Top HollyWORDS: Grit tops Arrogance, Abdicate, Stammer, and Madness

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



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Bin-Laden’s Death One of Top News Stories of 21th Century


Rise of China Still Tops all Stories

Royal Wedding breaks in at No. 5; Obama top mover (+4)

AUSTIN, Texas May 6, 2011 – The Top News Stories of the 21st century have been shuffled by the historic events of the still young 2011, according to the Austin-based Global Language Monitor. The death of Osama bin-Laden, the Royal Wedding, between Prince William and the former Kate Middleton, the unprecedented series of Japanese disasters, and the series of uprisings now known as the the Arab Spring have all broken into the Top Ten.

The on-going rise of China to first-tier nation status continues as No. 1. The election of Barack Obama to the US presidency moved up to the second spot, followed by the death of bin-Laden, and the springing of the Wikileaks followed. The Royal Wedding pushed ahead of the death of Michael Jackson and also replaced Jackson as top celebrity-driven event of the century thus far. The 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Japanese Disasters, the Arab Spring and the Global Economic Restructuring rounded out the Top Ten.

The acceleration of the news cycle has been a long-observed fact, however the acceleration of the news itself can also be viewed as unprecedented,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and the Chief Word Analyst of Austin-based Global Language Monitor.“

The full list of the Top 20 News Stories of the 21st century thus far follows. The includes the story and its rank, the year the story first broke, its ranking in 1999 and its movement (if any).

Rank of Story, Year the Story Began, Last Ranking in 2009 and Movement

1. Rise of China 2000 1 (Same)

2. Election of Barack Obama 2008 6 (+4)

3. Bin-laden Killed 2011 New —

4. Wikileaks Published 2010 New —

5. Royal Wedding British 2011 New —

6. Death of Michael Jackson 2009 5 (-1)

7. 9/11 Terrorist Attacks 2001 3 (-4)

8. Japanese Disasters 2011 2011 New —

9. Arab Spring 2011 New —

10. Global Economic Restructuring 2008 7 (-3)

11. War on Terror 2001 4 (-7)

12. Iraq War 2003 2 (-10)

13. Hurricane Katrina 2005 8 (-5)

14. Social Media as Strategic Weapon 2011 New —

15. South Asian Tsunami 2004 12 (-3)

16. Osama bin-Laden Search 2001 15 (-1)

17. iPad Launch 2010 New —

18. Death of Pope John Paul II 2005 14 (-4)

19. War against Taliban 2002 13 (-6)

20. War in Afghanistan 2002 9 (-11)

GLM employed it NarrativeTracker Technology in analyzing the data. NarrativeTracker first focused on the number of citations found the Internet, blogosphere, and social media sites. The second focused on the top 75,000 print and electronic media sites. Finally, the two analyses were normalized.



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Kate Middleton’s Social Media Star to Eclipse Princess Diana

Study also compares Michelle Obama with the Royals

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NarrativeTracker analysis of Internet, social and traditional media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GLM used NarrativeTracker Technology in this study.

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

Media for detailed statistics, or call 1.512.815.8836.



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Make No Mistake: Obama’s Favorite Buzzwords

You Don’t Say

This article has been shared from The Daily iPad app

 

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‘Make no mistake,’ Obama is a big fan of his own catchphrases

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BY ANTHONY DECEGLIE AND JENNY MERKINMONDAY, MARCH 28, 2011

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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.

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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

#3 “Here’s the deal” — 1,450 times

$4 “Let me be clear” — 1,066 times

#5 “It will not be easy” — 1,059 times

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Danger of long-term effects Fukushima fallout little discussed in media


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.



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Charlie Sheen Tops Gaga, Obama, Kate Middleton & Palin in Social Media

However Ranks No. 18 in the Global Print and Electronic Media

Austin, TEXAS.  March 9, 2011.   If it seems as if the actor Charlie Sheen has been everywhere you look or listen, from your smart phone to the Internet to your favorite social media site, you are correct.  In an exclusive analysis released  earlier today, the Global Language Monitor has found that Sheen tops all Internet and social media discussions with followed by the iPad, Lady Gaga, President Obama and Sarah Palin.  Rounding out the Top Ten were David Beckham, Bill Gates, Julian Assange, Nicolas Sarkozy and Kate Middleton.

“If it seems as if Charlie Sheen is everywhere you look or listen , that is because it is true.  He is everywhere and apparently everywhen,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst for the Global Language Monitor.  “The growing pervasiveness of Social Media only enhances this Global Echo Chamber.  However, when you insert an editorial process in between the news and the audience Mr. Sheen tumbles to No. 18, following the major newsmakers of the time.

Check the Reuters Story

The analysis was completed on March 8.  The analysis focused on individual people and things (such as the iPad).  Broader topics, such as climate change the Mid-East Unrest were excluded from the analysis.  For this analysis, GLM analyzed the Internet, Blogosphere, and Social Media together.  The Global Print and Electronic Media were analyzed separately. That analysis is discussed below.

The Top Twenty Persons of interest on the Internet and Social media list follows.

1 Charlie Sheen
2 iPad
3 Lady Gaga
4 Barack Obama
5 Sarah Palin
6 David Beckham
7 Bill Gates
8 Julian Assange
9 Nicolas Sarkozy
10 Kate Middleton
11 Hosni Mubarak
12 Muamaar Gaddafi
13 Bill Clinton
14 Queen Elizabeth II
15 Silvio Burlusconi
16 David Cameron
17 Angela Merkel
18 Vladimir Putin
19 Hu Jintao
20 Pope Benedict XVI

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In the Top 75,000 Print and Electronic media sites Charlie Sheen ranks as No. 18, which shows what happens when you have an editorial process that helps discern which news is most significant for the reader.  For those sites the Top Stories concerned Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy, Hosni Muburak, Angela Merkel and David Cameron.  Completing the Top Ten were Silvio Burlusconi, Julian Assange, Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin and lady Gaga.

The Top Twenty Persons of Interest in the Global Print and Electronic Media follows.

1 Barack Obama
2 Nicolas Sarkozy
3 Hosni Muburak
4 Angela Merkel
5 David Cameron
6 Silvio Burlusconi
7 Julian Assange
8 Bill Clinton
9 Sarah Palin
10 Lady Gaga
11 Vladimir Putin
12 Hu Jintao
13 Muamaar Gaddafi
14 iPad
15 Queen Elizabeth II
16 David Beckham
17 Kate Middleton
18 Charlie Sheen
19 Pope Benedict XVI
20 Bill Gates

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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.

About Global Language Monitor

Austin-based Global Language Monitor is the pioneer in web-based media analytics.  Founded in Silicon Valley, GLM collectively documents, analyzes and tracks trends in language usage worldwide, with a particular emphasis upon the English language.

GLM is particularly known for its Word of the Year, political analysis, college and university rankings, High Tech buzzwords, and social media analytics. One of its ‘algorithmic methodologies’ is the NarrativeTracker for Internet and social media analysis.  NarrativeTracker is based on the national discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the print and electronic media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter).

For more information, go to www.LanguageMonitor.com, call 1.512.815.8836, or email pjjp@post.harvard.edu.



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Did Watson Really Beat Humans on Jeopardy? We Think Not!

Analysis into the ‘natural language processing’ claim.

AUSTIN, TEXAS.  March 1, 2011 — An analysis by the Global Language Monitor has found that Watson, the IBM Computer specifically designed to compete on the Jeopardy television show was not the victory of a machine tackling ‘natural language processing’  that many had been led to believe but rather a “a massive marketing coup,” as described in the Boston Globe.

When Watson bested two live-wear, carbon-based lifeforms named Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, on the Jeopardy Television show a few days ago, it was widely viewed as a great advance in ‘natural language processing’.  Natural Language Processing is concerned with the interactions between computers and human (natural) languages.

As Ben Zimmer in the New York Times put it, Watson “came through with flying colors.”  And he was certainly not alone in his judgment.  There were many comparisons to the John Henry man vs. machine tale where the legendary ‘steel-driving’ railroad man challenges a steam hammer, and wins, only to collapse and die shortly thereafter.  It appeared as if the entire media went a little bit gaga (no pun intended) with stories on this great milestone in cyber (and possibly human) history.

Is this analysis true?  As Steve Colbert might put it, there is some ‘truthiness’ in the statement.  Watson did, in fact, best his human competitors, but if we are to “speaking truthiness to power,” we should ensure that we fully understand the nature of the competition.

“Comments like the above missed the mark for a very simple reason,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst at GLM.  “Watson did not prove adept at processing language in a manner similar to humans.  In fact, computers have dramatically failed at this task for four decades now.  What Watson has accomplished is a far cry from ‘natural language processing’.

Rather what Watson achieved was a very close approximation of appearing as if it had acquired an acuity at understanding of the English language. This, in itself, is an accomplishment to be acknowledged.  (But as in the old joke goes about a dog talking, it’s not that it was done well but rather that it was done at all.)  After all, Watson was designed from the ground up as a ‘question-answering machine,’ as IBM readily admits.  However this, in itself, is not quite accurate because Watson was specifically built as a ‘Jeopardy game-show answering machine’ “.

One problem is that few commentators understand what it means to actually program a computer at all, let alone the ‘machine coding’ which might be construed as the most basic unit of computer ‘thought’.  Even those who are familiar with today’s coding techniques are familiar with HTML or a variation of C++ or Linux, etc.  All of these ‘languages’ are as distant from machine coding technology as they are from understanding the mathematics of the Higgs boson and why it has been described as the ‘God particle’ at CERN.  Unfortunately, there will be  no friendly, Watson-like, avatar that will announce from the CERN lab that the God Particle has been identified, when and if ever.  We might also find out about that discovery when (as has been estimated by the CERN staff) the acceptable risk the 1 out of 50,000,000 chance hits and the whole enterprise results in the destruction of the entire planet though the creation of an, admittedly small, black hole.

The field of artificial intelligence has for decades been handicapped with the idea of emulating humans; whether their thinking, their speaking, their chess-playing ability or their ability to perambulate.  To make the advances we have seen recently, computer scientists had to literally re-think (and in many cases reverse) their earlier positions.

The key, as found in recent research, is not to emulate humans; rather the key is to define ‘machine logic’ or how would a machine do it, given its capabilities and limitations.  In other words do not attempt to  see like the human eye sees but attempt to see as a machine would see.  Rather than teach a machine everything there is to know about how a human gets around, the task becomes to teach a machine the few basic rules it needs to move forward, back up and to work around obstacles.  This is much different than a baby learning how to crawl which involves cognition, motor skills, sight, volition, and the sense of feel.

In the same way most would construe natural language processing would be the ability to understand basic sentences, concepts or instructions in a straight-forward manner.  Is this what Watson accomplished.  Consider the following:

Here’s what Watson needed to handle the ‘natural language’ of Jeopardy.

  • 90 IBM Power 750 servers
  • Each of the 90 IBM Power 750 servers is equipped with eight processors
  • A total 2,880 Central Processing Units (CPUs)
  • 1 network-attached storage (NAS) cluster
  • 21.6TB of data
  • 15 full-time technical professionals, as well any number of advisors and consultants
  • 5 years of development time
  • ‘1,000s’ of computer algorithms to run simultaneously
  • 1 overlying algorithm to review the results of all the others
  • 1 power robotic finger

Incidentally, the effort required a minimum of $100,000,000 funding for personnel, some $25,000,000 in equipment, as well as all the costs associated with cooling, administration, transportation, and the like.

All of this reminds us of Gary Kasparov losing the famous chess match to IBM’s Deep Blue back in 1997.  IBM was allowed to modify its program between games.  In effect, this let IBM programmers compensate for any Deep Blue weaknesses Kasparov exposed during the game.  How, in any way, could this be considered a level playing field?  Once this was discovered, Kasparov requested a rematch, but IBM had already dismantled Deep Blue.

As for those comparisons with the legendary ‘iron-driving man’, we have one piece of advice:  John Henry, call your lawyer.

Note:  Each year GLM releases the Top High Tech Words Everyone Uses But Nobody Quite Understands.  This year’s edition will be released in conjunction with SXSWi on March 13, 2011.



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“Refudiating” Word Games: What would Edwin Newman Think?

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What would have the late newsman and grammar guru Edwin Newman thought about airwaves and cyberspace filled with “refudiate” and “guido?”

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By JERE HESTERSep 16, 2010
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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.]



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Top TeleWords of the 2009/2010 Season

BP SpillCam, Dysfunctional Families,

and All-things Jersey

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Seventh Annual Analysis by the Global Language Monitor

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Austin, Texas, USA. September 10, 2010. The Global Language Monitor today announced that the BP Spillcam has topped dysfunctional, Guido, realityand nice as the Top Words from Television for the 2009-2010 season. Rounding out the Top Ten were rude, “drama at 10:00,” ‘Chicago-style politics,’ cross-over, and ambush marketing. The awards are annually announced at the beginning of the Fall television season in the US.  This is the seventh annual analysis by Austin-based GLM.

“The Top TeleWords of 2010 encompassed an unintended ‘up-close-and-personal’ view to an unparalleled natural disaster, resonating sitcoms detailing the contradictions, foibles (and joys) of  post-Modern life, a Super Bowl victory for the still recovering city of New Orleans, and more Guidos and Guidettes and one might encounter in a lifetime.” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM.

The Top Telewords of the 2010 season with commentary follow:

1. BP Spillcam — Provocative, engaging, riveting television delivered to all three screens (and possibly the worst PR nightmare of all time).

2. Dysfunctional – Modern Family: Would you expect otherwise from a series that sprang from the mind of Rev. Jim Ignatowski (Christopher Lloyd)?

3. Guido — Jersey Shore elevates Guidos and Guidettes into the mainstream; but one of several reality shows feeding viewers interest in all-things Jersey.

4. Reality – When Webster defined reality as ‘truth or fact, not merely a matter of amusement,’ he was obviously unaware of reality TV.

5. Nice – The word ‘nice’ is associated with Betty White over 1.1 million times on Goggle. Nice and vicious, dear.

6. Rude — Simon Cowell departs American Idol after a seven-year run; even the Queen has referred to Cowell as ‘caustic’.

7. “Drama at 10:00” – As Jay Leno said of the Late Night kerfuffle with Conan O’Brien, NBC ‘wanted it and they got it’.

8. Chicago-style politics – No we are not talking about Rahm Emanuel and the White House but rather The Good Wife.

9. Cross-over (as in crossover hit) – Nineteen-time Emmy nominee Glee’s cast album rocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard Chart.

10. Ambush Marketing – As advertisers begin to balk at the price of Olympic sponsorships, some are to ‘ambush marketing’ as was widely demonstrated during the Vancouver Winter Games.

11. Bressus: Fan-bestowed nickname for New Orleans Saints Super Bowl winning-quarterback’s nickname — the most watched Super bowl in years.

12. Asperger’s Disease – Temple Grandin’s lesser-known challenge in the eponymously titled biopic from HBO.

13. Lady Gaga –Stephani Germanotta is visible everywhere on global television over the course of the season.

14. The Pacific (War) — Most older folks are surprised to learn that the Pacific War was a different conflict than WWII.

 

The Top Telewords of previous years:

2009 – ObamaVision — All Obama, all the time, everywhere, followed by Financial Meltdown and the death of Michael Jackson.

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”.



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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.
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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.

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