Grant Barrett gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG
Sun Dec 26 15:53:31 UTC 2004

Dear fellow ADS Wotyiers,

Although I recognize that the ADS Words of the Year nomination is at
its heart whimsical, it seems the vast glory of our vote and
announcement--our one annual moment to shine as beacons of reason and
erudition--has gradually been diminished by other organizations that
release similar announcements, some appearing more than a month before
the year ends and most with a commercial agenda. It's a sad tarnishing
of the word trades, I'm afraid.

So I ask, do we have reason to try to restore the attention once
garnered by the ADS WOTY? Is there a change we can make that will do
that? Or should we leave the matter be because it matters not at all?

Separately, I also propose several new categories for discussion:

1. Spanglish Word Of The Year. I can generate a sort of list, but there
are a few here, although I don't know how 2004-centric they are:

2. Dirty Word Of The Year. Comes with a $5 buy-in betting pool on how
many newspapers actually print the word. Alternative weeklies count,
web sites don't.

3. Word Mostly Likely Never To Be Heard From Again Except When
Mentioned By Newspaper Columnists Struggling To Come Up With A Topic On
Deadline. Maybe this duplicates "most unnecessary," although that's
more of a judgement than a prediction. How about "wardrobe

4. "Words Of The Year List" Of The Year. So many to choose from, but I
think I will nominate the "ADS Words of the Year List" as the "ADS
Words of the Year List of the Year."

5. Hip-Hop Lyricist Of The Year. This art form still generates and
popularizes such a large amount of new language, it deserves some sort
of recognition. And who better qualified to judge than us? Are we not
hip and with it and in the loop? Do we not keep it real? I predict an
East Coast-West Coast divide for the voting on this one.

In any case, here are other WOTY lists:

--- yourDictionary.com
http://tinyurl.com/5qzyf    <--Extensive lists here.
Top phrase of 2004 was "red states/blue states," followed by "moral
values," and "two Americas." "Incivility" was the top word. Others
include "blogosphere" and "flip-flop."

--- Merriam-Webster, based on searches for words on their site
1. blog
2.  incumbent
3. electoral
4. insurgent
5. hurricane
6. cicada
7. peloton :  noun (1951) : the main body of riders in a bicycle race
8. partisan
9. sovereignty
10. defenestration

--- Global Language Monitor, top politically correct words for 2004
1.      Device for master and captured device for slave in computer
networking terminology
2.      Non-same sex marriage, for marriage used in Democratic
Presidential Primaries
3.      Waitron for waiter or waitress
4.      Red Sox Lover for Yankee Hater during the ALCS playoffs
5.      Higher Power for God
6.      Progressive for classical liberal
7.      Incurious rather than more impolite invectives for President
Bush (such as idiot or moron)
8.      Insurgents substituting for terrorists in Iraq
9.      Baristas rather than waitrons
10.    First year student rather than Freshman, though Frosh is still

--- Webster's New World College Dictionary
1. adultescent. Others: shoppertainment, retail therapy, nutraceutical,

This article falsely says OED picked "chav" as it's word of the year.
They are at the long end of a telephone game, misquoting other press
related to Susie Dent's book "The Language Report" in which she picks
it as indicative of the year in the UK.

--- SF Gate's Reader-Nominated WOTy
1. wardrobe malfunction
2. red state/blue state
3. blog
4. insurgents
5. iPod
6. Chrismaukkuh (their spelling)
7. The full Fresno:  "From, unfortunately, the Scott Peterson ordeal.
This was used to describe the wooing of Amber Frye with flowers, a
romantic dinner, etc." -- Darren Aho, Cupertino. (Similar is foreploy,
"a misrepresentation for the purpose of getting laid," nominated by
Jonathan Myers of San Francisco).
8. Holla atcha boy: Jordan Bromley, a San Francisco rap-artist manager,
says this one is real popular "in the bay." It means "'Please respond,
it would be great!' It can also mean an individual's approval. Like,
'Hey Jordan, do you want to go bowling?' Jordan: 'Holla!' "

--- German WOTY
Hartz IV: "The Hartz IV legislation, which will lead to cutbacks for
many on unemployment benefits and social security payments, was drawn
up by a commission headed by auto industry manager Peter Hartz."

--- Japanese WOTY
"A steady stream of Japanese now flock to South Korea regularly to
visit the locations featured in shows like Winter Sonata and Hotelier
starring the actor honorifically called “Yong-sama” (a deferential
suffix usually reserved for royalty) in Japan. “Yong-sama” has recently
been ranked the most popular word of the year in Japan by Japanese
paper, Asahi."


Grant Barrett

-- Project Editor, "Historical Dictionary of American Slang," Oxford
University Press
-- Editor, "Hatchet Jobs and Hardball: The Oxford Dictionary of
American Political Slang" (2004)
-- Editor, Double-Tongued Word Wrester, http://www.doubletongued.org/
-- Webmaster, American Dialect Society, http://www.americandialect.org/

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