Is “aarrghh” a word? Not if you are playing Scrabble with me. If it is not in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary: put your tiles back and think again. “Aargh” is acceptable (an expression of anguish, horror, rage, or other strong emotion, according to the OED), but not “aarrghh”. My board, my rules.
Others disagree. “Aarrghh” appears in the Collins Official Scrabble Words. Collins’ latest edition also includes “thang”, “innit” and “nang”. Commentators greeted the Scrabble book by bemoaning the decline of the language and berating publishers who pandered to the young.
The new Collins book appeared on the same day that the CBI, the UK employers’ organisation, published a survey showing that 42 per cent of companies were dissatisfied with school leavers’ English skills. Are the two events connected?
We at the Global Language Monitor have noted that for at least two hundred years folks as diverse as Benjamin Franklin (eliminating and adding new letters), Noah Webster and George Bernard Shaw (simplifying spelling), and George Orwell (simplifying grammar) have long argued. Ghoti and chips anyone?
Now that this is actually happening in the early 21st century, it is most interesting to note that these changes are being driven by the youthful users of the language, as has been the case since the earliest days of the language.
Consider: Sumer is icumen in! / Lhude sing cuccu!
Which ancient forbear playing an early version of Scrabble(tm), had the audacity to recognize ‘cuckoo’ for ‘cuccu’ or for that matter accept ‘loud’ for ‘lhude’?
One note of caution: these same folks have decided that is perfectly fine to intermix letters with words, so you now can find ‘gr8′ substituting for ‘great’.
Is this something the up with which you will simply not put?
Forget the ice ax and $500 climbing boots. The mode du jour for today’s mountain hikers in Japan is the miniskirt and leggings.
North Face, maker of the Gore-Tex waterproof jacket, and Alpine Tour Service Co. are targeting “yama girls,” or mountain girls, the nickname of the growing number of women who are taking to the hills of Japan wearing short pants or fleece skirts with leggings and designer trekking boots.
“I want to wear something cute like a skirt,” said Machiko Miyauchi, 25, who made her first ascent of Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest peak, earlier this year after buying new equipment and shoes. “Climbing is healing. You can breathe fresh, clean air.”
Visitors to Mount Fuji in the two months ended Aug. 31, the busiest climbing season, were the most since the government began tracking traffic using infrared sensors in 2005. The number of women applying for Alpine’s treks jumped sixfold from last year, prompting the Tokyo-based company to increase women- only tours to 13 this year from six in 2009, spokesman Yasushi Kodama said.
Clothing companies have hired mountain fashion pioneers like Yuri Yosumi to promote new women’s lines for mountaineers. Yosumi’s “Love Trek” website includes red mini dresses and pink bush hats from Paris-based Aigle.
Berghaus Ltd., a U.K. outdoor wear maker, introduced skirts jointly developed with Yosumi in 2009, while and Jarden Corp.’s Marmot Mountain LLC, a U.S. outdoor clothing company, followed this year, according to Yosumi’s husband Daisuke.
“We’re giving an option to the market where only pants were available before,” Daisuke Yosumi said. He said his wife was not available to comment.
Japan’s fashion scene is famous for striking cult trends that sweep the industry, typically for a few years, such as the ganguro look that mixed deep fake tans with white lipstick, brightly colored clothes and orange-to-blond hair. Tokyo ranked 14th this year in Global Language Monitor’s annual list of world fashion capitals, trailing Hong Kong and Shanghai in Asia.
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”.
A’IGHTAll Right.As in, “That girl is nice, she’s a’ight.”
BANK:Has lots of flow(see also: flow)
BIZZNIZZLE: Business.As in “None of your bizznizzle!”Part of the Snoop Dogg/Sean John-inspired lexicon.
BLING:Originally bling bling, the sounds of jewelry (preferably diamonds and gold) clinking together, bling now refers to any expensive or ostentatious jewelry.
CHILLIN': Relaxing, especially with friends
COOL:Still a cool word, even after all these years
CRUNK: A Southern variation of hip-hop music.Also means fun or amped.
DOPE: (1) Excellent, cool, tight, or phat.As in, “That’s totally dope!”(2) Fine, good
FLOW: Money. Originally from ‘cash flow’. (see also: bank)
FO’ SHIZZLE:Variation of ‘for sure’, popularized by rapper Snoop Dogg.
GIVE IT UP! Replaces the square “Please applaud for…”
HELLA:An intensive: hella tight or hella phat.
HOTTIE:Object of affection, either personally or in the cultural milieu.
MAD:A lot.As in, “She has mad money.”
PEACE (or PEACE OUT): “See you later.”
PHAT:Way cool, as in ‘rolling phat’.
PIMPIN:Good with women (Also playa)
POPPINS:Perfect, from ‘Mary Poppins is perfect in every way.’
PROPER:Right, correct; a recycled Briticism.
PROPS: Respect or credit. As in, “He gets mad props!”Can also be used in place of cheers or congratulations.
RICE ROCKETS:Tricked out Japanese compact cars, as opposed to American ‘muscle’ cars.
SHUT UP! ‘Really?’
SICK: Hella cool!
SIDE SHOW:The temporary cordoning off of a freeway, done to perform outrageous car stunts in tricked-out rice rockets.
SNAG:Sensitive New-Age Guy.
STOG:Cigarette, short for ‘stogy’ or “stogie”.
SWEATIN: Irritating, bugging. As in `He’s really sweatin’ me!`
WASSUP?, WHAT UP?, and S’UP?:Popular variations of “What’s up?” or “What’s going on?”
WORD:“That’s good,” “That’s OK,” or “That’s right.”
Bonus Youthspeak Phenomenon of Note:
UP TALKING:Ending all sentences with a rising or upward inflection, as if asking a question.
The Top Ten Global YouthSpeak Words for 2006:
1. Yoof Speak – Pan-Asian term for YouthSpeak.
2. Ballin’ – Doing well; fine; as in he’s really ballin’ now.
3. Stick Ice – Chinese YouthSpeak for ‘popsicle’ or ice cream cone.
4. ii – Siigniifiies the text messaging style of doubliing the letter ii wherever iit iis found. (Very gee or preppy).
5. Ya-ya papaya – Snooty person (Singlish from Singapore).
6. 1 – From the U2 song One Love. Sign-off to Instant Messages.
7. =^..^= The emoticon representing a kitty.
8. Get up One’s Nose – Irritates, as in ‘He gets up my nose!’ (UK).
9. LMAO – Texting abbreviation for Laughed My Ass Off.
10. Yobbo – An unrefined or loutish youth (Aussie/UK).
The Top Global YouthSpeak Words for 2005 were: 1. Crunk — A Southern variation of hip hop music; also meaning fun or amped. 2. Mang — Variation of man, as in “S’up, mang?” 3. A’ight — All Right, “That girl is nice, she’s a’ight”.
Read More About the Top Words of 2006
The Top Ten Global YouthSpeak Words For 2005:
1. Crunk: A Southern variation of hip hop music; also meaning fun or amped.
2. Mang: Variation of man, as in “S’up, mang?”
3. A’ight: All Right, “That girl is nice, she’s a’ight”
4. Mad: A lot; “She has mad money”
5. Props: Cheers, as in “He gets mad props!”
6. Bizznizzle: This term for” business” is part of the Snoop Dogg / Sean John-inspired lexicon, as in “None of your bizznizzle!’
7. Fully: In Australia an intensive. as in ‘fully sick’.
8. Fundoo: In India, Hindi for cool
9. Brill! From the UK, the shortened form of brilliant!
10. “s’up”: Another in an apparently endless number of Whazzup? permutations.
Southern California YouthSpeak Bonus: Morphing any single syllable word into 3, 4 or even 5 syllables.
Last year the Top YouthSpeak terms were: Word, Peace (or Peace out), and Proper.
For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.