Wikileaks declared English-language Word
Another New Media Company that Passes into the Language
AUSTIN, Texas December 21, 2010 – WikiLeaks.ch, which that has increasingly upped the ante of the kind of information that it leaks into the public sphere from anonymous sources, has been deemed an English language word by the Global language Monitor. GLM recognizes a word as being part of the English language once it meets the requisite criteria of geographic reach as well as ‘depth and breadth’ of recorded usage.
In the case of wikileaks, the word appeared sporadically in the global media in 2006 until it has now been cited more than 300 million times, even with a quick Google search. This, of course, correlates with WikiLeaks’ most recent release of diplomatic correspondence and other classified government information. GLM standards include a minimum of 25,000 citations of a new term in the global media that encompass the English-speaking world, which now encompasses some 1.58 billion people. (In 1960, there were about 250 million English speakers, mostly in former British colonies.)
“Wikileaks joins a number of new media and high technology companies whose names and functions are being incorporated into the language,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of Austin-based Global Language Monitor. “These include Google, Twitter and the ‘friending’ function of Facebook. The most recent language spin-off from Google appears to be Xoogler, referring to ex-Google employees who bring their talents to other start-ups.”
The word ‘wiki’ is Hawaiian in origin and is usually defined as ‘quick’ or ‘fast’ especially when used in rapid succession: “wiki, wiki, wiki!”. In computing, a wiki describes software that lets any user create or edit Web-server content. The WikiLeaks organization was originally set-up as a ‘wiki’.
There is no official English language institution charged with maintaining the ‘purity’ of the English language and to maintain vigilance of the ‘corrupting influence’ of other languages. English accepts any and all contenders as long as they meet the requisite criteria of geographic reach as well as depth and breadth of usage. The L’Académie française is the official arbiter of the French language; it has famously declared the word ‘email’ (as well as ‘hamburger’) verboten from official French correspondence. The Royal Spanish Academy serves the same function for the Spanish language; it has recently eliminated two letters from the Spanish alphabet to the howl of Spanish speakers outside Spain.
The most recent words acknowledged by the Global Language Monitor include ‘refudiate’ a malapropism coined by Sarah Palin, ‘vuvuzela’ the brightly colored plastic horns made (in)famous at the South African World Cup, and ‘snowmageddon’ that President Obama used to described the winter storms that nearly shut down Washington, DC during the recent winter.