Wednesday, June 10, 2009

1 Millionth Word Update!

"Austin, Texas June 10, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor today announced that Web 2.0 has bested Jai Ho, N00b and Slumdog as the 1,000,000th English word or phrase. added to the codex of fourteen hundred-year-old language. Web 2.0 is a technical term meaning the next generation of World Wide Web products and services." -- from the Global Language Monitor

Web 2.o? Ok. I'll take it.

Its hard to know exactly what word is 1 millionth, obviously. This whole deal is a little bit flimsy -- many scientists and linguistics specialists think the whole formula is questionable.
Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguistics professor at the University of California at Berkeley says, "I think it's pure fraud ... It's not bad science. It's nonsense." And I hear what he's saying.

Our language is really incalculable, but I think it's really fun to think about how language is created, how it regenerates ( At its current rate, English generates about 14.7 words a day or one every 98 minutes.), and how it builds on other languages. We are lucky to have such an evolving language without the restrictions many languages have. A lot of other countries don't accept popularization of a certain word or phrase as a reason to affect its acceptance into the canon, but I think America understands itself to be a growing, changing place. We started seeing this when words like Homer's infamous admission of mistake, "Do'H!" was added a few years back (2001), alongside "Bling Bling" (2003) and Will Smith's "Jiggy."

Who knows, maybe one of us will coin a term that will end up in the dictionary, and stay forever like the Bard's many contributions. Any suggestions?

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