Monday 15 November 2010

Top Words for 2010

The Global Language Monitor (GLM) has just released its top ten list of words for 2010 and the number one spot has been taken by... drum roll please... spillcam! Yes, if BP has given the world anything (see my blog Regulations), it has given us a newly coined word to describe their real-time video stream of a disaster that had environmentalists everywhere fainting.

This company based in Austin, Texas analyses and tracks trends in language used throughout the world, particularly in English. As reported by the BBC on June 10, 2009, the tongue of Shakespeare had reached its one millionth word. That is quite an achievement but one which is very much lost on all of us considering that the average person knows only ten thousand words.

Word number two on this year's list, thanks to World Cup Soccer, is one that has probably left many a soul a little bit deafer: vuvuzela. Ah, it seems like just yesterday... well, Wednesday, July 7, 2010 to be exact when I wrote these telling words, "On Sunday, July 11, 2010, it will all be over. I pack up my vuvuzela; my wife stops holding her hands over her ears and life around the world gets back to normal: pestilence, war, famine and death."

One of my favourites clocks in at number four: refudiate. I found this inspirational enough to take up my pen for Sarah Palin: Refudiate this! I couldn't resist delving into this linguistic faux pas once Sarah explained her inventiveness by saying that Shakespeare liked to coin new words. Such a comparison prompted somebody to paraphrase, "To be or not to be. That's a gotcha question."

Word #8 turns out to be 3D as in Toy Story 3 in 3D. However, it has moved beyond just describing a technology used in the making of a film; it is now a term added to the name of a product to enhance the perception of its quality. The big example I found was "Crest 3D White Advanced Vivid Toothpaste". Crest 3D? Does this come with special glasses I have to wear when I brush my teeth?

GLM released several top ten lists including top phrases, top names and top words of the decade. The number one top phrase "anger and rage" was explained as "Characterizations of the US electorate by the pundits, though closer analyses has revealed more frustration and disappointment. Also witnessed in France, Spain and Greece."

There, I think I can now say that officially I've managed to expand my vocabulary to ten thousand and one.


The Global Language Monitor

Wikipedia: The Global Language Monitor


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