Occupy is the Top Word of the Year,
Arab Spring is the Top Phrase of the Year and
Steve Jobs is the Top Name of the Year
Global Language Monitor’s 12th Annual Survey of Global English
AUSTIN, Texas December 6, 2011 (Updated from November 10) — The Global Language Monitor has announced that ‘Occupy’ is the Top Word, ‘Arab Spring’ the Top Phrase and ‘Steve Jobs’ the Top Name of 2011 in its annual global survey of the English language. Occupy was followed by deficit, fracking, drone, and non-veg. Kummerspeck, haboob, 3Q, Trustafarians, and (the other) 99 rounded out the Top 10.
“Our selections this year, to a large extent, reflect the ongoing political and economic uncertainty that seems to be affecting much of the developed world – with notable exceptions such as the Royal wedding and the continuing rise of China ,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global Language Monitor.
“Our top words, phrases and names this year come from five continents… confirmation of the ever-expanding influence of the English language.
“The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.58 billion speakers. The Global Language Monitor’s Word of the Year rankings are based upon actual word usage in the English speaking world.
“In global English, words are not bestowed upon, agreed upon, or voted upon by cultural or academic elites but, rather, words are defined from the bottom up, that is, by the people themselves — and this is true whether in the East End of London, or south-central LA, the projects in Brooklyn, the slums of Kingston, the call centers of Mumbai, the streets of Singapore, the text messages out of Shanghai, or the fashion districts of Sydney.”
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 75,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources.
.2011, l’année Steve Jobs?
(Time Person of the Year?)
Nunberg also selects ‘occupy’ as the 2011 Word of the Year
The Top Words of 2011
Rank / Word / Comments
2. Deficit – Growing and possibly intractable problem for the economies of the developed world.
3. Fracking – Hydraulic fracturing is a controversial method for extracting fossil fuels from hitherto unreachable deposits.
4. Drone – The ever increasing number of remotely piloted aircraft used for reconnaissance and attack purposes.
5. Non-veg – A meal served with meat, originally from India, now catching on worldwide.
6. Kummerspeck – From the German seeing wider acceptance in the English, excess weight gained from emotional overeating (grief bacon).
7. Haboob – A name imported from the Arabic for massive sandstorms in the American Southwest.
8. 3Q – Near universal term for ‘thank you’ now earning additional status after being banned from official Chinese dictionaries. Another example of the ever- increasing mixing of numbers and letters to form words.
9. Trustafarians – Well-to-do youth (trust-funders) living a faux-Bohemian life style, now associated with the London Riots.
The Top Phrases of 2011
Rank / Phrase / Comment
1. Arab Spring – The series of uprisings, social protests, and rebellions occurring among many nations of the Arab World beginning this spring.
2. Royal Wedding – The wedding of the former Kate Middleton and heir-to-the-British-Throne, Prince William that captivated millions around the world.
3. Anger and Rage – Characterizations of the global electorate by the pundits, though closer analyses has revealed more frustration than anger and more disappointment than rage.
4. Climate Change – No. 1 phrase for the first decade of the 21st century; still resonates into its second decade.
5. The Great Recession – Though officially over, the media term most frequently used to describe the on-going global economic restructuring.
6. Tahrir Square – The scene of the ‘25th of January’ demonstrations in Cairo against Hosni Mubarak.
7. Linear No Threshold (LNT) – The methodology to calculate risk from exposure to radioactive elements from the Fukushima Daiiachi disaster.
9. ‘How’s that working out for you?’ – The New York Times credits Sarah Palin, but it predates her use of the phrase by several decades.
10. “Make no mistake about it!” – President Obama has repeated the phrase thousands of times since his 2008 election.
The Top Names of 2011
Rank / Name / Comments
2. Osama bin-Laden & Seal Team 6 – Who changed the world more? Al-Qaeda or Steve Jobs?
3. Fukushima – The epicenter of the Japanese Triple Disaster (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown).
4. Mohamed Bouazizi – the Tunisian fruit vendor who set himself afire and became the symbol of Tunisian resistance – and the Arab Spring.
5. Chinese Paramount Leader Hu Jintao – The Rise of the Tiger being a primary cause of the Global Economic Restructuring.
6. Kate Middleton – She captivated the world with her elegance and style and continues to do so as the Duchess of Cambridge.
7. Muammar Gaddafi – Libyan strongman toppled in the recent insurrection.
8. President Obama – Hope and Change retreat further into the history books; the game plan is now for survival.
9. PIIGS – The nations of Portugal, Ireland, Italy Greece and Spain taken together for their untenable deficits possibly affecting the economic health of the Eurozone.
10. Yaroslavl Lokomotiv – The ill-fated elite Russian hockey team that was virtually wiped out in the crash of a three-engine Yak-42.
Top Words of the Decade
The Top Words of the Decade Global Warming, 9/11, and Obama outdistanced Bailout, Evacuee, and Derivative; Google, Surge, Chinglish, and Tsunami followed. Climate Change was top phrase; Heroes was the top name.
Previous Words of the Year include:
Top Words: No. 1 Spillcam, No. 2 Vuvuzela, No. 3 The Narrative
Top Phrases: No. 1 Anger and Rage, No. 2 Climate Change, No. 3 The Great Recession
Top Names: No. 1 Hu Jintao, paramount leader of China, No. 2 iPad, No. 3 Barack Obama
Top Words: No. 1 Twitter, No. 2 Obama-, No. 3 H1N1
Top Phrases: No. 1 King of Pop, No. 2 Obama-mania, No. 3 Climate Change
Top Names: No. 1 Obama, No. 2 Michael Jackson, No. 3 Mobama
Top Words: No. 1 Change, No. 2 Bailout, No. 3 Obama-mania
Top Phrases: No. 1 Financial Tsunami, No. 2 Global Warming, No. 3 “Yes, We Can!”
Top Names: No. 1 Barack Obama, No. 2 George W. Bush, No.3 Michael Phelps
Top Words: No. 1 Hybrid (representing all things green), No. 2: Surge
Top Phrase: Climate Change
Top Name: Al Gore
Top Word: Sustainable
Top Phrase: Stay the Course
Top Name: Dafur
Top Words: No. 1, Refugee No. 2: Tsunami No. 3: Katrina
Top Phrase: Outside the Mainstream
Top Name: (acts of ) God
Top Word: Incivility (for inCivil War)
Top Phrase: Red States/Blue States No. 2: Rush to War
Top Name: Dubya/Rove
Top Word: Embedded
Top Phrase: Shock and Awe, No. 2: Rush to War
Top Name: Saddam Hussein, No. 2 Dubya
Top Word: Misunderestimate
Top Phrase: Threat Fatigue
Top Name: W (Dubya)
Top Word: Ground Zero
Top Phrase: ‘Lets Roll’
Top Name: The Heros
Top Word: Chad
Top Phrase: Dot.com
Top Name: W (Dubya)
About The Global Language Monitor
Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.
For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.