Top Trending Words of 2012 Mid-year Update

Obesogenic, Derecho (and gender-neutral ‘hen’) take on Apocalypse, Kate and Debt

Number of Words in the English Language:  1,016,672 (July 6 estimate)


AUSTIN, Texas July 10 – Trending 2012 Update: Obesogenic, Derecho (and the gender neutral ‘hen’) are taking on the Mayan Apocalypse, Kate, and Debt as candidates for the Top Word of the Year according to a mid-year update by the Global Language Monitor. Each year, GLM produces the top trending words for the following year just before the new year begins.  In 2011, it announced 12 possible candidates; mid-way through the year  the three new terms have been added to the list.

  • Obesogenic — An environment that tends to encourage obesity.  Lately it has been used to describe television advertisement that promote sugary and high-calorie snacks to kids.
  • Derecho — A ‘land hurricane,’ a sudden storm with extremely strong one-directional winds, such as occurred in the Eastern states earlier this month.
  • Hen — The Swedish attempt to create a gender-neutral pronoun to replace him or her or combinations therefore: hen.

“The new words are taken from an intensifying debate on obesity as a major societal health crisis, a ‘land Hurricane’ that some link to global warming. and a move sometimes viewed as political correctness to end gender distinction among pronouns,”  said Paul JJ Payack, the president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor.  “At 2012′s mid-point, there has been considerable movement among the top trending words, and that trend will no doubt continue as it has during the entire life of our 1400-year old language.”

The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.83 billion speakers (January 2012 estimate).

The Trending Top Words of 2012 in revised order:

Rank/ Previous Rank/ Word / Comments

1.  China (3) — Middle Kingdom – There is little indication that China’s continuing economic surge will fade from the global media spotlight –or abate.

2. Europe (12) — 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.

3.  The Election (6) —  No Obama-mania this time around, more of an Obama-ennui for the November 6 elections.

4.  Kate (2) — 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. (And most definitely not Katie, the future ex-Mrs. Tom Cruise.)

5.  Deficit (7) — Looks like deficit-spending will plague Western democracies for at least the next decade.

6.  Global Warming (10)— The earth has been warming since New York was covered under a mountain of ice; what makes 2012 any different?

7.  Derecho (New) — A ‘land hurricane,’ a sudden storm with extremely strong one-directional winds, such as occurred in the Eastern states earlier this month.

8. Olympiad (2) — The Greeks measured time by the four-year interval between the Games.  Moderns measure it by medal counts, rights fees and billions of eyeballs.

9. CERN (9) — 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.  Rogue nukes (8)—  Iran and North Korea will be the focus of attention here.

11.  Near-Earth Asteroid (11) —  Yet another year, another asteroid, another near-miss. (However, one does strike the Earth every one hundred million years or so.)

12.  Arab Spring (13) — the successor term for ‘Arab Spring’, whatever that might be.

13.  Bak’tun (4) — 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.)

14. Solar max (5)—  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?

15. Hen (New) — The Swedish attempt to create a gender-neutral pronoun to replace him or her or combinations thereof: hen.

16. Obesogenic (New) — An environment that tends to encourage obesity.  Lately it has been used to describe television advertisement that promote sugary and high-calorie snacks to kids.

The Top Words for 2011:  ‘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.

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 250,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge.


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