Global Language Monitor, a language-monitoring group, claims that the millionth word to enter the English lexicon is "Web 2.0," an occurrence seemingly tailor-made to bring joy to technophiles and tears of rage to linguistic purists. Other linguists have taken issue with Global Language Monitor's methods, decrying them as nonsense.
The Global Language Monitor, an Austin, Texas,
firm devoted to tracking worldwide trends in language, decreed that the
millionth word to enter the English language is "Web 2.0."
"'Web 2.0' is a technical term meaning the next generation of World
Wide Web products and services," trumpeted a company press release.
"It has crossed from technical jargon into far wider circulation in the
last six months."
According to the Global Language Monitor, a word must "meet the criteria of
a minimum of 25,000 citations with the necessary breadth of geographic
distribution, and depth of citations" to be inducted into the English language.
The company monitors both print and electronic media for those citations.
"Cloud computing" was also closely in the running for the
millionth word, but found itself ultimately trounced by "Web 2.0."
Other runners-up included "carbon neutral," "n00b," "slumdog"
and "Jai Ho!"-the latter two familiar to anyone who sat through the
Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire."
The Global Language Monitor claims that some 14.7 new English words are
generated daily, or one roughly every 98 minutes.
"English crossed the 1,000,000 word threshold on June 10, 2009 at 10:22 am GMT.
However, some 400 years after the death of the Bard, the words and phrases were
coined far from Stratford-Upon-Avon, emerging instead from Silicon Valley,
India, China, and Poland, as well as Australia, Canada, the US and the
UK," Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language
Monitor, said in a statement. "Never before have so many people been able
to communicate so easily with so many others."
Not all linguists were enamored by the announcement.
"I think it's pure fraud," Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguistics
professor at the University of California
at Berkeley, told reporters,
according to Reuters.
According to the company, the 1,000,001th word added to the English language
was "financial tsunami."
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.