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Top Words of the Decade (2000-2009)

“Global Warming,” “9/11” and “Obama” are Top Words,

“Climate Change” is top phrase,

“Heroes” is top name

Austin, TX November 19, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor has announced the Top Words of the Decade, as part of its annual global survey of the English language. The Top Words were ‘Global Warming’, 9/11, and Obama followed by Bailout, Evacuee, and Derivative; Google, Surge, Chinglish, and Tsunami followed. “Climate Change” was the top phrase, while “Heroes” was the top name; bin-Laden was No. 2.

Read the the story in the London Telegraph

“Looking at the first decade of the 21st century in words is a sober, even somber, event.” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor. “For a decade that began with such joy and hope, the words chosen depict a far more complicated and in many ways, tragic time. Nevertheless, signs of hope and renewal can be found in the overall lists.”

The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.58 billion speakers. Since GLM’s survey encompassed the years 2000 – 2009, the expanded lists included 25 Top Words, and 20 Top Phrases and 20 Top Names.

To see the Top Words of the individual years of the 21st century, go here.

Each List contains the word, phrase or name in numerical order and the year when the word, phrase or name came to prominence. For example, the word ‘quagmire’ is hundreds of years old but it came into renewed prominence in 2004, about a year after the beginning of the Iraq War.

The Top Words of the Decade from 2000 – 2009

Word (Year) Comments

1. Global Warming (2000) Rated highly from Day One of the decade

2. 9/11 (2001) Another inauspicious start to the decade

3. Obama- (2008 )The US President’s name as a ‘root’ word or ‘word stem’

4. Bailout (2008) The Bank Bailout was but Act One of the crisis

5. Evacuee/refugee (2005) After Katrina, refugees became evacuees

6. Derivative (2007) Financial instrument or analytical tool that engendered the Meltdown

7. Google (2007) Founders misspelled actual word ‘googol’

8. Surge (2007) The strategy that effectively ended the Iraq War

9. Chinglish (2005) The Chinese-English Hybrid language growing larger as Chinese influence expands

10. Tsunami (2004) Southeast Asian Tsunami took 250,000 lives

11. H1N1 (2009) More commonly known as Swine Flu

12. Subprime ( 2007) Subprime mortgages were another bubble to burst

13. dot.com (2000) The Dot.com bubble engendered no lifelines, no bailouts

14. Y2K ( 2000) The Year 2000:  all computers would turn to pumpkins at the strike of midnight

15. Misunderestimate (2002) One of the first and most enduring of Bushisms

16. Chad ( 2000) Those Florida voter punch card fragments that the presidency would turn aupon

17. Twitter (2008 ) A quarter of a billion references on Google

18. WMD (2002) Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction

19. Blog (2003) First called ‘web logs’ which contracted into blogs

20. Texting (2004) Sending 140 character text messages over cell phones

21. Slumdog (2008) Child inhabitants of Mumba’s slums

22. Sustainable (2006) The key to ‘Green’ living where natural resources are never depleted

23. Brokeback (2004)   New term for ‘gay’ from he Hollywood film ‘Brokeback Mountain’

24. Quagmire (2004) Would Iraq War end up like Vietnam, another ‘quagmire’?

25. Truthiness (2006) Steven Colbert’s addition to the language appears to be a keeper

Also worth noting:  ‘Embedded’ (2003) to embed reporters with US Troops

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The Top Phrases of the Decade from 2000 – 2009

Word (Year) Comments

1. Climate Change (2000) Green words in every form   dominant the decade

2. Financial Tsunami (2008) One quarter of the world’s wealth vanishes seemingly overnight

3. Ground Zero (2001) Site of 9/11terrorist attack in New York City

4. War on Terror (2001)  Bush administration’s response to 9/11

5. Weapons of Mass Destruction (2003)  Bush’s WMDs never found in Iraq or the Syrian desert

6. Swine Flu (2008) H1N1, please, so as not to offend the pork industry or religious sensitivities!

7. “Let’s Roll!” (2001)  Todd Beamer’s last words before Flight 93 crashed into the PA countryside

8. Red State/Blue State (2004) Republican or Democratic control of states

9. Carbon footprint (2007) How much CO² does an activity produce?

10. Shock-and-awe (2003) Initial strategy of Iraq War

11. Ponzi Scheme (2009) Madoff’s strategy reaped billions & heartache

12. Category Four (2005) Force of Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans’ seawalls and levies

13. King of Pop (2000)  Elvis was the King, MJ the King (of Pop)

14. “Stay the Course” (2004) Dubya’s off-stated guidance for Iraq War

15. “Yes, we can!” (2008)   Obama’s winning campaign slogan

16. “Jai Ho!” (2008)  Shout of joy from ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

17. “Out of the Mainstream” (2003) Complaint about any opposition’s political platform

18. Cloud computing (2007)  Using the Internet as a large computational device

19. Threat Fatigue (2004)   One too many terrorist threat alerts

20. Same-sex marriage (2003) Marriage of gay couples

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The Top Names of the Decade from 2000 – 2009

Name (Year) Comments

1. Heroes (2001)   Emergency responders who rushed into the Towers

2. bin Laden (2001) His Capture still top of mind for US Military

3. Ground Zero (2001) NY Times still will not capitalize the site as a formal name

4. Dubya (2000) George W. Bush, US President No. 43

5. The Clintons (Hillary & Bill) (2000) Looming on political landscape, though not as large

6. John Paul II (2000)   Largest funeral in TV history attested to power

7. Obama (2008) Making an impact as the decade ends

8. Taliban (2000)   Still the source of Afghan insurgency

9. Katrina (2004) Hurricane whose destruction of New Orleans is seared into minds around globe

10. Tiger Woods (2000) Top golfer earned about $1 Billion this decade

11. iPhone (2007)   First product on this list

12. Paul Hewson (Bono) (2000) U2 Front man, NY Times Columnist, catalyst for African relief

13. Michael Jackson (2000) The King of Pop

14. Al Gore (2000) Nobel Prize winner, US Vice President, Climate Change purveyor

15. Saddham Hussein (2000) Iraqi dictator captured while hiding in a ‘spider hole’

16. Enron (2001)   Seems like another era since this giant fell

17. Bollywood (2000)   Mumbai’s answer to Hollywood

18. Facebook (2007) Another ubiquitous software product

19. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005) Iranian president since 2005

20. Vladimir Putin (2000) Russian leader since 2000

Also worth noting:  ’Wikipedia’ (2006) The user-generated compendium of all knowledge

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The analysis was completed on November 16th using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet, now including blogs and social media (such as Twitter). The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.

Political Buzzwords Track Trajectory of Obama Presidency

Bailout, Climate Change, Birther, Healthcare Reform & Liberal at top

Obamamania and Politics of Change tumble as does Bush (as a Bogeyman)

Austin, Texas September 11, 2009 (Updated) – ‘Bailout’, ‘Climate Change’, ‘Birther’, ‘Health Care Reform’ and ‘Liberal’ were named the top political buzzwords since the Obama Inaugural. Rounding out the top ten were ‘recession’ (up some 1000% when linked to Obama), ‘Sarah Palin,’ the phrase ‘change you can believe in’ (down some 600% since the Inauguration), ‘AIG bonuses,’ and ‘Sotomayor,’ the new Supreme Court justice.  Perhaps, even more striking is the manner in which signature buzzwords such as ‘Politics of change’ (No. 37) and ‘Obamanania’ (No. 38) have tumbled.  Another finding:  the tactic of painting ‘Bush’ (No. 23) and, even, Cheney (No.28) as bogeymen is rapidly losing it effectiveness.

For the study, GLM used it proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) to track the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the blogosphere and social media as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity. The final list contains 40 words and phrases (see below).

“The top political buzzwords used since the Obama Inaugural show the sharp trajectory of his presidency,’ said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of The Global Language Monitor. “Our analysis differs from polls in that it is not what people say they think about various topics, but rather is a measurement of what words are actually being used and in which context.”

The Top Political Buzzwords since the Inaugural listes with rank and commentary follow.

Top Political Buzzwords September 1, 2009 Comment

Rank
1. Wall Street Bailout: Still resonates at very high score, no shrinkage
2. Climate Change Remains:  One of the Top 3 — for several years3. Birther: Whatever it means, the issue looms large

4. Health Care Reform:  Health Care Reform comes in at a strong No. 4

5. Liberal:  This is not always a positive statement
6. Recession (linked to Obama):  Obama’s link to recession up 1000% since inauguration
7. Sarah Palin:  Fierce opposition to her, apparently adds to her allure
8. Change you can believe in:  Down almost 60% from January peak
9. AIG (Post-bailout Bonuses):  Bonuses after the Bailout still loom large in public mind
10. Sotomayor:  Wise Latina gets more news than Iraq War
11. Iraq War:  Fading from the public mind as Afghanistan advances
12. Socialism (linked with Obama):  Painting Obama as a Socialist apparently working
13. Outrage (Linked with Obama & AIG:  Outrage at AIG now linked to Obama administration
14. Public Option in HealthCare:  Public Option still center of debate
15. Stimulus Package:  Stimulus package still object of controversy
16. MObama (the Fashion Icon):  Michelle Obama image as global fashion icon rising rapidly
17. Beer Summit with Gates & Cambridge Police: Beer Summit resonates with all things ‘racial’
18. Middle-class taxes:  Concern is up about 170% since Inaugural
19. Current crisis as Depression:  Citations down some 50% since January
20. Transparency:  Idea of Transparency shrinking from view (down 30%)
21. Obama as a compromiser:  Continues to gain traction
22. Rush Limbaugh:  Rush bests the former president by only 5%
23. George Bush:  Warning to Dems:  Bush as Bogey man fading from view
24. Single Payer:  Healthcare solution view as government intervention; Up over 800% since Obama took office
25. Death Panel:  Up some 1500%, ranking only slightly ahead of Al Qaeda
26. Al qaeda:  Still lurking in the public mind
27. Town Hall Meetings:  Not to be easily dismissed
28. Dick Cheney:  Former No. 2,  now No. 28
29. Shovel Ready:  Where are all the ‘shovel-ready’ jobs?
30. Global Financial Restructuring:  This may take years to run its course
31. Iran election:  On the periphery of American consciousness
32. Wise Latina:  Short-term news bite, no lasting value
33. Financial meltdown:  Down 85% since January as he the new reality sets in
34. Worst Recession:  Not depression, but something different than a recession
35. Afghanistan:  Troop build-up mostly a Beltway discussion
36. Wee weeing:  According to Obama, Washington in late summer
37. Politics of change:  Biz as usual sends this plummeting 60% from Inaugural
38. Obamamania:  Yesterday’s news; down over 80% from Inaugural
39. Politics of fear:  Within 1/2 of 1% of Obamamania
40. Nuclear Iran   Drifting in and out of public consciousness

What’s the advantage of the PQI over the Polls?

The PQI is, perhaps, the ultimate ‘It is what it is’ measurement of consumer (and in this case Political) sentiment.

The PQI simply measures the occurrence of certain words or phrases in the print and electronic media (traditional or otherwise), on the Internet, and across the Blogosphere and social media, as well as accessing proprietary databases. It is by its very nature non-biased. When we take a statistical snapshot for the PQI there is no adjustment for ‘underrepresented’ groups, there are no assumptions about probability of turnout, the proportions of newly registered voters, traditional models, or expanded modularities. Rather, we take our measurements, check for the rate of positive or negative change in the appearance of a searched word or phrase (what we call velocity and momentum) and publish our results.

Other Headlines

Is Merriam-Webster its own worst frenemy?

60% of new words in 2009 Collegiate were born before today’s college students

‘New’ words average age — 29 years

Austin, TX July 16, 2009, (MetaNewswire) – Is Merriam-Webster its own worst frenemy? The answer to that question can perhaps be answered by the upcoming release of its Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition with the addition of almost 100 new words and word meanings (or senses).  The average of these “new words” is twenty-nine years, according to Merriam-Webster’s itself.  [Read more.]


Analysis: Seismic Shift to Internet in the Reporting

.of News as Evidenced by Death of Michael Jackson

“The Death of Michael Jackson has become a case study in the growing disparity between the mainstream global media and their newer Internet incarnations,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.

“The world has, indeed, witnessed a seismic shift in the reporting, analysis, and selection of news as evidenced by the recent death of Michael Jackson. In this regard, it appears as if the people have ‘voted with their clicks’ that the Internet is now an equal (if not senior) partner to the global print and electronic media.

London Telegraph:  Michael Jackson’s Death Second Biggest Story of Century

The cyber-reporting of recent events in Iran only underscores this new (and growing) phenomenon.”

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Analysis:  Michael Jackson funeral tops those of Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, Princess Diana and Mother Teresa

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Measured Global Print and Electronic Media from Day of Death to Day after Funeral

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Austin, TX July 9, 2009– In an exclusive analysis performed by the Global Language Monitor, the death of Michael Jackson, the entertainment icon, has been found to be the Top Funeral in the Global Print and Electronic Media over the last dozen years . Jackson moved ahead of Pope John Paul II, whose funeral in 2005 previously set the standard.

The results follow:

  1. Michael Jackson, June 25 – July 8, 2009
  2. Pope John Paul II, April 2 – April 9, 2005
  3. Ronald Reagan, June 5 – June 10, 2004
  4. Mother Teresa, September 5 – September 14, 1997
  5. Princess Diana, August 31 – September 7, 1997

The death, aftermath, and funeral of Michael Jackson had some 18% more stories in the global print and electronic media than that of Pope John Paul II in 2005. The analysis covered the Top 5,000 print and electronic media sites, but excluded blogs and social media since they did not have a significant presence throughout the entire period of measurement.

“The death of Michael Jackson, and the media frenzy surrounding of its aftermath and his funeral, has moved Michael Jackson to the forefront of coverage of similar prominent deaths over the last dozen years,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM.  Other prominent passings include those of Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. “The strength (and depth) of the global media coverage only adds to his already significant legacy and shows no sign of abetting.”

When measured in terms total web presence, Jackson outdistances Ronald Reagan, at No. 2, by more a factor of 10.

The results follow:

  1. Michael Jackson, died in 2009
  2. Ronald Reagan, died in 2004
  3. Pope John Paul II, died in 2005
  4. Princess Diana, died in 1997
  5. Mother Teresa, died in 1997

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Jackson Joins yet another Hall of Fame

Michael Jackson Death No. 2 Internet Story of 21st Century

Internet No. 2 (to Obama’s Election); Mainstream Media Ranking No.9

Austin, TX June 29, 2009 (MetaNewswire) – The death of Michael Jackson, the entertainment icon, is now one of the top stories of the 21st century, according to a analysis released by the Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com).  In the 72 hours after his death, Jackson jumped to the No. 9 spot for the global print and electronic media.  For Internet, blogs and social media, Jackson jumped to the No.2, only trailing the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States.  The results showed the growing disparity between the mainstream global media, and what is playing out for news on the Internet, and beyond.

The citations for Michael Jackson in the Mainstream Media numbered in the thousands; his citations on the Internet, and beyond numbered in the millions.  The analysis tracked news stories within the first seventy-two hours after the event. The events include in descending order of Internet citations include:  The Obama election, the death of Michael Jackson, the Iraq War, the Beijing Olympics, the Financial Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the death of Pope John Paul II, the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks and the Asian Tsunami.

Citations for the election of Barack Obama are five times greater than that of No. 2, Michael Jackson.  In turn, the death of Michael Jackson is cited more than double than those for the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003.

“The death of Michael Jackson has resulted in a global media event of the first order” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM.  “The fact that he has broken into the top media events of the 21st century is a testament to the global impact of the man and his music.”

Mainstream Global Media

Internet, Blogs & Social Media
Rank Story Year
Rank Story Year
1 Obama 2008
1 Obama 2008
2 Hurricane Katrina 2005
2 Michael Jackson 2009
3 Financial Tsunami 2008
3 Iraq War 2003
4 Iraq War 2003
4 Beijing Olympics 2008
5 9/11 Terrorist Attacks 2001
5 Financial Tsunami 2008
6 Beijing Olympics 2008
6 Hurricane Katrina 2005
7 Pope John Paul II 2005
7 Pope John Paul II 2005
8 S. Asian Tsunami 2005
8 9/11 Terrorist Attacks 2001
9 Michael Jackson 2009
9 S. Asian Tsunami 2005

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shakespeare-seriously-noob.jpg

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Linguists Fret as the World Celebrates Global English

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There are 10,000 other stories hailing the arrival of the 1,000,000th word from Abu Dhabi, and Tehran, to Beijing, to Sydney, to Chicago and Sri Lanka.

‘Millionth English word’ declared

A US web monitoring firm has declared the millionth English word to be Web 2.0, a term for the latest generation of web products and services.

Matt Frei reports on English’s unique linguistic evolution and then spoke to Global Language Monitor’s Paul Payack who helped find this millionth English word.

SEE ALSO


The Million Word March in Smithsonian Magazine

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THE WORLD IN WORDS:  Top Words of 2008

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The WordMan’s Guide to Global English!


For Complete Coverage of the Million Word March Click Here.