Global Language Monitor: Wikis


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The Global Language Monitor (GLM) is an Austin, Texas-based company that collectively documents, analyzes and tracks trends in language usage worldwide, with a particular emphasis upon the English language. It is particularly known primarily for its political analysis,[1][2] college and university rankings,[3] High Tech buzzwords,[4][5] media analysis,[6] as well as its controversial tracking of English reaching its millionth word.[7]



Founded in Silicon Valley in 2003 by Paul J.J. Payack, the GLM describes its role as "expert analysis on language trends and their subsequent impact on politics, culture and business, including the PQ Index/Indicator, analysis of media coverage of major, worldwide events, the rise of Global English and its march to its 1,000,000th word, the Chinglish Phemomenon, Global yoofSpeak, and many others".[8] In April 2008, GLM moved its headquarters from San Diego to Austin.[9]

Counting English words

GLM announced the 1,000,000th English word on June 10, 2009.[10] This controversial exercise was widely covered in the global media.[11][12] The count itself was widely criticized by a number of prominent members of the linguistic community, including Geoffrey Nunberg,[13] and Jesse Sheidlower[14] and Benjamin Zimmer.[15]

The finalists, which met the criteria of a minimum of 25,000 citations with the necessary breadth of geographic distribution and depth of citations, were:

1. Web 2.0. 2. Jai Ho! 3. N00b. 4. Slumdog. 5. Cloud Computing. 6. Carbon Neutral. 7. Slow Food. 8. Octomom. 9. Greenwashing. 10. Sexting. 11. Shovel ready. 12. Defriend. 13. Chengguan. 14. Recessionista. 15. Zombie Banks. [16]

Critics also noted that the target date had been changed a number of times from late in 2006 to early in 2009.[17][18][19][20][21][22] It was also criticized on grounds that a count is impossible because linguists cannot agree on the exact criteria for inclusion or exclusion. Global Language Monitor states the general criteria for inclusion on its site, maintaining that it is simply updating the established criteria for printed dictionaries beginning with the works of Samuel Johnson and Noah Webster.[23]

In general terms, GLM describes its Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), used to run its analytics on global language trends and , as a weighted index, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity, using frequency data from words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the blogosphere, as well as accessing proprietary databases (Factiva, Lexis-Nexis, etc.). It can also create "signals" that can be used in a variety of applications.[24] The New York Times described the PQI as "an algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet in relation to frequency, context and appearance in global media. It is a weighted index that takes into account year-to-year increases and acceleration in the last several months".[25]

Obama an English language word

On 20 February 2008 GLM announced that the latest word to enter the English language was "obama", derived from Barack Obama, in its many variations. GLM described Obama- as a "root" for words including obamanomics, obamican, obamamentum, obamacize, obamarama, obamaNation, Obamafy, obamamania and obamacam.[26] GLM announced it to be an accepted word, once it met the group's published criteria: a minimum of 25,000 citations in the global media, as well as achieving the necessary 'breadth' and 'depth' of citations.[27]

High tech terms

On November 19, 2008 Global Language Monitor announced the most confusing yet frequently cited high tech buzzwords of 2008 to be cloud computing, green washing, and buzzword compliant followed by resonate, de-duping, and virtualization. Rounding out the Top Ten were Web 2.0, versioning, word clouds, and petaflop. The most confusing Acronym for 2008 was SaaS (software as a service).

On 14 October 2007 GLM released a list of the most confusing high tech terms and buzzwords. The words included: iPOD, flash, cookie, nano and kernel, followed by megahertz, cell (as in cell phone), plasma, de-duplication and Blu-Ray. Other terms being tracked included terabyte, memory, core, and head crash. The most confusing acronym was found to be SOA, for service-oriented architecture, an acronym which IBM published a book about.[28]

The studies are released each year on the anniversary of the cookie, the invention that made the World Wide Web practical for widespread surfing, communication, and e-commerce.[29]

Top word of the year


Top word of 2009

On 29 November 2009 GLM released its annual Word of the Year (WOTY) lists including top phrases and top names. GLM released its annual Word of the Year (WOTY) lists including top phrases and top names.[30]

The top words of 2009

  1. Twitter — The ability to encapsulate human thought in 140 characters
  2. Obama — The word stem transforms into scores of new words like ObamaCare
  3. H1N1 — The formal (and politically correct) name for Swine Flu
  4. Stimulus — The $800 billion aid package meant to help mend the US economy
  5. Vampire — Vampires are very much en vogue, now the symbol of unrequited love
  6. 2.0 — The 2.0 suffix is attached to the next generation of everything
  7. Deficit — Lessons from history are dire warnings here
  8. Hadron — Ephemeral particles subject to collision in the Large Hadron Collider
  9. Healthcare — The direction of which is the subject of intense debate in the US
  10. Transparency — Elusive goal for which many 21st c. governments are striving
  11. Outrage — In response to large bonuses handed out to ‘bailed-out’ companies
  12. Bonus — The incentive pay packages that came to symbolize greed and excess
  13. Unemployed — And underemployed amount to close to 20% of US workforce
  14. Foreclosure — Forced eviction for not keeping up with the mortgage payments
  15. Cartel — In Mexico, at the center of the battle over drug trafficking

The top phrases of 2009

  1. King of Pop – Elvis Presley was ‘The King;’ MJ had to settle for ‘King of Pop’
  2. Obama-mania — One of the scores of words from the Obama-word stem
  3. Climate Change — Considered politically neutral compared to global warming
  4. Swine Flu — Popular name for the illness caused by the H1N1 virus
  5. Too Large to Fail — Institutions that are deemed necessary for financial stability
  6. Cloud Computing — Using the Internet for a variety of computer services
  7. Public Option — The ability to buy health insurance from a government entity
  8. Jai Ho! — A Hindi shout of joy or accomplishment
  9. Mayan Calendar — Consists of various ‘cycles,’ one of which ends on 12/21/2012
  10. God Particle — The hadron, believed to hold the secrets of the Big Bang

The top names of 2009

  1. Barack Obama — It was Obama’s year, though MJ nearly eclipsed in the end
  2. Michael Jackson — Eclipses Obama on internet though lags in traditional media
  3. Mobama — Mrs. Obama, sometimes as a fashion Icon
  4. Large Hadron Collider — The trillion dollar ‘atom smasher’ buried outside Geneva
  5. Neda Agha Sultan — Iranian woman killed in the post-election demonstrations
  6. Nancy Pelosi –The Democratic Speaker of the US House
  7. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — The president of Iran, once again
  8. Hamid Karzai — The winner of Afghanistan's disputed election
  9. Rahm Emmanuel — Bringing ‘Chicago-style politics’ to the Administration
  10. Sonia Sotomayor — The first Hispanic woman on the US Supreme Court

Top word of 2008

On 2 December 2008 GLM released its annual Word of the Year (WOTY) lists including top phrases and top names.

  1. Change – The top political buzzword of the 2008 US Presidential campaign.
  2. Bailout – Would have been higher but was not in the media until Mid-September.
  3. Obamamania – Describing the worldwide reaction to Barack Obama's campaign and subsequent victory in the US presidential race.
  4. Greenwashing – Repositioning a product to stress its Earth-friendly attributes.
  5. Surge – Military and political strategy often cited as reducing violence in Iraq.
  6. Derivative – Exotic financial instruments used to cleverly package junk-grade debt.
  7. Subprime – Mortgages that were packaged as derivatives.
  8. Foreclosure – The end-result of the sub-prime mess.
  9. Phelpsian: New word coined to describe the Phelpsian Pheat of winning eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.
  10. Chinglish – The often amusing Chinese/English language hybrid that Beijing tried to stamp out before the Olympics began.

The top phrases of 2008

  1. Financial Tsunami – Worldwide financial meltdown ultimately stemming from derivatives used to package subprime mortgages.
  2. Global Warming – The No. 2 buzzword of the US Presidential Campaign.
  3. Yes We Can—Yes, indeed, he could and he did.
  4. Lame Duck – What happens when you wait 2 ½ months from election to inauguration.
  5. Working Class Whites – Apparently, working Class Whites is used as a code phrase for whites who are working class.
  6. “It is, what it is” – On everyone’s lips this year meaning ‘unfortunately, those are the facts’.
  7. Lip Synching: The fate of Lin Miaoke, the little girl who didn’t sing the song the whole world sings in the Olympics opening ceremony.
  8. Price of oil – Oil was supposed to be topping out about now at $200/barrel.
  9. Super Tuesday – When the race for the Democratic nomination was supposed to be decided.
  10. Suddenness Happens – Top Chinglish Phrase from the Beijing Olympics.

The top names for 2008

  1. Barack Obama --. President-elect of the United States.
  2. George W. Bush – Lame Duck, No. 43, The Decider.
  3. Michael Phelps -- The top name of the top television spectacle of all time (the Beijing Olympics)
  4. Hillary Clinton – She said ‘he can’t win;’ now she is his Secretary of State.
  5. Vladimir Putin -- The supreme leader of Russia, whatever his title.
  6. Bono -- U2's front man also known for his efforts to raise awareness about AIDS in African, Third World debt and Unfair Trade practices.
  7. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – Iran now claims 5,000 nuclear centrifuges.
  8. Sarah Palin – Governor of Alaska and vice presidential nominee of the Republican party.
  9. John McCain – Soon to be the answer to a trivia question: Mondale, Dole, Dukakis ….
  10. Beyonce – The R&B singer AKA as Sasha Fierce.

The Top Celeb Couple: French president Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni – Big hit for his policies and her former supermodel status (replacing David Beckham and Posh Spice).

Top words of 2007

On 13 December 2007 GLM released its annual Word of the Year (WOTY) lists including top phrases and top names.[31 ] 'Hybrid' was named as the top WOTY,[31 ] 'Climate Change' was named the top phrase, and 'Al Gore' the top name.[31 ] GLM explained,

The idea of planetary peril and impending climatic doom resonated throughout our linguistic analysis, with the various words and phrases garnering hundreds of millions of citations; in the end this narrowly outdistanced the word 'surge' that also had a disproportionate impact upon 2007's linguistic landscape. [32]

The words were culled from throughout the English-speaking world that GLM says currently numbers some 1.35 billion speakers and includes such diverse countries as China, the Philippines, and India. GLM's estimate on the number of English speakers is on the low-end of academic estimates.[33] David Crystal, in a recent BBC interview suggested that the number is close to 2 billion.[34]

2007 top ten words

The top ten words for 2007 as stated by GLM are: [32]

  1. Hybrid, referring to hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). Chosen "to represent all things green from biodiesel to wearing clothes made of soy, to global warming to living with a zero-carbon footprint." [32]
  2. Surge, referring to political and military strategy of the Bush administration to win the Iraq war.
  3. Bubble, referring to the U.S. housing bubble and related credit crunch.
  4. Smirting, a portmanteau of 'smoking' and 'flirting' often while being banished outside a building for smoking cigarettes.
  5. Pb, referring to the symbol lead, the "culprit in innumerable toy recalls this year". [32]
  6. Ideating, forming and relating ideas.
  7. Ω-3 or omega-3 fatty acids, the "healthy fatty acid. [32]
  8. Cleavage, referring to a woman's breasts, which the GLM states is "a touchy campaign subject" in the US elections. [32]
  9. Amigoization, referring to the "increasing Hispanic influence in California, the Southwest and into the Heartland. [32]
  10. Bluetooth, referring to technology to connect electronic devices by radio waves.

2007 top ten phrases

  1. Climate change -- The warming of the Earth’s atmosphere;
  2. Ho-Ho-Ho -- Santa’s trademark phrase. In Australia officials are suggesting ‘Ha-Ha-Ha’ because the former may scandalize the children;
  3. All-time low -- The phrase apparently grafted next to the president’s name in the media;
  4. Theory of Everything -- Garrett Lisi’s especially simple theory of the Universe that unites all forces and gravity in one elegant structure;
  5. Planetary Peril -- Al Gore’s trademark phrase to describe the Earth’s current condition;
  6. Wristband Wagon -- Wearing your heart on your … wrist. Pink against breast cancer, red against third-world poverty, ‘camouflage’ (or yellow as in yellow ribbon) to support the troops;
  7. No Noising -- Chinese/English hybrid (Chinglish) for ‘quiet please!’;
  8. Fade to black -- From the Soprano’s series finale to the Hollywood writers’ strike;
  9. Fossil Fuels -- Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas (anything hydrocarbon-based);
  10. Fashion tribe -- Persons who follow a particular fashion with a tribe-like mindset: Examples include EMO, Hip-hop or Goth.

2007 top ten names

  1. Al Gore -- Conveniently, doesn’t need the presidency to top the list;
  2. The Decider -- George W. Bush, still president after all these years;
  3. Bono -- The U2 front man stands out in front on Third World debt relief;
  4. Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton -- Barack Obama’s surname now qualifies as a buzzword; quite unusual, though Hil comes close;
  5. Hugo Chavez -- The Gadfly of Latin America;
  6. Vladimir Putin -- The supreme leader (President, Prime Minister, whatever) of the Russian Federation;
  7. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- Iranian President suggests moving Israel to Europe;
  8. Pope Benedict XVI -- continues to engage Muslim leadership in thoughtful discussions;
  9. David Beckham and Posh Spice -- Yet another ‘new’ type of Hollywood power couple;
  10. Fidel Castro -- The head one of the few remaining Communist states lives yet another year.

Top ten words from 2000 to 2008


Top News Stories of the Decade

  1. Rise of China – The biggest story of the decade, outdistancing the No. 2 Internet story by 400%.
  2. Iraq War — The buildup, the invasion, the hunt for the WMDs, and the Surge were top in print and electronic media outlets.
  3. 9/11 Terrorist Attacks – The 9/11 Terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC seemed to set the tone for the new decade.
  4. War on Terror – President George W. Bush’s response to 9/11.
  5. Death of Michael Jackson – A remarkably high ranking considering that MJ’s death occurred in the final year of the decade.
  6. Election of Obama to US presidency – The rallying cries of ‘hope’ and ‘Yes, we can!’ resulting in the historic election of an African-American to the US presidency.
  7. Global Recession of 2008/9 – The on-going world economic restructuring as opposed to the initial ‘economic meltdown’ or ‘financial tsunami’.
  8. Hurricane Katrina — New Orleans was devastated when the levies collapsed; scenes of death and destruction shocked millions the world over.
  9. War in Afghanistan – Now in its eighth year with an expansion into neighboring Pakistan.
  10. Economic Meltdown/Financial Tsunami – The initial shock of witnessing some 25% of the world’s wealth melting away seemingly overnight.
  11. Beijing Olympics – The formal launch of China onto the world stage.
  12. South Asian Tsunami – The horror of 230,000 dead or missing, washed away in a matter of minutes was seared into the consciousness the global community.
  13. War against the Taliban – Lands controlled by the Taliban served as a safe haven from which al Qaeda would launch its terrorist attacks.
  14. Death of Pope John Paul II – The largest funeral in recent memory with some 2,000,000 pilgrims in attendance.
  15. Osama bin-Laden eludes capture – Hesitation to attack Tora Bora in 2002 has led to the continuing manhunt.


Other lists

The Global Language Monitor publishes other lists relating to the English language including: rankings of U.S. colleges according to their presence in the media;[37] top fashion cities ranked by media exposure.[38]; and 15 Top All-Time Bushisms.[39]


  1. ^ Kristof, Nicholas (2008-10-17). "Obama the Intellectual". Retrieved 2009-10-19.  
  2. ^ Nicholas D. Kristof: Obama and the war on brains
  3. ^ By ANITA B. HOFSCHNEIDER Contributing Writer. "Media Fixates on Harvard". Retrieved 2009-10-19.  
  4. ^ "Bamboozled By Buzzwords". 2005-04-24. Retrieved 2009-10-19.  
  5. ^ "10 Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords". Retrieved 2009-10-19.  
  6. ^ Michael Jackson's Death Second Biggest Story of the Century
  7. ^ "Americas | 'Millionth English word' declared". BBC News. 2009-06-10. Retrieved 2009-10-19.  
  8. ^ The Times,  London, March 25, 2009 (2009-03-25). "Global Language Monitor". Retrieved 2009-10-19.  
  9. ^ Austin lands Global Language Monitor: Finally, something good comes from California
  10. ^ By  John D. Sutter CNN (2009-06-10). "'English gets millionth word on Wednesday, site says'". Retrieved 2009-10-19.  
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Millionth English word' declared'}
  13. ^ Enumerating English, Geoffrey Nunberg, NPR
  14. ^ Word Count, Jesse Sheidlower, Slate, April 10, 2006
  15. ^ "Language Log » The “million word” hoax rolls along". Retrieved 2009-10-19.  
  16. ^ ‘One millionth English word’ is ‘Web 2.0’, Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 12, 2009
  17. ^ Harlow, John (2006-02-05). "Chinglish – it's a word in a million". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 2009-01-14. "According to Payack, the one millionth word is likely to be formed this summer"  
  18. ^ Macintyre, Ben (2006-08-11). "We're all speaking Geek". The Times (London). Retrieved 2009-01-14. "According to Paul Payack, who runs the Global Language Monitor, there are currently 988,974 words in the English language, with thousands more emerging every month. By his calculation, English will adopt its one millionth word in late November."  
  19. ^ "From Babel to Babble . . . Everyone is Speaking English". Kensington books. Retrieved 2009-01-14. "in the spring of 2007, the English word count surpassed a million—over ten times the number available in French. At the crest of this linguistic tsunami surfs Paul J.J. Payack, aka the WordMan. As president of the Global Language Monitor"  
  20. ^ ""A Million Words and Counting" How Global English Is Rewriting the World". Market Wire. May 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-14. "according to author Paul J.J. Payack, the founding president of the Global Language Monitor ( ), English will adopt its millionth word in 2008"  
  21. ^ Walker, Ruth (2009-01-02). "Save the date: English nears a milestone". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2009-01-14. "It's April 29, 2009 – plus or minus a few days. That is when the English language is expected to acquire its millionth word. This prediction comes from Global Language Monitor, an organization in Austin, Texas"  
  22. ^ "English gets millionth word on Wednesday, site says", CNN
  23. ^ "GLM Criteria". Retrieved 2009-10-19.  
  24. ^ The Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), GLM website
  25. ^ The Power of Words
  26. ^ English language is Barack 'Obamafied', Catherine Elsworth, Los Angeles,, 26 Feb 2008
  27. ^ "'FAQ on GLM Methodology'". Retrieved 2009-10-19.  
  28. ^ "Hooray! ‘SOA’ voted most ‘confusing acronym of the year’ | Service-Oriented Architecture |". 2007-11-05. Retrieved 2009-10-19.  
  29. ^ Posted: October 17, 2007 (2007-10-17). "The Global Language Monitor releases global study of top 10 most confusing yet widely used high tech buzzwords for 2007". Retrieved 2009-10-19.  
  30. ^ ResourceShelf
  31. ^ a b c "Media Tracking and Analysis: History of Top Words From 2007 - 2000". Global Language Monitor. 13 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-26.  
  32. ^ a b c d e f g "'Hybrid' bests 'Surge' as Top Word of 2007; 'Climate Change' is Top Phrase; Al Gore' is Top Name; Top Smiley is ?-) for 'pirate' Arrrrgh!: Why a 'Green' Word was Chosen as WOTY". Global Language Monitor. 13 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-26.  
  33. ^ "eHistLing - World-Wide English". Retrieved 2009-10-19.  
  34. ^ "Programmes | Newsnight | The million words milestone". BBC News. 2009-06-10. Retrieved 2009-10-19.  
  35. ^ From 2007-2004, Global Language Monitor; from 2003 to 2000, GLM predecessor, yourDictionary.
  36. ^ The Global Language Monitor - Top News Stories of the Decade.
  37. ^ Harvard tops U.S. colleges in media buzz, UPI, September 16, 2008
  38. ^ Australia more fashionable than NZ, Tracey Bond,, July 17, 2008
  39. ^ The Morning File: To find the Word of the Year, follow the money, Gary Rottstein, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 12, 2009

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