  Indeed, for the most part, technology could solve most of the Post-truth and Fake News phenomena.

Since the turn of the 21st century, the Global Language Monitor (GLM) has named the Top Words of Global English. A decade earlier, the American Dialect Society began to name the Word of The Year for mostly American (and a bit of British) English with little or no use of the then emerging computer power. By the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, the BBC chose the Global Language Monitor to determine the Top English Words of the Decade worldwide while they chose an UK-based Linguist to highlight those of the UK.

One of the most surprising trends in the evolution of the Words of the Year over the last two decades is that they have become decidedly more parochial, and more trivial, as the century has progressed. Now there are about a dozen players, all competing for the same space, so the race has been one of dumbing down the various nominees and ultimate winner in an apparently. desperate in their attempt to seek the lowest common denominator, or even worse, to optimize entertainment value.

Perhaps most surprising of all is the apparent lack of preparation by the venerable incumbent organizations responsible for gathering, sifting through, and certifying information that then qualifies as verifiably newsworthy.

Apocalyptic language has been widely cited as word of the year worthy for the last several years — and rightly so. In fact, Apocalypse and Armageddon took Global Language Monitors’ honors as Top Global English Words of 2012. And though GLM’s proprietary algorithms have displayed a predictive element, it’s entirely possible that Apocalyptic language did indeed peak some five years too soon.

About the Global Language Monitor

In 2003, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) was founded in Silicon Valley by Paul J.J. Payack on the understanding that new technologies and techniques were necessary for truly understanding the world of Big Data, as it is now known.

Today, from its home in Austin, Texas GLM provides a number of innovative products and services that utilize its ‘algorithmic services’ to help worldwide customers protect, defend and nurture their branded products and entities. Products include ‘brand audits’ to assess the current status, establish baselines, and competitive benchmarks for current intellectual assets and brands, and to defend products against ambush marketing.

These services are currently provided to the Fortune 500, the Higher Education market, high technology firms, the worldwide print, and electronic media, as well as the global fashion industry, among others.

For more information, call 1.512.801-6823, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.

Apocalyptic language has been widely cited as word of the year worthy for the last several years — and rightly so. In fact, Apocalypse and Armageddon took Global Language Monitors’ honors as Top Global English Words of 2012. And though GLM’s proprietary algorithms have displayed a predictive element, it’s entirely possible that Apocalyptic language did indeed peak some three years too soon.

The Top Words, Phrases, and Names since the Turn of the Century

2016:
Top Words:  No. 1  Truth, No. 2  Narrative, No. 3, #Resist
Top Phrases:   No. 1  Make America Great Again No. 2 When they go low, we go high No. 3 The Electoral College
Top Names:   No. 1 Donald Trump, No. 2 Vladimir Putin, No. 3 Neil Gorsuch
2015:
Top Words:  No. 1  Microaggression
Top Phrases:   No. 1 Migrant Crisis
Top Names:   No. 1 Donald J. Trump
2014:
Top Words:  No. 1 The Heart ♥ Emoji (for love) , No. 2 Hashtag , No. 3 Vape
Top Phrases:   No. 1 Hands Up, Don’t Shoot;  No. 2 Cosmic Inflation, No. 3 Global Warming
Top Names:   No. 1 Ebola, No. 2 Pope Francis, No. 3 World War I
2013:
Top Words: No. 1  ’404’, No.2 Fail, No.3 Hashtag
Top Phrases: No. 1 Toxic Politics, No. 2 Federal Shutdown, No.3 Global Warming/Climate Change
Top Names: No. 1. Pope Francis, No. 2 ObamaCare, No.3 NSA
2012:
Top Words: No. 1 ApocalypseArmageddon, No.2 Deficit, No. 3 Olympiad
Top Phrases: No. 1 Gangnam Style, No. 2 Climate Change/Global Warming, No. 3 Fiscal Cliff
Top Names: No. 1 Newtown and Malala Yousafzai, No. 3 Xi Jinping
2011:
Top Words: No. 1 Occupy, No.2 Fracking, No.3 Drone
Top Phrases: No. 1 Arab Spring, No. 2 Royal Wedding, No.3 Anger and Rage
Top Names: No. 1 Steve Jobs, No. 2 Osama bin-laden and Seal Team Six, No.3 Fukushima
2010:
Top Words: No. 1 Occupy, No.2 Fracking, No.3 Drone
Top Phrases: No. 1 Anger and Rage, No. 2 Climate Change, No. 3 The Great Recession
Top Names: No. 1 Hu Jintao, paramount leader of China, No. 2 iPad, No. 3 Barack Obama
2009:
Top Words: No. 1 Twitter, No. 2 Obama-, No. 3 H1N1
Top Phrases: No. 1 King of Pop, No. 2 Obama-mania, No. 3 Climate Change
Top Names: No. 1 Obama, No. 2 Michael Jackson, No. 3 Mobama
2008:
Top Words: No. 1 Change, No. 2 Bailout, No. 3 Obama-mania
Top Phrases: No. 1 Financial Tsunami, No. 2 Global Warming, No. 3 “Yes, We Can!”
Top Names: No. 1 Barack Obama, No. 2 George W. Bush, No.3 Michael Phelps
2007:
Top Words: No. 1 Hybrid (representing all things green), No. 2: Surge
Top Phrase: Climate Change
Top Name: Al Gore
2006:
Top Word: Sustainable
Top Phrase: Stay the Course
Top Name: Dafur
2005:
Top Words: No. 1, Refugee No. 2: Tsunami No. 3: Katrina
Top Phrase: Outside the Mainstream
Top Name: (acts of ) God
2004:
Top Word: Incivility (for inCivil War)
Top Phrase: Red States/Blue States No. 2: Rush to War
Top Name: Dubya/Rove
2003:
Top Word: Embedded
Top Phrase: Shock and Awe, No. 2: Rush to War
Top Name: Saddam Hussein, No. 2 Dubya
2002:
Top Word: Misunderestimate
Top Phrase: Threat Fatigue
Top Name: W (Dubya)
2001:
Top Word: Ground Zero
Top Phrase: ‘Lets Roll’
Top Name: The Heros
2000:
Top Word: Chad
Top Phrase: Dot.com
Top Name: W (Dubya)

 

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Microaggression is Top Word, Trump the Top Name, Migrant Crisis the Top Phrase for Worldwide English for 2015

Documenting the year 2015 through English-language word usage

Global Language Monitor’s 16th Annual Survey of Global English

 

AUSTIN, Texas,  December 28, 2015  — Microaggression is the Top Word, Donald J. Trump the Top Name, and Migrant Crisis the Top Phrase, of 2015.  This is the 16th Annual survey of the English language by the Global Language Monitor.

Microaggression is an academic term, related to the ‘white privilege’ movement that has moved into widespread circulation over the last generation. Donald J Trump is the US presidential contender who appears to be re-writing thr rules of American political decorum.  Migrant Crisis summarizes the movement of some one million migrants and/or refugees from the Middle East to Europe (predominately from Syria, Iraq and,, Afganistan), as well as North African countries. This is the largest human migration since World War II.
In 2014 the heart emoji was named the Top Word, the first time any emoji captured any Word of the Year honors.  The Oxford Dictionaries followed in 2015 by naming the ‘laughing until tears of joy’ emoji as it top word of 2015, though there is scant evidence that any place on the planet was so afflicted.
“The English language continues its ever deeper penetration into global consciousness.  Some are wary of the consequences of a single language (of the 7,000 extant human tongues) dominating the Linguasphere.” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “The English Language is continuing a remarkable transformation driven by new word formations not witnessed since the Bard created nearly 2000 new words during his lifetime (1564-1616). However, this time the words are bubbling up from the entire planetary linguasphere”.
GLM’s top words, phrases and names this year represent some five continents, which continues to confirm the ever-expanding nature of the English language.

The Top Words of 2015 follow.

Rank / Word / Comments

  1. Microaggression — The brief, everyday exchanges that send mostly unintended  derogatory  messages to members of various minority groups. Related to the following terms:
    1. Safe Space — In universities protecting students feelings by warnng of subject matter that might elicit discomfit or distress.
    2. Trigger — Any action that might elicit feelings of discomfit or distress.
    3. Unsafe — The feelings a student encounters when without warning they are confronted with subject matter or situations that have elicited feelings of discomfit or distress.
    4. Snowflake — What unconcerned students call those with the need for safe spaces and warnings about possible trigger events.
    5. White Privilege — Societal privileges that benefit people identified as white in Western countries, beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances.
  2. Climate Changing —  GLM will now use the the gerund form of the verb ‘change’  to recogize the fact of on-going, continuous change in the Earth’s Climate. Related terms:
    1. Anthropocene — the current geological age, viewed as the period during in which human activity has been a significant influence on climate and the environment;
    2. Anthropogenic — used to describe the effect of humans on the climate and the environment
  3. Refugee — A term used to describe migrants that were forced from their homeland by war or civil unrest.
  4. Migrant — A term that includes refugees from economic, climatalogical changes, and others issues not directly related to war.
  5. Thug — Brought to renewed attention by President Obama; from the Hindi (and Sanskrit) words describing Aryan assassins.
  6. Trans — Abbreviation for transgender, people who identify with the opposite of their physical characteristics.
  7. Content —  The Top Business Buzzword of 2015
  8. Afluenza — A theoretical malaise affecting wealthy young people, symptoms of which include a lack of motivation, feelings of guilt, and a sense of isolation.
  9. Opioids — In the US, opioid painkillers and heroin are responible for as more deaths than from automobiles and gun violence combined.
  10. Evolve — The evolution of the word ‘flip-flop’ in political jargon.  More like ‘survival of the fittest,’ it only occurs until the voters first shift their views ona particular subject.
OK is the most understood word of Global English in the world, again.  See more.

The Top Names of 2015

Rank /Name / Comments

  1. Donald J. Tump — The US presidential contender who appears to be re-writing the rules of American political decorum
  2. Alan Kurdi — The Syrian three-year-old whose dead body washed ashore in Bodrum, Turkey, the photo of which caused global outrage.
  3. Pope Francis —  The most highly cited name, again.
  4. Xi Jinping — “Steady as she goes,” as his term proceeds as China’s paramount leader.
  5. Middle East Terrorists — Exporting death squads into the West with impunity.
  6. Putin — Short of stature, long on action.
  7. Angela Merkel — Under Merkel, Germany has accomlished its erstwhile goal of dominating Europe.
  8. Falcon 9 — The safe landing of  its initial stage has been described as marking a historic step in the history of Humanity
  9. El Nino — Already there is 5x the normal snowpack in the Sierra.
  10. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.  10-a.  HRH Georgie — Nickname of Prince George of Cambridge, son of ‘Wills and Kate.
.

The Top Phrases of 2015

Rank / Phrase / Comment

  1. Migrant Crisis — Migrant Crisis summarizes the movement of some one million migrants and/or refugees from the Middle East to Europe (predominately from Syria, Irag and , Afganistan), as well as North African countries. This is the largest human migration since World War II.
  2. Je Suis Charlie — Representing the universal outcry against terrorist violence, such as witnessed most recently in San Bernardino.
  3. Almond Shaming — Forty gallons of water to grow a single almond?
  4. Nation State — The migrant Crisis in Europe and the Middle East are examples of trans-national crises that transcend the idea of the Nation State.  (The Nation State arose in the late 15th century with the rise of capitalism, geography, and cartography.
  5. Rogue nukes — Despite the new treaty, the fact reains that Iran can now assemble a bomb in a fortnight.
  6. Anatomically Modern Human — A class of homonids that lived as recently as 12,000 years ago.
  7. Beast Mode — Going all out, excessively so, in the take-no-prisioners style of Marshawn Lynch (American football).
  8. End of World Scenarios — A switch from previous years where clarion calls are being issued by the likes of Steven Hawking and other scientists.
  9. Digital Darkness — What happens if we can no longer access digital information? A distinct possibility at some future point.  Unsolicited Advice:  Keep hard copies of beloved photos.
  10. Evolve — The evolution of the word ‘flip-flop’ in political jargon. More like ‘survival of the fittest,’ it never occurs until the voters first shift their position.
  11. Two Child Policy — To the relief of much of the world, China officially relaxed its One-Child Policy.

 

Methodology:  GLM’s Word of the Year rankings are based upon actual word usage throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.83 billion people.  To qualify for these lists, the words, names, and phrases must meet three criteria:  1)  found globally, 2) have a minimum of 25,000 citations, and 3) have the requisite ‘depth’ and ‘breadth’ of usage.  Depth is here defined as appearing in various forms of media; breadth that they must appear world-over, not limited to a particular professional or social group or geography.  The goal is to find the word usage that will endure the test of time.

GLM employs its NarrativeTracker technologies for global Internet and social media analysis. NarrativeTracker is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 275,000 print and electronic global media (not limited to the English-language-based media), as well as new social media sources as they emerge.
The Top Words, Phrases, and Names since the Turn of the Century 
2014:
Top Words:  No. 1 The Heart ♥ Emoji (for love) , No. 2 Hashtag , No. 3 Vape
Top Phrases:   No. 1 Hands Up, Don’t Shoot;  No. 2 Cosmic Inflation, No. 3 Global Warming
Top Names:   No. 1 Ebola, No. 2 Pope Francis, No. 3 World War I

2013:
Top Words: No. 1  ‘404’, No.2 Fail, No.3 Hashtag
Top Phrases: No. 1 Toxic Politics, No. 2 Federal Shutdown, No.3 Global Warming/Climate Change
Top Names: No. 1. Pope Francis, No. 2 ObamaCare, No.3 NSA

2012:
Top Words: No. 1 ApocalypseArmageddon, No.2 Deficit, No. 3 Olympiad
Top Phrases: No. 1 Gangnam Style, No. 2 Climate Change/Global Warming, No. 3 Fiscal Cliff
Top Names: No. 1 Newtown and Malala Yousafzai, No. 3 Xi Jinping

2011:
Top Words: No. 1 Occupy, No.2 Fracking, No.3 Drone
Top Phrases: No. 1 Arab Spring, No. 2 Royal Wedding, No.3 Anger and Rage
Top Names: No. 1 Steve Jobs, No. 2 Osama bin-laden and Seal Team Six, No.3 Fukushima

2010:
Top Words: No. 1 Occupy, No.2 Fracking, No.3 Drone
Top Phrases: No. 1 Anger and Rage, No. 2 Climate Change, No. 3 The Great Recession
Top Names: No. 1 Hu Jintao, paramount leader of China, No. 2 iPad, No. 3 Barack Obama

2009:
Top Words: No. 1 Twitter, No. 2 Obama-, No. 3 H1N1
Top Phrases: No. 1 King of Pop, No. 2 Obama-mania, No. 3 Climate Change
Top Names: No. 1 Obama, No. 2 Michael Jackson, No. 3 Mobama

2008:
Top Words: No. 1 Change, No. 2 Bailout, No. 3 Obama-mania
Top Phrases: No. 1 Financial Tsunami, No. 2 Global Warming, No. 3 “Yes, We Can!”
Top Names: No. 1 Barack Obama, No. 2 George W. Bush, No.3 Michael Phelps

2007:

Top Words: No. 1 Hybrid (representing all things green), No. 2: Surge
Top Phrase: Climate Change
Top Name: Al Gore

2006:
Top Word: Sustainable
Top Phrase: Stay the Course
Top Name: Dafur

2005:
Top Words: No. 1, Refugee No. 2: Tsunami No. 3: Katrina
Top Phrase: Outside the Mainstream
Top Name: (acts of ) God

2004:
Top Word: Incivility (for inCivil War)
Top Phrase: Red States/Blue States No. 2: Rush to War
Top Name: Dubya/Rove

2003:
Top Word: Embedded
Top Phrase: Shock and Awe, No. 2: Rush to War
Top Name: Saddam Hussein, No. 2 Dubya

2002:

Top Word: Misunderestimate

Top Phrase: Threat Fatigue
Top Name: W (Dubya)

2001:
Top Word: Ground Zero
Top Phrase: ‘Lets Roll’
Top Name: The Heros

2000:
Top Word: Chad
Top Phrase: Dot.com
Top Name: W (Dubya)

About the Global Language Monitor

Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogs the latest trends in word usage and word choices and their impact on the various aspects of culture.  GLM  analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 250,000 print, and electronic news media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter) as they emerge.  The words, phrases, and concepts are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.
In 2003, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) was founded in Silicon Valley by Paul J.J. Payack on the understanding that new technologies and techniques were necessary for truly understanding the world of Big Data, as it is now known.  GLM provides a number of innovative products and services that utilize its ‘algorithmic services’ to help worldwide customers protect, defend and nurture their branded products and entities.
For more information, call 1.512.801.6823, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.

Backstory to, and Map of, the Re-Federalised United States, AD 2076

The Back Story to The Re-Federalised United States (RFUS) in AD 2076

Warning: Do not post until AD 2076

Austin, Texas Federation, November  3, 2076 — As a public service GLM (Galactic Language Monitor), nee the Global Language Monitor) provides this overview on the birth of the Re-Federalised United States.

re-federated-united-states-2014

“The first fifteen years of the 20th c. set the trajectory for the remainder of the century — and beyond.”  said Paul JJ Payack, president and Chief Word Analyst, the Global Language Monitor.  “This included the seeds of World War, Bolshevism, Communism, German Nationalism, the carving up of the Middle East without regard to societal structures, total warfare, the introduction of weapons of mass destruction, flight, electrification of rural areas, the internal combustion engine, the dependence on hydrocarbon for fuel, Einstein’s first papers on relativity, the arms race, the explosive growth of cities, and so much more.

If the same can be said for the 21st century at the 15 year mark, what trends can we see that will be likely shape the rest of the 21st century, into the 22nd — and possibly beyond?

The ‘Re-Federalists’ convinced the majority of the US electorate to call a Constitutional Convention after decades of  hat came to be called ‘the Great Gridlock’.

In the aftermath, the US was ‘re-federalised’ into fourteen ‘Federations,’ the former District was made into a politics-free ‘National Monument’. And the federal government moved into the range of Thomas Jefferson’s early estimates (extrapolated from thirty or forty into some 300,000 employees), who were equally divided among the Fourteen Federations.

The new federations were more politically, culturally and economically united, so the so-called “culture wars” of the 21st C. quickly faded away.

Another interesting note:  VanCity and British Columbia, and ScotsLand, of the former United Kingdom were both annexed by the RFUS, without apparent opposition.

This also lit the economic engines of most of the new states, the the US Federation jumped into a sizable lead economically over China, again.  However, China re-captured its lead as the world’s top economy later in the 21st c. and into the 22nd.

About the Galactic Language Monitor

Early in the last century, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) was founded in Silicon Valley by Paul J.J. Payack on the understanding that new technologies and techniques were necessary for truly understanding the world of Big Data, as it is now known.  Silicon Valley is located in what is now the CaliMinor Federation.

For more information, call 1.512.801.6823, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.

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Stonehenge Watch and the Great American Eclipse

Now available for $19.95

Order by clicking on the Link below!

The Must-Have Gadget for the “Great American Eclipse, August 21

 

The Eclipse Predictor (American Journal of Physics)

The Original Smart Watch™

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5,000 Years and Still Ticking!

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Covfefe Now Validated as an English-language Word

Austin, Texas, June 6, 2017  — According to the Global Language Monitor, Covfefe has been validated as an English-language word.  This according to the methodology established early in the 21st century by GLM.  Earlier today, a simple Google search resulted in some 17,000,000 citations, with close to 500,000 news stories. Baidu, the Chinese ‘Google-equivalent’ also produced a cascading number of  Covfefe-related citations

‘Covfefe’ Now Validated as an English-language Word

 

According to Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst for GLM, “The Global Language Monitor put into place this ‘Optimized for the Wired World’ methodology that can test new words and phrases from the entire global English linguasphere. To be considered, the word must fulfill global, as well as geographic and demographic requirements. Covfefe met these criteria earlier today.

 

A Methodology Optimized for the Wired World -- GLM’s Word of the Year rankings are based upon actual word usage throughout the English-speaking world, which now approaches some 2.38 billion people, who use the language as a first, second, business language. To qualify for these lists, the words, names, and phrases must meet three criteria: 1) found globally, 2) have a minimum of 25,000 citations, and 3) have the requisite ‘depth’ and ‘breadth’ of usage. Depth is here defined as appearing in various forms of media; breadth that they must appear world-over, not limited to a particular profession or social group or geography. The goal is to find the word usage that will endure the test of time.

President George W. Bush was a most prodigious neologism-maker, ‘Misunderestimate’ was his all-time list topper.  See our Coverage  (covfefe) of Bushisms at the time.

Global Language Monitor also uses these newly available technologies to document the Words of the Year for Global English, with the idea to encapsulate and capture the essence of the preceding twelve months in a sort of linguistic amber.

Accordingly, GLM has updated its Top Trending Words of 2017 (#WOTY2017) to include ‘covfefe’.  Covfefe currently occupies the No. 12A position between No. 12 ‘wikileaks,’ and No. 13, ‘Non-binary,’  as to the definition of the word, there are any number of contenders swirling about. Most seem to revolve about various SpellCheck suggestions: such as  Coffee, Coif, kerfuffle, and, of course, coverage.

Global Language Monitor (Click here for About)

In 2003, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) was founded in Silicon Valley by Paul J.J. Payack on the understanding that new technologies and techniques were necessary for truly understanding the world of Big Data, as it is now known.  Today, from its home in Austin, Texas GLM provides a number of innovative products and services that utilize its ‘algorithmic services’ to help worldwide customers protect, defend and nurture their branded products and entities. Products include ‘brand audits’ to assess the current status, establish baselines, and competitive benchmarks for current intellectual assets and brands, and to defend products against ambush marketing.

For more information, call 1.512.801.6823 or email info@LanguageMonitor.com, tweet to @languageMonitor or skype pauljjpayack.

 

 

Battle Over Climate Change Explained in Three Charts

 

Climate Change is like an asteroid heading in for a direct hit on Earth.

Obama’s Climate Change Warning (& National Climate Assessment) Doesn’t Touch on the Magnitude of the Threat.

 

June 18-19, 2014, AUSTIN, Texas — The recent report on human-enhanced climate change points to the problem. The US National Climate Assessment, released May 6, 2014, represents the most comprehensive attempt yet to assess the current effects of human-enhanced climate change on America’s (and the Earth’s) future. Why does confusion persist about the subject? After all, Global Warming /Climate Change have ranked near the top of our Top Word lists for more than a decade.

Perhaps the major difficulty is overcoming the fact that:

  1. Few news reporters are well-versed in technical and scientific communication.
  2. Few scientists are well-versed in communicating effectively to a large public audience in non-scientific terms.
  3. The public is not trained in deciphering the reams of information that presents the case that is being argued.

Therefore, lack of technical communications skills inhibit true understanding of climate change news. As a former university lecturer on Scientific and Technical Communications, I’ve created a few rules to keep close to heart.

Rule No. 1 When Communicating a Scientific Truth Be Sure to Communicate the Whole Truth — The audience instinctively knows when you are leaving out some of the story that you think might confuse the issue.

Well known Fact: The temperatures are now the highest in 1,000 years.

Larger Reality: The global surface temperature has fluctuated greatly over the last 2100 years. Scientific and Technical writing professionals would, one hopes, clarify the discussion by writing from the audience’s point-of-view. An educated audience would expect a phrase, such as ‘not in a thousand years’ to mean ‘not ever’. They would likely be concerned if they knew an author to be shading the truth that actually obscures the larger truth.

Suffice to say the global temperature has fluctuated greatly over the last 1200 years as shown in the graphic using four different sources. Also note there was the well-known historical fact of the Little Ice Age, with many early New England documents noting various ‘Year(s) Without Summer(s)”.

 

 Temperature Fluctuation Over Preceding 1200 Years

 

Rule No. 2 Just because any particular analysis might be short-sighted, there is no need for you to be short-sighted also.

Well known Fact: PaleoIndians crossed the Bering Land Bridge to first settle the Americas.

Larger Reality: For the Bering Land Bridge to exist, the sea level had to be about 100 meters (290 feet) LOWER than its current level.

 The Bering Land Bridge About 15,000 BCE

 

The US National Climate Assessment is estimating a one-to-two meter rise by the turn of the 22nd century. Add in the human-enhancement factor and climate change will be even more dramatic (and possibly happen more quickly) than anticipated.

Rule No. 3 In 10,000 BCE, (8,000 BC), New York City was also under a mile (1.6 km) of ice. Jericho was a thriving (albeit small) city at this time. Most people who are aware of this fact, place it in the distant past, say, 1,000,000 years BCE.

Well known Fact (though not true): Climate Change began in the late 20th century OR with the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century.

Larger Truth: Climate Change began with the advent of the atmosphere as we know it about 600 million years ago. This atmosphere enabled the ‘Cambrian Explosion’ as millions of life forms suddenly appeared on land.

The climate created by this atmosphere began to change at that time and continues to do so some some 600,000,000 years later though we only have specific details of the last half million years or so, as shown below.

 

 

These are a broad outline of temperature changes over the last 400,000 years as recorded by three different methods. Perhaps the most familiar is the Vostok Ice Core (Antarctica), drilled to a depth of 11,887 feet (3623 m) in 1998.

Conclusion: There are well-known facts that pale before a larger reality. Do not trim your arguments (whatever they be) to exclude the larger reality.

Well Known Fact: Climate Change is happening and its profound effect upon humankind is real. Human-influenced climate change is a new scientific reality

Larger Reality: Climate Change has a detailed in the scientific record for about 4oo,ooo years — and it has been ongoing for about 600,000,000 years.

What was the ongoing debate of our paleoindian ancestors as they watched the megafauna (wooly mammoths, sabre tooth tigers, etc.) disappear as the 5,000 ft (1.6 km) ice cap atop Manhattan melted away beneath their feet?

The paleoindians had it within their power to preserve the megafauna if they had known the consequences of their overhunting.  However, the retreating glacier, a consequence of global cooling, was beyond their control.

Today humankind faces the same two problems. And this time we have a bigger stake in the game. If the will is there, we can stop or at least alter the course of the Fourth Great Extinction. And if the will is there, we can curb at least the human-enhancement portion of climate change, whether or not the planet is subject to the larger, longer-term climatic cycles.

Bushisms

Mission Accomplished Sign is Posted on all USN Ships Returning to San Diego After Oversea Tours

‘Misunderestimate’ Tops List of All-Time Bushisms  

Compendium of Fifteen of the President’s ‘Greatest Hits’

 

Austin, TX January 9, 2009  – The Top All-Time Bushisms were released earlier today by the Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com). Topping the List were:

  • Misunderestimate,
  • Mission Accomplished,
  • Brownie, you’ve done a heck of a job!
  • I’m the decider, and
  • I use the Google.

 “The era of Bushisms is now coming to an end, and word watchers worldwide will have a hard time substituting Barack Obama’s precise intonations and eloquence for W’s unique linguistic constructions,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor.  “The biggest linguistic faux pas of the Obama era thus far involves the use of the reflexive pronoun myself.  This is a refreshing shift from the Bush years.”

The rankings were nominated by language observers the world over and then ranked with the help of the Global Language Monitor’s PQI (Predictive-quantities Indicator).  The PQI is a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere.

The Top All-time Bushisms with commentary, follow.

1.     Misunderestimate. Stated in the immediate aftermath of the disputed 2000 election:  One of the first and perhaps most iconic Bushisms (Nov. 6, 2000).

2.     Mission Accomplished:  Never actually stated by the President but nevertheless the banner behind him was all that was needed to cement this phrase into the public imagination (May 1, 2003).

3.     “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” said to soon-to-be-discharged FEMA director Michael Brown. Stated in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; it came to symbolize the entire debacle (Sept. 2, 2005).

4.     “I’m the decider” came to symbolize the ‘imperial’ aspects of the Bush presidency.  Said in response to his decision to keep Don Rumsfeld on as the Secretary of Defense (April 18, 2006).

5.     “I use The Google” said in reference to the popular search engine (October 24, 2006).

6.     Iraq Shoe Throwing Incident.  In Iraq, throwing a shoe is a symbol of immense disrespect.  Some have suggested this to be the visual equivalent of a spoken Bushism — Inappropriate, surprising, embarrassing yet compelling to repeat (December 14, 2008).

7.     ”I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully” came to symbolize the President’s environmental policy (Sept. 29, 2000).

8.     ”You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.” Critics used this to symbolize Bush’s detachment to the plight of the working class, said to a divorced mother of three in Omaha, Nebraska (Feb. 4, 2005)

9.     ”Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?” was uttered before the first primaries back in 2000 (Jan. 11, 2000).

10.  ”Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we” was cited by his critics as revealing his true thoughts (Aug. 5, 2004)

11.   It was not always certain that the U.S. and America would have a close relationship.”  The President was speaking of the Anglo-American relationship (June 29, 2006).

12.  ”See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” Explaining his Communications strategy (May 24, 2005).

13.  “I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?” scribbled on a note to Secretary of State Condi Rice during a UN Security Council meeting in 2005.

14.  “When the final history is written on Iraq, it will look just like a comma” (September 24, 2006).

15.  “Stay the course” was stated on numerous occasions during the course of the Iraq War.  Bush’s change of course with the Surge, actually made a dramatic difference in the conflict.

Others under consideration:  Stratergy and “Make the Pie Higher”.

Other Presidents of the United States created their own words, some of which have entered the standard English vocabulary.  These include:

  • ADMINISTRATION (George Washington)
  • BELITTLE (Thomas Jefferson)
  • BULLY PULPIT (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • CAUCUS (John Adams)
  • COUNTERVAILING (Thomas Jefferson)
  • HOSPITALIZATION (Warren G. Harding)
  • MUCKRAKER (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • NORMALCY (Woodrow Wilson)
  • O.K.(Martin Van Buren)
  • SANCTION (Thomas Jefferson)

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.  For more information, call 1.512.801.6823, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.

Top Bushisms of 2006:

I’m the decider’ and ‘I use The Google’ Top Annual List

Flashback: ‘Brownie, You’re Doing a Heck of a Job’ Was Tops for ‘05

San Diego, California (January 22, 2007) The Top Bushisms for 2006 were released earlier today by the Global Language Monitor. Topping the ‘06 List were “I’m the decider“ referring to his rejection of the request from seven former generals for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to step down and “I use The Google,” in reference to the popular search engine. The rankings were nominated by language observers the world over and then ranked with the help of the Global Language Monitor’s PQI (Predictive-quantities Indicator).

“With fewer that twenty-four months remaining in the Bush presidency, word watchers worldwide are in a mad scramble to find a substitute for the near weekly faux pas presented by the president,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global Language Monitor.

The PQI is a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the 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 Bushisms of 2006 with Commentary Follow.

1. “I’m the Decider.” “I’m the decider, and I decide what is best. And what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense.” Some six months later, Rumsfeld was cited as one of the major reasons for the “thumpin’” (Bush’s word) the Republicans received in the Mid-term elections. April 18th.

2. “I use The Google,” in reference to the popular search engine. October 24th. Interview with Maria Bartiromo of CNBC.

3. “It was not always certain that the U.S. and America would have a close relationship.” June 29th.

4. “I’ve got an ek-a-lec-tic reading list.” August 29th Interview with Brian Williams.

5. “The only way we can win is to leave before the job is done.” November 24th (Greely, Colorado)

6. “Stay the course.” On numerous occasions.

7. “When the final history is written on Iraq, it will look just like a comma.” September 24th. Interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN.

8. “The Congress was right to renew the Terrorist Act.” In reference to the Patriot Act. September 7th. (Washington, DC)

9. “I want to be a war president; no president wants to be a war president.” October 26th. (Des Moines)

10. “The fiscal year that ended on February the 30th.” The government fiscal year ends on September 30th; there actually was a February 30 (and 29th) before the Emperors Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar added the days to their namesake months: July and August. October 11th (Washington, DC)

The Top Bushisms of 2005 Topping the ‘05 List were: “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” said to since-disgraced FEMA director Michael Brown; “In my line of work you’ve got … to kind of catapult the propaganda” explaining his Communications strategy; and “I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?” scribbled on a note to Secretary of State Condi Rice during a UN Security Council meeting.

As War Evolves so Does Language

By Andrew Ratner, The Baltimore Sun

Mission accomplished’ has now become synonymous with miscalculations

Baltimore, May, 2006 — When Synthia Laura Molina tried to drum up clients for her health-management consulting firm, the reaction often was not what she anticipated. Did you consider changing the name of your business, customers would ask. Eventually, Molina and her associates felt they had no choice but to do so. Its former name: Mission Accomplished.

When you told people the name, their initial reaction was ‘Oh, really.’ It was clear that the company name had been eroded, the company brand had been eroded,” said Molina, whose venture is known now as Central IQ. “My sense was it was so damaged, it may take a generation to lose that association.”Maybe a political group would want to buy it?,” she wondered. “Mission accomplished,” a military phrase, long ago became part of common jargon to describe a job well done. But the term took a turn for the worse after May 1, 2003.That was the day President Bush declared an end to major fighting in Iraq. He did so in front of a red, white and blue banner that proclaimed “Mission Accomplished” on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln off the Southern California coast.The power and authority of the phrase, at least in civilian usage, has since toppled like a dictator’s statue in Baghdad.

On a long list of unintended consequences and significant costs of the Iraq war, the erosion of “mission accomplished” from a widely used term of affirmation to one of miscalculation isn’t terribly significant. But it illustrates that vocabulary is shifting and organic and that overly declarative statements are probably best avoided, especially by presidents. “Rhetoric invites you to be assertive, and sometimes it’s our undoing,” said Martin Medhurst, a communications professor at Baylor University who previously directed the study of presidential rhetoric at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. “It’s like Nixon’s proclamation, ‘I’m not a crook,’ ultimately becomes the tagline for being a crook.” The term “mission accomplished” evolved in military use during World War II, usually in the context of a successful flight operation such as a strafing run or photo reconnaissance - technically a “mission,” according to A. Marjorie Taylor’s The Language of World War II in 1944. Eventually, its use became so common - and benign - it could be found on everything from plumbing tips to recipes. But during the past three years, the term has all but vanished from non-political use, particularly in the U.S. media. A search of the electronic library LexisNexis showed that the phrase is now mostly confined to references on sports pages and occasionally in news stories unrelated to war and politics in publications outside the United States. “The top references are jokes, blogs and insults. Ninety percent are negative or humorous,” said Paul Payack, who runs the Global Language Monitor in San Diego. “It’s a tagline that evokes not a smart thing to do, stepping into a trap, exactly what not to do at an apparent moment of triumph. Like ‘wardrobe malfunction,’ it just has become part of the public consciousness.”

Payack analyzes changes in the use of the words and phrases on the Internet - often, he said, for corporate clients and investors looking to track trends in the marketplace. With the use of algorithms, he has concluded, among other things, that the English language had 988,968 words as of last week and that “OK” is the most frequently spoken word on Earth.

But for all the unusual stuff that he comes across, he said he marveled at what has happened to “mission accomplished” in three years of its ricocheting around cyberspace. In 2003, the year the Iraq war began, the term “mission accomplished” appeared 375,000 times on the Internet. In 2004, it appeared 500,000 times. By 2005, it was more than 1 million. Are missions being accomplished twice as fast as before? Hardly. Payack said the phrase has assumed a new life in political reporting and elsewhere as shorthand for “grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory.” A humor blog last fall read, “Bush declares ‘mission accomplished’ in New Orleans.” The “mission accomplished” event has contributed to the president’s plunge in popularity. In 2003, Bush’s name was linked to the phrase on the Internet 30,000 times, Payack said. That rose to 50,000 in 2004, 75,000 in 2005 and 60,000 times in the first three months alone of 2006. The president’s father, George H.W. Bush, was himself ridiculed after overplaying his hand as president with “Read my lips: No new taxes,” but that was before the rise of the commercial Internet, which sustains and amplifies the missteps, said Nancy Snow, a communications professor at California State University, Fullerton. “‘Mission accomplished’ is so uniquely American, the sense of being overconfident,” Snow said. “I can see why they took advantage of that day, but as I watched that play out, I just had a sinking feeling.” Among the most frequent variations of “mission accomplished” that turned up in an electronic library search were words spoken in 2003 by then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer shortly before the president’s declaration: • “I’m not going to be able to shed any more light on when the president will say the mission is accomplished.” - April 13, 2003. • “At the appropriate time, when the president is ready, the president will have more thoughts to share with the nation about the mission, what was accomplished in the mission.” - April 27, 2003. Fleischer, who left the White House job in July 2003 and now runs his own corporate communications consulting firm in Westchester County, N.Y., said in a telephone interview that Bush’s use of the phrase that spring was unavoidable after the statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down by Iraqis and U.S. Marines in central Baghdad’s Firdos Square. “Between April 6th, when the statue fell, and May 1, I was pummeled with questions by reporters, including ‘Is he trying to stretch this out for political reasons?’” Fleischer said. “One hour after the statue came down, the press was asking, ‘Why hasn’t Bush declared the war over yet?’” Fleischer, who was with the president on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, maintained that the sign was hung by someone on the ship, not by the White House. The Navy disputed that it had posted the banner in various press accounts. Bush also never actually said the words “mission accomplished” May 1 on the aircraft carrier. He actually said the opposite. “Our mission continues,” he told the crew. “Al-Qaida is wounded, not destroyed.” Afterwards, however, the president could hardly have said, “Read my lips: I didn’t say ‘mission accomplished.’” The stagecraft of the event - including the president’s arrival in a green flight jumpsuit in the co-pilot’s seat of a Navy S-3B Viking as it made a dramatic “tailhook” landing - was purposeful, audacious and meant to send the message that the “Mission Accomplished” sign succinctly conveyed. Too succinctly, it turned out, for both the president and the status of the phrase itself. “On May 1, 2003, it was a powerful and accurate metaphor that played to the president’s benefit, and as events grew worse, it was a powerful metaphor that played to the detriment of the president,” Fleischer said. “In retrospect, the sign was too declarative, while the president’s words were accurately subtle. It all got undone because of all the post-war problems we’ve had.” andrew.ratner@baltsun.com Copyright © 2006, The Baltimore Sun

Top Bushisms for 2005

Heckova job, Brownie”

San Diego,California (December 30, 2005) The Top Bushisms for 2005 were released earlier today by the Global Language Monitor. The rankings were based on the Global Language Monitor’s PQ (Predictive-quantities) Index. Topping the ‘05 List were “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” said to since-disgraced FEMA director Michael Brown; “In my line of work you’ve got … to kind of catapult the propaganda” explaining his Communications strategy; and “I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?” scribbled on a note to Secretary of State Condi Rice during a UN Security Council meeting. “The Global Media are continually fascinated by the Bushisms phenomenon,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global Language Monitor. “In fact, President George W. Bush has provided the literary- and linguistic-minded a plethora of interesting turns of phrase over the last five years. Of course, his supporters use his frank, shoot from the hip manner of speaking as proof of Bush as a decisive man of action. This contrasts sharply, so they believe, with the precisely turned phrases of the loyal opposition that might be pleasing to the ear but lead to little or no action, compromise on the world stage or, even, worse.” The PQ (Predictive-quantities) Index is a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the 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 Bushisms for 2005 follow: 1. “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” To FEMA director Michael Brown, who resigned 10 days later amid criticism over his handling of the Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Mobile, Alabama, Sept 2, 2005 2. “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” Explaining his Communications strategy. Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005 3. “I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?” A note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a U.N. Security Council meeting. September 14, 2005 4. “This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table.” Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 22, 2005 5. “In terms of timetables, as quickly as possible - whatever that means.” On his timeframe for Social Security Legislation. Washington D.C., March 16, 2005 Bonus: “Those who enter the country illegally violate the law.” On Illegal Immigrants or Undocumented Workers Tucson, Ariz., Nov. 28, 2005

A Note on Bushisms

Other presidents have shared the same perception of linguistic ineptitude, including Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and Harry S. Truman. Though Jackson was considered the ultimate back-county rube, he oversaw the fall of the aristocracy and the rise of the common man; Lincoln, thought to be a Bible-spouting baboon, is now considered one of the greatest leaders the world has ever produced; and Truman, the uneducated haberdasher, laid the basic political foundation of the Post-Modern world, which is only now yielding to, well, the post Post-Modern world (whatever that may be). This is not to say that linguistic ineptness invariably leads to greatness. History shows us that we’ve had our fill of verbally challenged chief executives who were also severely overtaxed by the burdens of office and have now fallen most ungraciously into the various dustbins of failed expectations. And then there was Warren G. Harding. He is said to have scandalously coined the term ‘hospitalization’ in the 1920s. A quick Google search shows that the word now appears on the web more than 8 million times. Well done, Warren! Not a bad legacy for a third-rate president. Like the ‘Yogi-isms’ of Baseball Hall of Famer Lawrence P. “Yogi” Berra, some of Bush’s most famous Bushisms can be found in literature many years before he supposedly coined them. ‘Resignate’ dates to the 18th century, and ‘Grecian’ as a reference to things Greek was the preferred way to describe those inhabiting the Greek Isles from the 18th century onward. Even ‘Misunderestimate’ can be found in 1960’s literature.