‘Silence’ is the Top HollyWord of 2011

Ceremony generates Jolie Leg Internet Meme (i-Meme)

9th Annual Global Survey by the Global Language Monitor

Austin, Texas, March 6, 2012. (Update)  ‘Silence’ is the Top HollyWord of 2011 according the ninth annual global analysis by the Global Language Monitor.   ‘Silence’ encompassing  silent movies, the silence of dead and dying loved-ones, the deadly silence of the battlefield before an attack – as well as the deafening silence of historically anemic 2011 box office and attendance figures.

Silence’ topped  Mai Oui!  Iconic, Transformations, and Separateness for the top honors, while Domestics, Dramedy, Bathroom Humor, Why, and Muppets rounded out the top ten.

“In 2011 Hollywood had a full slate of award-worthy films as reflected by this year’s Oscar winners,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst for the Global Language Monitor, “The films reflected a deeper exploration into the human experience as reflected in a silent movie, various encounters in and around Paris, death, dying, separation and rebirth”.

Each year, GLM announces the Top HollyWords following the Oscar ceremony.  The 84rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony, hosted by Billy Crystal was held last Sunday at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Los Angeles.

The Top Hollywords of the 2011 season with the largest impact on the English language with commentary follow.

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Rank / Word or Phrase / Commentary
  1. Silence – Silent movies, (the Artist), a wife’s silence (Descendants), a father’s silence (Extremely Loud), the deadly silence among the trenches of WWI (Warhorse) but most all silence at the box office, with the lowest attendance since the 1995.
  2. Mai oui! – A big year for the City of Light and France:  Hugo, Midnight in Paris, TinTin (which first appeared as a comic in French), Warhorse, and, of course, the irrepressible Jean Dujardin .
  3. Iconic – (My Week with Marilyn) – Michelle Williams helps us better understand how this shy, frail woman become the iconic image of a very complicated time.
  4. Transformations (Iron Lady and Albert Nobbs) – In a year with a plethora of visual effects, none were more startling than those of Meryl Streep and Glenn Close.
  5. Separateness (A Separation) – The Iranian film about divorce that demonstrates the common threads that binds humanity together.
  6. Domestics (The Help) – ‘Domestic Servants’ was the actual term with an emphasis, of course, on the servant.
  7. Dramedy  (The Descendants) – Dramedy, a comedy within the structural framework of a drama, a staple of sitcoms, successfully made the leap to the silver screen.
  8. Bathroom Humor (Bridesmaids) – The women strive to both out-gross and gross-out their male competition.
  9. Why?  (The Tree of Life) — Why all the oil-spinning emulsions when images from the Hubble have been seared into our consciousness?
  10. Muppets (The Muppets) – A new generation is introduced to Jim Henson’s family friendly varmints.

Bonus:  Ides (Ides of March) – There’s really nothing very special about the Ides of March.  In the Roman calendar, every month had its ides.

GLM used NarrativeTracker 2.0 for this analysis.  NT2.0 is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 75,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new media sources, as they emerge.
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Previous Top HollyWord Winners include:
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2010       Grit:  firmness, pluck, gritty, stubborn, indomitable spirit, courageous, and brave perseverance.
2009       ‘Pandora’ from Avatar
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!!! It’s sexy time!”  from Borat!
2005       ‘Brokeback’ from Brokeback Mountain
2004      “Pinot” from Sideways
2003      ‘Wardrobe malfunction’ from Super Bowl XXXVIII



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Fighting Words: ‘Reliable,’ ‘Talented’ And Other Americanisms

by BILL CHAPPELL

In this free-wheeling era, when the English language is often applied with little supervision, it’s common for purists to complain about the abuse of words.

For instance, I dislike it when things are indicated instead of said. And impact gets rough treatment, as it’s transmogrified into a Franken-adjective (impactful) and is too often made to serve as a substitute for affect — probably by people who are unsure whether to use that word or effect.

And there should be a petition to remove the word literally from use, for at least a lengthy rehabilitation and perhaps a permanent retirement.

But I was surprised to learn that in 19th-century Britain, readers viewed words like lengthy and reliable as signs of the coming apocalypse. It turns out that those words, along with talented andtremendous, were imports from America.

As Matthew Engel writes at the BBC, “The poet Coleridge denounced ‘talented’ as a barbarous word in 1832, though a few years later it was being used by William Gladstone. A letter-writer to the Times, in 1857, described ‘reliable’ as vile.” [Read More]

What Started the “Two Way” discussion (Below)

By Matthew Engel I have had a lengthy career in journalism. I hope that’s because editors have found me reliable. I have worked with many talented colleagues. Sometimes I get invited to parties and meet influential people. Overall, I’ve had a tremendous time.

Lengthy. Reliable. Talented. Influential. Tremendous.

All of these words we use without a second thought were never part of the English language until the establishment of the United States.

The Americans imported English wholesale, forged it to meet their own needs, then exported their own words back across the Atlantic to be incorporated in the way we speak over here. Those seemingly innocuous words caused fury at the time.

The poet Coleridge denounced “talented” as a barbarous word in 1832, though a few years later it was being used by William Gladstone. A letter-writer to the Times, in 1857, described “reliable” as vile.

[Read More on the BBC]



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Those in charge decide which words matter

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.By Michael Skapinker

Is “aarrghh” a word? Not if you are playing Scrabble with me. If it is not in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary: put your tiles back and think again. “Aargh” is acceptable (an expression of anguish, horror, rage, or other strong emotion, according to the OED), but not “aarrghh”. My board, my rules.

Others disagree. “Aarrghh” appears in the Collins Official Scrabble Words. Collins’ latest edition also includes “thang”, “innit” and “nang”. Commentators greeted the Scrabble book by bemoaning the decline of the language and berating publishers who pandered to the young.

The new Collins book appeared on the same day that the CBI, the UK employers’ organisation, published a survey showing that 42 per cent of companies were dissatisfied with school leavers’ English skills. Are the two events connected?

Read more here.

Global Language Monitor’s comment about the supposed ‘decline of English’.

We at the Global Language Monitor have noted that for at least two hundred years folks as diverse as Benjamin Franklin (eliminating and adding new letters), Noah Webster and George Bernard Shaw (simplifying spelling), and George Orwell (simplifying grammar) have long argued. Ghoti and chips anyone?

Now that this is actually happening in the early 21st century, it is most interesting to note that these changes are being driven by the youthful users of the language, as has been the case since the earliest days of the language.

Consider: Sumer is icumen in! / Lhude sing cuccu!

Which ancient forbear playing an early version of Scrabble(tm), had the audacity to recognize ‘cuckoo’ for ‘cuccu’ or for that matter accept ‘loud’ for ‘lhude’?

One note of caution: these same folks have decided that is perfectly fine to intermix letters with words, so you now can find ‘gr8′ substituting for ‘great’.

Is this something the up with which you will simply not put?

Paul JJ Payack



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Kate Middleton’s Social Media Star to Eclipse Princess Diana

Study also compares Michelle Obama with the Royals

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NarrativeTracker analysis of Internet, social and traditional media

AUSTIN, Texas. April 18, 2011. With less than two weeks left before the Royal Wedding on April 29th, Kate Middleton is already posting Diana-type numbers in terms of news worthiness and celebrity status on the Top Global Media sites as well as on the Internet and Social Media according to The Global Language Monitor. Previously GLM had found the soon-to-be Princess Catherine the Top Fashion Buzzword of the 2011 season, replacing the eccentric Lady Gaga.

The GLM study compared the citations of Kate Middleton with those of Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry, and Camilla Parker Bowles. Michelle Obama as First Lady of the United States was included as a relevant American comparison. For the Top Global Media, the citations were measured over the last three months as well as all the archives available.

“Kate Middleton is set to eclipse Princess Di as the media star of the Royal Family,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “In fact, Kate could surpass all Internet, Social Media, and Global Print and Electronic Media citations by the time the Royal Wedding-related stories are compiled.”

Two weeks before the Royal Wedding, Middleton’s Internet and Social Media citations, surpass all members of the Royal Family. Prince William comes in as a close second followed by Princess Diana, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997.

For Internet news citations, Middleton follows only Prince William and Prince Charles. For comparison, First Lady Michelle Obama, since she first came to notice in 2004, would rank No. 3 in Internet and Social Media citations, just ahead of Princess Diana and would rank No 4, again slightly ahead of Princess Diana in Internet news.

In the traditional Global Print and Electronic Media, Prince William and his bride-to-be, both double references to Queen Elizabeth and quadruple those to Prince Charles who would also follow Michelle Obama.

Note: Princess Di is cited in hundred of thousands of news stories even though she died before Google, social media, and smartphones existed. Even without the current media environment where the Internet, social media and the traditional media feed upon themselves as some sort cyber echo chamber, the study demonstrates the enduring legacy of Princess — some fourteen years after her death.

GLM used NarrativeTracker Technology in this study.

NarrativeTracker is based on the global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what any audience is saying about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, the top global print and electronic media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter).

Media for detailed statistics, or call 1.512.815.8836.



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BBC Magazine’s Portrait of the Decade

GLM selects words from Global English that Represent the years 2000 – 2009

December 14, 2009, London.  Is it really possible to sum up a decade? With the help of thousands of readers, maybe it is. Last week, we asked for suggestions for the words, people, events, objects and cultural highlights which they thought defined the Noughties.

Our panel of five independent experts (Including GLM for Words) considered all the suggestions and have drawn up their list.  Check out the snapshot of who and what has shaped the past 10 years.

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Click here to download the BBC’s Portrait of a Decade poster



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