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A recession neither great nor small …

 

 

 

Summary:  What we are experiencing is not a recession, neither great nor small, but rather a global transference of wealth, power and prestige on an unprecedented level, carried out, in von Clausewitz’s words ‘by other means’.

Austin, Texas, April 16, 2010 — Originally alluded to as a ‘Financial Tsunami’ or ‘Financial Meltdown,’ the major global media seem to have gained a consensus as ‘The Great Recession’.  In the beginning, most comparisons were being made to the Great Economic Depression of the 1930s, more familiarly known, simply, as ‘The Depression’ in the same way that many still refer to World War II as ‘The War’.  But even these comparisons frequently ended up referring to the recession of 1982, yet another so-called ‘Great Recession’.

We believe the difficulty here stems from the fact that this economic crisis is difficult to express in words,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor, “because it does not resemble any economic crisis of the past — but rather a crisis of another sort”.

In On War, one of the most influential books on military strategy of all time, the Prussian career soldier Carl von Clausewitz (1780 – 1831) stated one of his most respected tenets, “War is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means,” which is frequently abbreviated to “War is diplomacy carried out by other means’ and by other rules than those of the political and financial norm of the recent past.

We believe that the reason the “Great Recession” label doesn’t fit now is because what we are experiencing is not a recession, neither great nor small, but rather a global transference of wealth, power and prestige on an unprecedented level, carried out ‘by other means’ and by other rules than those of the political and financial norm of the recent past.

This fact is entrapping two US presidents, from radically diverging political viewpoints, in the same dilemma:  describing an economic phenomenon, that doesn’t play by the old rules.  Therefore the difficulty experienced by President Bush as he struggled to describe how the US economy was not in a recession since the GDP had not declined for two consecutive quarters, the traditional definition of a recession, even though jobs were being shed by the millions and the global banking system teetered on the brink of collapse.  Now we have President Obama, attempting to describe how the US economy is emerging out of a recession, though the collateral damage in terms of the evaporation of wealth, mortgages, and jobs remains apparently undaunted and unabated.

The regional or global transfer of wealth, power and influence, the destruction of entire industries and the so-called collateral (or human) damage are all hallmarks of what is now being experienced in the West.

If you carefully disassemble the events of the last decade or two, one can see them as the almost inevitable conclusion of a nameless war that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the embrace of a form of the free-market system by China, India and the other rising states, an almost unprecedented transfer of wealth from the Western Economies to the Middle East (Energy) and South and East Asia (manufactured good and services), and the substantial transfer of political power and influence that  inevitably follows.

It currently appears that the Western Powers most affected by these transfers cannot adequately understand, or even explain, their present circumstances in a way that makes sense to the citizenry, let alone actually reverse (or even impede) the course of history.  In fact the larger realities are playing out while the affected societies seemingly default to the hope that they ultimately can exert some sort of control over a reality that is out of their grasp and control.

The good news here is that the transfers of wealth, power and influence has proven relatively bloodless but nonetheless destructive for the hundreds of millions of those on the front lines of the economic dislocations.

And it is in this context that the perceived resentment of the Islamic and Arab states should be more clearly viewed.  This is especially so as they watch helplessly as the new global reality and re-alignments unfold.

In conclusion, it can be argued that the difficulty in naming the current economic crisis is the fact that is not an economic crisis at all but rather a transformational event involving the global transfer of wealth, power and influence, the destruction of entire industries along with the associated collateral (or human) damage.

By Paul JJ Payack and Edward ML Peters

What do top English words tell?

By Xiao Xiaoyan (China Daily)

Ten years ago, no one had heard of “H1N1”, “Web 2.0”, “n00b”, or talked about “de-friending” someone on “Twitter” or “Facebook”. Now these are part of people’s everyday vocabulary.

The world is changing. Inevitably, so are our words.

The English language is going through an explosion of word creation. New words are coined - some, like “n00b”, may not even look like words; old words take on new meanings - “twitter” today bears little relation to the Middle English twiteren. According to the Global Language Monitor (GLM), in 2009 the English language tipped the scales with a vocabulary of one million words. Not good news for the 250 million people acquiring English in China.

GLM, the San Diego-based language watcher, publishes annual lists of top words and phrases by tracking words in the global print and electronic media, the Internet, blogs, and social media such as Twitter and YouTube.

Each year’s list reflects major concerns and changes taking place that year. For instance, from the 2009 list, we have to acknowledge the fact that technology is reshaping our ways of living (twitter, web 2.0).

We need to face up to the after-effects of a “financial tsunami” (stimulus, foreclosure), a pandemic (H1N1), the death of revered pop icon (MJ, King of Pop) and the debates over “healthcare reform” and “climate change” that mark the year.

A quick rundown of GLM’s top words/phrases of the decade is precisely like watching clips of a documentary of the decade. From the lists we are reminded of the series of world-shaping events from 9/11(2001), tsunami (2004) to H1N1 (2009), and we see the huge impact the Internet and new technologies have made on our lives, from the burst of the “dot.com bubble” (2000) to blog (2003), Google (2007) and Twitter (2009), which represent a new trend in social interaction.

The lists are also witnesses of the influences of entertainment sector such as the film “Brokeback” (2004) a new term for gay to “Vampire” (2009), now a symbol of unrequited love. Michael Phelps’s 8-gold-medal accomplishments at the Beijing Olympics had created a Phelpsian (2008) pheat.

The Chinese equivalence of top words came in a more complex fashion. First there are lists of expressions only, not single words. Second, there exist two completely separate lists. One is the list of top expressions from mainstream print media, while the other popular Internet expressions is selected annually from netizen votes.

The mainstream list first appeared in 2002; the Internet version came out in 1999. What is most interesting is that the top expressions on the two sets of lists rarely overlap: The one being mostly concerned with what is public, official, involving macro concerns and interests; the other being private and personal, reflecting attitudes and feelings of the younger generation.

Just like the English top words lists, the Chinese mainstream lists also reflect major events, albeit with a different angle, for instance, anti-terror (2002), Saddam Hussein (2003), bird flu (2004), prisoner abuse (2004) and G20 Summit (2009). The Chinese press also seem much more concerned with the two Olympics and the two World Cups taking place during the decade.

Internet-spawned new words are also creeping into the Chinese language: texting, blog, Baidu (Google’s main competitor in China) and QQ (the Chinese social-networking site) became buzz-words in China, though somewhat later than their English counterparts.

The Chinese entertainment sector is leaving a much bigger impact on the language. Famous lines from Chinese movies or popular shows pass on to become everyday expressions. For instance, “Integrity makes the man” from Cell Phone; “You will pay for what you have done sooner or later” from the Hong Kong movie “Infernal Affairs,” which most Chinese people believe was copied by Hollywood in “The Departed.” ” Money is not a problem” a theme line from a popular skit has become the standard version to satirize certain Chinese people’s pompous attitude to money and concern over face rather than over efficiency.

Green living as a concept is becoming a focus of concern in China too, though on a delayed time schedule. Compared with the fact that “climate change” has dominated the English lists since 2000, the Chinese version didn’t become a top expression till 2009, though expressions like “energy-conservation society” and “energy conservation and emissions reduction” did make their way to the 2005 and 2008 lists.

Although Chinese top expressions demonstrate similar trends to those in English, there are a few most distinctive features. A strong political flavor is found in the Chinese list as reflected in top expressions like the Three Represents (2002), Scientific Approach to Development (2004), and Peaceful Development (2005).

Another most outstanding feature of the Chinese lists is the contrast between the mainstream print media and the Internet: The English lists represent the spread of words in both print and digital media, the Internet, blogs and social media. The Chinese Internet buzzwords are mostly used on the Internet; although many have passed on into everyday life, only a small number have crept into the mainstream media.

Unlike the mainstream media, popular Internet expressions represent what the ordinary Chinese people are actually talking about in non-official contexts. Most of the expressions are highly colloquial, living, creative, and can be cynical. Some of the expressions reveal the new values and attitudes towards current affairs. For instance, da jiang you, which literally means “on the way to get soy sauce”, speaks of a “not concerned” or “staying out of it” attitude. This attitude is also reflected in the expression: zuo fu wo cheng, which literally means “doing push-ups”, in other words not paying any attention to what’s happening.

Some Internet words have gained acceptance in the mainstream media. For instance shan zhai, which literally means “mountain village”. It has now been adapted to mean “counterfeit”, or things done in parody, as in “shanzhai mobile phones”, “shanzhai New Year’s Eve Gala”, and even “shanzhai celebrities”.

From a linguistic point of view, language is simply a tool for communication. When new ideas and concepts pop up, language needs to adapt itself to allow the communication of these ideas and concepts. If the Internet is reshaping our lives, the net-language is only reflecting such changes.

The author is associate professor at the English Department of Xiamen University.

(China Daily 04/16/2010 page9)

The Narrative: Top Political Buzzword for Midterm Elections

Austin, Texas, April 5, 2010 — “The Narrative’ is the Top Political Buzzword for the upcoming election cycle, according to a global Internet and media analysis by Austin-based Global Language MonitorGLM has been monitoring political buzzwords since 2003.

Read about The Narrative in Congressional Quarterly’s Political Wire.

“The Narrative” is now appearing thousands of times in the global media on the Internet and blogosphere as well as throughout the world of social media.  The current ‘sense’ of the ancient phrase is being used as the main stream of public opinion running in the media that needs to be fed, encouraged, diverted or influenced by any means possible.

Current examples include:

  • Barack Obama, US president, has lost control of the political narrative …” Financial Times, Feb 15.
  • The Start of a New Obama Narrative” (Huffington Post, March 26)
  • The Obama White House has lost the narrative in the way that the Obama campaign never did” (New York Times, March 6)
  • Ok. Has the narrative changed because of the health care success? (Washington Post, March 26)
  • The only thing that changes is the narrative.” (CNN, March 23)

“The rise of the ‘The Narrative’ actually renders actual positions on the issues almost meaningless, since the positions now matter less than what they seem to mean.” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM. “The goal of political campaigns now is to spin a storyline that most ‘resonates’ with the electorate, or segments thereof”.

Read the discussion generated by MinnPost’s Eric Black

The word ‘narrative’ comes to us from the 16th century and traditionally means something told in the form of a story.  It is ultimately from the Latin, narrativus, meaning something told, related or revealed (as in a story).  One of the best-known examples is The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas.

The Global Language Monitor has been tracking political buzzwords since the turn of the century.

  • Top Political Buzzword of the 2000 Presidential Election was ‘Chad’.
  • Top Political Buzzword of the 2004 Presidential Election was ‘Incivil’ as in the InCivil War, alluding to the vicious war of words between the Kerry and Bush (43) camps.
  • Top Political Buzzword of the 2008 Presidential Election was ‘Change’.

More recently, GLM has tracked the following about political buzzwords in the media:

To track political buzzwords, Global Language Monitor uses the Predictive Quantities Index, a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere, now including social media. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

Who really won in Vancouver: Ambushers

Four of the five top brands at the Winter Games

Red Bull Top Ambush Marketer at Vancouver Olympics

Proctor & Gamble, the No. 1 Olympic Sponsor of Any Type

Ambushers Pepsi and Verizon Best Sponsors Coca-Cola and AT&T

Subway Still Strong

“Gang of Five” Canadians beat all IOC sponsors except Visa


Austin, TX March 24, 2010 – The final TrendTopper Ambush Index™ of the Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010 by Austin-based Global Language Monitor, has shown, once again, how companies adept at associating themselves with an event, even though they are not ‘official’ sponsors of that event, can often outperform official sponsors.

Specifically, for the Vancouver Olympics, TrendTopper AI has found that:

  • Red Bull and the Martin Scorsese film ‘Shutter Island’ are the top Ambush Marketers.  ‘Shutter Island’ forged its Olympic linkage by running innumerable prime-time ads during NBC’s exclusive coverage of the event.
  • Ambusher Pepsi beat sponsor Coca-Cola; Ambusher Verizon beat sponsor AT&T
  • Subway, with it ongoing campaign with mega-medal winner Michael Phelps maintained strong ties to the Games
  • The ‘Gang of Five,’ the smaller Canadian Ambushers (Blenz Coffee, Howe Sound Brewing, Lululemon, Scotiabank, and Roots Canada) all beat all IOC sponsors with the exception of Visa (which was bested by four of the five).
  • Proctor & Gamble performed surprisingly well as No. 2 overall and the No. 1 Sponsor of any type.

In addition, the analysis found that past official sponsors appear to bask in the glow of their Olympic association for some time after the quadrennial event with past-sponsor Lenovo outpacing current sponsors Acer and Samsung.

“Do Olympic Sponsorships actually pay off for official sponsors?  That’s the question that has advertisers buzzing,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM.  “Since TrendTopper AI measures all perceived Olympic sponsors according to their presence in the global media, If they are statistically linked to the Vancouver Games, they qualify for the Ambush Index.”

The TrendTopper Ambush Index tracks brand media presence in relation to the Winter Games.  It’s 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, now including social media. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

For the 2009 – 2012 Olympic Quadrennial, there are nine Global Partners:  Coca-Cola, Acer, GE, McDonalds, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung, Visa, and AT&T.  The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has two additional national partners:  P&G and the Budweiser unit of inBev.  The Canadian Olympic committee has a number of local partners, of which five were included:  Deloitte, Tyson Foods, United Airlines, Hilton and Nike.

For this analysis, the Ambush Marketers included:  Verizon, Subway, Pepsi, MasterCard and Adidas in the Global Category.  The National Category included Lululemon Athletica, Blenz Coffee, Roots Canada, Scotiabank and Howe Sound Brewing.  Past sponsors who continue to enjoy the glow of past Olympic associations, such as: Allstate, Bank of America, Home Depot, and Lenovo were also included in the analysis.

The Top Twenty-five marketers as measured by brand media presence in relation to the Winter Games.

` VO Partner Affiliation
Rank
1 Howe Sound Brewing Ambusher
2 P&G USOC
3 Shutter Island Ambusher
4 Scotiabank Ambusher
5 Lululemon Athletica Ambusher
6 United COC
7 Blenz Coffee Ambusher
8 Visa IOC
9 Red Bull Ambusher
10 Tyson COC
11 Roots Canada Ambusher
12 Budweiser USOC
13 McDonalds IOC
14 Pepsi Ambusher
15 Home Depot Inc Tornino USOC
16 Subway Ambusher
17 Verizon Ambusher
18 Hudson’s Bay Ambushed
19 Exxon Mobil Corp Past Sponsor
20 Deloitte COC
21 AT&T IOC
22 Bank of America Torino USOC
23 Nike COC
24 Hilton COC
25 Omega IOC

The complete study of forty brands, with numerical analysis and changes in rankings over the course of the Games is available from the Global Language Monitor by calling 925.367.7557 or visiting www.LanguageMonitor.com.

In the TrendTopper AI analysis, Marketers are ranked both by category and then overall. Rankings are calculated, normalized and cross-indexed.  For trend analysis, momentum and velocity calculations, the TrendTopper AI analysis was run at the halfway point of the Winters Games, with the final tally appearing after the Closing Ceremony.

For more information, call 1.925.367.7557.

Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of 2000-2009

Austin, Texas, March 17, 2010 — In conjunction with the SXSW Interactive conference held in its hometown, The Global Language Monitor has released the most confusing high tech buzzwords of the decade (2000-2009). Topping the list are HTTP, Flash, God Particle, Cloud Computing, and Plasma (as in plasma TV). Rounding out the Top Ten were IPOD/IPAD, Megapixel, Nano, Resonate and Virtualization.

The most confusing Acronym for the decade was SOA (Service Oriented Architecture).

SXSW has long been a harbinger for future directions in popular culture and now the gathering has taken on the added dimension of technological innovation,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor, “The words we use in high technology continue to become even more obtuse even as they move out of the realm of jargon and into the language at large.”

The Global Language Monitor uses a 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, as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.

The Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the decade (2000-2009) with Commentary follow:

1. HTTP — HyperText Transfer Protocol is used for HTML (HyperText Markup Language) files. Not to be confused with text on too much Starbucks.

2. Flash — As in Flash Memory. “Flash’ is easier to say than “ I brought the report on my EEPROM chip with a thin oxide layer separating a floating gate and control gate utilizing Fowler-Nordheim electron tunneling”.

3. God Particle – The Higgs boson, thought to account for mass. The God Particle has eluded discovery since its existence was first postulated some thirty years ago.

4. Cloud Computing – Distributing or accessing programs and services across the Internet. (The Internet is represented as a cloud.)

5. Plasma (as in plasma TV) — Refers less often to blood products than to a kind of television screen technology that uses matrix of gas plasma cells, which are charged by differing electrical voltages to create an image.

6. IPOD – What the Alpha Whale calls his personal pod. Actually, Apple maintains that the idea of the iPod was from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The origin of the word IPAD is a completely different story.

7. Megapixel – Either a really large picture element (pixel) or a whole mess of pixels. Actually, one million pixels (that’s a lotta pixels) OK, what’s a pixel? Computer-ese for picture element.

8. Nano – Widely used to describe anything small as in nanotechnology. Like the word ‘mini’ which originally referred to the red hues in Italian miniature paintings, the word nano- is ultimately derived from the ancient Greek word for ‘dwarf’.

9. Resonate – Not the tendency of a system to oscillate at maximum amplitude, but the ability to relate to (or resonate with) a customer’s desires.

10. Virtualization – Around since dinosaurs walked the planet (the late ‘70s) virtualization now applies to everything from infrastructures to I/O.

11. Solution — Ever popular yet still an amorphous description of high tech packages of hardware, software and service

12. Cookie — Without cookies with their ‘persistent state’ management mechanism the web as we know it, would cease to exist.

13. Robust — No one quite knows what it means, but it’s good for your product to demonstrate robustness

14. Emoticon A smiley with an emotional component (from emotional icon). Now, what’s a smiley? :’)

15. De-duping – Shorthand for de-duplication, that is, removing redundant data from a system.

16. Green washing – Repositioning your product so that its shortfalls are now positioned as environmental benefits: Not enough power? Just re-position as energy-saving.

17. Buzzword Compliant — To include the latest buzzwords in literature about a product or service in order to make it ‘resonate’ with the customer.

18. Petaflop — A thousand trillion (or quadrillion) floating point operations per second Often mistaken as a comment on a failed program by an animal rights’ group.

19. Hadron – A particle made of quarks bound together by the strong force; they are either mesons (made of one quark and one anti-quark) or baryons (made of three quarks).

20. Large Hadron Collider – The ‘atom smasher’ located underground outside Geneva. Primarily built to re-create the conditions of creation, 1 trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.

21. Versioning – Creating new revisions (or versions) with fewer bugs and more features.

22. VoIP – Voice Over IP, itself shorthand for Voice over Internet Protocol, which in plain English means the ability to talk on the phone over the Internet.

23. Web 2.0 – Now there’s talk of Web 3.0, just when we were finally getting used to the advances web services called Web 2.0.

24. Word Clouds – Graphic representations of the words used in a text, the more frequently used, the larger the representation.

25. WORM — Not only not a computer virus anymore, let alone a slithery creature of the soil, but “a Write Once, Read Many file system used for optical disk technology

Most Confusing High Tech Acronym of the Decade

SOA – Service Oriented Architecture. Far-and-away No. 1. If it’s so easy to understand, why are hundreds of books written trying to explain exactly what it is.

Early Candidate for Most Confusing High Tech Buzzword of the 2nd Decade of the Century (Possibly a very short decade, Indeed.)

B’ak’tuns – According to the Long-Count Mayan Calendar (high tech for the late A.D.600’s) the end of a ‘Great Cycle’ of thirteen b’ak’tuns (periods of 144,000 days each) since the Mayan creation date of August 11, 3114 BC. According to popular belief, December 21st, 2012 will be the End of the World.

Pandora from Avatar Wins Top HollyWord of 2009

Beats out ‘Hurt Locker’ from The Hurt Locker,

‘Barley Pop’ from Crazy Heart, ‘Vampire’ from Twilight and

‘‘Squeakquel’ from Alvin and the Chipmunks.

7th Annual Global Survey by the Global Language Monitor

Austin, TX. March 12, 2010.  ‘Pandora’ from James Cameron’s Avatar tops the 2009 list of words from Hollywood that most influenced the English Language in 2009 released by the Global Language Monitor.  Closely following were ‘Hurt Locker’ from The Hurt Locker, ‘Barley Pop’ from Crazy Heart, ‘Vampire’ from Twilight and ‘‘Squeakquel’ from Chipmunks.  Rounding out the Top Ten were:  ‘December 21st, 2012’ from the film 2012, ‘Vichy’ from Inglorious Basterds, ‘Her’ from Star Trek, ‘Their’s but to do or die’ from The Blind Side, and ‘Prawns’ from District 9.

Each year, GLM announces the Top Hollywords in conjunction with the annual Oscar ceremony.  The 82nd Annual Academy Awards was held last Sunday at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

“Last year the top word, ‘Jai Ho!’ was from the other side of the planet; this year it’s from across the Galaxy,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.  “In an especially rich year for language, we are also see a slang term for beer, a calendar date, perhaps, the first politically incorrect word for space aliens, and a neologism created for children.”

The Top Hollywords of the 2009 with the largest impact on the English language with commentary follow.

Rank/Word/Film/Comment

1.       Pandora (Avatar) – There are 1,000 words in Na’vi language specifically constructed for Avatar, but the name of the alien planet is originally from classical Greek meaning ‘all blessings or gifts’.  The Pandora’s Box myth has the first mortal woman opening a box that holds all the ills of the world, which inadvertently escape.  A later version has all the blessings of the world escape except for hope, which remains.

2.       Hurt Locker (The Hurt Locker) – In GI vernacular, explosions send you into the ‘hurt locker’, synonymous with ‘a world of hurt’.

3.       Barley Pop (Crazy Heart) – Bad Blake’s reference to beer; similar to ‘oat soda’ and the like.

4.       Vampire (Twilight) – The living dead are enjoying an unprecedented revival in the 21st Century.  Undoubtedly, PhD fodder for sociologists of the future.

5.       Squeakquel – Any movie that gets millions of kids (and parents) to use a neologism with two qq’s in it, should be noted in an influential word list.

6.       December 21, 2012 (2012) – According to some, the end of the world so marked by the Mayan Calendar; actually it is simply the first day of the 14th b’ak’tun in the Long Count calendar of the Maya.

7.       Vichy (Inglorious Basterds) – Shosanna Dreyfus’ suggestion to Frederick on where to find ‘girlfriends’.  Yet another generation is introduced to the seemier side of the Free France narrative.

8.       Her (Star Trek) – “These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission:  to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life-forms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before.”  Several hundred years from now, though ‘man’ is replaced by ‘no one’ in the mission statement, starships apparently proudly maintain their female gender status, ‘Her’.

9.       ‘Their’s but to do or die’  (The Blind Side) – Sean Tuohy teaches Charge of the Light Brigade to Michael.  When was the last time you recall the words of Alfred, Lord Tennyson being recited in a football movie — or anywhere else for that matter?

10.   Prawns (District 9) – Politically incorrect name for Space Aliens in District 9, since they seem to resemble crayfish, crawfish, or crawdads.

Previous Top HollyWord Winners:

2008     “Jai Ho!” Literally ‘Let there be Victory’ in Hindi from “Slumdog Millionaire”

2007     “Call it, Friendo,” from “No Country for Old Men”

2006     “High Five!!! Its sexy time!’ from “Borat!”

2005     ‘Brokeb ack’ from “Brokeback Mountain”

2004     “Pinot” from “Sideways”

2003            ‘’Wardrobe malfunction” from Super Bowl XXXVIII

The Global Language Monitor uses a 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, as well as accessing proprietary databases.  The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.

Lady Gaga Top Fashion Buzzword

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Lady GaGa Top Fashion Buzzword of Uncoming Season

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Michelle Obama Falls from No.2 to No. 15

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Austin, TX February 2, 2010 – Lady GaGa, the enigmatic yet near ubiquitous performance artist, was declared the Top Fashion Buzzword of the upcoming season by the Global Language Monitor. This is the first time that a name has topped the GLM’s rankings. Immediately following were ‘leggins 2.0,’ ‘no pants,’ ‘off-shoulder,” and ‘chandlier’ as in earrings. Rounding out the Top Ten were the ‘boyfriend’ craze, ‘peek-a-boos,’ ‘camos’ as in camouflage, ‘Hippie Luxe,’ and ‘Armadillo’. Michelle Obama as a fashion icon was reflected in the term ‘Mobama. Mercedes Fashion Week for the fall 2010 collections begins on February 11th in New York City, followed by the shows in the other major fashion capitals: London, Milan, and Paris.

Schott’s Vocab on Top Fashion Buzzwords

“The relationship between Stefani Germanotta, the girl from Yonkers, and haute couture may not be intuitively obvious, until you realize that Stefani would soon grow into one Lady GaGa,” said Millie L. Payack, director and fashion correspondent of the Global Language Monitor. “The fact remains that the world of fashion has been duly impacted by her in ways some subtle and some rather profound.”

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Newser’s Intriguing Slide Show

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The words were chosen from the global fashion media and nominated by key fashionistas from around the world. 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, now including social media. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

The Top Fashion Buzzwords with commentary follow:

1. Lady Gaga — Enigmatic performance artist has had outsized impact on the world of fashion.

2. Leggins 2.0 – Flourishing from Milano to Main Street, leggings are now differentiated as jeggings (jeans + leggings) and meggings (male leggings), and the like.

3. No pants – Hot pants for the 21st Century; not much pant (see Lady GaGa).

4. Off-shoulder – One shoulder and Off-the-shoulder asymmetrics are now combined with cutouts, draping, or heritage stylings.

5. Chandeliers — Earrings, that is.

6. Boyfriend (the jacket, jeans etc) – It’s getting to be like an Audrey Hepburn movie out there with boyfriend jackets, jeans and the like.

7. Peek-a-boo – Peek-a-boo fashion is back once again; this time as cutouts.

8. Camos – Camouflage is back, this time with an Urban Jungle vibe.

9. Hippie-luxe – Haute Hippies? That’s the Hippie Luxe movement inspired by the 40th anniversary of that classic New York Daily News headline: “600,000 Hippies Mired in Mud”.

10. Armadillos – Shaped like a lobster, made of Python, and called Armadillos — the highly controversial sculpted shoe designs of Alexander McQueen.

11. Mixed prints – Mixing various print in sometimes surprising ways: florals, tropicals, geometrics, polka dots, psychedelics, modernism-inspired, even plaids.

12. Embellishments – Delicate, all, including ruffles, transparency and tulle.

13. Ethical fashion – Echoes of PETA here. No furs, no armadillos, no leather.

14. Fashion 2.0 — Incorporating streaming techniques that bring designer showcases and shows to the buyers and consumers in real time.

15. MObama – OK, so she wears ‘mom’ jeans, but everyone seems to notice, after all Michelle is The Mobama.

Each July, the Global Language Monitor ranks the Top Fashion Cities of the Year ranked by Internet presence in a global survey. In 2009, Milan upended New York after a five-year reign as the Top Fashion Capital followed by New York, Paris, Rome and London. 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.

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Ambush Marketing at the Vancouver Olympics

Ambush Marketing?

Verizon, Subway & Pepsi among top Ambush marketers at Vancouver Games

Winter Olympics tracked by the TrendTopper Ambush Index

Canadian companies Roots Canada and Lululemon lead Overall Rankings

Austin, Texas.  February 18, 2010 – Verizon, Subway, and Pepsi are among the top ‘Ambush’ marketers for the opening weekend of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games according to the TrendTopper Ambush Index (TrendTopper AI™) of Austin-based Global Language Monitor. Ambush marketers are companies that attempt to associate themselves with an event even though they are not ‘official’ sponsors of that event.  Of course, it should be noted that alleged ‘ambush’ marketers generally disagree with this designation, insisting that they are simply pursuing marketing ‘best practices’.

Naming and shaming for Olympic ambush marketers (Reuters)

The TrendTopper Ambush Index tracks brand media presence in relation to the Winter Games.  It’s 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, now including social media. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

For the 2009 – 2012 Olympic Quadrennial, there are nine Global Partners:  Coca-Cola, Acer, GE, McDonalds, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung, Visa, and AT&T.  The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has two additional national partners:  P&G and the Budweiser unit of inBev. The Canadian Olympic committee has a number of local partners, of which five were included:  Deloitte, Tyson Foods, United Airlines, Hilton and Nike.

For this analysis, the alleged Ambush Marketers included:  Verizon, Subway, Pepsi, MasterCard and Adidas in the Global Category. The National Category included Lululemon Athletica, Blenz Coffee, Roots Canada, Scotiabank, and Howe Sound Brewing.    Past sponsors, also,  who continue to enjoy the glow of past Olympic associations, such as: Allstate, Bank of America, Home Depot, and Lenovo were also included in the analysis.

“The TrendTopper MediaBuzz Ambush Index ranks all perceived Olympic sponsors according to their presence in the global media, whether or not they see themselves as such,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM.  “If they are statistically linked to the Vancouver Games, they qualify for the Ambush Index”.

The IOC defines ambush marketing as leveraging the “goodwill of the Olympic/Paralympic Movement by creating a false, unauthorized association with the Olympic/Paralympic Movement.”  Whether the marketer does this intentionally or inadvertently, it allows the marketer to benefit from an association with the Olympic Brand without providing any financial support to them.

The Top Twenty-five marketers as measured by brand media presence in relation to the Winter Games follow.

Rank (1-25), Marketer, and Affiliation

1.   Roots Canada — alleged Ambush Marketer

2.   Proctor & Gamble — USOC

3.   Deloitte — Canadian

4.   Budweiser unit of inBev — USOC

5.   Lululemon — alleged Ambush Marketer

6.   NBC unit of General Electric — IOC

7.   Tyson Foods — Canada

8.    McDonalds — IOC

9.    Polo Ralph Lauren — USOC

10.  Hilton — Canada

11.   Nike — Canada

12.  Verizon — Alleged Ambushed

13.  AT&T — IOC

14.  Subway — Alleged Ambusher

15.  Pepsi — Alleged Ambusher

16.  Coca-Cola — IOC

17.  MasterCard — Alleged Ambusher

18.  Omega — IOC

19.  United Airlines — Canada

20.  Adidas — Alleged Ambusher

21.  General Electric — IOC

22.  Visa — IOC

23.  Panasonic — IOC

24.  Samsung — IOC

25.  Acer — IOC

Over the course of the last several Olympiads (or quadrennials as they are now called), the IOC has significantly tightened the reins on the use of certain words without permission.  For example, the Canadian Parliament has restricted use of some fairly common words in certain combinations without specific permission.

For example, words on Lists 1 and 2 may not be combined.

List 1: Games, 2010, Twenty-ten, 21st, XXIst, 10th, Tenth, Xth, or Medals

List 2: Winter, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Sponsor, Vancouver, or Whistler

In the TrendTopper AI analysis, Marketers are ranked both by category and then overall.  Rankings are calculated, normalized and cross-indexed.

For trend analysis, momentum and velocity calculations, the TrendTopper AI analysis will be run at the halfway point of the Winters Games, with the final tally appearing after the Closing Ceremony.

In addition, a TrendTopper AI ranking of athletes will appear early next week and at the conclusion of the Games.  For more information, call 1.925.367.7557.

More on TrendTopper


Snowmageddon & Snowpocalypse accepted into English Lexicon

Recent East Coast storms push words over qualifying criteria

Austin, Texas,  February 10, 2010 – Snowmageddon and Snowpocalypse have been accepted into English language lexicon, after an unusual string of recent East Coast blizzards pushed the words over the qualifying criteria, according to Austin-based Global Language Monitor.

Though there is no official agency for accepting new words (or neologisms) into the English Lexicon, the Global Language Monitor since 2003 has been recognizing new words once they meet the criteria of a minimum number of citations across the breadth of the English-speaking world, with the requisite depth of usage on the Internet and in the global print and electronic media,”  said Paul J Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM.  ”Snowmageddon and Snowpocalypse both crossed those threshholds earlier today with a reference to the string of East Coast blizzards, and are currently being widely used in the global media in dozen of languages today.”

The word ‘Snowpocalypse’ is a combination of ‘portmanteau’ word linking ‘snow’ with ‘apocalypse’.  Apocalypse, itself, can be traced to the ancient Greek word apokalyptein meaning to ‘uncover, restore, reveal or disclose’ (hence the name of the final book of the New Testament).  ’Snowpocalypse’  has hundreds of thousands of citation over the last few years, first exemplified use by Playstation gamers in early 2006.  The words apocalypse and apocalyptic are both frequent expressions of the global media especially when used in reference to any cataclysmic event such as the South Asian Tsunami or the inundation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, as GLM then noted.

Snowmageddon’ is another portmanteau word that ultimately can be traced to  the same source. The Greek word Harmagedōn and its Hebrew counterpart har məgiddô both refer to the ancient settlement of Megiddo, which stood astride important Middle Eastern trade routes and was subsequently the scene of many important historical battles.  The word ‘Armageddon’ has come to be associated in the popular mind with any end-of-the-world scenario, such as portrayed in the movie of the same name, starring Bruce Willis.  ’Snowmageddon’ has hundreds of thousands of usages over the last few years, exemplified by its publication in The Oregonian in December 2006 (and recent remarks by President Obama earlier this month).

Lady GaGa Top Fashion Buzzword for Upcoming Season

Michelle Obama (MObama) Falls from No.2 to No. 15

Austin, TX February 2, 2010 – Lady GaGa, the enigmatic yet near ubiquitous performance artist, was declared the Top Fashion Buzzword of the upcoming season by the Global Language Monitor. This is the first time that a name has topped the GLM’s rankings. Immediately following were ‘leggins 2.0,’ ‘no pants,’ ‘off-shoulder,” and ‘chandlier’ as in earrings. Rounding out the Top Ten were the ‘boyfriend’ craze, ‘peek-a-boos,’ ‘camos’ as in camouflage, ‘Hippie Luxe,’ and ‘Armadillo’. Michelle Obama as a fashion icon was reflected in the term ‘Mobama. Mercedes Fashion Week for the fall 2010 collections begins on February 11th in New York City, followed by the shows in the other major fashion capitals: London, Milan, and Paris.

Schott’s Vocab New York Times

“The relationship between Stefani Germanotta, the girl from Yonkers, and haute couture may not be intuitively obvious, until you realize that Stefani would soon grow into one Lady GaGa,” said Millie L. Payack, director and fashion correspondent of the Global Language Monitor. “The fact remains that the world of fashion has been duly impacted by her in ways some subtle and some rather profound.”

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Newser’s Intriguing Slide Show

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The words were chosen from the global fashion media and nominated by key fashionistas from around the world. 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, now including social media. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

The Top Fashion Buzzwords with commentary follow:

1. Lady Gaga — Enigmatic performance artist has had outsized impact on the world of fashion.

2. Leggins 2.0 – Flourishing from Milano to Main Street, leggings are now differentiated as jeggings (jeans + leggings) and meggings (male leggings), and the like.

3. No pants – Hot pants for the 21st Century; not much pant (see Lady GaGa).

4. Off-shoulder – One shoulder and Off-the-shoulder asymmetrics are now combined with cutouts, draping, or heritage stylings.

5. Chandeliers — Earrings, that is.

6. Boyfriend (the jacket, jeans etc) – It’s getting to be like an Audrey Hepburn movie out there with boyfriend jackets, jeans and the like.

7. Peek-a-boo – Peek-a-boo fashion is back once again; this time as cutouts.

8. Camos – Camouflage is back, this time with an Urban Jungle vibe.

9. Hippie-luxe – Haute Hippies? That’s the Hippie Luxe movement inspired by the 40th anniversary of that classic New York Daily News headline: “600,000 Hippies Mired in Mud”.

10. Armadillos – Shaped like a lobster, made of Python, and called Armadillos — the highly controversial sculpted shoe designs of Alexander McQueen.

11. Mixed prints – Mixing various print in sometimes surprising ways: florals, tropicals, geometrics, polka dots, psychedelics, modernism-inspired, even plaids.

12. Embellishments – Delicate, all, including ruffles, transparency and tulle.

13. Ethical fashion – Echoes of PETA here. No furs, no armadillos, no leather.

14. Fashion 2.0 — Incorporating streaming techniques that bring designer showcases and shows to the buyers and consumers in real time.

15. MObama – OK, so she wears ‘mom’ jeans, but everyone seems to notice, after all Michelle is The Mobama.

Each July, the Global Language Monitor ranks the Top Fashion Cities of the Year ranked by Internet presence in a global survey. In 2009, Milan upended New York after a five-year reign as the Top Fashion Capital followed by New York, Paris, Rome and London. 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.

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Anger & Outrage on Rise Since Obama’s inauguration

Trend:  Disillusionment, Anger & Outrage

on the Rise Since Obama’s inauguration

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‘Deficit of Trust’ and ‘Numbing weight of our political process’ appear to be keepers

Obama State of the Union at 8th Grade Level; Deft use of Passive Constructions

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Austin, TX February 1, 2010.  According to an exclusive analysis by the Global Language Monitor, the disillusionment, anger, and outrage acknowledged by President Obama in his State of the Union address has been on the rise since Obama’s election in November 2008.

“Much has been written about what the President in his State of the Union message called the ‘numbing weight of our political process’ and the ‘deficit of trust’ it thus engenders,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst.  “The disillusionment, anger and outrage should not be a surprise, especially to students of political language, who have been analyzing what is being said in the political realm over the last 18 months.  (That this comes as a revelation to our political elites, however, should serve, once again, as a sobering lesson or, even, cautionary tale.)”

Though little noticed by the media, GLM found that in early February, just weeks after the Obama inauguration, the ‘words of despair and fear relating to the global economic meltdown were drowning out those of hope in the global media in the ninety days since the US presidential election on November 4, 2008’.

The representative fear-related words chosen:  Fear, Despair, Abandoned, Desperate and/or Desperation.  In its analysis of the global print and electronic media since the US presidential election, GLM found that those words were used with 18-23% more frequency than 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.  (Even the word fear, itself, was at some 85% of the level it was used in the aftermath of both the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks and the onset of the Iraq War.)

In a separate but related study released in late March, Global Language Monitor found that the word ‘outrage’ had been used more in the global media that month than anytime this century, with the previous benchmark being the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  In particular, the word was used in association with the AIG bonuses, which had recently been distributed.

GLM examined the global print and electronic media for the seven days after the following events:  the 9/11 terrorist attacks in, the start of the Iraq War, and the week after the Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.

The ranking of ‘outrage’ usage in the media:

1. AIG Bonuses, 2009

2. 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001

3. Hurricane Katrina, 2005,

4. Iraq War, 2005

State of the Union Linguistic Analysis

In an evaluation of the State of the Union message, GLM found that the President used the passive voice to deflect responsibility (a time-honored SOTU tradition), and according to the White House transcript there was an overabundance of semi-colons (two dozen plus), some used correctly others in a baffling manner.  And then there was the grammatical lapse in disagreement in number:  “Each of these institutions are (sic) full of honorable men and women ….”    For the record, the President’s address came in at the 8.6 grade level, use of the passive was about 5%, the Grade Level was 8.6 (a bit higher than his Grant Park speech), and reading ease at 62 on a scale of 100 (not as easy to read as to hear).

For more details, send email to editor@globallanguagemonitor.com or call 1.925.367.7557.

BBC Magazine’s Portrait of the Decade

Top News of Decade: Rise of China Surpasses Iraq War and 9/11

Austin, TX December 9, 2009 – In an exclusive analysis performed by the Global Language Monitor, the Rise of China has been determined to be the Top News Story of the Decade followed by the Iraq War, the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, the War on Terror, and the Death of Michael Jackson. Completing the Top Ten were the Election of Obama to US presidency, the Global Recession of 2008/2009, Hurricane Katrina, the War in Afghanistan, and the onset of the Financial Tsunami/Economic Meltdown. Rounding out the list were the Beijing Olympics, the South Asian Tsunami, the War against the Taliban, the Death of Pope John Paul II, and Osama bin-Laden eludes capture.

Chinese pundits saw GLM’s analysis “was partly aimed at trumpeting the so-called China threat.  The list is the latest sign of the US media’s change from China bashing to China flattery.”  Read how the story unfolded below.

The Original story in Beijing’s People’s Daily

The criticism from China Daily, the official government paper:  The Rise of the Dragon

The follow-up report from Wall Street Journal’s Beijing bureau

The Financial Times’ take on the debate

Chinese Economic Review:  The Hard Bigotry of Too-high Expectations

People’s Daily:  Chinese Ambassador to the UK summarizes China’s position

The methodology: The analysis factored in the number of citations over the course of the decade on the Internet, the blogosphere, including social media, as well as the top 50,000 print and electronic media sites.

“The rise of China to new economic heights has changed – and continues to challenge – the current international order,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “It is with little surprise that its ongoing transformation has topped all other news stories in a decade bespotted by war, economic catastrophe, and natural disasters.”

Read Ben MacIntyre it in the Sunday Times (London):  Words that define the Noughties

Rank/News Story/Comment

1. Rise of China – The biggest story of the decade, outdistancing the No. 2 Internet story by 400%.

2. Iraq War — The buildup, the invasion, the hunt for the WMDs, and the Surge were top in print and electronic media outlets.

3. 9/11 Terrorist Attacks – The 9/11 Terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC seemed to set the tone for the new decade.

4. War on Terror – President George W. Bush’s response to 9/11.

5. Death of Michael Jackson – A remarkably high ranking considering that MJ’s death occurred in the final year of the decade.

6. Election of Obama to US presidency – The rallying cries of ‘hope’ and ‘Yes, we can!’ resulting in the historic election of an African-American to the US presidency.

7. Global Recession of 2008/9 – The on-going world economic restructuring as opposed to the initial ‘economic meltdown’ or ‘financial tsunami’.

8. Hurricane Katrina — New Orleans was devastated when the levies collapsed; scenes of death and destruction shocked millions the world over.

9. War in Afghanistan – Now in its eighth year with an expansion into neighboring Pakistan.

10. Economic Meltdown/Financial Tsunami – The initial shock of witnessing some 25% of the world’s wealth melting away seemingly overnight.

11. Beijing Olympics – The formal launch of China onto the world stage.

12. South Asian Tsunami – The horror of 230,000 dead or missing, washed away in a matter of minutes was seared into the consciousness the global community.

13. War against the Taliban – Lands controlled by the Taliban served as a safe haven from which al Qaeda would launch its terrorist attacks.

14. Death of Pope John Paul II – The largest funeral in recent memory with some 2,000,000 pilgrims in attendance.

15. Osama bin-Laden eludes capture – Hesitation to attack Tora Bora in 2002 has led to the continuing manhunt.

This analysis was completed on December 1, 2009 using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet, now including blogs and social media. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.

The Global Language Monitor has recently named the Top Words of the Decade. They were Global Warming, 9/11, Obama, Bailout, Evacuee, and Derivative; Google, Surge, Chinglish, and Tsunami followed. “Climate Change” was top phrase; “Heroes” was top name.

Top Word of 2009: Twitter

Followed by Obama, H1N1, Stimulus, and Vampire

“King of Pop” is Top Phrase; “Obama” is top name

Austin, TX November 29, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor has announced that Twitter is the Top Word of 2009 in its annual global survey of the English language.  Twittered was followed by Obama, H1N1, Stimulus, and Vampire. The near-ubiquitous suffix, 2.0, was No. 6, with Deficit, Hadron the object of study of CERN’s new atom smasher, Healthcare, and Transparency rounded out the Top 10.

In a year dominated by world-shaking political events, a pandemic, the after effects of a financial tsunami and the death of a revered pop icon, the word Twitter stands above all the other words.  Twitter represents a new form of social interaction, where all communication is reduced to 140 characters,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor.  “Being limited to strict formats did wonders for the sonnet and haiku.  One wonders where this highly impractical word-limit will lead as the future unfolds.”

Read about it in the Guardian:  Twitter declared top word of 2009

WHY twitter is the most popular word of 2009 at the Huffington Post

CNET’s Don Reisinger on twitter

Mashable’s take: what else does social media have to conquer?

What it means that twitter is the 2009 Word of the Year (WeberShandwick)

The Poetry of Social Networks

The Top Words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.58 billion speakers.

The Top Words of 2009

Rank/Word/Comments

1.         Twitter — The ability to encapsulate human thought in 140 characters

2.         Obama — The word stem transforms into scores of new words like ObamaCare

3.         H1N1 — The formal (and politically correct) name for Swine Flu

4.         Stimulus — The $800 billion aid package meant to help mend the US economy

5.         Vampire — Vampires are very much en vogue, now the symbol of unrequited love

6.         2.0 — The 2.0 suffix is attached to the next generation of everything

7.         Deficit — Lessons from history are dire warnings here

8.         Hadron — Ephemeral particles subject to collision in the Large Hadron Collider

9.         Healthcare — The direction of which is the subject of intense debate in the US

10.        Transparency — Elusive goal for which many 21st c. governments are striving

11.        Outrage — In response to large bonuses handed out to ‘bailed-out’ companies

12.        Bonus — The incentive pay packages that came to symbolize greed and excess

13.        Unemployed — And underemployed amount to close to 20% of US workforce

14.        Foreclosure — Forced eviction for not keeping up with the mortgage payments

15.        Cartel — In Mexico, at the center of the battle over drug trafficking

The Top Phrases of 2009

Rank/Phrase/Comments

1.         King of Pop — Elvis was ‘The King;’ MJ had to settle for ‘King of Pop’

2.         Obama-mania — One of the scores of words from the Obama-word stem

3.         Climate Change — Considered politically neutral compared to global warming

4.         Swine Flu — Popular name for the illness caused by the H1N1 virus

5.         Too Large to Fail — Institutions that are deemed necessary for financial stability

6.         Cloud Computing — Using the Internet for a variety of computer services

7.         Public Option — The ability to buy health insurance from a government entity

8.         Jai Ho! — A Hindi shout of joy or accomplishment

9.         Mayan Calendar — Consists of various ‘cycles,’ one of which ends on 12/21/2012

10.       God Particle — The hadron, believed to hold the secrets of the Big Bang

The Top Names of 2009

Rank/Name/Comments

1.         Barack Obama — It was Obama’s year, though MJ nearly eclipsed in the end

2.         Michael Jackson — Eclipses Obama on internet though lags in traditional media

3.         Mobama — Mrs. Obama, sometimes as a fashion Icon

4.         Large Hadron Collider — The Trillion dollar ‘aton smasher’ buried outside Geneva

5.         Neda Agha Sultan — Iranian woman killed in the post-election demonstrations

6.         Nancy Pelosi — The Democratic Speaker of the US House

7.         M.  Ahmadinejad — The president of Iran, once again

8.         Hamid Karzai — The winner of Afghanistan’s disputed election

9.         Rahm Emmanuel — Bringing ‘Chicago-style politics’ to the Administration

10.       Sonia Sotomayor — The first Hispanic woman on the US Supreme Court

The analysis was completed in late November using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet, now including blogs and social media. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.

The Top Words of the Decade were Global Warming, 9/11, and Obama outdistance Bailout, Evacuee, and Derivative; Google, Surge, Chinglish, and Tsunami followed.  “Climate Change” was top phrase; “Heroes” was top name.

For Previous Words of the Year, go here.

Top Words of the Decade (2000-2009)

“Global Warming,” “9/11” and “Obama” are Top Words,

Climate Change” is top phrase,

“Heroes” is top name

Austin, TX November 19, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor has announced the Top Words of the Decade, as part of its annual global survey of the English language. The Top Words were ‘Global Warming’, 9/11, and Obama followed by Bailout, Evacuee, and Derivative; Google, Surge, Chinglish, and Tsunami followed. “Climate Change” was the top phrase, while “Heroes” was the top name; bin-Laden was No. 2.

Read the the story in the London Telegraph

“Looking at the first decade of the 21st century in words is a sober, even somber, event.” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor. “For a decade that began with such joy and hope, the words chosen depict a far more complicated and in many ways, tragic time. Nevertheless, signs of hope and renewal can be found in the overall lists.”

The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.58 billion speakers. Since GLM’s survey encompassed the years 2000 - 2009, the expanded lists included 25 Top Words, and 20 Top Phrases and 20 Top Names.

To see the Top Words of the individual years of the 21st century, go here.

Each List contains the word, phrase or name in numerical order and the year when the word, phrase or name came to prominence. For example, the word ‘quagmire’ is hundreds of years old but it came into renewed prominence in 2004, about a year after the beginning of the Iraq War.

The Top Words of the Decade from 2000 – 2009

Word (Year) Comments

1. Global Warming (2000) Rated highly from Day One of the decade

2. 9/11 (2001) Another inauspicious start to the decade

3. Obama- (2008 )The US President’s name as a ‘root’ word or ‘word stem’

4. Bailout (2008) The Bank Bailout was but Act One of the crisis

5. Evacuee/refugee (2005) After Katrina, refugees became evacuees

6. Derivative (2007) Financial instrument or analytical tool that engendered the Meltdown

7. Google (2007) Founders misspelled actual word ‘googol’

8. Surge (2007) The strategy that effectively ended the Iraq War

9. Chinglish (2005) The Chinese-English Hybrid language growing larger as Chinese influence expands

10. Tsunami (2004) Southeast Asian Tsunami took 250,000 lives

11. H1N1 (2009) More commonly known as Swine Flu

12. Subprime ( 2007) Subprime mortgages were another bubble to burst

13. dot.com (2000) The Dot.com bubble engendered no lifelines, no bailouts

14. Y2K ( 2000) The Year 2000:  all computers would turn to pumpkins at the strike of midnight

15. Misunderestimate (2002) One of the first and most enduring of Bushisms

16. Chad ( 2000) Those Florida voter punch card fragments that the presidency would turn aupon

17. Twitter (2008 ) A quarter of a billion references on Google

18. WMD (2002) Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction

19. Blog (2003) First called ‘web logs’ which contracted into blogs

20. Texting (2004) Sending 140 character text messages over cell phones

21. Slumdog (2008) Child inhabitants of Mumba’s slums

22. Sustainable (2006) The key to ‘Green’ living where natural resources are never depleted

23. Brokeback (2004)   New term for ‘gay’ from he Hollywood film ‘Brokeback Mountain’

24. Quagmire (2004) Would Iraq War end up like Vietnam, another ‘quagmire’?

25. Truthiness (2006) Steven Colbert’s addition to the language appears to be a keeper

Also worth noting:  ’Embedded’ (2003) to embed reporters with US Troops

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The Top Phrases of the Decade from 2000 – 2009

Word (Year) Comments

1. Climate Change (2000) Green words in every form   dominant the decade

2. Financial Tsunami (2008) One quarter of the world’s wealth vanishes seemingly overnight

3. Ground Zero (2001) Site of 9/11terrorist attack in New York City

4. War on Terror (2001)  Bush administration’s response to 9/11

5. Weapons of Mass Destruction (2003)  Bush’s WMDs never found in Iraq or the Syrian desert

6. Swine Flu (2008) H1N1, please, so as not to offend the pork industry or religious sensitivities!

7. “Let’s Roll!” (2001)  Todd Beamer’s last words before Flight 93 crashed into the PA countryside

8. Red State/Blue State (2004) Republican or Democratic control of states

9. Carbon footprint (2007) How much CO² does an activity produce?

10. Shock-and-awe (2003) Initial strategy of Iraq War

11. Ponzi Scheme (2009) Madoff’s strategy reaped billions & heartache

12. Category Four (2005) Force of Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans’ seawalls and levies

13. King of Pop (2000)  Elvis was the King, MJ the King (of Pop)

14. “Stay the Course” (2004) Dubya’s off-stated guidance for Iraq War

15. “Yes, we can!” (2008)   Obama’s winning campaign slogan

16. “Jai Ho!” (2008)  Shout of joy from ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

17. “Out of the Mainstream” (2003) Complaint about any opposition’s political platform

18. Cloud computing (2007)  Using the Internet as a large computational device

19. Threat Fatigue (2004)   One too many terrorist threat alerts

20. Same-sex marriage (2003) Marriage of gay couples

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The Top Names of the Decade from 2000 – 2009

Name (Year) Comments

1. Heroes (2001)   Emergency responders who rushed into the Towers

2. bin Laden (2001) His Capture still top of mind for US Military

3. Ground Zero (2001) NY Times still will not capitalize the site as a formal name

4. Dubya (2000) George W. Bush, US President No. 43

5. The Clintons (Hillary & Bill) (2000) Looming on political landscape, though not as large

6. John Paul II (2000)   Largest funeral in TV history attested to power

7. Obama (2008) Making an impact as the decade ends

8. Taliban (2000)   Still the source of Afghan insurgency

9. Katrina (2004) Hurricane whose destruction of New Orleans is seared into minds around globe

10. Tiger Woods (2000) Top golfer earned about $1 Billion this decade

11. iPhone (2007)   First product on this list

12. Paul Hewson (Bono) (2000) U2 Front man, NY Times Columnist, catalyst for African relief

13. Michael Jackson (2000) The King of Pop

14. Al Gore (2000) Nobel Prize winner, US Vice President, Climate Change purveyor

15. Saddham Hussein (2000) Iraqi dictator captured while hiding in a ‘spider hole’

16. Enron (2001)   Seems like another era since this giant fell

17. Bollywood (2000)   Mumbai’s answer to Hollywood

18. Facebook (2007) Another ubiquitous software product

19. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005) Iranian president since 2005

20. Vladimir Putin (2000) Russian leader since 2000

Also worth noting:  ’Wikipedia’ (2006) The user-generated compendium of all knowledge

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The analysis was completed on November 16th using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet, now including blogs and social media (such as Twitter). The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.

States Ranked by Top Colleges

Read:  Harvard Brand Takes a Hit in Tough Economic Times

Listen to the article in English from China Daily

States are ranked by the number of the Top 225 Colleges and Universities that are located in each state.

When there is a tie, the ranks of the colleges are added together and the state with the lowest total number receives precedence, since that means their colleges were ranked higher in the various lists.

The Top Ten States, with the number of Top Colleges represented:

1.   New York (29)

2.   California (22)

3.  Pennsylvania (19)

4.  Massachusetts (19)

5.  Virginia (9)

6.  Texas (9)

7.  Ohio (8)

8.   Illinois (8)

10T.  Georgia (6)

10T.  Indiana (6)

Also noted are those schools that were Best of Class, whether first in the College or University list, or for one of the specialties called out.  Typically, these highly respected and venerable institutions, such as the Juilliard School or the Cooper Union, or even the US Military Acadamies are shunted into ‘other’ or ‘unranked’ categories.

To see the complete list of Colleges and Universities as ranked by state, see the TrendTopper Top 225 Colleges and Universities guide.

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Top 225 US Colleges Ranked by MediaBuzz

November 2009 Report

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Michigan and MIT displace Harvard atop Media Buzz Ranking

—Harvard declines 20%; endowment troubles cited

—Public Ivies and Technology-focused institutions thrive

Wellesley tops Colorado and Williams among colleges

—First Women’s College atop Liberal Arts Rankings

—Liberal Arts colleges hold their own on Media Buzz

First Rankings to Include Online/For Profit, Business, Technology, Art, Design and Music Schools

States Ranked by Number of Top Colleges (you might be surprized!)

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Read:  Harvard Brand Takes a Hit in Tough Economic Times

Listen to:  the article in English from China Daily

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Austin, Texas November 9, 2009. In an exclusive TrendTopper MediaBuzz™ analysis of the nation’s colleges and universities, the Global Language Monitor has ranked the nation’s Top 200 colleges and universities according their appearance in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet throughout the blogosphere, and including social media such as Twitter. The GLM rankings were also the first to include specialty schools, such as Art, Business, Music and Engineering schools, as well as online universities.

Read the Reaction from MichiganHarvardYale and Wisconsin

In the University category, there appeared to be a ‘flight to quality’ with the consumer perception of quality being the price-sensitive ‘public ivies’ and technology-centered schools, epitomized by the University of Michigan moving up three places to the top spot. Harvard saw a decline in Media Buzz citations of some 20%, perhaps reflecting its endowment taking an $11 billion hit including some $1.8 billion from the general fund. Other major movers include MIT jumping from No. 16 to No. 2 affirmed the technology trend, North Carolina, another public ivy, moved into the Top Ten, with California—Berkeley moving from No.10 to No. 6.

In the College category, Wellesley overtook Colorado College, Williams and Amherst to claim the No. 1 position, a first for a women’s college. Pomona College, one of California’s Claremont Colleges re-emerged in the Top Ten, and Eugene Lang College of New School University debuted at a very strong No. 9. Overall the College Media Buzz was generally up in contrast to that of the private schools on the Universities list.

“This year we’ve witnessed the impact the Global Financial Restructuring has had upon the US higher education system. On the University level there has been a small but dramatic reordering of the hierarchy, which has remained virtually unshaken for many years,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst at GLM. “However, Liberal arts colleges, the public ivies, and engineering-focused schools appear to have held onto, or actually increased their ‘brand equity’.”

Click here for States Ranked by Number of Top Colleges

This List just might surprise you!

Since TrendTopper MediaBuzz ranks overall media awareness and strength of a school’s ‘brand’ or reputation, the Global Language Monitor included specialty schools, such as Art, Business, Design, Music and Engineering schools, as well as online universities. All these were included in the College category with the exception of the online university, which was assigned to the University category.

The Top Specialty schools listed in their categories as well as overall rank are listed below.

• The Top Business school was Babson College was the Top Business (67 overall, college).

• The Top Art and Design schools were Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) (27 overall, college), Pratt Institute (28 overall, college), and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (47 overall, college).

• The Top Engineering school was The Cooper Union (38 overall, college).

• The Top Music Schools were the Julliard School (50 overall, college), the New England Conservatory of Music (96 overall, college), and Berklee College (99 overall, college).

• The Top Online University was the University of Phoenix, USA (37 overall, university).

• The Top Christian was Wheaton College, IL (16 overall, college),

• The Top Military Academies were the United States Naval Academy (20 overall, college), the United States Military Academy (48 overall, college) and the United States Air Force Academy (61 overall, college).

For the complete list of the top Specialty schools, go here.

The Top Twenty-five Universities are listed here.

1 University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, MI
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA
3 Harvard University, MA
4 Columbia University, NY
5 University of Chicago, IL
6 University of California—Berkeley, CA
7 University of Wisconsin—Madison , WI
8 Stanford University, CA
9 University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, NC
10 Cornell University, NY
11 Yale University, CT
12 Princeton University, NJ
13 University of Pennsylvania, PA
14 University of California—Los Angeles, CA
15 University of Washington, WA
16 University of Minnesota, MN
17 New York University, NY
18 University of California—San Diego, CA
19 Johns Hopkins University, MD
20 Ohio State University—Columbus, OH
21 University of Virginia, VA
22 U. of California, Davis, CA
23 Georgia Institute of Technology, GA
24 Duke University, NC
25 Boston University, MA

For the full list of Universities, go here.

The Top Twenty-five Colleges are listed here.

1 Wellesley College, MA
2 Williams College, MA
3 Colorado College, CO
4 Oberlin College, OH
5 Amherst College, MA
6 Pomona College, CA
7 Middlebury College, VT
8 Union College, NY
9 Eugene Lang College, NY
10 University of Richmond, VA
11 Vassar College, NY
12 Bowdoin College, ME
13 Bryn Mawr College, PA
14 Connecticut College, CT
15 Bucknell University, PA
16 Wheaton College IL
17 Hamilton College, NY
18 Barnard College, NY
19 Dickinson College, PA
20 United States Naval Academy, MD
21 Washington & Lee University, VA
22 Colgate University, NY
23 Carleton College, MN
24 Bates College, ME
25 Willamette University, OR

For the full list of Colleges, go here.

The Top 200 Colleges and Universities were also ranked by Media Momentum, defined as largest change in Media Buzz from the end of 2008, and the largest change in media citations in the previous 90 days. The analysis was completed on November 1, 2009

GLM used its proprietary Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) software for the TrendTopper MediaBuzz Analysis. GLM used the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s classifications as the basis to distinguish between Universities and Liberal Arts Colleges. The schools were ranked in late October, with the last day of 2008 as the base, with two interim snapshots in 2009.

The Global Language Monitor also provides the TrendTopper Reputation Management Service that helps institutions differentiate themselves among their competitors.  TTRMS does not influence the rankings in any way.  For more information, go to www.TrendTopper.com or call 925.367.7557.

The complete report is available for download.

The 73-page report includes details on:


Click to buy and download the complete 73-page report

Top Politically Incorrect Words of 2009

Swine Flu, Flush Toilet, Green Revolution, Minority, and Saint named top politically (in)Correct  words and phrases of 2009

The Sixth Annual Global Survey

Austin, Texas October 2, 2009 – Swine Flu, Flush Toilet, Green Revolution, Minority, and Saint have been named the top politically (in)Correct  words and phrases of the past year according to The Global Language Monitor in its sixth annual survey of the English Language. Rounding out the top ten were the term Politically Correct, Oriental, Founding Fathers, Black Sheep, and Senior Citizen.

“Once again, we are seeing that the attempt to remove all bias from language is itself creating biases of their own,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of The Global Language Monitor. “At this point it is becoming increasingly difficult to engage in any form of public dialogue without offending someone’s sensitivities, whether right, left or center.” .

The Top Politically Correct Words and Phrases for 2009 include:

1. Swine Flu – Though hundreds of millions know of the current pandemic as Swine Flu, various governments and agencies for political motives ranging from protecting pork producers to religious sensitivity have chosen to address the virus by its formal name, influenza A(H1N1).

2. Flush Toilet – Flush toilets, toilet paper and toilet use in general are now coming under the watchful eyes of the green movement.

3. Green Revolution – In the 1960s the scientific consensus was the world was on the brink of a ‘Malthusian’ collapse. The Green Revolution changed all that, but now there are those who believe that the world has paid a “stiff price in environmental degradation”.

4. Minority – Talking about minorities is considered insensitive to minorities since this can make them feel, well, like minorities.

5. Saint – In addition to the word ‘saint,’ Oxford University Press has removed words such as ‘bishop,’ ‘chapel,’ and ‘Pentecost’ from the Junior Dictionary.

6. Politically Correct – The term politically correct has, itself, is now politically correct, Be careful how you use it.

7. Oriental – In the US considered offensive to Asians because the term is based on the geographic relationship of Asia from a Western perspective. In Europe (and in most Asian nations), however, Oriental is acceptable.

8. Founding Fathers – Though all the Signers of the American Declaration of Independence were men, this is considered sexists in some quarters. Founders, please.

9. Black Sheep – Though originally referring to the rare birth of a lamb with black fur, now considered ethnically insensitive; the same is true for Black Day, Conversely, terms like White Collar and Whiter than White all can be used to encourage a hierarchical value of skin tone.

10. Senior Citizen – In the name of ‘inclusiveness,’ the UK’s Loughborough University’s suggests replacing senior citizen with ‘older person’.

The Top Politically Incorrect Terms and Phrases for previous years include:

  • 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.

The Global Language Monitor uses a 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, as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.

ObamaVision Top Television 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 years3. 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.

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.

Read:  Milan Strides Past New York as World’s Fashion Capital (Reuters)

“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”.

2009 Fashion Capital Media Research #NYFashion

View more documents from Taly Weiss.

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)

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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.”

State

Rank

National Rank BOC Category University or College
No. 1 NEW YORK (29)
1 Columbia University 4 University
2 Union College 8 College
3 Eugene Lang College 9 BOC Top Debut College
4 Cornell University 10 University
5 Vassar College 11 College
6 New York University 17 University
6 Hamilton College 17 College
8 Barnard College 18 College
9 Colgate University 22 College
10 Pratt Institute 28 College
11 Copper Union 38 BOC Engineering College
12 SUNY Stony Brook 40 University
13 Syracuse University 47 University
14 Juilliard School 50 BOC Top Music College
15 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 52 University
16 Skidmore College 57 College
17 University of Rochester 63 University
18 Fordham University 75 University
18 St. Lawrence University 75 University
20 SUNY Buffalo 78 University
21 CUNY Queens College 96 University
21 Hobart and William Smith College 96 College
23 Rochester Institute of Technology 100 University
24 CUNY Brooklyn College 101 University
25 SUNY Purchase 102 University
26 Yeshiva University 105 University
27 SUNY Binghamton 109 University
28 SUNY Albany 110 University
29 CUNY Baruch College 113 University
30 CUNY City College 123 University
No. 2 CALIFORNIA (22)
1 University of California - Berkeley 6 University
1 Pomona College 6 College
3 Stanford University 8 University
4 University of California - Los Angeles 14 University
5 University of California - San Diego 18 University
6 University of California - Davis 22 University
7 University of California - Santa Barbara 28 University
8 University of California - Irvine 31 University
9 Mills College 37 College
10 University of Southern California 38 University
11 California Institute of Technology 43 University
12 Occidental College 45 College
13 Claremont McKenna College 66 College
14 Harvey Mudd College 80 College
15 Santa Clara University 88 University
16 Loyola Marymount 90 University
17 Pitzer College 92 College
18 Scripps College 93 College
19 University of San Diego 94 University
20 University of Redlands 107 University
21 Pepperdine University 108 University
22 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo 122 University
No. 3 PENNSYLVANIA (19)
1T Bryn Mawr College 13 College
1T University of Pennsylvania 13 University
3 Bucknell University 15 College
4 Dickinson College 19 College
5 Lafayette College 26 College
6 Gettysburg College 31 College
7 Swarthmore College 32 College
8 Haverford College 34 College
9 Pennsylvania State University 34 University
10 University of Pittsburgh 39 University
11 Carnegie Mellon University 58 University
12 Franklin and Marshall College 62 College
13 Lehigh University 77 University
14 Muhlenberg College 77 College
15 Moravian College 86 College
16 Ursinus College 92 College
17 Villanova University 98 University
18 Washington and Jefferson College 100 College
19 Drexel University 106 University
No. 4 MASSACHUSETTS (19)
1 Wellesley College 1 BOC Liberal Arts College
2T Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2 University
2T Williams College 2 College
4 Harvard University 3 University
5 Amherst College 5 College
6 Boston University 25 University
7 Boston College 30 University
8 Mount Holyoke College 33 College
9 Smith College 55 College
10 Tufts University 65 University
11 Babson College 67 BOC Business College
12 College of Holy Cross 74 College
13 Brandeis University 86 University
14 Stonehill College 87 College
15 Northeastern University 91 University
16 New England Conservatory of Music 96 College
17 Berklee College of Music 99 College
18 Wheaton College 100 College
19 Worcester Polytechnic Institute 117 University
No. 5 VIRGINIA (9)
1 University of Richmond 10 College
2 University of Virginia 21 University
3 Washington and Lee University 21 College
4 University of Mary Washington 30 College
5 Virginia Military Institute 40 College
6 Virginia Tech 79 University
7 College of William and Mary 93 University
8 Sweet Briar 97 College
9 James Madison 191 University
No. 6 TEXAS (9)
1 University of Texas - Austin 26 University
2 Texas A&M University 50 University
3 Austin College 65 College
4 Trinity University 70 College
5 Rice University 71 University
6 Baylor University 76 University
7 Southwestern University 76 College
8 Southern Methodist University 80 University
9 Texas Christian University 105 University
No. 7 OHIO (8)
1 Oberlin College 4 College
2 Ohio State University - Columbus 20 University
3 Kenyon College 29 College
4 Denison University 44 College
5 Case Western Reserve 56 University
6 College of Wooster 58 College
7 Berea College 63 College
8 Miami University 82 University
No. 8 ILLINOIS (8)
1 University of Chicago 5 University
2 Wheaton College 16 BOC Top Christian College
3 University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign 29 University
4 Northwestern University 33 University
5 School of the Art Institute of Chicago 47 College
6 Illinois Wesleyan University 79 College
7 Lake Forest College 83 College
8 Bradley University 121 University
No. 9 NORTH CAROLINA (6)
1 University of North Carolina - ChHill 9 University
2 Duke University 24 University
3 Davidson College 41 College
4 Elon University 69 College
5 Wake Forest University 84 University
6 North Carolina State University 89 University
No. 10 GEORGIA (6)
1 Georgia Institute of Technology 23 University
2 University of Georgia 32 University
3 Spelman College 49 College
4 Emory University 51 University
5 Morehouse College 89 College
6 Agnes Scott College 90 College
No. 11 INDIANA (6)
1 Purdue University 36 University
2 University of Indiana - Bloomington 41 University
3 DePauw University 52 College
4 University of Notre Dame 55 University
5 Wabash College 72 College
6 Butler University 118 University
No. 12 CONNECTICUT (5)
1 Yale 11 University
2 Connecticut College 14 College
3 University of Connecticut 49 University
4 Trinity College 53 College
5 Wesleyan University 56 College
No. 13 MINNESOTA (5)
1 University of Minnesota 16 University
2 Carleton College 23 College
3 Macalester College 51 College
4 St. Olaf College 71 College
5 Gustavus Adolphus College 82 College
No. 14 NEW JERSEY (5)
1 Princeton 12 University
2 Rutgers University 35 University
3 New Jersey Institute of Technology 83 University
4 College of New Jersey 97 College
5 Stevens Institute of Technology 108 University
No. 15 MARYLAND (4)
1 Johns Hopkins University 19 University
2 United States Naval Academy 20 BOC Service Academy BOC
3 St. John’s University 42 College
4 Goucher College 88 College
No. 16 IOWA (4)
1 University of Iowa 42 University
2 Grinnell College 60 College
3 Coe College 78 College
4 Iowa State University 92 University
No. 17 SOUTH CAROLINA (4)
1 The Citadel 54 College
2 Furman University 54 College
3 Clemson University 68 University
4 Wofford College 85 College
No. 18 MAINE (3)
1 Bowdoin College 12 College
2 Bates College 24 College
3 Colby College 39 College
No. 19 WASHINGTON, DC (3)
1 Georgetown 45 University
2 George Washington University 48 University
3 America University 66 University
4 Trinity College nr College
No. 20 COLORADO (3)
1 Colorado College 3 College
2 University of Colorado 57 University
3 United States Air Force Academy 61 College
No. 21 WISCONSIN (3)
1 University of Wisconsin - Madison 7 University
3 Beloit College 36 College
2 Marquette University 87 University
No. 22 MICHIGAN (3)
1 University of Michigan — Ann Arbor 1 BOC Top University University
2 Kalamazoo College 64 College
3 Michigan State University 67 University
No. 23 RHODE ISLAND (3)
1 Rhode Island School of Design 27 BOC Design College
2 Brown University 45 University
3 Providence College 95 University
No. 24 OREGON (3)
1 Willamette University 25 College
2 Reed College 46 College
3 Lewis and Clark College 100 College
No. 25 FLORIDA (3)
1 University of Florida 27 University
2 University of Miami 62 University
3 Florida State University 92 University
4 New College of Florida nr College
No. 26 WASHINGTON (3)
1 University of Washington 15 University
2 Whitman College 59 College
3 Gonzaga University 119 University
No. 27 ALABAMA (2)
1 Auburn University 70 University
2 Birmingham Southern 84 College
No. 28 OKLAHOMA (2)
1 University of Oklahoma 82 University
2 University of Tulsa 116 University
No. 29 TENNESSEE (2)
1 Vanderbilt University 53 University
2 Sewanee - University of the South 68 College
No. 30 LOUISIANA (2)
1 Tulane University 72 University
2 Xavier University 124 University
No. 31 ARIZONA (2)
1 University of Phoenix 37 BOC Top Internet University
2 University of Arizona 59 University
No. 32 MISSOURI (2)
1 Washington University in St. Louis 46 University
2 University of Missouri - Columbia 85 University
No. 33 VERMONT (1)
Middlebury College 7 College
No. 34 NEW MEXICO (1)
St John’s University 42 College
No. 35 NEW HAMPSHIRE (1)
Dartmouth 61 University
No. 36 NEBRASKA (1)
University of Nebraska - Lincoln 60 University
No. 37 UTAH (1)
Brigham Young University 69 University
No. 38 DELAWARE (1)
University of Delaware 73 University
No. 39 KENTUCKY (1)
Centre College 73 College
No. 40 KANSAS (1)
University of Kansas 74 University
No. 41 ARKANSAS (1)
Hendrix College 94 College
No. 42 MISSISSIPPI (1)
Millsaps College 95 College
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.

TrendTopper MediaBuzz

Top 225 Colleges and Universities Fall 2009 Report

The 70+ Page Report Includes:

  • 125 Top Universities
  • 100 Top Colleges
  • Change in the rankings over time
  • The PQI Index number for each school to better understand relative rankings
  • Ranking by Momentum (Yearly and 90-day snapshots)
  • Rankings by State
  • and more.

The Report Provides Rankings, Momentum, and Direction for each school

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).