When Obama is at his best (such as the Grant Park ‘Yes, We Can speech), the President has a direct and emotional connection with the American people. This speech, simply, did not live up to that high standard — and the numbers reflect it.
Comparisons with previous addresses and those of other presidents
Passive Voice highest for any major presidential address this century
Surprisingly high tenth-grade reading (and hearing) level
Austin, TX, June 17, 2010 – According to an exclusive analysis by The Global Language Monitor, President Obama’s Oil Spill speech echoed his elite ethos, with a broad plan for an alternative-energy future and few specifics. The only specifics of the address were the continuation of the off-shore drilling ban, effectively putting tens of thousands of Gulf Coast jobs in jeopardy. The President’s first Oval Office address came in at a surprising high tenth-grade reading level, with some 13% passive constructions, the highest level measured in any major presidential address in this century. In political speaking, the passive voice is generally used to either deflect responsibility, or to have no particular ‘doer’ of an action
A previous analysis using GLM’s NarrativeTracker™, found the president’s primary narrative arc to be that of ‘Obama as an Oil Spill Enabler’. Nothing in the address would appear to change that narrative, though formal analysis will be forthcoming in the next week.
The Readability Analysis of the Oval Office address appears below:
Passive Voice — With some 13% passive constructions, the highest level measured in any major presidential address this century. In political speaking, the passive voice is generally used to either deflect responsibility, or to have no particular ‘doer’ of an action, at least when speaking about himself or his Administration. Otherwise, BP was the clear ‘doer’.
Sentence Length — Obama’s spoke in long, though well-crafted, sentences about 20 words in length.
Sentences per Paragraphs – Just below four sentences per paragraph. Usually four sentences in a paragraph would be quite easy to understand, but the 19.8 words per sentence, added some difficulty for his target audience.
Characters per words – Obama’s words had an average of 4.5 letters in them, a bit longer than typical for him.
Flesch Reading Ease – Reading Ease came in at 59.1. The Closer to 100, the easier to read. This is well within the normal range for Oval Office Addresses.
Flesch-Kincaid Grade-Level – 9.8 Grade Level. This is the highest of any major Obama speech. Obama’s closest match among recent presidents is Ronald Reagan, whose speeches generally ranged from the 9th to 10th grade levels. (President George W. Bush usually spoke at a seventh grade level.)
Grade-Level comparisons with other speeches of note include:
Kennedy Inaugural Address 10.8
Reagan ‘Tear Down This Wall” 9.8
Lincoln “Gettysburg Address” 9.1
Martin Luther King: ”I have a dream” 8.8
Obama 2004 Democrat Convention 8.3
Obama Victory Speech “Yes, we can” 7.4
“The scores indicate that this was not Obama at his best, especially when attempting make an emotional connection to the American people,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of GLM. “For example, the numbers are significantly different than the ‘Yes, I can” speech, which many consider his best effort.”
Five Narratives Compete for the Title Tuesday Night
Austin, TX, June 15, 2010 – There are now five main narrative ‘arcs’ competing for the Obama Narrative 2.0 title, the underlying storyline that will largely define the president in the run-up to the Mid-term elections and, possibly, for time remaining in his term.
The ‘narrative’ refers to the stream of public opinion captured by blogs and other social media outlets on the Internet, as well as the leading print and electronic databases.
1. Obama as Oil Spill Enabler – OK, he didn’t cause it, but in today’s parlance, he appears to be enabling the perpetrators (BP or British Petroleum). It’s score was some fifteen times higher than that of No. 5, Healthcare Reform.
2. Obama as the Big Spender – This is a good story line if your goal is to play to the left. Independents and the right see it as far less favorable. Spending is have ten times the impact as that of Healthcare Reform.
3. Obama as the Chicago-style pol – Since the beginning of the year, this narrative is up 640%. Good for Chicagoland, not so favorable for the rest of the nation.
4. Obama as out-of-touch or aloof – Taking time to ascertain whose ‘ass to kick’ and calling in an ever growing number of academics to resolve problems usually left to Red Adair (or Bruce Willis) has resulted in a thirteen hundred percent rise in this narrative arc.
5. Obama as HealthCare Reformer – The bloom is off this rose far more quickly than such a triumph would typically entail. It has fallen from the No. 1 position just a few months ago.
“As of this moment, Obama Narrative 2.0 will emerge far less favorable than that of 1.0: the Washington outsider, who will stare-down both Beltway denizens and Politics as usual,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of GLM. “The Narratives emerging from this inexorably slowly unfolding ecological disaster are running roughshod over those earlier, far-more positive narratives the president is attempting to revive.
The rise of the narrative can render positions on the issues almost meaningless, since positions now matter less than how they fit into a particular narrative. The NarrativeTracker is more effective in capturing the true opinion of the public because it tracks unfiltered keywords in Social Media and other sources, rather than how that opinion is interpreted by the news media or by pollsters.
The NarrativeTracker is based on the GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator™ (PQI™). The PQI tracks the frequency of words and phrases in global print and electronic media on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere and other social media outlets as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted index that factors in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.
About the Global Language Monitor
Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English. For more information, call 1.925.367.7557, send email to pjjp@email@example.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.
By Cristina Silva, Saint Petersburg Times Lambasted by charges that his response to the gulf oil spill comes across as emotionally flat, President Barack Obama has made repeated vows to stand by the victims “until they are made whole.” His ambitious promise now stands as the rhetoric of choice among political leaders looking to sympathize with those affected by the environmental and financial crisis. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry and Gov. Charlie Crist have made near identical pledges and a trio of Democratic congressmen demanded oil giant BP postpone $10 billion in dividend payments to stockholders until “the people of the gulf (are) made whole.” Problem is, what does it mean? ”That is the one question I have been asking for five weeks,” said Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon, who fears the sheets of oil sliding toward the shores of his Alabama tourist haven will bring new financial hardships after weeks of canceled hotel reservations and half-empty seafood shacks. “That is the one question we need to know before we can move forward.” Politicians are well aware of the power of words. Obama, a legal scholar with a penchant for headline-grabbing speeches, hasn’t elaborated on his definition of “made whole,” but his repetition suggests he thinks it is a good message. It means he wants to help. It means he cares. But, as with many political messages, “made whole” has more than one layer. In legal jargon, “made whole” implies full restitution. A stolen laptop is replaced. Hospital bills are paid. A cracked windshield is repaired. But the Gulf of Mexico crisis likely won’t be so easily resolved. Some losses could be hard to prove in court or even single out, creating a complicated web of cause and effect that might not immediately produce a culprit, said economic and legal scholars. ”What (Obama) said is true. They (BP) are going to be responsible for the damage they did,” said Fred Levin, a trial lawyer in Pensacola. “The question is, what is the damage they did?” In other words, will those indirectly hurt by the oil spill be “made whole,” too? Or does the promise only apply to the victims who can successfully make their case in court? Consider some potential ramifications. If affected business owners can no longer afford to send their children to private schools, should the schools file a claim? If the private schools hire fewer teachers because of declining enrollment, do the unemployed teachers get help? And if those teachers then can no longer afford to buy quality meat from the local supermarket, how does the supermarket prove its losses are tied to the oil spill? It’s simply not clear, said Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor who teaches criminal law at Wayne State University in Detroit. ”To the extent you are talking about just the cleanup, yes, BP is on the hook, but to the extent that you are saying we are going to return these communities to what they were, the law does not appear to extend that far,” he said. “While it is couched in legal terms, this is really more of a political promise than a legal assertion.”
Wordsmiths countered “made whole” is not an abstract concept.”To ‘make whole’ means exactly what it says, meaning not to kind of prop you up, not to give you some aid, but to put you back precisely where you were,” said Paul JJ Payack , president of the Global Language Monitor based in Austin, Texas, which analyzes speech. “It is a very precise choice of words and they know it.”
BP so far has paid $49 million to individuals or small businesses through its claims process and sent out roughly 18,000 checks, spokesman Max McGahan said. ”We have said we will compensate individuals and businesses in full for whatever damages or loss of income has resulted from the oil spill. We have made that commitment very clearly,” McGahan said. He declined to address the “made whole” pledge. Read More in the St Petersburg Times
The White House lost control of the story, and now Obama is painted as the bad guy.
These days, if you hadn’t already noticed, everyone and everything is ascribed a ”narrative”, something that is to be owned and shaped, that tells a particular story in a particular fashion.
Narratives aren’t necessarily truthful accounts, but they are often powerful and persuasive. They can also be hijacked. If you neglect to write your own narrative, somebody else will write it for you. Which is why US President Barack Obama is no longer travelling to Australia and Indonesia this month. Essentially, his administration lost control of the narrative of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Others have been its lead authors, constructing a story that reads like this: the White House allowed BP too much licence in running the operation to fix the crippled Deepwater Horizon well, too readily trusting the oil giant’s version of events; it left the US Coast Guard alone to marshal the federal response; and it was slow to pick up on the exasperated cries of Gulf communities readying for environmental and economic catastrophe. The authors dared even to suggest that the spill looms as Obama’s “Katrina”.
The President’s response to contentious issues has often been characterised as more cerebral than heartfelt. This is the guy, after all, who makes Cool Hand Luke look jumpy and uptight. And the media has long invited him to “get angry” and “get even”.
It’s not that the administration hasn’t put the hours into combating America’s worst-ever environmental mishap.
Read and See Moreincluding ‘Kick ass’ Obama slams critics video where US President Barack Obama rebuts claims that he has been slow to react to the oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.
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:
ObamaVision — From the primaries to the election to the Inauguration to the middle school classroom: all Obama, all the time, everywhere.
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?
Michael Jackson – The biggest TV funeral in history. What’s the King of Pop’s next act?
Susan Boyle – Britain’s surprise spinster singing sensation demonstrated the power of the ‘third screen’.
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.
Vampires – All over the tube: ever chaste (with human girls); ever so exotic and popular.
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.
Wizards (from the Wizards of Waverly Place) – Wizards that need a bit of science to maintain their powers.
“And that’s the way it is” – Walter Cronkite’s shadow over television news spans the decades.
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”.
Hello, everybody, and good morning. This is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. It is December 7th. I’m Betty Nguyen.
RICHARD LUI, CNN ANCHOR:
And good morning. I’m Richard Lui, in for T.J. Holmes. He’s off today.Thanks for starting your day with us on this Sunday…. We do have a top 10 list for you this morning. You know, it’s almost the end of the year.LUI: Yes, of course.
NGUYEN: So, we’re bringing you the top 10 words of 2008. Can you guess what some of them might be?
LUI: Yes. What would a year be without a top 10 list here? Our Josh Levs has that for us.
Josh, do you speak Phelpsian Chinglish?
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Guys, I need to say (ph)…
NGUYEN: What the heck is that? Can you bail us out from that one? I know bailout is one of the words.
LEVS: That was really good. Yes. Well, I’m going to try to do some Phelpsian bailout Chinglish for you now.
NGUYEN: All right.
LEVS: Let’s take a look. This is from Global Language Monitor. And it’s really interesting when they put this list every year.
Let’s just go to the first graphic because I want you to see what it is that we are starting off with. One to five: change, and then, bailout, Betty, just like you were saying. Three, Obamania. Not much of a surprise since I think we’ve said that on the air a few hundred times. Green — well, I was not — are you guys familiar with greenwashing?
LEVS: I didn’t know greenwashing. Greenwashing is repositioning of products to stress its earth-friendly attributes. Basically trying to sell something claiming that it’s green, maybe greener than it is.
NGUYEN: OK. Hold on. Let me ask you this.
NGUYEN: If these are the top 10 words, why aren’t these words that we’re like, yes, I’ve heard that several times?
LEVS: I know. And I’ll tell you how they go about coming up with the list.
LEVS: I want to show you the other five. This is what they do. They look at — here I tell you exactly from here — basically, they look at words and phrases used in media on the Internet and they also look at how often they’re used in major news media.
So, for example, I saw that there is greenwashing. So, I wonder, do we use greenwashing a lot? Check it out. I do a search for greenwashing on CNN.com. Apparently, we do. It’s one of our stories. LUI: Oh.
LEVS: And over here is a video that we have all about greenwashing from our eco-solutions unit.
LUI: Guilty as charged.
LEVS: I guess I’m not watching enough of our stuff.
Let’s check out six through 10.
LEVS: I want to show you, guys, the rest of this, it’s great stuff. Derivative is at the top.
LUI: Oh, no. I’m going to do use that one.
NGUYEN: Oh, the dreaded subprime, foreclosure, yikes.
LEVS: and this is where we get the Phelpsian and Chinglish. Now, Phelpsian, we know Phelpsian is a huge feat that’s never been done before. But Chinglish is, I’ll tell you how they define it, the often amusing Chinese-English language hybrid that Beijing tried to stamp out before the Olympics began. Apparently, Beijing didn’t want people speaking a lot of Chinglish when the world arrived there.
LEVS: So, apparently, they got rid of it.
One more thing to show you, guys. Top phrases of the year.
LEVS: I’ll show you this really quick then I’m going to go.
All right. Number one: Financial tsunami. Two: Global warming. Three: Yes we can. No shocker. Four: Lame Duck. And five, working class whites. They say apparently that’s been used as a code word for whites who are working class. More information, language monitor…
NGUYEN: How is it a code word because it says working class whites — it’s right there?
LEVS: Exactly, not even a code word.
LUI: I’ve got one for you, Josh, that you should have put on that list — fact check.
LEVS: Fact check, reality check.
NGUYEN: Oh, yes. Or the truth squad. Any of those.
LEVS: You know, I should have thought of that. I’m calling the language monitor and say it throughout the year. Watch out, buddy.
Beijing tops ObamaSpeak as the Top Teleword of the Year followed by ‘facts are stubborn things’, ‘it is what it is,’ and Phelpsian.
The Global Language Monitor’s Fifth Annual Analysis
Austin, Texas, USA.September 24, 2008. The Global Language Monitor (
www.LanguageMonitor.com) today announced the top words impacting Global English for the recently ended 2008 television season. The Top Teleword was Beijing as in Beijing Olympics, an appropriate honor for the most watched television program of all time followed by ObamaSpeak, John Adams’ phrase ‘facts are stubborn things’, the ubiquitous‘it is what it is,’ and Phelpsian.Rounding out the Top Ten were Third Screen, Vincible, Lip Synching, Lipstick (as ‘in on a pig’), and IPTV.
“As always, words stemming from Television’s three screens, impacted Global English in interesting, innovative, and always fascinating ways,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM. “This year, two events dominated television, the Beijing Olympics and the US Presidential Elections”
The Top Telewords of the 2008 season with commentary follow:
1.Beijing: The Beijing Olympics were the most-watched television show of all time with some 4.7 billion global viewers.
2.ObamaSpeak:Words coined to describe the Obama Barack phenomenon, including obamamentum, obamabot, obamacize, obamarama, and obamaNation.
3.“It is, what it is”:Everywhere on the tube this year from “The Wire” to the Roger Clemons Steroid in Baseball Congressional hearings.
4.“Facts are stubborn things”: John Adams’ quaint turn of phrase for ‘it is what it is’.The John Adams biopic won the most Emmys ever for a single program.
5.Phelpsian:New word coined to describe the Phelpsian Pheat of winning eight golds in a single Olympics.
6.Third Screen:Watching Television on your TV (first screen), your computer (second screen), and now your mobile device, the third screen.
7.Vincible:The invincible New England Patriots prove vincible after all, with a shocking upset by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
8.Lip Synching:The fate of Lin Miaoke, the little girl who didn’t sing the song the whole world sings in the Olympics opening ceremony.
9.Lipstick:On a pig or otherwise, a media sensation this year for a supposed characterization of Republican VP aspirant Sarah Pallin.
10.IPTV:Internet protocol-based television, the wave of the future.
The Top Telewords of previous years were:
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”.
Top Television Buzzwords of 2007
“Surge,” “That’s Hot” “D’oh!” & “Blackout”
Top Television Buzzwords Impacting English Language
In ’06, ‘Truthiness’ and ‘Wikiality’ were named Top Television Buzzwords followed by ‘Katrina’, ‘Katie,’ and ‘Dr. McDreamy’
San Diego. September 16, 2007. The Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com) named “Surge” from the Iraq War political and military strategy, “That’s Hot®” Paris Hilton’s popular expression that is now a registered trademark, “D’oh!” from The Simpsons and The Simpsons Movie, and “Blackout” from the Sopranos series finale as the top television buzzwords impacting Global English for the 2007 Season. Closely following are “YaTTA!” from Heroes and “McEmmys” from Grey’s Anatomy. Rounding out the Top Ten are “I like to have the answers before I ask the questions” from The Closer, “No miniskirts after 35!” from What Not to Wear, “Scranton” from The Office, “Oy vey!” from Criminal Minds, and “Peek, Copy and Save” from Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
“This year’s annual list capture’s the spirit of the times, for better or for worse. Themes, stars and shows may change at an every quickening pace, but this only reflects the world in which we live, more than we’d ever like to admit”, said Paul JJ Payack, president and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. Payack also mentioned that the word surge is a very strong contender for overall Word of the Year to be announced by the Global Language Monitor in December.
The Television Buzzwords are nominated by GLM’s Language Police, volunteer language observers scattered the world over. The words are then run through the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI}, the proprietary algorithm that analyzes the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere and then ranks the words according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.
The Top TeleWORDS are released in conjunction with 59th Primetime Emmy Awards, broadcast on the Fox Television Network on Sunday, September 16, from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Top TellyWORDS for Impact Upon the English Language in 2007 with commentary follows.
1. Surge (Iraq War) – A military and political strategy, on the lips of every politician.
2. “That’s Hot®!” (Paris Hilton) – Hilton owns the trademark to the phrase “That’s hot,” which was registered on Feb. 13th. What’s next? Britney trademarking ‘public breakdown’.
3. D’oh (The Simpsons) – As in dough, as the Simpsons’ leap to the silver screen grosses $485 million and counting.
4. Blackout (The Sopranos) – The series-ending episode redefined the word ‘cliffhanger’ since there was no ‘hanging’ about the cliff in any way, shape or form, rather a sharp plunge into the abyss.
5. YaTTA! (Heroes) – YaTTA! narrowly beats out “WTF, is going to happen now?”
6. he McEmmys (Grey’s Anatomy Actors and Alumni) – Grey’s Anatomy cast and alumni (AKA McDreamy & Crew) have a host of prime-time nominations
7. “ I like to have the answers before I ask questions.” (The Closer) – Kyra Sedgwick’s trademark ‘sassiness’ on display.
8. “No miniskirts after 35.” (What Not to Wear) – … nor white shoes after Labor Day. Stacy London and Clinton Kelly dissect fashion victims (and what led them to their present dire circumstance).
9. Scranton, or is it Wilkes-Barre? (The Office) – The extended mockumentary located in this gritty Northeast Pennsylvania city.
10. Oy Vey! Criminal Minds – Mandy Patinkin deserts the set, yet again.
Bonus Words: Peek, Copy and Save (Are you smarter than a Fifth Grader?) – Solid advice for anyone, in most circumstances, especially after 5th grade.
Top Words for 2006, 2005 and 2004
In 2006, ‘Truthiness’ and ‘Wikiality’ were named Top Television Buzzwords followed by ‘Katrina’, ‘Katie,’ and ‘Dr. McDreamy’.
In 2005, ‘Refugee’ from the on-going coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina topped ‘Desperation’ from Desperate Housewives and ‘Camp Cupcake’ from the on-going Martha Stewart follies.
In 2004, “You’re Fired!” edged “Mess O’ Potamia” followed by “Girlie Men,” “God,” and “Wardrobe Malfunction”.
‘Truthiness’ and ‘Wikiality’ named Top Television Buzzwords of 2006 Followed by ‘Katrina’, ‘Katie,’ and ‘Dr. McDreamy’
The Annual Survey by the Global Language Monitor
Released in Conjunction With the Prime Time Emmy Awards
San Diego, Calif. August 27, 2006. ‘Truthiness’ from the multi-Emmy nominated ‘Colbert Report’ was named the Top TeleWORD of the year in The Global Language Monitor’s (HTTP://www.LanguageMonitor.com) annual survey of words from television that profoundly influenced the English Language. In an unprecedented move, ‘Wikiality,’ also from the Colbert Report was named No. 2. Closely following were ‘Katrina’ referring to the on-going stories about the hurricane’s devestating destruction, ‘Katie’ in regard to Katie Couric’s move into the top seat at CBS News, and ‘Dr. McDreamy’ from the break-out drama, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.
Rounding out the Top Ten were ‘Bush’s War,’ heard often on the News, ‘Man of the Hours,’ citing ’24′s’ Keifer Sutherland, ‘Tourette’s,’ from ‘I have Tourette’s but Tourette’s doesn’t have me,’ ‘Dysfunctional’ from ‘The Office,’ and ‘Falling Starr,’ referring to the ‘View’s’ embattled Starr Jones.
This year’s Bonus Phrase is ‘You’re going to Hollywood!’ from Simon Cowell’s wunderkind ‘American Idol’.
“Television, once again, has helped to define our culture and its impact upon spoken English is profound,“ said Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global Language Monitor. “Some of these buzzwords will quickly pass, while others will be embedded in the language for years to come.” “Though ‘truthiness’ in some form has existed in the language for centuries, it could not have been revived in more relevant times than the early 21st century; while ‘wikiality’ can be observed even today, where Pluto has been voted out of the Solar System by a convention of Astronomers,” Payack concluded.
The San Diego-based media metrics and analysis company, The Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.
The Top TeleWORDS are released in conjunction with the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony, to be broadcast from Los Angeles on Sunday, August 28th, at 8:00 pm Eastern on the NBC Television Network.
The Top TeleWORDS for the 2005 – 2006 Television season with commentary, follow:
1. Truthiness — (Colbert Report) Truth unemcumbered by the facts.
2. Wikiality — (Colbert Report) Reality as determined by majority vote. See Pluto, the former planet. First time ever with two words from the same show.
3. Katrina — (The News) First hit of the 2005-’06 season; unfortunately a direct hit on New Orleans.
4. Katie — (CBS Evening News) Did we ever refer to Walter Crondkite as Wally or Dan Rather as Dannie? Will Katie help us redefine the term, gravitas?
5. Dr. McDreamy — (Grey’s Anatomy) Patrick Dempsey follows in a long line of television ‘dream-boat’ physicians dating back to ‘Dr. Kildare’.
6. Bush’s War — (Heard often on the News) Echoing the label bestowed upon Mr. Lincoln (Mr. Lincoln’s War) two centuries past. After his assassination and the end of what we now know as the Civil War, Lincoln rose steadily in stature.
7. Man of the hours — (24) Keifer Sutherland finally gets the nod.
8. Tourette’s — (I have Tourette’s but Tourette’s doesn’t have me) Replaces Tony Sholub’s OCD as the lesser known disease going mainstream this season.
9. Dysfunctional — (The Office) The office as family, dysfunctional family that is.
10. Falling Starr — (The View) Starr Jones that is, in her battle with BaBa Walters.
Bonus Phrase: ‘You’re going to Hollywood!’ — (American Idol) Simon Cowell’s wunderkind might actually win an Emmy this time around.
Last year: ‘Refugee’ from the on-going coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina topped ‘Desperation’ from Desperate Housewives and ‘Camp Cupcake’ from the on-going Martha Stewart follies.
The previous year “You’re Fired!” edged “Mess O’ Potamia” followed by “Girlie Men,” “God,” and “Wardrobe Malfunction”.
About the Global Language Monitor
San Diego, California-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English. A worldwide assemblage of language professionals, teachers, wordsmiths and bibliophiles, supports the GLM to help monitor the latest trends in the evolution (and demise) of language, word usage and word choices. For more information, call 1.925.367.7557, send email to info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.
‘Refugee’ Tops ‘Desperation’ and ‘Camp Cupcake’ as Top Television Buzzword of the 2005
Year of Desperate Images Reflecting Harshness of Real Life Dominate TeleWORDS List
San Diego, California. October 13, 2005. ‘Refugee’ from the on-going coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina tops ‘Desperation’ from Desperate Housewives and ‘Camp Cupcake’ from the on-going Martha Stewart follies as the Top Television Buzzword (TeleWORD) for the 2004-05 season, according to the Global Language Monitor, the media tracking and analysis company. Close behind were ‘Reality TV’ from The Real World, etc., and ‘Curmudgeon’ from House. Rounding out the Top Ten were “Its what we do” from Stargate SG-1, ‘Flip Flop’ from the 2004 U.S. Presidential Elections, ‘Backstory’ from Lost, ‘Tsunami’ from the South Asian earthquake, and ‘mobisodes’ or one minute episodes for mobile devices.
Words no longer Hip include Youre fired from The Apprentice and Mess O Potamia from The Daily Show. Words With Legs include “Yadda, yadda, yadda! from Seinfeld.
“This years list was dominated by reality far outstripping reality programming bringing a world of woes into the global living room,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of The Global Language Monitor. “While desperation from Desperate Housewives began the television year in good fun, as the season progressed the world witnessed an on-going war, a tsunami, the death of a beloved Pope, and finally unanswered death and despair on the American Gulf Coast. Finally, the meaning of the word refugee has actually been altered by real-world horrors witnessed by hundreds of millions on live TV.”
The TeleWORDS List reflects those words and phrases that came to prominence during the 2004-05 television season or have had the greatest influence on the English Language. Words are nominated by a global panel of language experts and then analyzed by GLMs proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI).
The Television Buzzword List (TeleWORDS) for the 2004-05 Season is released in conjunction with the 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, to be televised live on CBS on Sunday, September 18th from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The complete list, with commentary, follows.
The Top TeleWORDS of the 2004-05 Television Season
TeleWORDS / Show / Comment
Show: Ongoing coverage of the aftermath of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.
Comment: For millions, the word has now taken on a racial undertone and was subsequently replaced by evacuee and others.
Runners-up: Evacuee, displaced persons, Katrinees?
Show: Desperate Housewives/The Tsunami/Hurricane Katrina
Comment: Desperate Housewives began the television year in good fun, but as the year progressed the world witnessed an on-going war, a tsunami, the death of a beloved Pope, and finally unanswered death and despair on the American Gulf Coast.
3. Camp Cupcake
Show: The On-going Martha Stewart follies
Comment: The minimum security WV facility where Martha did her time.
Runner -Up: Ankle Bracelet
4. Reality TV
Show: The Real World, The Bachelor, Survivor Classic, The Simple Life, etc.
Comment: Real-world reality bested the manufactured kind by a long shot this television season.
Comment: Acerbic, caustic, antisocial, & mean-spirited; those are socially redeeming qualities of this brilliant physician.
6. “Its what we do.”
Show: Stargate SG-1
Comment: Stargate becomes the longest running Sci-Fi Series in the history of the medium.
7. Flip Flop
Show: The 2004 U.S. Presidential Elections
Comment: Formerly referred to gymnastic routines, pancakes, and dolphin acts; now transcends politics moving into pop culture.
Comment: Lost takes the story behind the story concept to the next level.
Show: The News
Comment: Before “The Tsunami” took a quarter of a million South Asian lives, most of the viewing audience had only a vague acquaintance with the word.
10. Mobisodes (Not another season of the Sopranos, but one-minute TV episodes designed specifically for mobile media.)
Show: Every ‘hip’ show worldwide.
Comment: Coming soon to a cell phone near you.
Words No Longer Hip
Word: “Youre Fired”
Show: The Apprentice
Comment: Top of last years TeleWORDS List, plunges in a precipitous decline.
Word: “Mess O Potamia”
Show: The Daily Show
Comment: Jon Stewart’s quip cuts a bit too close to reality these days.
Words With Legs
Words: “Yadda, yadda, yadda!”
Comment: During the summer, its repeats were besting Prime Time Network Comedies.
Largest Global Phenomenon of a Single Word:
Comment: American Idol writ large. Now more than two dozen Idol-type shows from South Africa to India.
Top Word From Down Under: Free to Air TV
Comment: For the first time, 2005 saw the cable industrys share of the TV market in the US, exceed that of Network Television.
Top TV Name in China: Mickey Mouse
Comment: Opening of the new Hong Kong Theme Park during Golden Week impacts the airwaves.
Coolest ‘unCool’ Series: New Zealands Fair Go
Comment: The show defends consumers against injustice, even battling (and winning) for a one-cent discrepancy
“You’re Fired!” Edges “Mess O’ Potamia” Atop Television Buzzwords (TeleWords) List for 2003-’04
Followed Closely “Girlie Men,” “God,” and “Wardrobe Malfunction”
Danville, California (September 16, 2004) “You’re Fired!”, Donald Trump’s trademark catchphrase from The Apprentice reality show tops the Television Buzzword List (TeleWords) for 2003-’04 Season according to the Global Language Monito ).
Close behind were “Mess O Potamia” from The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, “Girlie Men,” from Californias Gov. Schwarzenegger, “God,” from Joan of Arcadia and Angels in America, and “Wardrobe Malfunction,” from the recent Miss Universe Pageant as well as Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Rounding out the Top Ten were: “Infectious disease,” from the ever-expanding C.S.I franchise, “OCD” for Tony Shaloub’s trademark Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder from Monk, “The O.C.” as a geographic entity from The O.C., Extreme Makeover” from any of the reality-based show genre, and “Grim Reaper” from Dead Like Me.
Words No Longer Hip include “fahgeddaboutit” from The Sopranos, “Voted off the island”, from the Survivor series, and ” so ” as an intensive, as in ” so yesterday!” or “so not fair!” from Friends.
“Television has always had a disproportionate impact on culture, reverberating far beyond the confines of the studio world. This is true even in a year marked by extraordinary events,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of The Global Language Monitor. “Weve chosen the words and phrases most likely to have a lasting impact on popular culture; Youre Fired! is but one example that we hear repeated endlessly in the media and on the internet, while “Mess O Potamia” more closely reflected world events.”
Television Buzzword List (TeleWords) for 2003-’04 Season is released in conjunction with the 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards televised by the ABC Television Network on Sunday, September 19th from the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium.
The complete list, with commentary, is shown below.
The Top TeleWords of the 2003-04 Television Season
TeleWords / Show / Comment
1. You’re Fired!
Show: The Apprentice
Comment: Donald Trump’s signature phrase
2. Mess O’ Potamia
Show: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Comment: More 18-49s get their news from Daily Show than mainstream media
3. Girlie Men
Show: Gov. Schwarzenegger of California
Comment: Transcends politics moving into pop culture
Show: Joan of Arcadia and Angels in America
Comment: Supreme Being made quite a comeback on the small screen
5. Wardrobe Malfunction
Show: Miss Universe Pageant; Super Bowl XXXVIII
Comment: Recent Miss Universe incident reinforces the phrase
6. Infectious Disease
Show: CSI Franchise
Comment: Evidently nothing can contain the CSI franchise
Comment: Tony Shaloub’s trademark Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
8. The O.C. as a geographic entity
Show: The O.C.
Comment: TV literally is a ‘geography of the mind’
9. Extreme Makeover
Show: From any of the reality-show genre
Comment: Both ‘extreme’ and ‘makeover,’ in any combination
10. Grim Reaper
Show: Dead Like Me
Comment: Hasn’t made such an impact in popular culture since Ingmar Bergman’s “Seventh Seal”
Words No Longer Hip
Show: The Sopranos
Comment: Forget about Fahgeddaboutit!
Word: Voted Off the Island
Show: Survivor Series
Comment: Voted off the TeleWord List
Word: ” so” as an intensive
Comment: As in “…so yesterday” or “…so not fair”