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Adorkable Top Television Word of the Year (Teleword)

… from New Girl, Big Bang & Modern Family

followed by Shell Shock, Bi-Polar, Dothraki and La Toti


Ninth Annual Analysis by the Global Language Monitor


Austin, Texas, USA. September 25-26, 2012. The Global Language Monitor (GLM) today announced that ‘adorkable’ from New Girl and Big Bang, and Modern Family the Top Teleword of the Year followed by ‘Bi-polar,’ ‘Dothraki’, and ‘La Toti’.  Rounding out the top ten were ‘scripted,’ ‘Kate,’ ‘fourth screen,’ ‘nerdy,’ and ‘Jubilee’. The awards are announced in conjunction with the Primetime Emmy awards at the beginning of the Fall television season in the US.  This is the ninth annual analysis by Austin-based GLM.

“This is the first time a single phrase from three outstanding comedies shared the top spot,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM.  “This year’s list also reflects a world trying to find a new equilibrium for itself from lessons culled from its past, its present, with a touch of fantasy as it moves into the future.”


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The Top Telewords of the 2011-2012 season with commentary follow:

1.     Adorkable (Big Bang Theory, New Girl and Modern Family) – The word has been around for nearly ten years now and has applied mostly to men (as in Jim Parsons), but somehow Zooey Deschanel, and  Modern Family’s Rico Rodriguez II (Manny) and Ariel Winter (Alex) have all added a vibrant dimension to the term. [A portmanteau word from dork and adorable.]

2.     Shell Shock (Downton Abbey) – The trauma of shell shock both in the trenches of World War 1 and the vanishing way of life of the English Upper Class lies at the center of this early 20th c. drama. Societies, too, can experience shell shock. [Also called battle fatigue, now known as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)].

3.     Bi-polar (Homeland) – Looking at an insane world through bi-polar eyes, Claire Danes presents an intense, intriguing portrayal of the post-Modern battlefield found in Homeland, where the enemies are neither obvious nor detectable on both side of the battle.  [Historically known as manic-depressive disorder, where people experience disruptive mood swings.

4.     Dothraki (Game of Thrones) – The twenty-three consonants and four vowels of the Dothraki language are not much easier to understand that the series multiple plotlines. [Dothraki is a made-up or ‘constructed’ language.  There are hundreds of these ‘constructed’ languages from ‘Vulcan’ to J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Elvish’ to the 120-words of  ‘Toki Pona’.

5.     La Toti (Modern Family) – Family nickname of Sofía Margarita Vergara Vergara, the highest earning actress in American television for the past year ($19.1 million).  [‘La Toti’ loosely translated as ‘the be all and end all’.]

6.     Scripted – Scripted shows now mean ‘not reality’.  Like the term guitar now needs the retronym ‘acoustic guitar’ to differentiate itself from its electronic brethren, reality TV has now become the dominate genre.

7.     Kate – Who are the 100,000 people surrounding the Duchess of Cambridge?  Those would be the Olympians and fans of the London 2012 Summer Olympics. Oh.

8.     Fourth Screen – Whatever happen to the three-screen world of tomorrow.  That would be yesterday.  Past prognosticators  evidently forgot to consult Steve Jobs about the ‘tablets’ in their future. [The three screens were those of the television, computer and smart phone.  Apple’s iPad proved to be a game-changer introducing a new class of devices called ‘tablets’.

9.     Jubilee – From Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th anniversary on the throne of England.  The traditional Jubilee period is fifty years, but no matter ….

10.  Dramedy (Louie) — Is it comedy?  Is it drama?  Dunno, but it’s definitely C.K. [Shorthand for his Hungarian surname — Székely.]  .

This exclusive ranking is based upon GLM’s Narrative Tracking technology.  NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 250,000 print and electronic news media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter) as they emerge.

The words, phrases and concepts are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

The Top Telewords of previous years:

2011 – SpillCam from the Gulf Oil Spill, followed by Guido (Jersey Shore) and Reality (TV)

2010 – ‘Royal Wedding’ of Kate Middleton and Prince William, followed by Charlie Sheen’s ‘winner,’ and Arab Spring.

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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