No. of Words

Number of Words in the English Language:  1,025,109.8 (January 1, 2014 estimate)

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A New English Word /every 98 minutes
“I created about 1700 new words …”

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The number of words in the English language is :  1,025,109.8.   This is the estimate by the Global Language Monitor for January 1, 2014. The English Language passed the Million Word threshold on June 10, 2009 at 10:22 a.m. (GMT).  The Millionth Word was the controversial ‘Web 2.0′.



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Currently there is a new word created every 98 minutes or about 14.7 words per day.

Though GLM’s analysis was the subject of much controversy at the time, the recent Google/Harvard Study of the Current Number of Words in the English Language is 1,025,109.8.  The above graphic is from the AAAS/Science as reported on NPR.  

Google/Harvard Study Validates GLM’s No. of Words in English Prediction

No-of-Words-Google

GLM/Google vs OED and Webster’s 3rd

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At the time the  New York Times article on the historic threshold famously quoted several dissenting linguists as claiming  that “even Google could not come up with” such a methodology.  Unbeknownst to them Google was doing precisely that. The number of words in the English language according to GLM now stands at:  1,019,729.6.   The difference between the two analyses is .0121%, which is widely considered statistically insignificant. Google’s number, which is based on the counting of  the words in the 15,000,000 English language books it has scanned into the ‘Google Corpus,’ mirrors GLM’s Analysis.  GLM’s number is based upon its algorithmic methodologies, explication of which is available from its site.


For Frequently Asked Questions about the Million Word March, go Here

‘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

BBC NEWS | Programmes | World News America | ‘Millionth English word’ declared “As expected, English crossed the 1,000,000 word threshold on June 10, 2009 at 10:22 am GMT. However, some 400 years after the death of the Bard, the words and phrases were coined far from Stratford-Upon-Avon, emerging instead from Silicon Valley, India, China, and Poland, as well as Australia, Canada, the US and the UK,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “English has become a universal means of communication; never before have so many people been able to communicate so easily with so many others.” The English language is now being studies by hundreds of millions around the globe for entertainment, commercial or scientific purposes. In 1960 there were some 250 million English speakers, mostly in former colonies and the Commonwealth countries. The future of English as a major language was very much in doubt. Today, some 1.53 billion people now speak English as a primary, auxiliary, or business language, with some 250 million acquiring the language in China alone.

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. Quote of the Week:

“What’s interesting about a million is that it’s such a tiny number compared to all the words we could have,” said Mark Pagel, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading who studies the comings and goings of words across history. (Using any combination of seven consonants with two vowels, for example, creates more than 100-million potential words.) But even with a relatively small pile to call on, words are mostly fleeting. (The Oxford English Dictionary has a list of words that have appeared on record only once in hundreds of years.) A small number of essential words such as “two” or “you” – or their variations – are ancients in the language family, Dr. Pagel said.  “Had you been wandering around the plains of Eurasia 15,000 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age, you probably could have said ‘thou’ and someone would have know you were referring to them. We think that’s pretty astonishing.”  Toronto Globe and Mail, June, 2008

Why Twitter was not in running for the 1,000,000th word Austin, Texas June 13, 2009 – Since the 1,000,000th word in the English announcement earlier this week, a number of news organizations have inquired as to why Twitter, the prominent microblog, was not on the final list of words considered for No. 1,000,000. According to Paul JJ Payack, president and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor,  “The answer is quite straight-forward: Twitter is already a word, as is its companion, to tweet. Certainly, the 21st century definition of twittering is much different than that of the Middle English twiteren, which is similar to the Old High German zwizzirōn, both of which mean, well, to twitter or as Merriam-Webster’s defines it “to utter successive chirping noises” or “to talk in a chattering fashion”. Since it is already catalogued as a headword, 21st c. twittering is simply a new entry, a new definition, under the ancient headword, twitter”. IT Pro Portal Compares 12-month use of twitter vs Web 2.0 On June 10, the Global Language Monitor announced that Web 2.0 has bested Jai Ho, N00b and Slumdog as the 1,000,000th English word or phrase added to the codex of fourteen hundred-year-old language.

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Web 2.0 beats Jai Ho & N00b as 1,000,000th English Word

English passed the Million Word mark earlier today, June 10 at 10:22 am GMT Word Number 1,000,001: Financial Tsunami Austin, Texas June 10, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor today announced that Web 2.0 has bested Jai Ho, N00b and Slumdog as the 1,000,000th English word or phrase. added to the codex of fourteen hundred-year-old language. Web 2.0 is a technical term meaning the next generation of World Wide Web products and services. It has crossed from technical jargon into far wider circulation in the last six months. Two terms from India, Jai Ho! and slumdog finished No. 2 and 4. Jai Ho! Is a Hindi exclamation signifying victory or accomplishment; Slumdog is an impolite term for children living in the slums. Just missing the top spot was n00b, a mixture of letters and numbers that is a derisive term for newcomer. It is also the only mainstream English word that contains within itself two numerals. Just missing the final five cut-off,  was another technical term, cloud computing, meaning services that are delivered via the cloud. At its current rate, English generates about 14.7 words a day or one every 98 minutes.   These are the fifteen finalists for the one millionth English word, all of which have met the criteria of a minimum of 25,000 citations with the necessary breadth of geographic distribution, and depth of citations.   1,000,000: Web 2.0 – The next generation of web products and services, coming soon to a browser near you. 999,999: Jai Ho! – The Hindi phrase signifying the joy of victory, used as an exclamation, sometimes rendered as “It is accomplished”. Achieved English-language popularity through the multiple Academy Award Winning film, “Slumdog Millionaire”. 999,998: N00b — From the Gamer Community, a neophyte in playing a particular game; used as a disparaging term. 999,997: Slumdog – a formerly disparaging, now often endearing, comment upon those residing in the slums of India. 999,996: Cloud Computing – The ‘cloud’ has been technical jargon for the Internet for many years. It is now passing into more general usage. 999,995: Carbon Neutral — One of the many phrases relating to the effort to stem Climate Change. 999,994: Slow Food — Food other than the fast-food variety hopefully produced locally (locavores). 999,993: Octomom – The media phenomenon relating to the travails of the mother of the octuplets. 999,992: Greenwashing – Re-branding an old, often inferior, product as environmentally friendly. 999,991: Sexting – Sending email (or text messages) with sexual content. 999,990: Shovel Ready – Projects are ready to begin immediately upon the release of federal stimulus funds. 999,989: Defriend – Social networking terminology for cutting the connection with a formal friend. 999,988: Chengguan – Urban management officers, a cross between mayors, sheriff, and city managers. 999,987: Recessionista – Fashion conscious who use the global economic restructuring to their financial benefit. 999,986: Zombie Banks – Banks that would be dead if not for government intervention and cash infusion. ——————————————————————————————————— In addition, the 1,000,001st word is Financial Tsunami – The global financial restructuring that seemingly swept out of nowhere, wiping out trillions of dollars of assets, in a matter of months.

Each word was analyzed to determine which depth (number of citations) and breadth (geographic extent of word usage), as well as number of appearances in the global print and electronic media, the Internet, the blogosphere, and social media (such as Twitter and YouTube). The Word with the highest PQI score was deemed the 1,000,000th English language word. The Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) is used to track and analyze word usage. Global Language Monitor has been tracking English word creation since 2003. Once it identifies new words (or neologisms) it measures their extent and depth of usage with its PQI technology.

English Language Millionth Word Finalists Announced:

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Includes  alcopops, bangster, de-friend, n00b, quendy-trendy, slumdog, and wonderstar

English to Pass Millionth Word June 10 at 10:22 am GMT

Million Word March Now Stands at 999,824

Austin, Texas May 29, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor today announced the finalists for the Million Word March. The English Language will cross the 1,000,000 word threshold on June 10, 2009 at 10:22 am Stratford-Upon-Avon time.

“The Million Word milestone brings to notice the coming of age of English as the first, truly global Language”, said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “There are three major trends involving the English language today: 1) An explosion in word creation; English words are being added to the language at the rate of some 14.7 words a day; 2) a geographic explosion where some 1.53 billion people now speak English around the globe as a primary, auxiliary, or business language; and 3) English has become, in fact, the first truly global language.”

Due to the global extent of the English language, the Millionth Word is as likely to appear from India, China, or East L.A.as it is to emerge from Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s home town). The final words and phrases under consideration are listed below. These words represent each of the categories of Global English that GLM tracks, Since English appears to be adding a new word every 98 minutes or about 14.7 words a day, the Global Language Monitor is selecting a representative sampling. You can follow the English Language WordClock counting down to the one millionth word at www.LanguageMonitor.com.

These words that are on the brink of entering the language as the finalists for the One Millionth English Word:

Australia: Alchopops – Sugary-flavored mixed drinks very much en vogue.

Chinglish: Chengguan – Urban management officers, a cross between mayors, sheriff, and city managers.

Economics: 1) Financial Tsunami – The global financial restructuring that seemingly swept out of nowhere, wiping out trillions of dollars of assets, in a matter of months. 2) Zombie Banks – Banks that would be dead if not for government intervention and cash infusion.

Entertainment: Jai Ho! — From the Hindi, “it is accomplished’ achieved English-language popularity through the multiple Academy Award Winner, “Slumdog Millionaire”.

Fashion: 1) Chiconomics – The ability to maintain one’s fashion sense (chicness) amidst the current financial crisis. 2) Recessionista – Fashion conscious who use the Global economic restructuring to their financial benefit; 3) Mobama – relating to the fashion-sense of the US First Lady, as in ‘that is quite mobamaish’.

Popular Culture: Octomom (the media phenomenon of the mother of the octuplets).

Green Living: 1) Green washing – Re-branding an old product as environmentally friendly. 2) E-vampire – Appliances and machines on standby-mode, which continually use electrical energy they ‘sleep’. 3) Slow food: — Food other than the fast-food variety hopefully produced locally (locavores).

Hinglish: Chuddies – Ladies’ underwear or panties.

Internet: 1) De-follow – No longer following the updates of someone on a social networking site. 2) De-friend – No longer following the updates of a friend on a social networking site; much harsher than de-following. 3) Web 2.0 – The next generation of web services.

Language: Toki Pona – The only language (constructed or natural) with a trademark.

Million Word March: MillionWordWord — Default entry if no other word qualifies.

Music: Wonderstar – as in Susan Boyle, an overnight sensation, exceeding all reasonable expectations.

Poland: Bangsters – A description of those responsible for ‘predatory’ lending practices, from a combination of the words banker and gangster.

Politically incorrect: 1) Slumdog – a formerly disparaging comments upon those residing in the slums of India; Seatmates of size – US airline euphemism for passengers who carry enough weight to require two seats.

Politics: 1) Carbon neutral — One of the many phrases relating to the effort to stem Climate Change. 2) Overseas Contingency Operations – The Obama re-branding of the Bush War on Terror.

Sports: Phelpsian – The singular accomplishments of Michael Phelps at the Beijing Olympics.

Spirituality: Renewalist – Movements that encompass renewal of the spirit; also call ‘Spirit-filled’ movements.

Technology: 1) Cloud Computing – The ‘cloud’ has been technical jargon for the Internet for many years. It is now passing into more general usage. 2) N00b — From the Gamer Community; a neophyte in playing a particular game; used as a disparaging term. 3) Sexting – Sending email (or text messages) with sexual content.

YouthSpeak: Quendy-Trendy — British youth speak for hip or up-to-date.

Extra Credit:

French word with least chance of entering English Language: le courriel for E-Mail.

Most recognized English-language word on the planet: O.K.

Each word is being analyzed to determine which is attaining the greatest depth (number of citations) and breadth (geographic extent of word usage), as well as number appearances in the global print and electronic media, the Internet, the blogosphere, and social media (such as Twitter and YouTube). The Word with the highest PQI score will be deemed the 1,000,000th English language word. The Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) is used to track and analyze word usage.

Global Language Monitor has been tracking English word creation since 2003. Once it identifies new words (or neologisms) it measures their extent and depth of usage with its PQI technology.

In Shakespeare’s day, there were only 2,000,000 speakers of English and fewer than 100,000 words. Shakespeare himself coined about 1,700 words. Thomas Jefferson invented about 200 words, and George W. Bush created a handful, the most prominent of which is, misunderestimate. US President Barack Obama’s surname passed into wordhood last year with the rise of obamamania.

Pick the Definition, May 28, 2009

Test your vocabulary skills on words about to officially enter the English language

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The English Conquest (May 17, 2009)

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Chinglish Enriches English Vocabulary with Chinese Features (May 13)

News Magazine

The words in the mental cupboard

April 28, 2009

Watch:  When Does a Word Become a Word?

BBC World Service, April 22, 2009

Special Report, April 23, 2009

Neologisms

It’s difficult to track the number of words in the English language, since neologisms–new words–are coined every day. The Global Language Monitor claims our lexicon will welcome its millionth word by the end of this month; other experts disagree.Whenever it does occur, will the millionth word be something from the business world, like “carpocalypse,” describing the state of the automotive industry? Or from Hollywood, like “momager,” the mother of a celebrity who also serves as business manager? In these stories, we look at our changing language and highlight some of the new words that have entered it.
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The Economist Predictions for 2009 Preview:

 

English Marks a Million

Listen to the segment on Morning Edition

Save the Date:  English nears a milestone (Christian Science Monitor)

News Forcaster: When will English pass 1 million words?

Current forecast: after 3/30/08 and before 4/30/08 (45% chance)

A Contrary View of the Million Word March

ENGLISH AND ITS ODDITIES ; The word factory keeps producing

The Million Word March in Smithsonian Magazine

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THE WORLD IN WORDS:  Top Words of 2008

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Essay:  The Number of Words in the English Language

There are many things in the Universe that can never be precisely measured but that doesn’t stop Humankind from attempting to take their measure.

For example, there are on the order of:

  • 7,000 human languages and dialects (6,912 to be precise);
  • About 50,000 ideograms in the various Chinese dialects (though countless more words);
  • About 100,000,000,000 stars in the Milky Way galaxy (and some 100,000,000,000 galaxies in the universe);
  • Over 35,500,000 residents of California;
  • And then there are 10 raised to the power of 72 atomic particles in the universe; that is, precisely:

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atomic particles;

  • There are fewer than 100,000 words in the French language;
  • There are some some 6.5 billion folks on the planet; (and about 20 billion that have ever walked upon the Earth);
  • Fewer than 20,000 different words in the Bible, (actually, 12,143 in the English, 783,137 total in the King James Version, 8,674 in the Hebrew Old Testament, and 5,624 in the Greek New Testament);
  • And 24,000 differing words to be found in the complete works of Shakespeare, about 1,700 of which he invented.

Finally, if you emptied all the water out of Lake Tahoe and spread it evenly over all of California it would be about 14 inches deep,  Not that anyone would ever attempt to do so. Or actually care.

Which brings us to the number of words in English.

The central idea of writing is, of course, the idea. Ideas by their very nature are wispy sorts of things. This being so, you can’t grab an idea and do with it what you will. Rather the best for which one can hope is to encapsulate the idea and preserve it for time immemorial in some sort of ethereal amber. We call this amber, language; the basic building block of which is, of course, the word. (We are speaking now as poets and not as linguists.)

 

As such, writers of English have the good fortune of having hundreds of thousands of words from which to choose. When you think of it, the English language writer always has at least three words for any idea, each rooted in the Latin, the Germanic or Saxon tongues, and the Greek. Think of a word for human habitation: city, town, metropolis, and so on. And that’s just the start. In the English-speaking world we also owe a heavy debt to Algonquin, and Hebrew, and Malay (ketchup anyone?) and Maori, and Zulu and Hmong among a multitude of others. I think you can spot the beginnings of a trend here.

And then there is the entire realm of  ”jargon,” scientific and otherwise, those specialized patois or vocabularies known only to those in specific fields. Computer-related jargon is multiplying at an extraordinary rate. And since English has become the lingua Franca of the Internet, English words are being created and non-English words co-opted at an ever-quickening pace.

Scientists estimate that there are approximately 10,000,000,000 neurons in a typical human brain.  Each of these neurons can theorectically interconnect with all the rest.

This being so, the number of interconnects within a single human brain is greater than the entire number of atomic particles in the universe.

If you equate these interconnects to ideas, or even thoughts, the number of potential words needed to express them is, indeed, staggering on the order of billions and billions of trillions.

This being said, I now unequivocally state that as of the 1st day of January in the year 2012 AD (or CE, whatever your preference), we estimate that there will be some  1,013,913  words in the English language, plus or minus a handful.

Choose well among them.

PJJP

Austin, Texas, USA

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Number of Words in the English Language: 1,025,109.8

The number of words in the English language is: 1,025,109.8.   This is the estimate by the Global Language Monitor on January 1, 2014.

The English Language passed the Million Word threshold on June 10, 2009 at 10:22 a.m. (GMT).  The Millionth Word was the controversial ‘Web 2.0′. Currently there is a new word created every 98 minutes or about 14.7 words per day.

Google Validates GLM’s No. of Words in English Prediction

GLM/Google vs OED and Webster’s 3rd

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For more detail, go here.

Though GLM’s analysis was the subject of much controversy at the time, the recent Google/Harvard Study of the Current Number of Words in the English Language is 1,022,000.  The above graphic is from the AAAS /Science as reported on NPR.   At the time the  New York Times article on the historic threshold famously quoted several dissenting linguists as claiming  that “even Google could not come up with” such a methodology.  At that time, unbeknownst to them Google was doing precisely that.

The number of words in the English language according to GLM now stands at:  1,025,109.8.   The difference between the two analyses is .0121%, which is widely considered statistically insignificant.

Google’s number, which is based on the counting of  the words in the 15,000,000 English language books it has scanned into the ‘Google Corpus,’ mirrors GLM’s Analysis.  GLM’s number is based upon its algorithmic methodologies, explication of which is available from its site.



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Frequently Asked Questions About GLM

Frequently Asked Questions About the Global Language Monitor

Q.What is the Global Language Monitor?

A.The Global Language Monitor documents, analyzes, and tracks the latest trends in word usage and word choices and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.GLM, an internet media analytics company, was founded six years ago in Silicon Valley.It is a direct descendent of yourDictionary.com, the premier multi-language dictionary site with some 230 languages.YDC had very deep academic roots with some two dozen of the world’s top linguists on its Academic Council of Experts.The Global Language Monitor is one of the first companies to exclusively focus on English as the first, true global language, and its impact on various aspects of culture, such as politics, the arts, entertainment, science, technology, and the like. The leading global media have come to rely upon GLM’s analysis and analytical techniques. The Global Language Monitor is based in Austin, Texas.Paul JJ Payack is the founding president of both companies.

Q.Who is Paul JJ Payack?

A.Paul JJ Payack is the president and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.   Payack was born in Morristown, New Jersey, and grew up in neighboring Boonton.  (His twin-brother, Peter,  is a poet, professor and the first ‘Poet Populist’ of Cambridge, Massachusetts.)  Payack earned a scholarship to Bucknell University where he studied psychology and philosophy, took a year off to write his first book, A Ripple in Entropy, and transferred to Harvard University where he was graduated with a bachelor of arts, concentrating in comparative literature, where he subsequently earned a post-graduate diploma (CAGS).  After an early stint in academia, Payack spent his career with a number of America’s most innovative technology companies, including such pioneers as Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Apollo Computer, Network Systems Corporation and Intelliguard Software, and Legato Systems.  He was  a senior executive for three Fortune 500 companies (including Unisys, D&B, and companies that were absorbed by SUN, EMC and HP) as well as a number of Silicon Valley start-ups, spin-outs and spin-downs.

Payack has served as an adjunct lecturer for the University of Massachusetts for some three years, and has spoken at the Federal Reserve Bank (NY), Hughes Electronics, The University of Texas (Arlington), and many other organizations and educational institutions.Payack is a frequent media commentator on technology, words, and language to such organizations as CNN, NPR, the BBC, Reuters, the New York Times, the Sunday Times (London), and the Chinese Peoples’ Daily (Beijing).

Payack’s penultimate book, A Million Words and Counting, was published as a Citadel Imprint by Kensington, New York in 2008; the quality paperback edition was released a year later.  (His latest book was an analysis of the Healthcare crisis in the US.)

For more extensive background information, check out Linkedin.

What’s your profession?

A.  Over the years my titles have included (in order):  Assistant Director of Admissions, Technical Writer, Engineer, Marketing Manager, Corporate Director,  v.p., C.M.O., SVP, president, C.E.O., founder, co-founder, principal and now ‘Chief Word Analyst’.   And husband, father, grandfather as well as writer, poet, metafictionist, collage artist, to name a few.

Q. What is a ‘Chief Word Analyst’?

A. The New York Times, in 2006, was the first to mention our PQI technology in an article about The Power of Words, which used our technology to see if the NY real estate market was heading toward a collapse.  In the article, Stephanie Rosenblum, described me as a ‘word analyst’.  I thought that was an apt description and have used the phrase as my title ever since.

GLM’s motto is ‘How will the global trends impact your world!?’ and that is precisely what we do — applying statistical techniques, numerical analysis and the latest in computer technology to the analysis of the trends identified in Internet, blogosphere, print and electronic media, and now so-called social media.

Q. Linguists frequently spar with you in the media.

Q. Why was there such controversy about the Million Word March?

A. Some believe that there is no way to count words, since the nature of what a word is, itself, is an open question. Hence you cannot count what you cannot define. More so, even attempting to take a measure of the language is to be considered with suspicion.

Q.  Don’t unabridged dictionaries have all or most of the words in the language, according to a rigid set of criteria.  Can’t you just count them?

A.  Apparently not without great difficulty.

Q.  Google and Harvard University recently launched the Google Books Ngram Viewer.  They also calculated the number of words in the English Language.  How does that compare to the number that your obtained from the Global language Monitor’s algorithmic-based analysis?

A.  According to the Google/Harvard Study of the Current Number of Words in the English Language is 1,022,000.  Our current estimate, as of January 1, 2014, is 1,025,109.8 (we include the decimal point to emphasize the continuous nature of word creation).

Google Validates GLM’s No. of Words in English Prediction

No-of-Words-Google

GLM/Google vs OED and Webster’s 3rd

 

The above graphic is from the AAAS /Science as reported on NPR.   At the time the an article in  New York Times article on the historic threshold famously quoted several experts that “even Google could not come up with” such a methodology.  Unbeknownst to them Google was doing precisely that.

The number of words in the English language according to GLM now stands at:  1,025,109.8 (January 1, 2014 estimate).   The difference between the two analyses is .0121%, which is widely considered statistically insignificant.

Google’s number, which is based on the counting of  the words in the 15,000,000 English language books it has scanned into the ‘Google Corpus,’ mirrors GLM’s Analysis.  GLM’s number is based upon its algorithmic methodologies, explication of which is available from its site.

Q.  The 1,000,000 word was ‘web 2.0;’ it contains letter and a number and even a bit of punctuation.  Is it a word?

A. It’s a lexical unit. Think about this for a moment:  is O.K. a word?  Or 24/7, or w00t. or 3-D?  There is a long history of English words with numbers (or punctuation) intermixed.  And it is a burgeoning trend; it’s called L33t Speak.  Check the New York Times, where you will find and goodly amount of headlines featuring Government 2.0 or Healthcare 2.0, and the like.

Q.What is the methodology?

A.The Global Language Monitor first established a base number of words in the language using the number of words in the generally accepted unabridged dictionaries (the O.E.D., Merriam-Webster’s, Macquarie’s, etc.), that contain the historic ‘core’ of the English language, including every word found in the historical codex of the language beginning with Beowulf, Chaucer, the Venerable Bede, on to the works of Shakespeare, the King James Bible, and the like.

The Global Language Monitor tracks the use of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, in social media as well as accessing proprietary databases (Factiva, Lexis-Nexis, etc.).

GLM then assigned a number to the rate of creation of new words and the adoption and absorption of foreign vocabulary into the language. The result, though an estimate, has been found to be quite useful as a starting point of the discussion for lay persons, students, and scholars the world over.

Q.A million sounds like a lot of words?

A.The Global Language Monitor’s estimate of the Number of Words in the English Language, is taking a relatively conservative approach. For example, the Introduction to Merriam-Webster’s 3rd International claims it was limited to the 450,000 words listed in that dictionary, because “the number of words available is always far in excess of and for a single volume dictionary many times the number that can possibly be included”. Many times the 450,000 included words, results in a number far in excess of 1,000,000.  In fact, if you included all the scientific terms, all the jargon, and all the species of like, you could claim tens of millions of words.

Q. So it is rather difficult to estimate the number of English Words.

A. Nearly impossible.  But, of course, you can make the same argument for anything a human being can measure: the number of stars in the galaxy, the number of galaxies in the universe, the number of people on the planet, the depth of the oceans, fish in the sea, moves possible on a chessboard, throughput of the latest supercomputer, amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (and hence predict Global Warming), even the number of planets in the Solar System (Take that, Pluto!).

Answers to questions like these have been settled, from the beginning of the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment, through a number of methodologies, including statistical analysis, and rigidly defining the subjects of study.We see no reason to exclude language from such inquiry.

Q.Did you count variations of words such as run, runs and running as separate words?

A.GLM counts only headwords, so run, runs, and running are only counted once.We do not count the named numerals as separate words, e.g., two hundred twenty-four thousand one hundred ten … one hundred eleven … one hundred twelve.Doing so would result in an infinite number of words since the set of named numerals is infinite.

Q. OK, so what makes English special?

A.The English language is not anymore special than any of the other 6,919 languages spoken on the planet.All languages are of great cultural value and are worthy of study and preservation.What is special about English, however, is the fact that it is has acquired an immense number of words and is the first truly global language.  Of course, Greek was certainly spoken throughout that part of the world conquered by Alexander, as was Latin in the Roman Empire and later throughout Medieval Europe.And French was certainly the language of diplomacy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.However English is the first language to literally span the globe.

Q.How many people now speak English?

A.In 1960, there were 250 million English speakers in the world, mostly in former British colonies; the future of English as a major language was very much in question.Today, English is spoken by some 1.83 billion people as their first, second or business language.

Q.Have your years in high technology influenced your thinking?

A.  When I began in technology what would come to be known as the world wide web consisted of some 138 ‘endpoints’; today there are more than 10,000,000,000, more than one for every person on the planet.

My first computer system, was approximately 80 feet long and weighed hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds.Today, you carry all that computational power – and more – in the phone in your pocket, just as your coffee maker is undoubtedly more powerful than all the computer systems aboard Apollo XI.

Q.  What about newly coined words of neologisms.  

A.  In the English-speaking world there is no authority that judges the ‘worthiness’ of words to become an official part of the English Language, which is one reason why English has so many more words than many other languages.  GLM counts a word as entering the language once it appears some 25,000 with the requisite ‘breadth’ and ‘breadth’ in the English-speaking world.



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One Millionth Word Announced

Web 2.0 beats Jai Ho & N00b as 1,000,000th English Word

English passed the Million Word mark earlier today, June 10 at 10:22 am GMT

Word Number 1,000,001: Financial Tsunami

Austin, Texas June 10, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor today announced that Web 2.0 has bested Jai Ho, N00b and Slumdog as the 1,000,000th English word or phrase. added to the codex of fourteen hundred-year-old language. Web 2.0 is a technical term meaning the next generation of World Wide Web products and services. It has crossed from technical jargon into far wider circulation in the last six months. Two terms from India, Jai Ho! and slumdog finished No. 2 and 4. Jai Ho! Is a Hindi exclamation signifying victory or accomplishment; Slumdog is an impolite term for children living in the slums. Just missing the top spot was n00b, a mixture of letters and numbers that is a derisive term for newcomer. It is also the only mainstream English word that contains within itself two numerals. Just missing the final five cut-off,  was another technical term, cloud computing, meaning services that are delivered via the cloud. At its current rate, English generates about 14.7 words a day or one every 98 minutes.

‘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

BBC NEWS | Programmes | World News America | ‘Millionth English word’ declared

“As expected, English crossed the 1,000,000 word threshold on June 10, 2009 at 10:22 am GMT. However, some 400 years after the death of the Bard, the words and phrases were coined far from Stratford-Upon-Avon, emerging instead from Silicon Valley, India, China, and Poland, as well as Australia, Canada, the US and the UK,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “English has become a universal means of communication; never before have so many people been able to communicate so easily with so many others.”
The English language is now being studies by hundreds of millions around the globe for entertainment, commercial or scientific purposes. In 1960 there were some 250 million English speakers, mostly in former colonies and the Commonwealth countries. The future of English as a major language was very much in doubt. Today, some 1.53 billion people now speak English as a primary, auxiliary, or business language, with some 250 million acquiring the language in China alone.

These are the fifteen finalists for the one millionth English word, all of which have met the criteria of a minimum of 25,000 citations with the necessary breadth of geographic distribution, and depth of citations.
1,000,000: Web 2.0 – The next generation of web products and services, coming soon to a browser near you.
999,999: Jai Ho! – The Hindi phrase signifying the joy of victory, used as an exclamation, sometimes rendered as “It is accomplished”. Achieved English-language popularity through the multiple Academy Award Winning film, “Slumdog Millionaire”.
999,998: N00b — From the Gamer Community, a neophyte in playing a particular game; used as a disparaging term.
999,997: Slumdog – a formerly disparaging, now often endearing, comment upon those residing in the slums of India.
999,996: Cloud Computing – The ‘cloud’ has been technical jargon for the Internet for many years. It is now passing into more general usage.
999,995: Carbon Neutral — One of the many phrases relating to the effort to stem Climate Change.
999,994: Slow Food — Food other than the fast-food variety hopefully produced locally (locavores).
999,993: Octomom – The media phenomenon relating to the travails of the mother of the octuplets.
999,992: Greenwashing – Re-branding an old, often inferior, product as environmentally friendly.
999,991: Sexting – Sending email (or text messages) with sexual content.
999,990: Shovel Ready – Projects are ready to begin immediately upon the release of federal stimulus funds.
999,989: Defriend – Social networking terminology for cutting the connection with a formal friend.
999,988: Chengguan – Urban management officers, a cross between mayors, sheriff, and city managers.
999,987: Recessionista – Fashion conscious who use the global economic restructuring to their financial benefit.
999,986: Zombie Banks – Banks that would be dead if not for government intervention and cash infusion.
———————————————————————————————————
In addition, the 1,000,001st word is Financial Tsunami – The global financial restructuring that seemingly swept out of nowhere, wiping out trillions of dollars of assets, in a matter of months
Each word was analyzed to determine which depth (number of citations) and breadth (geographic extent of word usage), as well as number of appearances in the global print and electronic media, the Internet, the blogosphere, and social media (such as Twitter and YouTube). The Word with the highest PQI score was deemed the 1,000,000th English language word. The Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) is used to track and analyze word usage.
Global Language Monitor has been tracking English word creation since 2003. Once it identifies new words (or neologisms) it measures their extent and depth of usage with its PQI technology. For more information call 512.815.8336.



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Millionth Word Finalists Announced

English Language Millionth Word Finalists Announced, including:  alcopops, bangster, de-friend, n00b, quendy-trendy, slumdog, and wonderstar

English to Pass Millionth Word June 10 at 10:22 am GMT

Million Word March Now Stands at 999,824

Austin, Texas May 29, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor today announced the finalists for the Million Word March.  The English Language will cross the 1,000,000 word threshold on June 10, 2009 at 10:22 am Stratford-Upon-Avon time.

“The Million Word milestone brings to notice the coming of age of English as the first, truly global Language”, said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor.  “There are three major trends involving the English language today: 1) An explosion in word creation; English words are being added to the language at the rate of some 14.7 words a day; 2) a geographic explosion where some 1.53 billion people now speak English around the globe as a primary, auxiliary, or business language; and 3) English has become, in fact, the first truly global language.”

Due to the global extent of the English language, the Millionth Word is as likely to appear from India, China, or East L.A.as it is to emerge from Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s home town). The final words and phrases under consideration are listed below.  These words represent each of the categories of Global English that GLM tracks, Since English appears to be adding a new word every 98 minutes or about 14.7 words a day, the Global Language Monitor is selecting a representative sampling.  You can follow the English Language WordClock counting down to the one millionth word at www.LanguageMonitor.com.

These words that are on the brink of entering the language as the finalists for the One Millionth English Word:

Australia:  Alchopops – Sugary-flavored mixed drinks very much en vogue.

Chinglish:  Chengguan –   Urban management officers, a cross between mayors, sheriff, and city managers.

Economics:  1) Financial Tsunami – The global financial restructuring that seemingly swept out of nowhere, wiping out trillions of dollars of assets, in a matter of months.  2) Zombie Banks – Banks that would be dead if not for government intervention and cash infusion.

Entertainment:  Jai Ho! — From the Hindi, “it is accomplished’ achieved English-language popularity through the multiple Academy Award Winner, “Slumdog Millionaire”.

Fashion: 1) Chiconomics – The ability to maintain one’s fashion sense (chicness) amidst the current financial crisis.  2) Recessionista – Fashion conscious who use the Global economic restructuring to their financial benefit; 3) Mobama – relating to the fashion-sense of the US First Lady, as in ‘that is quite mobamaish’.

Popular Culture:  Octomom (the media phenomenon of the mother of the octuplets).

Green Living:  1) Green washing – Re-branding an old product as environmentally friendly. 2) E-vampire – Appliances and machines on standby-mode, which continually use electrical energy they ‘sleep’. 3) Slow food: — Food other than the fast-food variety hopefully produced locally (locavores).

Hinglish:   Cuddies – Ladies’ underwear or panties.

Internet:  1) De-follow – No longer following the updates of someone on a social networking site.  2) De-friend – No longer following the updates of a friend on a social networking site; much harsher than de-following. 3) Web 2.0 – The next generation of web services.

Language: Toki Pona – The only language (constructed or natural) with a trademark.

Million Word March:   MillionWordWord — Default entry if no other word qualifies.

Music:  Wonderstar – as in Susan Boyle, an overnight sensation, exceeding all realsonable expectations.

Poland:  Bangsters – A description of those responsible for ‘predatory’ lending practices, from a combination of the words banker and gangster.

Politically incorrect:  1) Slumdog – a formerly disparaging comments upon those residing in the slums of India; 2) Seatmates of size – US airline euphemism for passengers who carry enough weight to require two seats.

Politics:  1) Carbon neutral — One of the many phrases relating to the effort to stem Climate Change.  2) Overseas Contingency Operations – The Obama re-branding of the Bush War on Terror.

Sports:  Phelpsian – The singular accomplishments of Michael Phelps at the Beijing Olympics.

Spirituality:  Renewalist – Movements that encompass renewal of the spirit; also call ‘Spirit-filled’ movements.

Technology:  1) Cloud Computing – The ‘cloud’ has been technical jargon for the Internet for many years.  It is now passing into more general usage. 2) N00b — From the Gamer Community; a neophyte in playing a particular game; used as a disparaging term.  3) Sexting – Sending email (or text messages) with sexual content.

YouthSpeak:  Quendy-Trendy — British youth speak for hip or up-to-date.

Extra Credit:

French word with least chance of entering English Language:  le courriel – E-Mail.

Most recognized English-language word on the planet:  O.K.

Each word is being analyzed to determine which is attaining the greatest depth (number of citations) and breadth (geographic extent of word usage), as well as number appearances in the global print and electronic media, the Internet, the blogosphere, and social media (such as Twitter and YouTube).  The Word with the highest PQI score will be deemed the 1,000,000th English language word.  The Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) is used to track and analyze word usage.

Global Language Monitor has been tracking English word creation since 2003.  Once it identifies new words (or neologisms) it measures their extent and depth of usage with its PQI technology.

In Shakespeare’s day, there were only 2,000,000 speakers of English and fewer than 100,000 words.  Shakespeare himself coined about 1,700 words.  Thomas Jefferson invented about 200 words, and George W. Bush created a handful, the most prominent of which is, misunderestimate.  US President Barack Obama’s surname passed into wordhood last year with the rise of obamamania.

About The Global Language Monitor

Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.  For more information, email info@ GlobalLanguageMonitor.com, visit www.LanguageMonitor.com, or call +1.925.367.7557.

A Million Words and Counting

If you are interested in learning more about the Million Word March, you can read about it in “A Million Words and Counting” by Paul JJ Payack.  This book from Kensington’s Citadel imprint takes you on a whirlwind tour of the English language and it dramatic impact on the various aspects of culture, including politics, the economy, entertainment, commerce and technology.  Now available as a quality paperback.

 

For more information, please call 512.815.8836 or email info@languagemonitor.com
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Spread the word: English is unstoppable by Neil Reynolds


Spread the word: English is unstoppable

By NEIL REYNOLDS, The Globe and Mail

OTTAWA — California-based [Word Analyst] Paul Payack expects the English language to gain its one-millionth word this autumn. The language has come a long way indeed, as the English would say, in 400 years. In 1582, the English grammarian Richard Mulcaster could say that the language was “of small reach, stretching no further than this island of ours, nay not there over all.” In 1582, though, William Shakespeare married Ann Hathaway — and the language itself has since flourished as magnificently as the playwright himself. More than one billion people now speak it. Another billion people are learning it. Not bad, indeed.

The British Council, an independent charitable organization, says the English language now has special status of one kind or another in 75 countries. That one-third of the world’s books are published in English. That two-thirds of all scientists read English. That three-quarters of the world’s mail is written in English. That four-fifths of all electronic communications are in English. That people who spend time in Britain simply to learn English spend $2-billion a year doing it.

Language is a fascinating thing, the most complex of human achievements, spontaneously evolved, one unique word or expression at a time, without government control — for that matter, without government interest (aside from official language status). It is true that more than 40 countries have established academic police forces to protect their languages. But these are, for the most part, reactionary institutions that seek to reverse the past rather than invent the future. Cardinal Richelieu was the first of the language cops, founding the illustrious L’Académie française in 1634 with a mandate “to give rules to our language, and to render it pure and elegant.” Time travel would have been a simpler assignment. Once the great language of diplomacy, the French language has been going through rough times. Indeed, France deemed it necessary a few years ago to amend its constitution, specifying French as the official language of the republic. By its nature, language is decentralized, independent and anarchic. Only in exceptional circumstances, is it pure and elegant. It is almost always out of control.

In the 18th century, the English language almost became the American language, escaping by the very skin of its teeth — itself one of those inspired English-only phrases devised by the translators of the King James version of the Bible. (In contrast, the Douay Bible expresses Job’s lament for his wasted body with the literal assertion that “nothing but lips are left about my teeth.”) In the century between the Revolutionary and Civil wars, American references to “the American language” abounded. In 1780, American envoy John Adams could write from France to lobby Congress for an American language academy, directed by learned Americans and empowered to “correct and improve” the young country’s rude misuse of the language. “English is destined to be more generally the language of the world,” he wrote, “than Latin in a previous age and French in the present age.”

North America gave English room to roam. In Mr. Mulcaster’s 1582, English was spoken by perhaps four million people. In Mr. Adams’s 1780, by perhaps 12 million. In Noah Webster’s 1828, on publication of The American Dictionary of the English Language, by perhaps 50 million. A century later, in H.L. Mencken’s rambunctious 1920s, on his publication of The American Language, by perhaps 200 million. With two billion now speaking it or learning to speak it, we can credibly imagine a genuine global language.

Some linguists say that three or four dominant “language brands” will emerge — Chinese and Spanish are most frequently suggested as rival global languages. (In any case, Canada will be competitive. Of the 100 languages used in Canada, Chinese is already No. 3, spoken by one million people.) Language has always been closely connected to patriotism, and almost always to a particular country. The English have always regarded “the American language” as essentially barbaric. Inevitably, in the 19th century, Americans came to regard their distinctive English as a unique language. In 1838, Indiana instructed its state university “to instruct the youth of the Commonwealth in the American language.” In 1854, secretary of state William Marcy ordered U.S. diplomatic missions to use only “the American language.”

Fifteen years ago, Robert MacNeil, the Canadian who for many years co-anchored The MacNeil/Lehrer Report on PBS, wrote his evocative memoir Wordstruck as a love story with the English language. In the end, looking retrospectively from his mother’s home in Halifax to the Atlantic, he says simply: “This is where I was first struck by words. This is where they made me more than a Canadian, an Englishman, or an American; or Scottish, or Irish, or German — all things my forebears were. This is where I became what [dissident Russian poet] Joseph Brodsky calls ‘a citizen of the great English language.’ ” It is this sense of the language that most fully expresses its dynamic.

English is to language as capitalism is to economics. It is the language
of laissez-faire, of enterprise — and, beyond all argument, of hope.



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