“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.
“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.
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
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
The Top Names of the Decade from 2000 – 2009
Name (Year) Comment
1. Hereos (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
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.
“Obama-” as a Top Word of 2008
Austin, TX December 5 2008 – In an election cycle known for its many twists and turns, another unexpected result pops up in calculating the Top Words of 2008. According to the analysis performed by the Global Language Monitor’s (www.Languagemonitor.com), the word ‘change’ was the Top Word of 2008, followed by ‘bailout’ and ‘Obamamania’.
“However, it is interesting to note,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM, “that if you included ‘obama-’ as a root word or word stem, Obama- in its many forms (ObamaMania, Obamamentum, Obmanomics, Obamacize, Obamanation, and even O-phoria and Obamalot as a stand-in for JFK’s Camelot, etc.), would have overtaken both change, and bailout for the top spot.
In a year of footnotes, GLM felt it important to add this interesting linguistic twist to the historical record.”
Obama’s oft cited refrain, “Yes, we can!” was ranked third as Phrase of the Year, following “financial tsunami” and “global warming.”
Barack Obama was ranked the Top Name of the Year, followed by George W. Bush and Michael Phelps, the Olympic 8-time gold medal winner.
Change beats Bailout and Obamamania as top word of 2008
Financial Tsunami is Top Phrase, Barack Obama is Top Name
Austin, TX December 1, 2008 – Change is the Top Word, Financial Tsunami is Top Phrase, and Barack Obama is Top Name atop the Global Language Monitor’s (www.Languagemonitor.com) annual global survey of the English language.
The estimated number of words in the English language stands at 998,751, just 1,249 from the million-word mark.
“Global English has been driven by three notable events during the course of 2008: The US Presidential Election, the Financial Tsunami, and the Beijing Olympics.” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor. For 2008 our words were culled from throughout the English-speaking world which now numbers some 1.58 billion speakers and includes such diverse cultures as India, China, Philippines, and the EuroZone.
The analysis was completed using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet. 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.
The top words for 2007 were all ‘green’ oriented: Hybrid was the Top Word, the Top Phrase was Climate Change, and the Top Name was Al Gore.(who won the Nobel Prize) for his efforts on Global Warming through ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. In an odd twist of history, Gore also won an academy award for the film.
The Top Word for 2006 were ’sustainable,’ the Top Phrase was ‘Stay the Course’ (President Bush repeatedly describing his Iraq Strategy), and the Top Name was Dafur.
The Top Ten Words of 2008
- Change – The top political buzzword of the 2008 US Presidential campaign.
- Bailout – Would have been higher but was not in the media until Mid-September.
- Obamamania – Describing the worldwide reaction to Barack Obama’s campaign and subsequent victory in the US presidential race.
- Greenwashing – Repositioning a product to stress its Earth-friendly attributes.
- Surge – Military and political strategy often cited as reducing violence in Iraq.
- Derivative – Exotic financial instruments used to cleverly package junk-grade debt.
- Subprime – Mortgages that were packaged as derivatives.
- Foreclosure – The end-result of the sub-prime mess.
- Phelpsian: New word coined to describe the Phelpsian Pheat of winning eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.
- Chinglish – The often amusing Chinese/English language hybrid that Beijing tried to stamp out before the Olympics began.
The Top Ten Phrases of 2008
- Financial Tsunami – Worldwide financial meltdown ultimately stemming from derivatives used to package subprime mortgages.
- Global Warming – The No. 2 buzzword of the US Presidential Campaign.
- Yes We Can — Yes, indeed, he could and he did.
- Lame Duck – What happens when you wait 2 ½ months from election to inauguration.
- Working Class Whites – Apparently, working Class Whites is used as a code word for whites who are working class.
- “It is, what it is” – On everyone’s lips this year meaning ‘unfortunately, those are the facts’.
- Lip Synching: The fate of Lin Miaoke, the little girl who didn’t sing the song the whole world sings in the Olympics opening ceremony.
- Price of oil – Oil was supposed to topping out about now at $200/barrel.
- Super Tuesday – When the race for the Democratic nomination was supposed to be decided.
- Suddenness Happens – Top Chinglish Phrase from the Beijing Olympics.
The Top Ten Names of 2008
- Barack Obama –. President-elect of the United States.
- George W. Bush – Lame Duck, No. 43, The Decider.
- Michael Phelps — The top name of the top televison spectacle of all time (the Beijing Olympics)
- Hilary Clinton – She said ‘he can’t win;’ now she is his Secretary of State.
- Vladimir Putin – The supreme leader of Russia, whatever his title.
- Bono — U2’s front man also known for his efforts to raise awareness about AIDS in African, Third World debt and Unfair Trade practices.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – Iran now claims 5,000 nuclear centrifuges.
- Sarah Palin – Governor of Alaska and vice presidential nominee of the Republican party.
- John McCain – Soon to be the answer to a trivia question: Mondale, Dole, Dukakis ….
- Beyonce – The R&B singer AKA as Sasha Fierce.
The Top Celeb Couple: Sarkozy and Carla Bruni – Big hit for his policies and her former supermodel status (replacing David Beckham and Posh Spice).
Top Words and Phrases of 2007
‘Hybrid’ bests ‘Surge’ as Top Word
‘Climate Change’ is Top Phrase
‘Al Gore’ is Top Name
Top Smiley is ?-) for ‘pirate’
San Diego, CA and Henderson, NV (December 13, 2007) ‘Hybrid’ is Top Word, ‘Climate Change’ is Top Phrase, and ‘Gore’ is Top Name atop the Global Language Monitor’s annual global survey of the English language. The Top Smiley is ?-) for ‘’pirate’. The most understood word on the planet is the word OK. And the estimated number of words in the English language is 995,115, just 4,884 from the million-word mark.
The analysis was completed using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet. 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. GLM’s global network of language observers have nominated English-language words throughout the year from the world over.
“The idea of planetary peril and impending climatic doom resonated throughout our linguistic analysis, with the various words and phrases garnering hundreds of millions of citations; in the end this narrowly outdistanced the word ‘surge’ that also had a disproportionate impact upon 2007’s linguistic landscape.” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor. For 2007 these words were culled from throughout the English-speaking world which now numbers some 1.35 billion speakers and and now includes such diverse cultures as China, the Philippines, and India.
The Top Ten Words of 2007
1. Hybrid – Actually Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV). Chosen to represent all things green from biodiesel to wearing clothes made of soy, to global warming to living with a zero-carbon footprint. (From the Latin hybrida, a variation of ibrida for “mongrel,” specifically “offspring of a sow and a wild boar,”)
2. Surge – The controversial political and military strategy of winning the war in Iraq
3. Bubble – As in housing bubble, bursting. Also, Credit crunch.
4. Smirting – The new-found art of flirting while being banished outside a building for smoking.
5. Pb – The symbol lead, Atomic No. 82. The culprit in innumerable toy recalls this year.
6. Ideating – Latest in a long line of verbalisms: the descendent of concepting and efforting.
7. Omega-3 (Greek letter omega-3) — Also written as Omega 3; the healthy fatty acid.
8. Cleavage – As in ‘woman of cleavage,’ a touchy campaign subject.
9. Amigoization — Increasing Hispanic influence in California, the Southwest and into the Heartland.
10. Bluetooth – A technology to connect electronic devices by radio waves.
The Top Smiley or Emoticon: ?-) The smiley for ‘pirate’, thanks to the Pirates of the Caribbean.
The Top HollyWORD gone global: Brokeback — GLM’s top HollyWORD of 2006 now recognized by Chinese Ministry of Educations as new word for ‘gay,’ with ideograms for ‘broke’ and ‘back’.
The Top Ten Phrases for 2007
1. Climate change – The warming of the Earth’s atmosphere due to natural cycles (politically sensitive; believed to be primarily outside the control of man)
2. ‘Ho-Ho-Ho’ – Santa’s trademark phrase. In Australia officials are suggesting ‘Ha-Ha-Ha’ because the former may scandalize the children.
3. All-time low – The phrase apparently grafted next to the president’s name in the media.
4. Theory of Everything – Garrett Lisi’s especially simple theory of the Universe that unites all forces and gravity in one elegant structure.
5. Planetary Peril – Al Gore’s trademark phrase to describe the Earth’s current condition.
6. Wristband Wagon – Wearing your heart on your … wrist. Pink against breast cancer, red against third-world poverty, ‘camouflage’ (or yellow as in yellow ribbon) to support the troops,
7. No Noising – Chinese/English hybrid (Chinglish) for ‘quiet please!’
8. Fade to black – From the Soprano’s series finale to the Hollywood writers’ strike
9. Fossil Fuels – The enemy of the Greens: Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas (anything hydrocarbon-based).
10. Fashion tribe: Persons who follow a particular fashion with a tribe-like mindset: Examples include EMO, Hip-hop or Goth.
The Top Ten Names for 2007
1. Al Gore – Conveniently, doesn’t need the presidency to top the list.
2. The Decider — George W. Bush, still president after all these years.
3. Bono – U2’s front man out in front on Third World debt relief.
4. Obama & Hillary — Barack’s name now qualifies as a buzzword; quite unusual, though Hil comes close.
5. Hugo Chavez – The Gadfly of Latin America
6. Vladimir Putin — The supreme leader (President, Prime Minister, whatever) of the Russian Federation. 7. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — Iranian President suggests moving Israel to Europe.
8. Pope Benedict XVI — continues to engage Muslim leadership in thoughtful discussions.
9. David Beckham and Posh Spice – Yet another ‘new’ type of Hollywood power couple.
10. Fidel Castro – The head one of the few remaining Communist states lives yet another year.
The Most Understood Word on the Planet: O.K.
Popularized by US President (1837 -1841) Martin Van Buren’s nickname, Old Kinderhook, from his birthplace in New York State. His re-election slogan was ‘Martin Van Buren is O.K’.
The Number of Words in the English Language: 995,116
Estimated as of Monday, December 10, 2007 11:16 am Pacific
The Top Words of 2006
‘Sustainable’ is Top Word
‘Stay the Course’ is Top Catchphrase
‘Darfur’ is Top Name, and
‘Yoof Speak’ is Top Youth Speak
San Diego, California (January 1, 2007) ‘Sustainable’ is Top Word, ‘Stay the Course’ is Top Catchphrase, ‘Darfur’ is the Top Name, and ‘Yoof Speak’ is Top Youth Speak atop the Global Laanguage Monitor’s Annual List . ‘Sustainable,’ ‘Stay the Course,’ and ‘Darfur’ were chosen as the Top Word, Phrase, and Name of the year by the Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com) in its annual global survey.
“In 2006 the English Language grew ever more global with some 1,300,000,000 speakers using it as their first, second, business, or technical tongue. Additionally, for the first time, we’ve included emoticons and SMS (or text messages) in our lists which signify yet another fascinating trend in the rise of Global English,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor. The 2006 lists include words from culled from around the English-speaking world including India, Singapore, China, Australia, and the US and UK.”
GLM’s staff and a global network of voluntary language observers, have nominated English-language words from the world over.
The Top Ten Words of 2006 with commentary follow.
1. Sustainable – Originally a ‘green’ term has moved into the mainstream meaning ‘self-generating’ as in ‘wind power is a sustainable power supply’. Can apply to populations, marriages, agriculture, economies, and the like. The opposite of ‘disposable’.
2. Infonaut – Those who blithely travel along the ‘infobahn’.
3. Hiki Komori – One million young Japanese men who avoid intense societal pressures by withdrawing into their own rooms (and worlds) rarely venturing outside.
4. Planemo — Planets that didn’t make the cut in 2006 as sustainable planets. Pluto was demoted to a planemo.
5. Netroots — The activists who have transformed the practice of fundraising and getting out the vote – through cyberspace.
6. Londonistan – Nickname for London as its Asian population swells.
7. Brokeback (Mountain)– A cultural phenomenon (Brokeback, Brokedown, etc.) with almost a million references to Brokeback jokes alone on Google.
8. Ethanol – Proxy for all things ‘green’ and energy independence.
9. Corruption – As in ‘Culture of’; analysis of mid-term elections suggests this was the key for the turnover of the House.
10. Chinese (adj.) – All things Chinese currently in ascendance.
The Top Words for 2005 were: 1. Refugee — Though the word was considered politically incorrect in the US, ‘refugees’ were often considered the lucky ones in streaming away from a series of global catastrophes unmatched in recent memory. 2. Tsunami — From the Japanese tsu nami for ‘harbor wave’, few recognized the word before disaster struck on Christmas Day, 2004, but the word subsequently flooded with unprecedented (and sustained) media coverage. 3. Poppa/Papa/Pope — (Italian, Portuguese, English, many others). The death of beloved Pope John Paul II kept the words on the lips of the faithful around the world.
The Top Catchphrases for 2006 with commentary follow.
1. Stay the Course – Declared inoperative as the situation in Iraq slides into the abyss.
2. If I Did it – GLM traced nearly 10,000 news stories about O.J.’s new book within 36 hours of its announcement. The book was almost immediately withdrawn by its publisher.
3. # – ) The ‘emoticon’ way of saying ‘wasted’.
4. Airline Pulp – The Chinglish (Chinese/English Hybrid) way of describing food served aboard an airliner. We think this one is a keeper.
5. Serial Texter – Though rarely used by adults, texting has become one of the predominant methods of communication among the world’s youth, with many texting hundreds of messages a day. You can even subscribe to serialized SMS (short message service) ‘novels’.
6. Global Warming – Eliminate the political controversy and the fact remains that 10,000 years ago New York City was under 5,000 feet of ice.
7. Keeping Parents Clueless – Or KPC: The ‘instant message’ way of telling friends that while parents might be reading over their shoulders, they are nevertheless being kept uniformed.
8. Brokeback Mountain – This movie title became the center of hundreds of late night jokes. Even Dick Chaney was featured on the cover art of the New Yorker with a Brokeback theme.
9. Come and Get it Fast – McDonald’s created this Chinese phrase as a ready translation of ‘fast food’.
10. “You’re going to Hollywood!” – After five years, this phrase from American Idol, is more popular than ever.
The Top Catchphrases for 2005 were: 1. Out of the Mainstream — Used to describe the ideology of any political opponent. 2. Bird Flu/Avian Flu — the H5N1 strain of Flu that resembles that of the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic where 60 million died. 3. Politically Correct — The Political Correctness Movement arose as a Global Phenomenon in 2005.
The Top Ten Names for 2006 with commentary follow.
1. Darfur – First time a country or region heads the list.
2. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – Unfettered President of Iran.
3. Bono – Quintessential rock star, front man for the band U2, turned humanitarian.
4. George Bush – Received an old fashioned ‘whuppin’ in the mid-Term elections; still attempting to turn the tide in his last 24 months in office.
5. Kofi Annan – Departing head of the UN, both revered and reviled.
6. Joseph Ratzinger – Pope Benedict XVI turned Muslim heads by quoting a Renaissance scholar with a less than favorable opinion of Islam.
7. Brangelina – Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as a new type of Hollywood power couple.
8. Saddam Hussein – Hanging marks the end of one of the most brutal dictatorships in recent memory.
9. Fidel Castro – Still lives on as the head of one of the few remaining Communist states, some fifty years after the Cuban Revolution.
10. Hugo Chávez – Expressed less than favorable opinion of President Bush at the UN.
The Top Names for 2005 were: 1. (Acts of) God: The world watches helplessly as a superpower is humbled as one of its great cities (New Orleans) is laid asunder (Hurricane Katrina). 2. Tsunami snuffs out nearly 300,000 lives, and an earthquake takes another 200,000 (Kashmir). A Higher Power, indeed. 3. Katrina: Greek (katharos) for ‘pure’. Before the hurricane, the name was most famously borne by two saints, Empress Catherine the Great of Russia, and three of Henry VIII’s wives.
The Top Ten Global YouthSpeak Words for 2006 with commentary follow.
1. Yoof Speak – Pan-Asian term for YouthSpeak.
2. Ballin’ – Doing well; fine; as in he’s really ballin’ now.
3. Stick Ice – Chinese YouthSpeak for ‘popsicle’ or ice cream cone.
4. ii – Siigniifiies the text messaging style of doubliing the letter ii wherever iit iis found. (Very gee or preppy).
5. Ya-ya papaya – Snooty person (Singlish from Singapore).
6. 1 – From the U2 song One Love. Sign-off to Instant Messages.
7. =^..^= The emoticon representing a kitty.
8. Get up One’s Nose – Irritates, as in ‘He gets up my nose!’ (UK).
9. LMAO – Texting abbreviation for Laughed My Ass Off.
10. Yobbo – An unrefined or loutish youth (Aussie/UK).
The Top Global YouthSpeak Words for 2005 were: 1. Crunk — A Southern variation of hip hop music; also meaning fun or amped. 2. Mang — Variation of man, as in “S’up, mang?” 3. A’ight — All Right, “That girl is nice, she’s a’ight”.
The Most Frequently Spoken Word on the Planet: O.K.
Popularized by US President (1837 -1841) Martin Van Buren’s nickname, Old Kinderhook from his birthplace in New York State. His re-election slogan was ‘Martin Van Buren is O.K’. Didn’t you ever wonder why a simple word can be spelled in capital letters followed by periods? Though the undoubtedly word appeared in earlier variations, this is the event that solidified its position in the language.
The Number of Words in the English Language: 991,833
Estimate Wednesday, December 30, 2006 10:34 PM Pacific.
Total Number of English Speakers: 1,300,000,000
Top Word Lists of 2005
San Diego, California (December 16, 2005. Refugee, Outside the Mainstream, and (Acts of) God were selected as leading the Top Word, Phrase and Name Lists of 2005, released earlier today by the Global Language Monitor in its annual worldwide survey. The Global Language Monitor (GLM) publishes Year 2005 lists regarding: The Top Words, Top Phrases, Top Names, Global Youth Speak, as well as the Top Word Spoken on the Planet.
The Top Words as Viewed from China
“2005 was the year we saw a convergence of a number sometimescontradictory language trends: the major global media became more pervasive yet actually less persuasive; the language spoken by the youth of the world is converging at an ever-increasing rate; and the Political Correctness movement become a truly global phenomenon,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor (GLM).
The year has been a vibrant one for language, rife with examples that have been nominated by the GLM’s Language Police, volunteer language observers from the world over.
The Top Ten Words of 2005:
1. Refugee: Though the word was considered politically incorrect in the US, ‘refugees’ were often considered the lucky ones in streaming away from a series of global catastrophes unmatched in recent memory.
2. Tsunami: From the Japanese tsu nami for ‘harbor wave’, few recognized the word before disaster struck on Christmas Day, 2004, but the word subsequently flooded with unprecedented (and sustained) media coverage.
3. Poppa/Papa/Pope: (Italian, Portuguese, English, many others). The death of beloved Pope John Paul II kept the words on the lips of the faithful around the world.
4. Chinglish: The new second language of China from the Chinglish formation: CHINese + EngLISH.
5. H5N1: A looming global pandemic that could dwarf the Bubonic Plague of the Middle Ages (and AIDS) boggles the comtemporary imagination.
6. Recaille: A quick trip around the Romance languages (French jargon, scum; Spanish, rabble or swine; Italian, worthless dregs) illustrates the full freight of the word used to describe youthful French rioters of North African and Muslim descent.
7. Katrina: Name will become synonymous with natural forces responsible for the total and utter descruction of a city.
8. Wiki: Internet buzzword (from the Hawai’ian wiki wiki for ‘quick, quick’) that describes collaboration software where anyone can contribute to the on-going effort.
9. SMS: Short Message Service. The world’s youth sent over a trillion text messages in 2005. Currently being texted are full-length novels, news, private messages and everything in between.
10. Insurgent: Politically neutral term used to describe enemy combatants.
Last year the Top Words words were incivility, Red States/Blue States, and Blogosphere.
The Top Ten Phrases of 2005:
1. Out of the Mainstream: Used to describe the ideology of any political opponent.
2. Bird Flu/Avian Flu: the H5N1 strain of Flu that resembles that of the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic where 60 million died.
3. Politically Correct: Emerges as a worldwide phenomenon.
4. North/South Divide: In the US it might be Red States and Blue States but globally the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ are divided by a geographical if not psychological boundary.
5. Purple Finger/Thumb: The badge of honor worn by Iraqi voters proving that they voted in their ground-breaking elections.
6. Climate Change: (Or Global Warming.) No matter what your political persuasion, the fact remains that New York City was under 5,000 feet of ice some 20,000 years ago.
7. String Theory: The idea that the universe is actually constructed of 11-dimensional, pulsating planes of existence.
8. The Golden Quatrilateral: India’s new superhighway system that links the key cities of the Subcontinent.
9. Jumping the Couch: Apparently losing complete emotional control; made popular by the escapades of Tom Cruise on the Oprah television show.
10. Deferred Success: The idea introduced in the UK that there is no such thing as failure, only deferred success.
Last year the Top Phrases were Red States/Blue States, Moral Values, and Two Americas.
The Top Ten Names of 2005:
1. (Acts of) God: The world watches helplessly as a superpower is humbled as one of its great cities (New Orleans) is laid asunder (Hurricane Katrina).
2. Tsunami snuffs out nearly 300,000 lives, and an earthquake takes another 200,000 (Kashmir). A Higher Power, indeed.
3. Katrina: Greek (katharos) for ‘pure’. Before the hurricane, the name was most famously borne by two saints, Empress Catherine the Great of Russia, and three of Henry VIII’s wives.
4. John Paul II: The death of beloved Pope John Paul II kept his name on the lips of the faithful around the world.
5. Wen Jiabao: Premier of the People’s Republic of China since March 2003; leading perhaps the largest economic transformation in history.
6. Saddham Hussein: Should re-read Karl Marx — the first time is history, the second but farce.
7. Dubya: Every more ‘weeble-like’: Dubya wobbles but he won’t fall down.
8. Oprah: Now a global phenomenon with an ever-expanding media (and charitable) empire.
9. Shakira: The Columbian songstress is captivating ever wider circles.
10. John Roberts: New Chief Justice of the American Supreme Court.
Bonus: Mahmud Ahmadi-nejad: President of Iran since August 2005; he has recently suggest that the Jewish Homeland be moved to Europe (or Alaska).
Last year the Top Names were Dubya Rove (W. and Karl Rove), Mel (Gibson) (Michael) Moore, and Saddam Hussein.
Top Global Musical Terms:
1. Reggaeton (pronounced Reggae-TONE): Part Latin, part hip hop, with liberal helpings of Dancehall and Caribbean music thrown in for good measure. Several Reggaeton radio staples this year made their way into the public consciousness.
2. Baile (pronounced Bye-Lay) Funk: Brazilian dance music that has gained popularity worldwide, championed by such trend-setters as Norman Cook in the UK, and Philadelphia DJ Diplo.
3. Podcast: New broadcast medium; think of it as Tivo for your radio. Even your nighbor is podcasting.
4: Rootkit: Thanks to an overzealous copy-protection scheme, thousands of music fans who tried to encode Sony artists’ music onto their computer unwittingly installing a malicious piece of code that exposed their computers to attack. After intense media scrutiny and public outcry, Sony recalled the CD’s from shelves and offered free downloads of the affected albums.
5. Live 8: Millions of people tuned in to the sequel to Sir Bob Geldoff’s1985 Live Aid benefit, this time to raise awareness of poverty and Third World debt and to pressure countries in the G8 to do something about it.
The Top Ten Global YouthSpeak Words:
1. Crunk: A Southern variation of hip hop music; also meaning fun or amped.
2. Mang: Variation of man, as in “S’up, mang?”
3. A’ight: All Right, “That girl is nice, she’s a’ight”
4. Mad: A lot; “She has mad money”
5. Props: Cheers, as in “He gets mad props!”
6. Bizznizzle: This term for” business” is part of the Snoop Dogg/Sean John-inspired lexicon, as in “None of your bizznizzle!’
7. Fully: In Australia an intensive, as in ‘fully sick’.
8. Fundoo: In India, Hindi for cool
9. Brill! From the UK, the shortened form of brilliant!
10. “s’up”: Another in an apparently endless number of Whazzup? permutations.
Southern California YouthSpeak Bonus: Morphing any single syllable word into 3, 4 or even 5 syllables.
Last year the Top YouthSpeak terms were: Word, Peace (or Peace out), and Proper.
The Most Recognized Word on the Planet: O.K.
(Popularized by US President (1837 -1841) Martin Van Buren’s nickname, Old Kinderhook from his birthplace in New York State. His re-election slogan was ‘Martin Van Buren is O.K’. Didn’t you ever wonder why a simple word can be spelled in capital letters followed by periods? Though the undoubtedly word appeared earlier, this is the event that solidified its position in the language.)