‘Make no mistake,’ Obama is a big fan of his own catchphrases
BY ANTHONY DECEGLIE AND JENNY MERKINMONDAY, MARCH 28, 2011
Statistics gathered by the Global Language Monitor reveal that Obama has said it 2,924 times since he was sworn into office more than two years ago.
Other signature Obama sayings include “Here’s the deal” (1,450 times) and “Let me be clear,” (1,066 times). In a nod to the tough financial times he has faced, the president’s fifth most popular motto is “It will not be easy.”
Obama’s reheated rhetoric has recently come under fresh scrutiny. Parts of his speech warning Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to honor the United Nations’ cease-fire pact were strikingly similar to the words spoken by President George W. Bush when he launched military strikes in Afghanistan.
“Our goal is focused. Our cause is just. And our coalition is strong,” Obama said. Bush, nearly a decade earlier: “Your mission is defined. Your objectives are clear. Your goal is just.”
Make no mistake, The Daily is hoping Obama lifts his creative game and “wins the future” (another rhetorical crutch) when it comes to this public speaking deal. Although we understand it will not be easy.
Scale of Top Sayings (Source: The Global Language Monitor, as of March 25)
#1 “Make no mistake” — 2,924 times
#2 “Win the future” — 1,861 times; 9 times in his 2011 State of the Union address
Prevailing view ‘harmless,’ Opposing views called ‘laced with hysteria’
AUSTIN, Texas. March 23, 2011. With radioactive elements from Japan’s Fukushima Daiiachi disaster finally reaching the continental US this week, the Global Language Monitor’s NarrativeTracker has found that the possible long-term dangers of Fukushima Daiiachi’s radioactive fallout has been little discussed in the media. In fact, there has been little or no discussion of the ongoing debate about assessing the long-term risks associated with Cesium-137 and Iodine-131, etc.
The prevailing view of the global print and electronic media is to pronounce the radioactive elements ‘harmless,’ which is in direct contract to the accepted view of the National Academy of Sciences, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and many others. In fact, the discussion that does appear, labels opposing views as ‘irrational’ or ‘laced with hysteria’, as in a recent article in the New York Times.
According the the Global Language Monitor’s NarrativeTracker there have been only two references to the controversy in the past week in the major global media, or even to the fact that the analysis of the heath impact of the escaped radiation could be far off base. An article in the Malaysian Star was the most insightful. Even on the web news side, NarrativeTracker picked up fewer that half a dozen references to the controversy in the last week.
On the Internet and in Social Media, there were some 10,000 references to the controversy, which pales in comparison to news about, say Charlie Sheen (who has hundreds of million citations). In addition, there were about three million references to the ‘harmless’ effects of the Fukushima fallout, with about 7,000,000 references to its ‘dangers’.
Therefore, the prevailing and accepted view of the National Academy of Sciences, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and, for that matter, the US Congress has been overlooked in the global media discussion. This is the view that holds sway in legislation ranging from the regulation of cigarettes, CT scans and the Hanford Reservation cleanup. In addition to the risk to human life, billions of dollars in government are at stake.
The controversy concerns Linear No Threshold (LNT) methodology to calculate risk from exposure to radioactive elements. The LNT dose-response relationship is used to describe the relationship between radiation dose and the occurrence of cancer. This dose-response model suggests that any increase in dose, no matter how small, results in an incremental increase in risk. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) accepts the LNT hypothesis as a conservative model for estimating radiation risk.
There are two competing theories here.
1. There is no lower-level threshold to the threat from radioactive exposure. Basically this means that even a small exposure to radioactivity will increase the chance of cancer occurring in a corresponding small percentage of the population. The smaller the exposure, the smaller the risk, but the risk never falls to zero.
2. There is a lower-level threshold to the threat from radioactive exposure. This is model that the media has adopted in claims that the fallout is ‘harmless’ while still recognizing that it is harmful in large doses. Some scientists adhere to the radiation hormesis model that radiation might even be beneficial in very low doses
The LNT model is generally accepted by most governments and scientific agencies and predicts higher risks than the threshold model. Because the current data is inconclusive, scientists disagree on which methodology should be used.
However, the fact that there has been little or no discussion of the topic in the media is cause for concern.
Another New Media Company that Passes into the Language
AUSTIN, Texas December 21, 2010 – WikiLeaks.ch, which that has increasingly upped the ante of the kind of information that it leaks into the public sphere from anonymous sources, has been deemed an English language word by the Global language Monitor. GLM recognizes a word as being part of the English language once it meets the requisite criteria of geographic reach as well as ‘depth and breadth’ of recorded usage.
In the case of wikileaks, the word appeared sporadically in the global media in 2006 until it has now been cited more than 300 million times, even with a quick Google search. This, of course, correlates with WikiLeaks’ most recent release of diplomatic correspondence and other classified government information. GLM standards include a minimum of 25,000 citations of a new term in the global media that encompass the English-speaking world, which now encompasses some 1.58 billion people. (In 1960, there were about 250 million English speakers, mostly in former British colonies.)
“Wikileaks joins a number of new media and high technology companies whose names and functions are being incorporated into the language,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of Austin-based Global Language Monitor. “These include Google, Twitter and the ‘friending’ function of Facebook. The most recent language spin-off from Google appears to be Xoogler, referring to ex-Google employees who bring their talents to other start-ups.”
The word ‘wiki’ is Hawaiian in origin and is usually defined as ‘quick’ or ‘fast’ especially when used in rapid succession: “wiki, wiki, wiki!”. In computing, a wiki describes software that lets any user create or edit Web-server content. The WikiLeaks organization was originally set-up as a ‘wiki’.
There is no official English language institution charged with maintaining the ‘purity’ of the English language and to maintain vigilance of the ‘corrupting influence’ of other languages. English accepts any and all contenders as long as they meet the requisite criteria of geographic reach as well as depth and breadth of usage. The L’Académie française is the official arbiter of the French language; it has famously declared the word ‘email’ (as well as ‘hamburger’) verboten from official French correspondence. The Royal Spanish Academy serves the same function for the Spanish language; it has recently eliminated two letters from the Spanish alphabet to the howl of Spanish speakers outside Spain.
The most recent words acknowledged by the Global Language Monitor include ‘refudiate’ a malapropism coined by Sarah Palin, ‘vuvuzela’ the brightly colored plastic horns made (in)famous at the South African World Cup, and ‘snowmageddon’ that President Obama used to described the winter storms that nearly shut down Washington, DC during the recent winter.
AUSTIN, Texas December 8, 2010 (Updated) – The Global Language Monitor has announced the Top Words of 2011, yes 2011.
“Typically, we gather our top words throughout the year and rank them according to the number of citations, the size and depth of their linguistic footprint and momentum. To project possible top words for 2011, we analyzed the categories that we monitor and then choose words from each representative of various word trends,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM. “Over the last ten years, we’ve frequently been asked the question, so this year we are providing our projections.”
The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.58 billion speakers.
Projected Top Words of 2011Rank / Word / Comments
Twenty-Eleven – The English-speaking world has finally agreed on a common designation for the year: Twenty-eleven far outstrips ‘two thousand eleven’ in the spoken language. This is welcome relief from the decade-long confusion over how to pronounce 2001, 2001, 2003, etc.
Obama-mess – David Letterman’s neologism for 2010 also works for 2011. This word is neutral. If Obama regain his magic, he escaped his Obama-mess; if his rating sinks further he continues to be engulfed by it.
Great Recession – Even the best case scenario has the economy digging out of this hole for the foreseeable future,
Palinism – Because the media needs an heir to Bushisms and Sarah Palin is the candidate of choice here.
3.0 – 2.0 has settled into the vocabulary in a thousand differing forms — Obama 2.0, Web 2.0, Lindsey Lohan 2.0, so we project 3.0 being used to ‘one-up’ the 2.0 trend.
9/11 – Next September is the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on US soil, so there is sure to be a great resurgence in use of the phrase.
Climate Change (or global warming) – Both of these phrases have been in the Top Ten for the last decade, so we see no reason the English-speaking public will abandon either or both of the phrases.
China/Chinese – The emergence of China is the Top Story of the Decade and there is little indication that is emergence on the world stage will continue in the media.
Hobbit and/or Parseltongue – The blockbuster movies of 2011 will be sure to include Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 and the Hobbit (though the Hobbit premiers on Dec. 31) are sure to spin out some word or phrase that will remain memorable to the Earthly-audience.
Pundits jumped on Sarah Palin when she recently tweeted that people should “refudiate” plans for a New York City mosque near Ground Zero.
“Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate,” Palin tweeted.
The tweet was quickly deleted, and refute replaced refudiate, but the clips of Palin using the word on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show have not gone away. Nor has the flap over how the former governor and vice presidential candidate let her linguistic slip show.
Still, while Palin is no Shakespeare — a famous coiner of words — it may be wrong to misunderestimate refudiate too quickly.
“In English, the tradition is words bubble up from the people,” said Paul J.J. Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor in Austin. “If it’s used, it’s accepted as a word.”
George W. Bush’s notorious use of misunderestimate is a good example of how what’s called a portmanteau word can find acceptance.
Like an old-fashioned portmanteau traveling case that opens into two compartments like a book, portmanteau words such as refudiate combine two other words in form and meaning. [Read More.]
It’s hard to refudiate that we lost one of our great TV journalists and guardians of the language with the recent death of NBC’s Edwin Newman.
In fact, it’s impossible to refudiate – because “refudiate” isn’t a word.
We imagine that Newman, who displayed a strong sense of humor in his TV commentaries, writings and appearances on David Letterman’s old morning show and “Saturday Night Live,” might have gotten a rueful chuckle out of Sarah Palin’s tweeted mash-up of “refute” and “repudiate.”
Newman, whose death at age 91 was reported Wednesday, famously asked in “Strictly Speaking,” his 1974 bestseller on the state of language, “Will America be the death of English?”
GLM Comment: In fact the exact opposite has occurred — American English has spurred the English to a new level, from Old English, to Middle English, to Modern English to what might be deemed, in contemporary fashion, English 2.0.
Recent evidence doesn’t bode well for the mother tongue. The folks at Merriam-Webster this month named “refudiate” the Word of the Summer – and reported that the non-word spurred many searches on its online dictionary.
Meanwhile, The Global Language Monitor last week released its annual list of the popular “telewords” (which isn’t really a word itself). Placing No. 3 on the group’s “Top Words from Television” list for the 2009-2010 TV season was “guido.”
That anti-Italian slur became a catchword, thanks to the cast of “Jersey Shore” – a place, at least on MTV, where young people foolishly acting out stereotypes are celebrated and rewarded. (In other signs of the times, The Monitor’s top two entries were “BP Spillcam” and “dysfunctional.”) [Read More.]
With less than two months to go until the November midterm elections, a clear winner is beginning to emerge in the race to declare the year’s biggest political buzzword.
Hey, buzzwords matter. Who could forget — no matter how much we might like to – such hits from years past as “chad,” “Swift Boat” and “lipstick” as it might be smeared on a pig or a pitbull?
On Tuesday, the website Global Language Monitor, based in Austin, which has been monitoring words on thousands of news, blogs and social network sites since 2003, announced the No. 1 political buzzword so far this year – beating out “climate change,” “Obama Muslim,” “lower taxes” and even “tea partiers” – is (drum roll please) “the narrative.”
The Narrative? “It’s been running strong since last spring,” GLM President Paul J.J. Payack told me in a telephone interview.
That confirmed my suspicion. I don’t even have a computerized algorithm like Payack does, but I, too, had begun to notice in my fanatical surfing of political media that the word “narrative” was popping up with increasing frequency.
For example, Steve and Cokie Roberts observed in a recent column, “For a growing number of Americans, President Barack Obama’s narrative no longer defines who he is.”
Columnist Maureen Dowd similarly wondered back in June how such a gifted storyteller as Obama could “lose control of his own narrative.”
E.J. Dionne, writing in The New Republic, notes Obama has decided to “confront a deeply embedded media narrative that sees a Republican triumph as all but inevitable.”
In fact, “narrative” was popping up so much in reference to Obama as he grappled with crises like the Gulf oil spill that a Washington Post reporter was inspired to lead one feature with, “Sing to me of the Obama narrative, Muse.” [Read More.]
Miami leads Rio, Barcelona, Sydney & Bali in Swimwear
Austin, Texas. August 16, 2010 New York, Hong Kong, London, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Moscow, Dubai, Mumbai were announced as the Top Fashion Capitals by their respective regions in the Global Language Monitor’s annual analysis. Earlier GLM announced that New York had regained the title of World Fashion Capital of 2010, after being bested by Milan in 2009. In addition, GLM announced that Miami beat Rio, Barcelona, Melbourne & Bali in the Swimwear category.
“The importance of the emerging regional fashion capitals demonstrate a major global re-alignment in the multi-trillion dollar global fashion industry,” said Bekka Payack, the Manhattan-based fashion correspondent for the Global Language Monitor. “The success of Fashion Night Out is but another example of the proliferation of the fashion culture worldwide.”
.Tour the Top 22 Fashion Capitals of Four Seasons
The Top Fashion Capitals by Region along with their place in the entire ranking are listed below.
Region, Fashion Capital, Overall Ranking
Hong Kong (2),
Australia and Oceania:
New York (1),
Los Angeles (5),
Las Vegas (16),
(San Francisco) nominated
New Delhi (30)
Sao Paulo (13),
Rio de Janeiro (19),
Buenos Aires (24),
Mexico City (29)
Middle and Eastern Europe:
Middle East and Africa:
Cape Town (23),
The Fashion Capitals for Swimwear along with their place in the entire ranking are listed below.
Swimwear Fashion Capital Rank, Overall Ranking
Rio de Janeiro (19)
These exclusive rankings are 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.
In 2010, the Top Fashion Capitals List was expanded to forty from thirty to reflect the various emerging and diverse players affecting the industry.
Austin, TX July 12, 2010 – The World Cup 2010 was an historical affair in many regards, the a first for the African continent; a first for the South African people and, of course, a first for Spain.
Another perhaps unintended consequence of World Cup 2010 is the acceptance of the word, vuvuzela, into the English language lexicon according to the qualifying criteria established by Austin-based Global Language Monitor.
The vuvuzela are the seemingly ubiquitous brightly colored plastic horns, said to have the potential to inflict lasting hearing loss because of the loudness and pitch of a typical vuvuzela (B flat below middle C, according to the BBC).
“Vuvuzela appears certain to achieve a place (or at least some notoriety) within the ranks of the English language. Vuvuzela has already appeared some 2450 times in a recent search of the New York Times archive,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor. “That is quick a few citations for the ‘first draft of history; even a quick Google search yield over 6,000,000 hits on the term.”
The thresholds to cross into the English Lexicon include 25,000 citations meeting criteria for breadth of geographic dispersion along within a depth of media formats including the Internet, blogosphere and social media along with various formats of print and electronic media. Since 2003, the Global Language Monitor has been recognizing new words or neologisms once they meet these criteria.
The word vuvuzela, itself of uncertain origin. Some think it is related to the summoning horn, the kudu, for African villages. Others speculate it to be derived from an onomatopoeic Zulu word for the sound ‘vu-vu’, or a word for noise making, while many believe it to be ‘township slang’ for shower (of noise).
English gets a new word – thanks to SA
Jul 18, 2010 12:00 AM | By Sashni Pather
The World Cup was historic in a few ways: a first for the African continent, South Africa’s people and for Spain.
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Air Date: Week of July 2, 2010
The BP oil disaster is a failure of technology and lexicology. The words that we use to describe the Gulf of Mexico disaster don’t begin to define the scope of the catastrophe. Is it a spill? A gusher? Host Jeff Young tracks the flow of words with Paul Payak from the Global Language Monitor.
YOUNG: Millions – maybe billions – of words have been written about BP’s runaway oil well. Yet words still fail us—we still lack the right term for what’s happening in the Gulf. So we turn to Paul JJ Payack for guidance. He’s President of the Global Language Monitor in Austin, Texas, where he tracks changes in the language, including the words most often used to describe the oil in the Gulf.PAYACK: Overwhelmingly, overwhelmingly, the top word is oil spill, which is sort of a disappointment. Many times when you have new events in a language, the language leads the event. You can actually… there are new words that pop up in profusion.YOUNG: Uh huh.
PAYACK: And, in this case, we haven’t seen that many new words. What we’ve seen is the old way to describe an oil spill. The Exxon Valdez has a crash, spills the oil out, and that’s a spill. But this is different; this is a lot different than a spill.
YOUNG: Because a spill connotes a fixed amount that spilled from a container into where you don’t want it. That’s not what’s happening here at all.
PAYACK: In our case, we’re not talking about a spill, we’re talking about an oil field that’s estimated at 3, 4, 5 billion barrels erupting, but we still refer to it as a spill.