Katrina Disaster Buzzword Explainer

San Diego, Calif. September 2, 2005. MetaNewswire. The Global Language Monitorin response to worldwide demand, has created this Hurricane Disaster Buzzword Explainer to help readers understand the many buzzwords, acronyms, and odd turns of phrase that are being employed in relation to the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans as it unfolds.

GLM’s List is an ongoing compilation, updated daily; we welcome contributions from around the globe.

The current list with associated commentary follows:

Acadians — French-speaking people who were expelled from Nova Scotia exactly 250 years ago and settled in the bayou. Subject of the epic poem, Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. See Cajun.

Army Corps of Engineers — The USACE is responsible for investigating, developing and maintaining the nation’s water and related environmental resources.

Astrodome — The first enclosed stadium in the US; refugees from the SuperDome will be transported 350 miles to the Astrodome.

Bayou — A slow moving stream or river that runs through the marshlands surrounding New Orleans; home of Cajun Culture.

Big Easy — The nickname for the city of New Orleans, from the laidback lifestyle one finds there.

Breach — Sudden overpowering of a levee, or a floodwall, that allows water to seep or rush in.

Cajun — Literally, Louisianan who descends from French-speaking Acadians, who in 1755 were expelled from Nova Scotia.

Category — The intensity of a hurricane using various measurements including velocity of sustained wind. Categoies range from 1 (weakest) to 5 (strongest). Katrina peaked at Category 5.

Climate Change — The warming of the Earths atmosphere due to natural cycles (politically sensitive; believed to be primarily outside the control of man.) See Global Warming.

Creole — Derives from the Latin creare, meaning “to create.” By the nineteenth century, black, white, and mixed-race Louisianans used the term to distinguish themselves from foreign-born and Anglo-American settlers.

Cyclone — A developing tropical storm, rotating counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Often confused with but NOT a tornado.

Eye — The center of the hurricane where the skies are clear and the wind is nearly calm.

FEMA — Federal Emergency Management Agency, branch of the US Homeland Security Department. FEMA coordinates the US Federal government’s response to national disasters.

Floating Casinos — Casinos located along the Mississippi coast bringing an annual average revenue of $2.7 billion a year to that state.

Flood Control — The building of levees, pumping stations, sea walls, etc. to keep a city safe from flooding.

Flood Stage — Flood stage is reached when the water in a stream or river over-tops the banks or levees along the banks.

Flood Wall — Narrow, steel and concrete barrier erected to keep the Mississippi River out of New Orleans.

French Quarter — The original living area of the city, now known for Jazz, Cajun cuisine, and Carnival. Located at the highest point of the city.

Global Warming — In theory, the warming of the Earths atmosphere caused primarily by human use of fossil fuels (Politically sensitive; believed to be primarily in the control of man.) See Climate Change.

Hurricane Names — Hurricanes have been named since 1953. Currently, the World Meteorological Organization maintains the alphabetically sorted list of alternating men’s and women’s names. The list was exclusively female until 1979. Names are recycled every 6 years. Influential hurricanes have their names retired.

Hurricane — A tropical cyclone with a sustained surface wind is 74 mph (118 kmh) or more. A hurricane is called a typhoon in the Pacific Ocean.

Hurricane Scale — See Categories.

Hurricane Season — The hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 to November 30; in the Eastern Pacific, the season begins on May 15 and ends on November 30.

Hurricane Watch/Warning — An official warning that a hurricane is expected to hit a specific area of the coast with 36 hours (watch) or within 24 hours (warning).

Isobar — Isobars around a cyclone are lines on a map that signify the same barometric pressure.

Katrina — The 11th tropical storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.

Knot — Wind speed equal to 1.15 Miles Per Hour (MPH) or 1.9 Kilometers Per Hour (KM/HR).

Lake Pontchatrain — Actually, an arm of the sea that borders on New Orleans. Lake Pontchatrain is half the size of the state of Rhode Island.

Levee — Colossal earthen barriers erected to keep water out of the city. Once breeched, levees hinder relief efforts by holding the water inside the city. New Orleans has 350 miles of hurricane levees; they were built to withstand a fast-moving Category 3 storm. Katrina was a Category 4+ storm.

National Guard — Military units organized at the state level to protect the citizens of an individual state.

Norlins — Local pronunciation of the name of the city of New Orleans.

Public Health Emergency — Cholera and typhoid are among the concerns caused by contaminated water.

Pumping Stations — Massive, yet old and inefficient pump houses that would keep any seepage out of New Orleans.

Recovery — To recover the dead after search and rescue operations are complete.

Relief and Response Effort — To provide food, medical supplies and shelter to refuges of a disaster.

Sandbag — Three- to twenty-thousand pound burlap-type containers dropped from Chinook helicopters to plug breaches in levee.

Saffir-Simpson Scale — Used to give an estimate of potential damage and flooding along the coast. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale. See Category.

Search and Rescue — To search for survivors.

Storm Surge — Sudden rising of the sea over its usual level, preceding the arrival of a hurricane. The Thirty-foot surge on the Mississippi coastline was the highest ever recorded for North America.

Superdome — Home to the New Orleans Saints football team, the Sugar Bowl and numerous professional football championships (Super Bowls).

Tropical Depression — An area of intense thunderstorms becomes organized into a cyclone. Maximun sustained winds reach 34 knots. There is at least one ‘closed’ isobar with a decrease in barometric pressure in the center of the storm.

Tropical Storm — Sustained winds increase to up to 64 knots and the storm begins to look like a hurricane.

Vertical Evac — Vertical evacuation, taking refuge in the topfloors of a high-rise building. In this case, this sort of evacuation often proved fatal.


For Political Analysis, go to Politics page



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 DictionaryEleventh 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.

The ‘new’ words (with their dates of first usage) include:

New Word or Term First Usage

Carbon footprint 1999

Flash mob 1977

Green-collar 1990

Locavore 2005

Memory foam 1987

Missalette 1977

Reggaeton 2002

Sock puppet 1959

Waterboarding 2004

Webisode 1997

These are ‘new’ words only insofar as they were never included in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate, but on average, the words were coined more than 29 years ago (according to M-W’s own definitions). This compares with the average age of today’s college students in the mid-twenties (even with the recent shift to older students).

On the web, ‘waterboarding’ has some 2,000,000 references, ‘webisode’ about 5,000,000 and ‘sock puppet‘ some half million (according to Google). Last year ‘dark energy’ was added to the Collegiate Dictionary some ten years after it had become the subject of much scientific, philiosophical and popular debate. (It had about 10,000,000 references at the time.)

“This is perhaps why students are evermore turning to online resources to understand current affairs and class materials. The reality of today’s Internet-based communications means that new English-language words are appearing and being adopted at an ever-quickening pace,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “It is entirely possible some of these students heard or even used some of these words while they were still in grammar school”.

To celebrate the coming of age of English as the first, true, global language, The Global Language Monitor announced the 1,000,000th word to enter the English language on June 10, 2009. GLM estimates that a new word appears every 98 minutes, generated by the 1.5 billion people who now use English as a first, second or business language.


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.”


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


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


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


Why Webster’s inclusion of the phrase ‘dark energy’

demonstrates the obsolence of old-style dictionaries

Austin, TX July 8, 2008  —  Recently, Merriam-Webster announced the new words it was including in its latest edition of its Collegiate Dictionary.  These announcements are often viewed as a subject of amusement, with such additions as “air quotes,” “mental health day,” and “malware” to name but three of the hundred or so words added this year.

What did not amuse us, however, was the addition of the phrase “dark energy”.  You see dark energy is the hypothetical entity that makes up nearly three-quarters of the energy-mass of the Universe.  Moreover, it is the suspected culprit in the speeding up of the expansion of the Universe, which for reasons unknown, began to radically accelerate some five billion years ago.  It is key to the current understanding (and investigation) of the theoretical construct of the Universe, how it began — and how it will end.

Students of physics, philosophy, and cosmography at fine institutions such as Bucknell, the University of Texas, CalTech, and Foothills Community College, among all the others worldwide, have been pondering the phenomenon of dark energy for nearly a dozen years now.  However, they couldn’t look it up in their Funk & Wagnalls (nor their Webster’s) until now — because it was not recognized as a bona fide word.

Clearly, the methodologies of old-style dictionaries, first formulated by  Dr. Johnson in the 18th century and Noah Webster at the dawn of the nineteenth, and carried on to this day by their immediate and legitimate successors, have run their course.

Students on wired campuses can google dark energy and see it come up in nearly 10,000,000 results.  It is clearly a recognized phrase, clearly used by millions across the planet, embedded in learned papers, scientific studies, and contemporary letters.  And yet it was still not considered a legitimate word or phrase of the English Language, until the honor was bestowed upon it by the esteemed editors of Merriam-Webster.

Perhaps, it is time to realize that not only the game but he playing field, itself, has been drastically altered.  The center no longer holds.  This is undoubtedly spured on by the interconnectedness and immediacy of the Internet, and the explosion of the English language which now has some 1.35 billion speakers.  Clearly, new words and phrases are being created at an ever increasing rate.  It is now time to recognize the worthy few in a time-worthy manner: in step with their creation, development, and subsequent dispersal into our ever-expanding tongue.

 — Paul JJ Payack

Death of John Paul II, South Asian Tsunami, and Katrina

San Diego, California (December 16, 2005) The coverage of the Death of John Paul II, the South Asian Tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina were cited as the Top Global Media Stories for 2005 in terms of Immediate Impact. The rankings were based on the Global Language Monitor’s PQ (Predictive-quantities) Indicator.

Over the course of the year, the Top Ten Global Media Stories were Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath; The Iraq War and the ongoing story of the Iraqi people; and the controversy over Global Warming and Climate Change were named the top three stories, followed closely by the South Asian Tsunami; Asian/Bird Flu and the possibility of a global pandemic; and the continuing emergance of China on the world stage. The complete list is found below.

The Global Media, both new and old, electronic and print, Internet and Blogosphere was nearly submerged in the flood of events in 2005,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global language Monitor. “We know that the news cycles are ever quickening because of the 24-hour news phenomenon as well as the new media and the Internet. However, this year it appeared that the news itself cascaded at ever increasing rates.”

The PQ (Predictive-Quantities) Indicator is a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

The Top Media Stories for 2005 (Immediate Impact) follow:

1. Death of John Paul II

2. South Asian Tsunami

3. Hurricane Katrina and its Aftermath

4. Pakistani Earthquake

The Top Ten Global Media Stories for 2005 (Over the Course of the Year) follow:

1. Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath

2. The Iraq War and the ongoing story of the Iraqi people

3. Global Warming and Climate Change

4. The South Asian Tsunami

5. Asian/Bird Flu

6. The continuing emergance of China on the world stage

7. Pakistani Earthquake

8. India as the ‘back office’ to the industrialized world

9. London Subway bombings

10. French Riots

Katrina:  Media Abounds With Apocalyptic-type References

web site hit counter

Disaster, Biblical, Global Warming, Hiroshima Top List

Refugee’ vs. ‘Evacuee’

For the Meaning and Etymology of Katrina Click Here

San Diego, Calif. September 13, 2005. MetaNewswire. In an exclusive analysis by The Global Language Monitor, the worldwide media was found to abound in Apocalyptic-type terminology in its coverage of the unfolding disaster of Hurricane Katrina in the American Gulf States.

Using its proprietary PQI (Predictive Quantities Indicator) algorithm, GLM found the ominous references to include: Disaster, Biblical, Global Warming, Hiroshima/Nuclear bomb, Catastrophe, Holocaust, Apocalypse, and End-of-the-World.

These alarmist references are coming across the spectrum of print and electronic media, and the internet,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of GLM. “The world appears stunned that the only remaining super power has apparently been humbled, on its own soil, by the forces of nature.”

The global media are mesmerized by the constant bombardment of television images of apparently rampaging, out-of-control elements, apparently in control of a good part of New Orleans, as well as the inability of the authorities to keep their own people fed, sheltered, evacuated, and, even, from dying on the street.

Refugee vs. ‘Evacuee’

GLM’s analysis found, for example, that the term for the displaced, refugees, that is usually associated with places like the Sudan and Afghanistan, appeared 5 times more frequently in the global media than the more neutral ‘evacuees,’ which was cited as racially motivated by some of the Black leadership. Accordingly, most of the major media outlets in the U.S. eliminated the usage of the word ‘refugees’ with a few exceptions, most notably, the New York Times.

The September 3 edition of The Times (London) has a story to illustrate the current state of affairs. The head: “Devastation that could send an area the size of England back to the Stone Age.”

The first 100 words sum up the pervasive mood found in the GLMs analysis of the Global Media.

AMERICA comes to an end in Montgomery, Alabama. For the next 265 miles to the Gulf Coast, it has been replaced by a dangerous and paranoid post-apocalyptic landscape, short of all the things fuel, phones, water and electricity needed to keep the 21st century switched on. By the time you reach Waveland, Mississippi, the coastal town of 6,800 where corpses lie amid a scene of Biblical devastation, any semblance of modern society has gone. “

According to GLM’s analysis, the most frequently used terms associated with Hurricane Katrina in the global media with examples follow. The terms are listed in order of relative frequency.

  • Disaster — The most common, and perhaps neutral, description. Literally ‘against the stars’ in Latin. Example: ” Disaster bares divisions of race and class across the Gulf states”. Toronto Globe and Mail.
  • Biblical — Used as an adjective. Referring to the scenes of death, destruction and mayhem chronicled in the Bible. ” …a town of 6,800 where corpses lie amid a scene of Biblical devastation”. (The Times, London)
  • Global Warming — The idea that the hand of man was directly responsible for the catastrophe, as opposed to the more neutral climate change. “…German Environmental Minister Jrgen Trittin remains stolid in his assertion that Hurricane Katrina is linked to global warming and America’s refusal to reduce emissions.” (Der Spiegel)
  • Hiroshima/Nuclear Destruction — Fresh in the mind of the media, following the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. “Struggling with what he calls Hurricane Katrina’s nuclear destruction, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour shows the emotional strain of leading a state through a disaster of biblical proportions”. (Associated Press).
  • Catastrophe — Sudden, often disastrous overturning, ruin, or undoing of a system. “In the Face of Catastrophe, Sites Offer Helping Hands”. (Washington Post)
  • Holocaust — Because of historical association, the word is seldom used to refer to death brought about by natural causes. ” December’s Asian catastrophe should have elevated “tsunami” practically to the level of “holocaust” in the world vocabulary, implying a loss of life beyond compare and as callous as this might make us seem, Katrina was many things, but “our tsunami” she wasn’t. (Henderson [NC] Dispatch)
  • Apocalypse — Referring to the prophetic visions of the imminent destruction of the world, as found in the Book of Revelations. ” Call it apocalyptic. Whatever you want to call it, take your pick. There were bodies floating past my front door. ” said Robert Lewis, who was rescued as floodwaters invaded his home. (Reuters)
  • End of the World — End-time scenarios which presage the Apocalypse. ” “This is like time has stopped Its like the end of the world.” (Columbus Dispatch)

Then there are those in the media linking Katrina with the direct intervention of the hand of an angry or vengeful God, though not necessarily aligned with Americas enemies. “The Terrorist Katrina is One of the Soldiers of Allah, But Not an Adherent of Al-Qaeda,” was written by a high-ranking Kuwaiti official, Muhammad Yousef Al-Mlaifi, director of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowment’s research center. It was published in Al-Siyassa. (Kuwait).

Unprecedented Global Media Outpouring

Pope John Paul II’s Passing

Record Media Outpouring

12 Million Internet Citations and 100,000 Stories in Worldwide Media

Eclipses the South Asian Tsunami, the September 11 Terrorist Attacks,

the Bush Re-election, and the Deaths of Ronald Reagan and Princess Diana

Danville, Calif. April 14, 2005. The Death of Pope John Paul II has unleashed an unprecedented global media outpouring that has transformed from a groundswell into a deluge. The Global Language Monitors daily Internet and media analysis now shows that in the major global print and electronic media and on the Internet, John Paul II’s death has surpassed the initial coverage of the South Asian Tsunami, the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, the Bush re-election, and the Deaths of Ronald Reagan and Princess Diana, among other events that shook the world.

Since days since the Pontiffs death, there have been some 100,000 major news stories and more than 12 million Internet citations. In comparison, for the entire preceding year there were only 28,000 new stories and 1.5 million Internet citations about John Paul II.

The word historic is associated with the pontiff nearly 3,000,000 times, while conservative is associated some 1,750,000 times, and loved or beloved some 600,000 times since John Paul’s passing.

Within the first 72 hours of the Pontiff’s passing, there have been:

  • Almost 3 times as many news stories for John Paul as there were for the 9/11 Terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, though in the major global media the comparison was far closer. Some ten times more news stores than were published concerning the re-election of President Bush.

In addition, within the first 72 hours of the Pontiff’s passing, there have been:

  • More than five times as many stories as initially generated for the South Asia Tsunami on December 26-29th, 2004 (though the Tsunami swell grew unabated for some time, as the horrific scale of the tragedy became apparent).

According to Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor, “Other relevant comparisons might be the deaths of Ronald Reagan in 2004 and Princess Diana in 1997. These also, were populist-type phenomena with unprecedented outpourings of grief, though on a far more localized scale.

Perhaps the root of this phenomenon lies in the fact that ordinary people came to be acquainted with this Pope unlike any other in memory. He was personable, globetrotting, at his best as a friendly parish priest, ‘writ large’. He was a truly global Pontiff, adept at using the traditional media (and the internet) to his advantage. Evidently, on his instructions, the media was even notified of his passing via text messages and e-mail.”

To arrive at these numbers, The Global Language Monitor utilizes its proprietary Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), which tracks specified words and phrases in the global print and electronic media and on the Internet. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance.

The Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture. A worldwide assemblage of linguists, professional wordsmiths and bibliophiles, supports the GLM to help monitor the latest trends in the evolution (and demise) of language, word usage and word choices.

Read: Web Flood With Pope Coverage (CNN)

Read: Pope’s Death Spurs 35,000 Stories in a Day (BusinessWeek)

Read: Basketball Attracts More Viewers Than Pope’s Death (Reuters)

Listen: The First ‘Truly Global’ Pope (Radio Renaissance: Portugal)

Listen: The Biggest Story — Ever? (The World: NPR/BBC)

How 2004 Presidential Election Impacted Americans Speech

Danville, California (November 11, 2004) MetaNewsWire The recently concluded Presidential Election of 2004 has significantly impacted the manner in which Americans communicate with each other and not always in a positive way. For the eight months leading up to the Election, the Global Language Monitor (GLM) has tracked the way Americans communicate with each other about politics. To do this, GLM created its exclusive PQ Index (Political-sensitivity Quotient), a proprietary algorithm that tracks politically sensitive words and phrases in the print, electronic media and the Internet. Some forty words and phrases were analyzed for the Post-Election Survey, including flip flop/flopping, quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, liar!, and misleader.

The PQ Index is perhaps the most in-depth, algorithmic analysis of political word usage ever attempted during a US Presidential campaign. After meeting certain threshold criteria, the index measured how frequently the words and phrases were used in their given political contexts. Then were then tracked on a bi-weekly basis, with greater weight provided for appearances in the major media. Additionally, greater weight was assigned to changes in frequency of appearance the closer the survey came to the election, itself.

Perhaps the one point of agreement by both Republicans and Democrats in the immediate aftermath of the campaign was that moral values played a vastly more important role than had hitherto been estimated. This was re-enforced by the exit polls conducted by Edison Media Research with Mitofsky International for the National Election Pool, which distributed their information to the media through the Associated Press.

The PQ Index picked up this trend months earlier, when issues related to moral values would surface and then, actually, gain in strength as the campaign progressed. By the end of the campaign, these moral values-related words and phrases dominated the pre-Election PQ Index (Political-sensitivity Quotient) of Hot Political Buzzwords released on November 1. Specifically, thirteen or more of the top 20 words and phrases that dominated the media in the run-up to the election, can be classified as directly related to the moral values.

Both the major parties and the mainstream media appear to be surprised at the primacy of the moral values issue atop the exit-poll surveys, though they have used the terms tracked in the PQ Index some hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of times in the preceding month. What led to this miss was that fact that the moral values question was narrowly interpreted to mean the gay marriage and the Mary Cheney incident. (Both Kerry and Edwards cited the sexuality of the vice presidents daughter, Mary Cheney in their debates, a move widely viewed in the subsequent polls as gratuitous.)

In fact, the idea of moral values includes media bias, flip flopping for political gain, the question of a just or unjust war, the disrespecting of a wartime president (as in Fahrenheit 911), tagging the Chief Executive as a Liar or misleader and the rise of the uncivil war in political discourse / dis-coarse. In fact, The Top Five terms in the November PQ Index can all be viewed as related to moral values, as can be seven of the Top Ten — and 13 of the Top Twenty.

Another factor has been the rampant incivility be found in the political discourse in American politics which has reached unprecedented heights or, rather, lows. It can be argued that not since the Civil War era, when President Lincoln was frequently depicted by adversaries as a gangly, gaping baboon, has the discourse sunken to such a profane level. In fact, such is the decline in the political discourse during this campaign that future historians might actually wonder if the battle being fought was between the “Blue States” and the “Red States” rather than between the forces of Terrorism and The West.

This phenomenon is also related to the “Myth of the 24-Hour News Cycle,” where it is argued that once a politically-sensitive buzzword is launched into todays media world, it seems to persist for an indeterminate period, building a kind of media momentum and extending the news cycle rather than shrinking it. This persistence seems at odds with the general perception of the media being fixated on the 24 hours news cycle.

Some of the key words and phrases that have gained visibility during the 2004 Presidential Election follow.

Colossal Error: Kerrys judgment on Bushs Iraq policy. Evidently following California Olive Growers Association Guidelines for measuring the size of olives — Large, Extra Large, Jumbo, Gigantic, Colossal and Super Colossal. This leaves wiggle room for a ‘super-colossal error’.

Flip Flop/Flopping: Formerly referred to gymnastic routines, pancakes, and dolphin acts (Flipper); now a mainstream political term.

Girlie Men: His Honor, the Governator’s, characterization of political opponents.

Global Test: Kerrys description of the bar he would set before committing the US to pre-emptive strikes

Incuriosity: The campaign season with the President being labeled as Incurious George.

Jobless Recovery: A catch=phrase belied by the creation of 2.1 million new jobs in 2004.

Liars!: Signifies the virulence of the name-calling between opponent supporters. Bush wins the ‘Liar Poll with a 2:1 lead over Kerry.

Liberal: Now looked upon as a pejorative; for future reference, please use progressive.

Mary Cheney: For better or for worse, now a household name used in more than 100,000 media citations in the preceding six weeks..

Media Bias: A contentious issue, especially when used in conjunction with the Dan Rather “60 Minutes” imbroglio.

Misleader: MoveOn.org started this all by calling the sitting president a ‘misleader’.

Moral Values: Currently in more than 4,000 media stories; widely varies in interpretation.

Political Incivility: A catch-all category for various rude directives — Cheney, Heinz-Kerry, et al. combined here.

Quagmire: A fading, Viet Nam-era term rescued from obscurity.

Red States/Blue States: Before November 2, 2004, a relatively unknown term, a shorthand used by political pundits, describing Republican-leaning states vs. Democrat-leaning states.

Rush-to-War: The short-hand by Administration opponents for the run-up to the Iraq war.

Swift Boats: Might have torpedoed Kerrys presidential aspirations. Actually, Fast Patrol Craft (PCF), small, shallow draft-water vessels operated by the United States Navy for counterinsurgency (COIN) operations during the Vietnam War.

Two Americas: John Edwards frequent of America as divided between rich and poor, the jobless and the employed, liberals (err, progressives) and conservatives.

Myth of 24-hour News Cycle

Impacts and Undermines 2004 Presidential Campaign

October Surprise of yore short-lived compared to effect of Internet

Danville, California (October 19, 2004) Though it is commonly assumed that the media is now on a 24-hour news cycle, the opposite appears to be true, according to an exclusive analysis of The Global Language Monitor’s PQ Index (Political-sensitivity Quotient). Though the day-to-day headlines of the 2004 Presidential Campaign are relatively transient, the ideas encapsulated in the political buzzwords that GLM tracks take several months to cycle through the electronic and print media, the internet, and cyberspace, particularly the blogosphere.

Once a ‘politically-sensitive’ buzzword is launched into today’s media world, it seems to persist for an indeterminate period, building a kind of ‘media momentum’ and extending the news cycle rather than shrinking it. This persistence seems at odds with the general perception of the media being fixated on the ’24 hours news cycle’.

The PQ Index (Political-sensitivity Quotient) released monthly by The Global Language Monitoris a proprietary algorithm that tracks politically sensitive words and phrases in the media and on the Internet.

A current example: the PQ Index has been the tracking the “Swift Boats” issue for over six months as shown in Figures 1 and 2. Though it peaked in the last few weeks at No. 1 in the August Tracking Index with the release of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads, it remains strongly entrenched inthe Top Ten in the October survey. The evidence suggests that the issue will persist for some time to come; definitely through November 2nd.

Another example might be the labeling of President Bush as a Liar. This first surfaced in early spring as a result of ads launched by 527 organizations, such as MoveOn.org, in an action without precedent in the mainstream media, boldly labeling the sitting president a Liar. This was an early version of this years attack ads that would proliferate throughout the year, and was little noticed by the mainstream media at the time, except as a curiosity.

The ads, however, proved to be harbingers of what was to follow. Over the course of the next six months the label stuck, increasingly resonating especially on the Internet and in the blogosphere. This month the term sits at No. 11 on the PQ Index, down from No. 4 in August. In fact, Bush as Liar! is up some 1400% since the beginning of the year. An additional wrinkle is that Kerry, too, is now being labeled as a Liar! by his critics with nearly 40% of the references tracked by the PQ Index labeling the Democratic nominee as such.

Another example is the Dead and Done Presidents phenomenon. With the passing of Ronald Reagan in June and the much-anticipated publication of Bill Clintons autobiography the next month, these two former presidents, leapt to the top of the PQ Index in June and July respectively. In the October Index, they both still rank in the Top Twenty demonstrating the persistence of their long-shadows over the current campaign.

Fahrenheit, representing Michael Moores controversial film, Fahrenheit 451, took the top ranking in the July PQ Index, jumping some 400% from the previous month. Fahrenheit maintained its No. 1 position in August and currently ranks as No. 6 in the October Index. Mr. Moore, more than most, seems to have appreciated the new “Surprise” phenomenon, though for maximum impact he might have, in retrospect, released his film a month later, in August rather than July.

And now, in what could be a sign of mounting difficulties for the Democratic Presidential Campaign, this months top political buzzwords (including ‘Dan Rather-related Bias, ‘Liberal,’ Global Test,’ ‘Flip flop/flopping’ and Swift Boats) are creating an inhospitable climate, in many cases overshadowing the key messages of the Democratic Nominee, according to the October PQ Index.

In the October PQ Index, Swift Boats is actually getting more media hits and citations than all other key Kerry messages combined. These messages include; “Two Americas,” “Bush the Misleader,” “jobless recovery,” and “global outsourcing”.

With weeks remaining in the Campaign, there is a very real danger that Kerrys key messages will continue to be swamped by the “flip flop,” “Swift Boat” and “Rathergate” (and now the Mary Cheney) issues.

This is not to say that an October Surprise is not possible. Based on recent history and the uncertainty associated with al Qaeda it would be wise to expect any number of such events. However, the importance of the August Surprise with its attendant , momentum-building sustainability, should not be overlooked by current, or future, campaigns.

 — Paul JJ Payack

Top Words

Top Words of the Decade (2000-2009)

Global Warming, 9/11, and Obama outdistance Bailout, Evacuee, and Derivative; Google, Surge, Chinglish, and Tsunami follow

“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.”

To see the Top Words of 2009, go here.

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

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.

CNN Sunday Morning on the Top Words of 2008 (Dec 7, 2008)

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

  1. Change – The top political buzzword of the 2008 US Presidential campaign.
  2. Bailout – Would have been higher but was not in the media until Mid-September.
  3. Obamamania – Describing the worldwide reaction to Barack Obama’s campaign and subsequent victory in the US presidential race.
  4. Greenwashing – Repositioning a product to stress its Earth-friendly attributes.
  5. Surge – Military and political strategy often cited as reducing violence in Iraq.
  6. Derivative – Exotic financial instruments used to cleverly package junk-grade debt.
  7. Subprime – Mortgages that were packaged as derivatives.
  8. Foreclosure – The end-result of the sub-prime mess.
  9. Phelpsian:  New word coined to describe the Phelpsian Pheat of winning eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.
  10. Chinglish – The often amusing Chinese/English language hybrid that Beijing tried to stamp out before the Olympics began.

The Top Ten Phrases of 2008

  1. Financial Tsunami – Worldwide financial meltdown ultimately stemming from derivatives used to package subprime mortgages.
  2. Global Warming – The No. 2 buzzword of the US Presidential Campaign.
  3. Yes We Can — Yes, indeed, he could and he did.
  4. Lame Duck – What happens when you wait 2 ½ months from election to inauguration.
  5. Working Class Whites – Apparently, working Class Whites is used as a code word for whites who are working class.
  6. “It is, what it is” – On everyone’s lips this year meaning ‘unfortunately, those are the facts’.
  7. 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.
  8. Price of oil – Oil was supposed to topping out about now at $200/barrel.
  9. Super Tuesday – When the race for the Democratic nomination was supposed to be decided.
  10. Suddenness Happens – Top Chinglish Phrase from the Beijing Olympics.

The Top Ten Names of 2008

  1. Barack Obama –. President-elect of the United States.
  2. George W. Bush Lame Duck, No. 43, The Decider.
  3. Michael Phelps — The top name of the top televison spectacle of all time (the Beijing Olympics)
  4. Hilary Clinton – She said ‘he can’t win;’ now she is his Secretary of State.
  5. Vladimir Putin – The supreme leader of Russia, whatever his title.
  6. Bono — U2’s front man also known for his efforts to raise awareness about AIDS in African, Third World debt and Unfair Trade practices.
  7. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Iran now claims 5,000 nuclear centrifuges.
  8. Sarah Palin – Governor of Alaska and vice presidential nominee of the Republican party.
  9. John McCain – Soon to be the answer to a trivia question: Mondale, Dole, Dukakis ….
  10. 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.)