The word of the year for 2007 is English

Dennis Baron DEBARON at UIUC.EDU
Sun Dec 16 22:24:34 UTC 2007

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The word of the year for 2007 is English

The word of the year for 2007 is English.  Other word watchers picked  
grass station, locavore, and w00t as word of the year, and I myself  
considered several candidates, including Facebook, YouTube, and  
waterboarding.  But in retrospect, 2007 seems to have produced a  
vocabulary list that, to quote former Attorney General Alberto  
Gonzales, “I don’t remember.”  In fact, so unmemorable were this  
year’s words that I finally had to admit that no other word captured  
the spirit of the times better than English itself.

English was at the core of many of 2007’s big stories.  One news item  
about English that made a splash was Judge Laurence Silberman’s  
interpretation of the Second Amendment’s English.  The chief judge of  
the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia  
declared open season on D.C.’s gun control law, throwing out the  
city’s firearms statute because in his view, the Second Amendment  
really means, "if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."...

But while gun control in the U.S. may be hanging on a comma, the most  
prominent example of English in the news this year was the push to  
make English the official language of the United States, with some  
observers wondering whether that would be a vote for English or  
against Mexico...

Official English was a hot button issue at the local level as well.   
More than 50 towns and cities, from Pahrump, Nevada to Bogota, New  
Jersey, considered making English official, a move frequently tied to  
laws forbidding landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants, or  
refusing to let their children play in city parks....

Read the rest on the Web of Language

Dennis Baron
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English
University of Illinois
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801

office: 217-244-0568
fax: 217-333-4321

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