Global Language Monitor’s Top Words of 2012 projections from current word trends
AUSTIN, Texas December 26, 2011 – Trending 2012: Multiple End-of-World scenarios, Kate, China, CERN, the Olympics, The US Elections will dominate word creation and usage in the English language in 2012.
This is according to current word trends in global English being tracked by the Global Language Monitor. Last month, Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor had announced that ‘Occupy’ was the Top Word, ‘Arab Spring’ the Top Phrase and ‘Steve Jobs’ the Top Name of 2011 in its twelfth annual global survey of the English language.
The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.83 billion speakers (January 2012 estimate).
The Projected Top Words of 2012
1. Kate — There are seven billion humans on the planet but sometimes it seems that it’s all about Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton in terms of fashion, celebrity, and the royal line.
2. Olympiad — The Greeks measured time by the four-year interval between the Games. Moderns measure it by medal counts, rights fees and billions of eyeballs.
3. Middle Kingdom – There is little indication that China’s continuing economic surge will fade from the global media spotlight –or abate.
4. Bak’tun — A cycle of 144,000 days in the Maya ‘Long Count’ Calendar. This bak’tun ends on December 21, 2012, also being called the Mayan Apocalypse. (Actually Maya ‘long-count’ calendars stretch hundreds of millions of years into the future, December 21st merely marks the beginning of a new cycle.)
5. Solar max — The peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle; in 1854 solar storms melted telegraph wires; what’s in store for our all-pervasive electronic infrastructure?
6. The Election — No Obama-mania this time around, more of an Obama-ennui for the November 6 elections.
8. Rogue nukes — Iran and North Korea will be the focus of attention here.
9. CERN — Neutrons traveling faster than light? The ‘God Particle’? The world ending in a mini-black hole? All these somehow revolve around CERN (The European Center for Nuclear Research). One CERN scientist calculated that the chance of a mini-Black Hole swallowing the Earth is less than 1 in 50,000,000. Somewhat comforting until you realize this is about ten times more likely than winning a national lottery.)
10. Global Warming — The earth has been warming since New York was covered under a mountain of ice; what makes 2012 any different?
11. Near-Earth Asteroid — Yet another year, another asteroid, another near-miss. (However, one does strike the Earth every one hundred million years or so.)
GLM employs its NarrativeTracker technologies for global Internet and social media analysis. NarrativeTracker is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture about any topic, at any point in time.
NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 75,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge.
“The year 2012 looks to be a vibrant year for the English language with word creation again driven by events both scheduled and unanticipated. Typically there is an ‘end-of-the-world’ scenario every few years that impacts the English language. This year we will see no fewer than three, including the Maya Apocalypse and the Solar Max,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM.
”Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, will compete with the London Olympics, the economic surge of China, various activities involving the CERN atom smasher, and the US presidential election for Top Word honors, though we always allow for word creation generated from unexpected events such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 or the Japanese ‘triple disaster’ of 2011.”
Rank / Word / Comments
7. Deficit — Looks like deficit-spending will plague Western democracies for at least the next decade.
12. Europe — United, breaking apart, saving the Euro, abandoning the Euro, with the UK again as an ‘interested onlooker’. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
Bonus Phrase: The successor term for ‘Arab Spring’, whatever that might be.
Tebowing Accepted into English Language
Six-week rise of the Global Phenomenon
Austin, Texas December 12, 2011 (Dec. 16 update)– Tebowing, the act of ‘taking a knee’ in prayerful reflection in the midst of an athletic activity, has been acknowledged as an English language word according to the Global Language Monitor.
The rapid rise of use of the word has seldom been equaled, mirroring, for example, the rate of adoption of the word Obamamania in early 2008. The first mention of the word can be traced to the dramatic overtime victory of the Denver Broncos football team over the Miami Dolphins on October 23, 2011. During the victory celebration, Tim Tebow ‘took a knee’ and was photographed in a moment of prayerful reflection. Tebow is the 2007 Heisman trophy winner who led the University of Florida to the 2008 BCS National Championship.
Though there is no official agency for accepting new words (or neologisms) into the English lexicon such as France’s Académie française, since 2003 the Global Language Monitor has been recognizing new words once they meet the criteria of a minimum number of citations across the breadth of the English-speaking world, with the requisite depth of usage on the Internet, in social media and in the top 75,000 global print and electronic media.
“Sports have become significant generators of new cultural trends and memes that transcend the athletic arena”, said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “The ESPN sports broadcasting network has widely championed the word. Jared Kleinstein’s tebowing.com website, devoted to people posing in the ‘tebowing position’, has been wildly popular. The New York Times has recently carried an editorial on the subject and the Chinese search engine, Baidu.com, already has hundreds of citations for tebowing.” (See ‘Tebowing Goes Global’ in The Daily Beast.)
The Urban Dictionary defines ‘tebowing’ as ”To get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different’.
The English language currently has some 1.58 billion speakers around the globe.
GLM released its Top Words, Phrases and Names of the Year lists on November 10th. Occupy is the Top Word of the Year, Arab Spring the Top Phrase of the Year, and Steve Jobs the Top Name of the Year.
GLM employs its NarrativeTracker technologies for global Internet and social media analysis. NarrativeTracker is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture about any topic at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 75,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources.
Egad! What’s the ‘chad’ blocking the path to the White House?
November 13, 2000
Web posted at: 11:19 a.m. EST (1619 GMT)
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — The final answer to who’s going to be the next U.S. president may be determined by “chad.”
So who, or what, is chad?
A) A country in Africa?
B) The name of a saint?
C) Rob Lowe’s brother?
D) A lowly scrap of paper that may decide who will be the next leader of the free world?
All four answers are correct. Chad is also the name of a couple of major league baseball players and one half of a British pop-singing duo from the ’60s.
But if you guessed “D,” you are informed enough to understand the vote counting process in Florida.
Politicians are tossing the term “chad” around as if everyone were familiar with the word. Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore’s campaign adviser, George Mitchell, is among them.
“You can run those machine ballots through five times and you’ll get five different totals because the chads fall off with each count,” he said, explaining on “Fox News Sunday” the reason he believes ballots in Florida should be recounted by hand.
But Mitchell’s use of “chads” betrayed his own lack of familiarity with the word. “Chad is its own plural,” said Paul J.J. Payack, president and CEO of yourdictionary.com, which is based in California.
The Web site www.yourdictionary.com defines the word as follows:
|1. The confetti-like scrap punched out of cards or paper tape (also “chaff,” “computer confetti” or “keypunch droppings”).|
|2. The perforated strips on the edge of paper for sprocket feed printers after they have been separated from the printed portion (also “perf,” “perfory,” or “snaf”).|
|Etymology: Possibly from the last name of the inventor of the Chadless cardpunch, which cut U-shapes in punch cards, rather than open circles or rectangles. (The U’s formed holes when folded back.)|
“Chad” would then be a back-formation from “Chadless” misunderstood: If the Chadless keypunches don’t produce it, other keypunches must produce “chad.”
The word appears to have entered the national lexicon in the late 1940s, around the time people began to refer to “bug” as a computer glitch after a researcher blamed a moth among a group of vacuum tubes for affecting ENIAC, the primitive computer powered by thousands of such tubes, said Payack. That was also about the time when IBM began using punch cards that warned users not to fold, spindle or mutilate.
In Florida, vote-counters may have wished for a “chadometer” to measure whether a bit of chad is sufficiently dislodged to qualify it as “dangling.”
When the hand recount began in Palm Beach County, the canvassing board there said it would count a vote if any of the corners of the chad were punched.
The board then decided that they would instead use the “sunlight test” — if they could see sun through an indentation, it would count.
About a quarter of the way through the counting, however, a board member determined that the light test was flawed and told the other members to go back to the first test.
According to county spokesman Bob Nichols, there are five types of chad.
Ones that count:
• Hanging door — one corner hanging off
• Swinging door — two corners hanging off
• Tri-chad — three corners hanging off
Chads that don’t count:
• Pregnant — bulges, but not punched through
• Dimple — simple indentation
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
San Francisco. July 24, 2011 — We first saw the story, 15 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent, on the MentalFloss outlet (a genuinely interesting site for esoterica lovers), compiled by Bill DeMain. His attribution states that “many of the words above can be found in BBC researcher Adam Jacot de Boinod’s book ‘The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World.”
In the last few days we have tracked it thousands of times around the English speaking world, which now happens to encompass the globe. We are intrigued by the idea that there, indeed, might be no equivalent English words or phrases for these terms.
After all there are as of today, July 24th, 2011 the Global language Monitor calculates that there are approximately 1,010,649.7 words in the English language. (The language gains a new word every ninety-eight minutes, hence the, we admit, totally extraneous decimal point.)
So here’s the challenge to lovers of the language. Do these 15 Wonderful Words Actually Have No English Equivalent?
Send us your suggestions to: 15WonderfulWords@LanguageMonitor.com, and we will publish what our readers come up with.
Here’s the list original story:
by Bill DeMain, July 22, 2011
The Global Language Monitor estimates that there are currently 1,009,753 words in the English language. Despite this large lexicon, many nuances of human experience still leave us tongue-tied. And that’s why sometimes it’s necessary to turn to other languages to find le mot juste. Here are fifteen foreign words with no direct English equivalent.
1. Zhaghzhagh (Persian)
The chattering of teeth from the cold or from rage.
2. Yuputka (Ulwa)
A word made for walking in the woods at night, it’s the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.
3. Slampadato (Italian)
Addicted to the infra-red glow of tanning salons? This word describes you.
4. Luftmensch (Yiddish)
There are several Yiddish words to describe social misfits. This one is for an impractical dreamer with no business sense. Literally, air person.
5. Iktsuarpok (Inuit)
You know that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet? This is the word for it.
6. Cotisuelto (Caribbean Spanish)
A word that would aptly describe the prevailing fashion trend among American men under 40, it means one who wears the shirt tail outside of his trousers.
7. Pana Po’o (Hawaiian)
“Hmm, now where did I leave those keys?” he said, pana po’oing. It means to scratch your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten.
8. Gumusservi (Turkish)
Meteorologists can be poets in Turkey with words like this at their disposal. It means moonlight shining on water.
9. Vybafnout (Czech)
A word tailor-made for annoying older brothers—it means to jump out and say boo.
10. Mencolek (Indonesian)
You know that old trick where you tap someone lightly on the opposite shoulder from behind to fool them? The Indonesians have a word for it.
11. Faamiti (Samoan)
To make a squeaking sound by sucking air past the lips in order to gain the attention of a dog or child.
12. Glas wen (Welsh)
A smile that is insincere or mocking. Literally, a blue smile.
13. Bakku-shan (Japanese)
The experience of seeing a woman who appears pretty from behind but not from the front.
14. Boketto (Japanese)
It’s nice to know that the Japanese think enough of the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking to give it a name.
15. Kummerspeck (German)
Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.
Remember to send us your suggestions for English-language equivalents to: 15WonderfulWords@LanguageMonitor.com or info@LanguageMonitor.com.
Psst! So are Alcohol, Algebra, Chemistry, Guitars and Zeroes …
Hundreds of Words of Arabic Origin are Considered Authentic English language words
San Francisco. July 22, 2011. Haboobs, those dust storms invading the Southwestern United States these days, might be called as American as Apple Pie — or at least as English as fish and chips. The word, according to an analysis by the Global Language Monitor conducted earlier this week, is actually considered an English-language word, found in unabridged dictionaries, hundreds of thousands of times on the Internet, and hundreds of times in the print media and scholarly works as least as far back as the 19th century.
When Arizona-based weather forecasters used ‘haboob’ to describe the fierce wind- and dust-storms their were immediate calls to stop use of that term since it is of Arabic in origin, and might be insulting to American and NATO forces stationed in Arabic-speaking lands.
“If you find that the word ‘haboob’ is inappropriate because of its Arabic origin, then you better start thinking about:
and the hundreds of other words of Arabic origin that are members in excellent standing in contemporary English, said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM.
“The English language has thousands upon thousands of words that it has ‘borrowed’ from hundreds of languages over its fourteen hundred year lifespan. Unfortunately, once English ensnares one these ‘loan’ words, they seldom ever escape”.
In this free-wheeling era, when the English language is often applied with little supervision, it’s common for purists to complain about the abuse of words.
For instance, I dislike it when things are indicated instead of said. And impact gets rough treatment, as it’s transmogrified into a Franken-adjective (impactful) and is too often made to serve as a substitute for affect — probably by people who are unsure whether to use that word or effect.
And there should be a petition to remove the word literally from use, for at least a lengthy rehabilitation and perhaps a permanent retirement.
But I was surprised to learn that in 19th-century Britain, readers viewed words like lengthy and reliable as signs of the coming apocalypse. It turns out that those words, along with talented andtremendous, were imports from America.
As Matthew Engel writes at the BBC, “The poet Coleridge denounced ‘talented’ as a barbarous word in 1832, though a few years later it was being used by William Gladstone. A letter-writer to the Times, in 1857, described ‘reliable’ as vile.” [Read More]
What Started the “Two Way” discussion (Below)
By Matthew Engel I have had a lengthy career in journalism. I hope that’s because editors have found me reliable. I have worked with many talented colleagues. Sometimes I get invited to parties and meet influential people. Overall, I’ve had a tremendous time.
Lengthy. Reliable. Talented. Influential. Tremendous.
All of these words we use without a second thought were never part of the English language until the establishment of the United States.
The Americans imported English wholesale, forged it to meet their own needs, then exported their own words back across the Atlantic to be incorporated in the way we speak over here. Those seemingly innocuous words caused fury at the time.
The poet Coleridge denounced “talented” as a barbarous word in 1832, though a few years later it was being used by William Gladstone. A letter-writer to the Times, in 1857, described “reliable” as vile.
[Read More on the BBC]
As Summer Blockbuster Season Peaks, a Look Back at the Top Hollywords from 2010
8th Annual Global Survey by the Global Language Monitor
Austin, Texas. July 12, 2011. As summer blockbuster season peaks, a look back at the top words from the movies that influenced the English language from 2010.
For the first time a single word representative of a number of the year’s blockbusters, Grit, tops the list of Hollywords as named by the Global Language Monitor. Grit topped arrogance, abdicate, stammer, and madness. Dream-stealers, nerds, Borogoves, shard, and 3-D rounded out the top ten.
“For the first time a single word was representative of a number of the year’s Oscar winning films,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst for the Global Language Monitor, “According to Webster’s the term, grit, has the following senses that applied to these films: firmness, pluck, gritty (as in soot-covered), stubborn, indomitable spirit, courageous, and brave perseverance.”
The Top Hollywords of the 2010 season with the largest impact on the English language with commentary follow.
1. The word grit has been defined in a number of ways by Webster that reflects many of the virtues of this year’s nominees.
- Grit is, of course, from the title of Best Picture nominee True Grit, as exemplified by the character’s played by Jeff Bridges (firmness) and Hailee Steinfeld (pluck).
- The action of The Fighter took place against the backdrop of one of the nation’s fabled gritty cities: Lowell, Massachusetts into which Mark Wahlberg, Melissa Leo and Christian Bale expertly blended.
- 127 Hours portrayed the stubborn courage of a man driven to desperate acts to ensure his survival.
- The accidental and courageous king and his indomitable tutor as portrayed by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in The King’s Speech.
- Woody’s brave perseverance to keep his fellow toys together in Toy Story 3.
2. Arrogance – Deftly depicted in both The Social Network and Inside Job.
3. Abdicate – Another generation learns of cowardice in high places, again; this time it’s found in the British Royal Family as depicted in The King’s Speech.
4. Stammer and/or Stutter – If you paid close attention you might actually notice the difference between a stammer and a stutter in Colin Firth’s dialogue.
5. Madness – We are told there is no such thing as ‘madness’ in the 21st century, but whatever we may call it, in the Black Swan Natalie Portman’s creates a dramatic portrait of the descent into it.
6. Dream-Stealers – (and dream shapers and sowers). Evidently, new career options for the 21st century endless-recession economy introduced to us by Leonardo DiCaprio and his film Inception. The timid need not apply.
7. Nerd – Once more, we are fascinated by the rise of the nerd in The Social Network … though most nerds never overcome their nerdness, and only the most rare of exceptions is able to cash in on it.
8. Borogoves — Alice in Wonderland sheds a bit of light on the ‘borogoves’. As you know, they were all ‘mimsy’ in Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s nonsense poem, Jabberwocky.
9. Shard – Though widely confused with the word ‘shred’ as in a ‘shred of truth’, Harry Potter finds a mirror shard, in which he catches a glimpse of a blue eye and keeps it for later use. From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.
10. 3D CGI – (Three-dimensional, Computer-generated imagery) Five of the top ten grossing films of 2010 were CGI-based 3D, accumulating some $1.3B domestically: Toy Story 3, Despicable Me, Shrek Forever After, How to Train Your Dragon, and Tangled. Whether this is a transformative trend or a passing fad has yet to be determined.
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.
Previous Top HollyWord Winners include:
2009 ‘Pandora’ from Avatar
2008 ‘Jai Ho!’ Literally ‘Let there be Victory’ in Hindi from Slumdog Millionaire
2007 “Call it, Friendo,” from No Country for Old Men
2006 ‘High Five!!! Its sexy time!’ from Borat!
2005 ‘Brokeback’ from Brokeback Mountain
2004 “Pinot” from Sideways
2003 ‘Wardrobe malfunction’ from Super Bowl XXXVIII
GLM Comment : We think not. But perhaps an unexpected ability to fashion an English Sentence.
One week ago today, the MoJo DC bureau was consumed by the arrival of Sarah Palin’s emails covering the first half of her half-term as Alaska’s governor. As David Corn detailed, there were plenty of interesting discoveries—a less than chilly attitude toward climate change, for instance, and a sometimes obsessive attitude toward media critics (marginal and otherwise).
While we were poring over the documents, though, Michael McLaughlin of AOL’s Weird News was taking a different approach:
AOL Weird News brought samples to two writing analysts who independently evaluated 24,000 pages of the former governor’s emails. They came back in agreement that Palin composed her messages at an [8.5] level, an excellent score for a chief executive, they said…
“She’s very concise. She gives clear orders. Her sentences and punctuations are logical,” Payack said. “She has much more of a disciplined mind than she’s given credit for.”
Although it’s like comparing apples to oranges, Payack said that famous speeches like Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was a 9.1 and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” oration rated a 8.8 on the scale.
Having read several thousand pages of the Palin emails, I think apples and oranges might be a bit of an understatement here. But there’s also a bit of truth there: Palin’s written communications are noticeably more coherent than her efforts to explain herself verbally (witness: Paul Revere-gate).
Palin’s Emails: What Her Remarkably Lucid Prose Says About the Art of Teaching Writi
- John McWhorter
- June 16, 2011 | 12:00 am
Sarah Palin’s emails are telling us something about remedial writing classes at our universities and colleges, and it’s not what you think. Call her defensive or parochial based on the cache of her spontaneous writings while serving as governor of Alaska, but
something easy to miss is that Palin, in contrast to her meandering, involuted speaking style, is a thoroughly competent writer—more so than a great many people most of us likely know, including college graduates.
Indeed, her facility in writing proves something one might be pardoned for supposing she was exaggerating about in Going Rogue, her autobiography, in which she limns a childhood portrait of herself as a bibliophilic sort of tot:
Reading was a special bond between my mother and me. Mom read aloud to me – poetry by Ogden Nash and the Alaska poet Robert Service, along with snippets of prose …. My siblings were better athletes, cuter and more sociable than I, and the only thing they had to envy about me was the special passion for reading that I shared with our mother.
That’s right, Sarah “you betcha” Palin was, of all things, a bookworm, excited to learn to spell “different” and winning a poetry contest for a poem about Betsy Ross. And as such, it is predictable that her emails would evidence such casually solid command of the language—even if her oral rendition of it is a different matter entirely.
Once we understand that, it leads to some serious questions, as posed by books getting buzz at present such as Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s Academically Adrift and In the Basement of the Ivory Tower by the anonymous “Professor X.” How sensible is our assigning millions of freshmen each year to classes intended to teach them a skill so deeply rooted in unconscious facilitation at an early age?
To get a sense, it helps to see a few of these emails. Because email is written speech, it’s easy to miss artfulness in them. Yet, take this Palin passage: “Even CP has admitted locking up tax rates as Glenn suggests is unacceptable to the legislature, the Alaskan public, this administration, and the Constitution.”
The spelling is flawless—and unlikely to be completely a product of spell-check, which misses errors and often creates others. More to the point, she has an embedded clause (“locking up tax rates”) nested into a main one, with another clause “as Glenn suggests” nested within the embedded one. That’s good old-fashioned grammar school “syntax.” I have known plenty of people with B.A.s who could barely pull it off properly at gunpoint, and several others who would only bother to at gunpoint.
Equally graceful despite its mundane content: “Cowdery telling a kid what’s acceptable and what isn’t inside these four walls??? Puleeeze. A three-pound puppy vs. all the CBC crap that he helped dump around here?” You hear an actual human voice here. We tell some people “I can hear your voice in the way you write”—because it’s unusual for people to be able to “write” themselves. Palin is one of the people who can. [Read More.]
Sarah Palin’s Emails Written At 8th Grade Level — Better Than Some CEOs
The huge cache of Sarah Palin’s emails released Friday offered not only a chance to see what she was writing about during her uncompleted term as Alaska’s governor, but also an opportunity to see how well she writes.
AOL Weird News brought samples to two writing analysts who independently evaluated 24,000 pages of the former governor’s emails. They came back in agreement that Palin composed her messages at an eighth-grade level, an excellent score for a chief executive, they said.
“I’m a centrist Democrat, and would have loved to support my hunch that Ms. Palin is illiterate,” said2tor Chief Executive Officer John Katzman.
“However, the emails say something else. Ms. Palin writes emails on her Blackberry at a grade level of 8.5.
“If she were a student and showing me her work, I’d say ‘It’s fine, clear writing,'” he said, admitting that emails he wrote scored lower than Palin’s on the widely used Flesch-Kincaid readability test.
“She came in as a solid communicator,” said Paul J.J. Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor. The emails registered as an 8.2 on his version of the test. “That’s typical for a corporate executive.”
An example of Palin’s strongest writing came on Jul. 17, 2007 in an email to Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell about the controversial Gravina Island Bridge, infamously called the “Bridge to Nowhere.”
“We cant afford it, the Feds won’t pay for it, the general populace isn’t placing it as a high priority … can you diplomatically express that?! Of course we want infrastructure — and this is NOT a “bridge to nowhere” (that is so offensive), but as it stands today with the highest-cost bridge design selected by the Ketchikan community, we need to find a lower-cost alternative [if] a bridge will be built.”
“She’s very concise. She gives clear orders. Her sentences and punctuations are logical,” Payack said. “She has much more of a disciplined mind than she’s given credit for.” [Read More.]