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Top used words of 2010, projections for 2011

As a measure of international current events, we often look to how words are trending. According to the Global Language Monitor, “Spillcam” is the Top Word, Anger and Rage the Top Phrase and Chinese Leader Hu Jintao the Top Name of 2010 in its annual global survey of the English language.

“Our top words this year come from an environmental disaster, the World Cup, political malapropisms, new senses to ancient words, a booming economic colossus, and a heroic rescue that captivated the world for days on end. This is fitting for a relentlessly growing global language that is being taken up by thousands of new speakers each and every day,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor.

Top 10 words of 2010:

All explanations below are courtesy of the Global Language Monitor.

  1. Spillcam– The BP Spillcam instantly beamed the immensity of the Gulf Spill around the world to the dismay of environmentalists, BP’s PR staff and the President.
  2. Vuvuzela– Brightly colored plastic horns that first came to prominence at the South African World Cup.
  3. The Narrative– Though used at least since The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass in 1845, ‘The Narrative’ has recently been gaining traction in the political arena, virtually replacing the need for a party’s platform. (Cf. to ‘truthily’.)
  4. Refudiate– Conflation of “refute” and “repudiate” (un)officially coined by Sarah Palin.
  5. Guido and Guidette– Hey! All things Jersey are hot, capish? (Actually, capisci in standard Italian.)
  6. Deficit A growing and possibly intractable problem for the economies of most of the developed world.
  7. Snowmagedden (and ‘Snowpocalypse’)– Portmanteau words linking ‘snow’ with ‘apocalypse’ and ‘armageddon’, used to describe the record snowfalls in the US East Coast and Northern Europe last winter.
  8. 3-D– Three-dimensional (as in movies) is buffo box office this year, but 3-D is being used in new ways generally describing ‘robustness’ in products (such as toothpaste).
  9. Shellacking– President Obama’s description of the ‘old-fashioned thumpin’ in George W. Bush’s words, that Democrats received in the 2010 US Mid-term elections.
  10. Simplexity– The paradox of simplifying complex ideas in order to make them easier to understand, the process of which only adds to their complexity.

Top 10 words of 2011

“To project possible top words for 2011, we analyzed the categories that we monitor and then choose words from each representative of various word trends,” said Payack.

  1. Twenty-Eleven– The English-speaking world has finally agreed on a common designation for the year: Twenty-eleven far outstrips ‘two thousand eleven’ in the spoken language. This is welcome relief from the decade-long confusion over how to pronounce 2001, 2001, 2003, etc.
  2. Obama-mess– David Letterman’s neologism for 2010 also works for 2011. This word is neutral. If Obama regain his magic, he escaped his Obama-mess; if his rating sinks further he continues to be engulfed by it.
  3. Great Recession– Even the best case scenario has the economy digging out of this hole for the foreseeable future,
    Palinism – Because the media needs an heir to Bushisms and Sarah Palin is the candidate of choice here.
  4. TwitFlocker– Can’t say what the name of the next Twitter or Facebook will be, so we’ll use TwitFlocker as the place holder.
  5. 3.0– 2.0 has settled into the vocabulary in a thousand differing forms — Obama 2.0, Web 2.0, Lindsey Lohan 2.0, so we project 3.0 being used to ‘one-up’ the 2.0 trend.
  6. 9/11– Next September is the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on US soil, so there is sure to be a great resurgence in use of the phrase.
  7. Climate Change (or global warming)– Both of these phrases have been in the Top Ten for the last decade, so we see no reason the English-speaking public will abandon either or both of the phrases.
  8. China/Chinese– The emergence of China is the Top Story of the Decade and there is little indication that is emergence on the world stage will continue in the media.
  9. Hobbit and/or Parseltongue– The blockbuster movies of 2011 will be sure to include Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 and the Hobbit (though the Hobbit premiers on Dec. 31) are sure to spin out some word or phrase that will remain memorable to the Earthly-audience.

Most of the top terms of 2010 and 2011 pertain specifically to news- what do you think will be the top terms in the real estate industry in 2011? We know that “brokerage of the future,” “qr codes” and “Realtor ratings” will be exhausted by the end of this year, what else do you think should be added to the list of top trending real estate terms for 2011?

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Matt Thomson

    January 3, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Maybe I’m reverting back to ’10, but I think we’ll continue to hear, “Game changing,” “must have,” and “just one transaction and this will pay for itself.”

  2. Agent for Movoto

    January 3, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    anger and rage is the top phrase???? eeeek, that certainly says something.

    I love “twenty-eleven”, though. much better than two-thousand-eleven.

  3. Joe Loomer

    January 4, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Unfortunately, I believe we’ll continue to see “shadow inventory” and “robo-signing” throughout 2011 as foreclosures placed on hold by investigations in every state start reaching the market.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

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