TOP WORDS OF 2012
Apocalypse is the Top Word
Gangnam Style is the Top Phrase
Newtown AND Malala Yousafzai are the Top Names of the Year
Global Language Monitor's 13th Annual Survey of Global English
Global Language Monitor has announced that 'Apocalypse' is the Top Word, 'Gangnam Style' is the Top Phrase and Newtown AND Malala Yousafzai are the Top Names of 2012 in its 13th annual global survey of the English language.
Apocalypse was followed by deficit, Olympiad, Bak'tun, and meme. Rounding out the top ten were MOOC, the Cloud, Omnishambles, Frankenstorm, and obesogenic.
"Apocalypse (Armageddon, and similar terms) reflects a growing fascination with various 'end-of-the-world' scenarios, or at least the end of life as we know it. This year the Mayan Apocalypse was well noted, but some eight of the top words and phrases were directly related to a sense of impending doom." said Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global Language Monitor.
"These included: Apocalypse, Bak'tun, Frankenstorm, Global Warming/Climate Change, God Particle, Rogue Nukes, Solar Max, Near-Earth Asteroid. Media examples include the Mayan apocalypse frenzy in Russia, the US Presidential elections (Obamageddon, Romneygeddon), the threatened dissolution of the common currency in Europe (Eurogeddon), to the call for the United Nations to implement an 'Armageddon-type' policy to address previously undetected space rocks hurtling toward Earth.
"Our top words, phrases and names this year represent some five continents, which continues to confirm the ever-expanding nature of the English language." said Payack.
The words Apocalypse and Armageddon are intermixed in the current English language media. New words or neologisms are created with both stems all referring to some type of 'end-of-the-world-type' phenomena. Both words stem from the final book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation in which the final battle between good and evil (Armageddon) is revealed (apokalyptein) cataclysmic event such as the South Asian Tsunami or the inundation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, as GLM then noted.
Methodology: GLM's Word of the Year rankings are based upon actual word usage throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.83 billion people. To qualify for these lists, the words, names, and phrases must be found globally, have a minimum of 25,000 citations. and the requisite 'depth' and 'breadth' of usage. .
GLM employs its NarrativeTracker technologies for global Internet and social media analysis. NarrativeTracker is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 275,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge.
The Top Words of 2012
1. Apocalypse / Armageddon, and variations thereof -- The word Apocalypse has been in ascendance in the English for more than 500 years. However, recent years has witnessed an unprecedented resurgence of the word.
2. Deficit - Looks like deficit-spending will plague Western democracies for at least the next decade. Note to economists of stripes: reducing the rate of increase of deficit spending actually increases the deficit.
3. Olympiad - The Greeks measured time by the four-year interval between the Games. Moderns measure it by medal counts, rights fees and billions of eyeballs.
4. Bak'tun - A cycle of 144,000 days in the Maya 'Long Count' Calendar. This bak'tun ends on December 21, 2012, also being called the Mayan Apocalypse. (Actually Maya 'long-count' calendars stretch hundreds of millions of years into the future, December 21st merely marks the beginning of a new cycle.)
5. Meme -- Internet Memes can best be conceived as thoughts or ideas rather than words, since they can and often do encompass sounds, photos, and text. Memes are propagated through every imaginable form of electronic communications, eventually surfacing in the traditional print and electronic media.
6. MOOC -- Massive Open Online Course; the nature of higher education is changing and MOOC is the phenomenon to watch.
7. The Cloud -- Neither the play by Aristophanes nor a forgotten title by Hitchcock, but rather where your data heads after you press <enter>.
8. Omnishambles -- From the UK and the top word of the Oxford American Dictionary team, where everything, everywhere seems to be in a state of disarray.
9. Frankenstorm -- Superstorm's Sandy's colloquial name. From a meteorologist's lips to a globally recognized neologism within a few hours.
10. Obesogenic -- An environment that tends to encourage obesity. Lately it has been used to describe television advertisement that promote sugary and high-calorie snacks to kids.
The Top Phrases of 2012
1. Gangnam Style: A South Korean YouTube video watched 1,000,000,000 times around the world cannot be ignored because it might be considered frivolous.
2. Global Warming/Climate Change - No. 1 phrases for the first decade of the 21st century; still resonate well into its second decade.
3. Fiscal Cliff -- Sharp automatic tax increases and spending cuts to U.S. Federal programs that go into effect with the new year -- if the Budget Control Act of 2011 is not addressed.
4. The deficit-the difference between what the government takes in and what it spends-is projected to be reduced by roughly half in 2013
5. God Particle -- The ever-elusive Higgs Boson, the search for which, according to CERN, carries a 1 in 50,000,000 of creating a mini Black Hole that just might swallow the Earth. Oops.
6. Rogue nukes - Iran and North Korea are the focus of attention again.
7. Near-Earth Asteroid - Yet another year, another asteroid, another near-miss; this one slipping between the orbits of the Earth and the Moon.
8. Binders Full of Women -- Any unfortunate misstatement or turn of phrase, especially when viewed by some 50 million in a US Presidential Debate becomes immediately meme-worthy.
9. Arab Spring -- Still no Successor term as the Arab Spring morphs into something far more ominous.
10. Solar max - The peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle; in 1854 solar storms melted telegraph wires; what's in store for our all-pervasive electronic infrastructure?
11. Big Data -- No 1 on the 2012's Tech List, ushering in a global transformation in how data is processed, analyzed, and turned into solutions.
12. Ethical/Sustainable Fashion-- A global movement that includes designs from indigenous communities and emerging peoples.
13. Toxic Politics -- See 2012 US Presidential Campaign.
14. Citius, Altius, Fortius -- (Faster, Higher, Stronger) The Olympic Motto, in Latin not Greek, of course.
15. War Against Women -- In the US an economic and social issue; in much of the world an issue of sexual slavery, honor killings, and lack of basic human rights.
The Top Names of 2012
Newtown and Malala Yousafzai (tie) -- The Connecticut site of a horrific massacre of innocents; and the Pakistani girl shot by terrorists for promoting the right to education for girls.
2. Xi Jinping -- Replaces Hu Jintao, under whose administration China has seen a decade of extraordinary growth.
3. Kate Middleton -- With a baby on the way (and the publishing of photos of a most private nature), the Duchess of Cambridge maintains a high profile.
4. President Obama - Hope and Change retreat further into the history books as Obama survives a brutal campaign.
5. Mitt Romney -- Soon to depart into the wormhole that most losing US Presidential candidates invariably find themselves. Dukakis? Mondale? Etc.
6. London Olympics -- A triumphal return to the Olympic stage that would have astounded those present at the first Post-War Games in 1948.
7. Higgs Boson -- The long-sought particle theorized to have been present at the creation, is confirmed in CERN experiments. (And, yes, Dr. Higgs, has lived to see confirmation of his conjecture.)
8. Europe (E.U. / Eurogeddon) - United, breaking apart, saving the Euro, abandoning the Euro, with the UK again as an 'interested onlooker'. How do you say 'Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose' in German.
9. Felix Baumgartner -- Austrian Felix Baumgartner becomes the first skydiver to break the speed of sound, reaching a maximum ...
10. Senkaku Islands -- No one actually cares about these rocky, inhospitable outcroppings; it's the mineral rights under surround seas of concern here.
11. John Roberts -- Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court at the center of the upholding of the Affordable Healthcare Act (or Obamacare).
12. Bibi (Benjamin Netanyahu) -- The current Prime Minister of Israel.
13. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- The current president of Iran, a largely ceremonial post.
14. Christopher Stevens -- Ambassador to Libya, gunned down at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
15. Angela Merkel -- The chancellor of Germany attempting to hold together the currency union and avoid the Eurogeddon.
Previous Words of the Year include:
Top Words: No. 1 Occupy, No.2 Fracking, No.3 Drone
Top Phrases: No. 1 Arab Spring, No. 2 Royal Wedding, No.3 Anger and Rage
Top Names: No. 1 Steve Jobs, No. 2 Osama bin-laden and Seal Team Six, No.3 Fukushima
Top Words: No. 1 Spillcam, No. 2 Vuvuzela, No. 3 The Narrative
Top Phrases: No. 1 Anger and Rage, No. 2 Climate Change, No. 3 The Great Recession
Top Names: No. 1 Hu Jintao, paramount leader of China, No. 2 iPad, No. 3 Barack Obama
Top Words: No. 1 Twitter, No. 2 Obama-, No. 3 H1N1
Top Phrases: No. 1 King of Pop, No. 2 Obama-mania, No. 3 Climate Change
Top Names: No. 1 Obama, No. 2 Michael Jackson, No. 3 Mobama
Top Words: No. 1 Change, No. 2 Bailout, No. 3 Obama-mania
Top Phrases: No. 1 Financial Tsunami, No. 2 Global Warming, No. 3 "Yes, We Can!"
Top Names: No. 1 Barack Obama, No. 2 George W. Bush, No.3 Michael Phelps
Top Words: No. 1 Hybrid (representing all things green), No. 2: Surge
Top Phrase: Climate Change
Top Name: Al Gore
About The Global Language Monitor
Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.