Friday, June 12, 2009

There Must Be A Word For It

This past Wednesday, while most of us were probably chatting away with the same old words we always use, the one millionth word or phrase entered the English language. At least that's according to the Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor, which has been studying such things for a while now. Their count is based on their contention that, at the current time, words/phrases are entering English at the rate of one every 98 minutes, or 14.7 per day. And what was that one millionth word/phrase? "Web 2.0," which "won" the honor by being a bit later entering the language than other phrases such as "carbon neutral," "slow food," and "zombie bank" (the last meaning a bank only kept alive by federal intervention).

Of course it's totally unofficial and speculative, but, if nothing else, it led to a delightful article by Simon Winchester in The Telegraph in which he talks about his own experiences coining a rather graphic (and, for males, uncomfortable) word which ended up in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Suddenly feeling intimidated about your own vocabulary? There are items in the Accent on Books reference section that can probably help. And, of course, there is probably no better way to increase your vocabulary in general than by doing a lot of reading.

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