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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.

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.”

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).

Is Websters its Own Worst Frenemy?

60% of new words in 2009 Collegiate Dictionary update 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 ‘new’ words (with their dates of first usage) include:

New Word or Term First Usage

Carbon footprint 1999

Flash mob 1977

Green-collar 1990

Locavore 2005

Memory foam 1987

Missalette 1977

Reggaeton 2002

Sock puppet 1959

Waterboarding 2004

Webisode 1997

These are ‘new’ words only insofar as they were never included in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate, but on average, the words were coined more than 29 years ago (according to M-W’s own definitions). This compares with the average age of today’s college students in the mid-twenties (even with the recent shift to older students).

On the web, ‘waterboarding’ has some 2,000,000 references, ‘webisode’ about 5,000,000 and ‘sock puppet‘ some half million (according to Google). Last year ‘dark energy’ was added to the Collegiate Dictionary some ten years after it had become the subject of much scientific, philiosophical and popular debate. (It had about 10,000,000 references at the time.)

“This is perhaps why students are evermore turning to online resources to understand current affairs and class materials.The reality of today’s Internet-based communications means that new English-language words are appearing and being adopted at an ever-quickening pace,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “It is entirely possible some of these students heard or even used some of these words while they were still in grammar school”.

To celebrate the coming of age of English as the first, true, global language, The Global Language Monitor announced the 1,000,000th word to enter the English language on June 10, 2009. GLM estimates that a new word appears every 98 minutes, generated by the 1.5 billion people who now use English as a first, second or business language.

Words of the Pandemic

This explainer will be expanded continuously as information on the Type A H1N1 Flu Pandemic becomes available.

Media Alert:  If you need a customized version of this explainer, please call +1.925.367.7557

These are the technical definitions of the phases and the Planned US Federal Government response.

Term                                            Definition

20th Century Pandemics

1917 Pandemic — La Gripe Espanola or the “Spanish Flu”.   50 million or more died in the 1918 pandemic, up to 200,000 in the US.  Some 30% of the world’s population of 1.5 billion were infected.

1957 Pandemic — The “Asian Flu”  originated in China.  It had two major waves killing some 2 million people.

1968 Pandemic — The “Hong Kong Flu” spread globally for two years resulting in about  1 million deaths.

1976 faux Pandemic — First identified at Ft. Dix, NJ in a new recruit, the pandemic never unfolded.  The massive US immunization program resulted in about 500 cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological condition that can be fatal.  About fifty deaths were reported.

CDC — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the CDC is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Close Contact – One meter (about three feet) is often cited by infection control professionals to define close contact (based on studies of respiratory infections); for practical purposes, this distance may range up to 2 meters (six feet).  The World Health Organization says approximately one meter; the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidlelines state within 6 feet”.

Epidemic — A disease occurring suddenly in humans in a community, region or country in numbers clearly in excess of normal.

Facemask — A disposable mask cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as a medical device.   Facemasks have several designs.  Held in place two ties, conforms to the face with the aid of a flexible adjustment for the nose bridge, and may be flat/pleated or duck-billed in shape; pre-molded, attached a single elastic band, and has a flexible adjustment for the nose bridge; and flat/pleated and attached  with ear loops. Facemasks cleared by the FDA for use as medical devices have been determined to have specific levels of protection from penetration of blood and body fluids.

Ground Zero — The location where the first case occurred.  The earliest confirmed case of the influenz A H1N1 has been traced to the village of La Gloria in Veracruz, Mexico located south east of Mexico City.

H1N1 — See Influenza A H1N1.

Influenza — A serious disease caused by viruses that infects the upper respiratory tract.

(Electron Microscope image of Influenza A H1N1 virus.)

Influenza A (H1N1) — The official name of what is commonly but inaccurately called ‘swine flu”.  The strain consists of four elements, one human, one avian, and two swine.  The World Health Organization began using this nomenclature on April 30, 2009.

Influenza Pandemic — A global outbreak of a new influenza ‘A’ virus that is easily transmitted from person-to-person worldwide.

Mutating Virus — In general, any flu virus mutates and evolves mechanisms that enable it to escape the immune defence systems of its victims.

Pandemic — The global outbreak of a disease in humans in numbers clearly in excess of normal.

Pandemic Phases — WHO has divided pandemics into six phases.  (See Figure above.)

Pandemic Phase 1 — Low risk of human cases.  No viruses circulating among animals have been reported to cause infections in humans.

Pandemic Phase 2 — Higher risk of human cases.  An animal influenza virus circulating among domesticated or wild animals is known to have caused infection in humans, and is therefore considered a potential pandemic threat.

Pandemic Phase 3 — No or very limited human-to-human transmission.  An animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus has caused sporadic cases or small clusters of disease in people, but has not resulted in human-to-human transmission sufficient to sustain community-level outbreaks. Limited human-to-human transmission may occur under some circumstances, for example, when there is close contact between an infected person and an unprotected caregiver. However, limited transmission under such restricted circumstances does not indicate that the virus has gained the level of transmissibility among humans necessary to cause a pandemic.

Pandemic Phase 4 — Evidence of increased human-to-human transmission.  Human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to cause “community-level outbreaks.” The ability to cause sustained disease outbreaks in a community marks a significant upwards shift in the risk for a pandemic. Any country that suspects or has verified such an event should urgently consult with WHO so that the situation can be jointly assessed and a decision made by the affected country if implementation of a rapid pandemic containment operation is warranted. Phase 4 indicates a significant increase in risk of a pandemic.

Pandemic Phase 5 — Evidence of significant human-to-human transmission.  Human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region (Figure 4). While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.

Pandemic Phase 6  —  Efficient and sustained human-to-human transmission. The pandemic phase  is characterized by community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5. Designation of this phase will indicate that a global pandemic is under way.  [Editor’s Note:  According to these stated criteria, the pandemic phase has already reached pandemic phase 6 on April 30, 2009.]

Respirator — Refers to an N95 or higher filtering facepiece respirator certified by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

rRT-PCR Swine Flu Panel diagnostic  test – A tool used to diagnose swine flu cases locally, thus speeding up the confirmation process.

Spanish Flu   —   Another name for the 1918 flu pandemic or La Gripe Espanola.

Swine Flu   —   Commonly used shorthand name for influenza A (H1N1) Symptoms — Body aches, fever, headaches, sore throat, body pain, chills and fatigue, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.

Tamiflu and Relenza  —  In response to the request from CDC, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration , in has issued Emergency Use Authorizations  for the use of Relenza and Tamiflu antiviral products.   Tamiflu has been stockpiled by Homeland Security in the US. For optimum efficacy, infected individuals should take it as early as possible.  It lessens the symptoms but is not a cure for Swine Flu.

WHO — Located in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Health Organization, is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system.

Chinglish

Will the Beijing Olympics Finally Eradicate Chinglish?

Is this the End to ‘Deformed-man Toilets’ and ‘Racist Parks’

We think not.

Austin, Texas, USA.   July 30, 2008.   MetaNewswire.  There has been much publicity about Beijing’s vaunted attempt to eradicate Chinglish before the 2008 Games begin.  Menus at the top hotels have been replaced with standardized, albeit less poetic, versions (no more ‘exploding shrimp’.)

And many of the city’s traffic signs have been tamed (no more signposts to the Garden with Curled Poo).  “We have worked out 4,624 pieces of standard English translations to substitute the Chinglish ones on signs around the city,” said Lu Jinlan, head of the organizing committee of the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Programme (BSFLP).

Is this really the end of Chinglish, that delightful admixture of Chinese and English?

Studies by the Global Language Monitor suggest that Chinglish will persist – and even thrive – far after the Games have ended.

Chinglish is the outgrowth of several convening forces, including:

·    the widespread acceptance of English as a Global Language

·    the fact that some 250 million Chinese are currently studying English as a second, auxiliary or business language

·    he astonishing complexity and richness of the Mandarin language

·    the English language vocabulary is approaching the million word mark

·    The Chinese people evidently enjoy wearing Chinglish on their clothing

Mandarin has more than 50,000 ideograms each of which can be used to represent any number of words.  In addition, Mandarin is a tonal language meaning that tonal variations in pronunciation can distinguish one word from another.  Therefore attempting to map a precise ideogram to any particular word in the million-word English lexicon is a nearly impossible task.

The difficulty is further evidenced on the official Olympic website of the Beijing Olympic Games,http://en.beijing2008.cn, where it states that “we share the charm and joy of the Olympic Games”.  Hundreds of scholars have proofed the site and decided that the word charm is most appropriate in describing the Games.  In past Olympiads words such as ‘power’, ‘pride,’ ‘heroic,’ ‘majesty,’ ‘triumph,’ and, even, ‘tragedy’ frequently have been used to described the Olympic movement but the word ‘charm’ has largely been ignored.   Charm has a number of meanings including the ‘individuating property of quarks and other elementary particles’.  In this case, we assume the authorities were using the definition of charm as a transitive verb:  to attract or please greatly; enchant; allure; fascinate; or delight.

Finally, there is the on-going cross-pollination between English and Mandarin, with Chinglish at the epicenter of the movement.  Recently, the Ministry of Education (MOE) accepted some 171 neologisms into the Chinese language.   Words were considered only after they passed the scrutiny of a dozen scholars associated with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) Institute of Linguistics.  These included a new ideogram for ‘brokeback,’ a word popularized from the banned movie Brokeback Mountain to indicate ‘gay’.

You will find brokeback in few English-language dictionaries, but it already has been accepted into the Chinese.  Words passed over for formal entry, which despite their frequency of use were deemed inappropriate included:  “cool”, “zip it”, 3Q for “thank you” and “kick your ass”.

Recently, the Global Language Monitor listed its all-time favorite Chinglish words and phrases.  These included:

·         Deformed man toilet (handicapped restroom)

·         Airline Pulp (food served aboard airlines – no explanation necessary

·         The slippery are very crafty (slippery when wet)

·         If you are stolen, call the police

·         Do not climb the rocketry (rock wall)

Chinglish Adds Flavor to Alphabet Soup

2/19/2008 (China Daily)– San Diego-based consultancy group – Global Language Monitor claims Chinglish is adding the most spice to the alphabet soup of today’s English by contributing more words than any other single source to the global language.

And the more Chinese I learn, the more appetizing this seems.

Subscribing to the Elizabethan definition of a word as “a thing spoken and understood”, GLM is using a predictive quantities indicator (PQI) to scan the Web for emergent English words and track their mainstream use over time.

As GLM president Paul JJ Payack says: “Language colors the way you think. Thinking in Chinese is completely different.”

And every day that I learn more Chinese, the more vibrant this coloration becomes in my mind. This is mostly because of the descriptive nature of the language, in which many words are created by mixing and matching diasylobolic words to create new diasylobolic words.

Generally speaking, English is more definitional, so its words are more terminological than descriptive. For example, a “spider” is a spider – the word in itself tells you nothing about what it represents. But the Chinese word for spider (zhizhu) literally translates as “clever insect” – a description it earns in Chinese by spinning intricate webs to ensnare prey.

In Chinese, you don’t ride a bike, bus or train; you instead respectively ride a (zixinche) “self-walk vehicle”, a (gonggongqiche) “public all-together gas vehicle” or a (huoche) “fire vehicle”.

A massage is a (anmo) “press and touch”. A pimple is a (qingdou) “youth bean”. Investing is to (touzi) “throw funds”. And when you don’t make your money back, the disappointment is conveyed directly as (saoxing) “sweep interest”.

While linguists ballyhoo English’s capacity for specificity, this has in some ways become its weakness, as the definitional often trumps the descriptive, with wonderful exceptions, such as “rainbow”. But that’s where the other widely vaunted strength of the language – its capacity to ravenously gobble up other languages’ words – could become a beautiful thing. And I’m glad to know the English language is developing a growing taste for Chinese food.

In the 1960s, there were about 250 million English speakers, mostly from the United States, the United Kingdom and their former colonies.

Today, the same number of Chinese possesses some command of the language, and that number is growing. One possibility is the plethora of localized “lishes”, such as Chinglish, Hinglish (a Hindi-English hybrid) and Spanglish (an English-Spanish hybrid) could branch so far from English, they become mutually unintelligible tongues sharing a common root, much as Latin did in Medieval Europe.

Many linguists agree that if the lishes splinter, Chinglish will likely become the most prominent offshoot by virtue of sheer numbers, giving Chinese primary ownership of the language.

Perhaps then, English could become more beautiful than I could now describe – at least with its currently existing words. (Contributed by China Daily)

The Million Word March. Fueled by Chinglish?

‘No Noising’ and ‘Airline Pulp’ named Top Chinglish Words

San Diego, Calif. November 22, 2006. ‘No Noising’ and ‘Airline Pulp’ have been named the Top Chinglish Words of 2006 in The Global Language Monitor’s annual survey of the Chinese-English hybrid words known more commonly as Chinglish. Though often viewed with amusement by the rest of the English-speaking world, The Chinglish phenomenon is one of the prime drivers of Globalization of the English Language.

The Annual Survey by the Global Language Monitor

“The importance of Chinglish is the fact that some 250,000,000 Chinese are now studying, or have studied, English and their impact (and imprint) upon the language cannot be denied,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and The WordMan of the Global Language Monitor. “Since each Chinese ideogram can have many meanings and interpretations, translating ideas into English is, indeed, difficult. Nevertheless, the abundance of new words and phrases, unlikely as this may seem, can and will impact Global English as it evolves through the twenty-first century”.

With the English Language marching steadily toward the 1,000,000 word mark, there are now some 1.3 billion speakers with English as their native, second, business or technical tongue. In 1960, the number of English Speakers hovered around 250,000,000 mainly located in the UK and its Commonwealth of former colonies, and the US.

Some scholars maintain that you cannot actually count the number of words in the language because it is impossible to say exactly what a word is, talking rather of memes and other linguistic constructs, are afraid that Global English is just another form of cultural Imperialism. GLM take the classic view of the language as understood in Elisabethan England, where a word was ‘a thing spoken’ or an ‘idea spoken’.

Others say that English is undergoing a rebirth unlike any seen since the time of Shakespeare, when English was emerging as the modern tongue known to us today. (Shakespeare, himself, added about 1700 words to the Codex.) English has emerged as the lingua franca of the planet, the primary communications vehicle of the Internet, high technology, international commerce, entertainment, and the like.

Chinglish is just one of a number of the -Lishes, such as Hinglish (Hindu-English hydrid) and Singlish, that found in Singapore. A language can best be view as a living entity, where it grows just like any other living thing and is shaped by the environment in which it lives. With the continuing emergence of China on the world stage — and with the Olympics coming to Beijing in 2008, the state is now attempting to stamp-out some of the more egregious examples of Chinglish.

In its annual survey the Global Language Monitor has selected from hundreds of nominees, the top Chinglish words and Phrases of 2006.

The Top Chinglish Words and Phrases of 2006 follow:

1. “No Noising”. Translated as “quiet please!”

2. “Airline pulp.” Food served aboard an airliner.

3. “Jumping umbrella”. A hang-glider.

4. “Question Authority”. Information Booth.

5. “Burnt meat biscuit.” No it’s not something to enjoy from the North of England but what is claimed to be bread dipped in a savory meat sauce.

Bonus: GLM’s all-time favorite from previous surveys: “The Slippery are very crafty”. Translation: Slippery when wet!

Independent News (London): Chinglish Phrases on the Rise

People’s Daily (China): Global Language Monitor: Many Chinglish into English

The Sunday Times (London): Chinglish: It’s a word in a million

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Chinglish one of the Top Words of 2005

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