Top Words of 2009
December 1st, 2009

The Global Language Monitor has announced that Twitter is the Top Word of 2009 in its annual global survey of the English language. Twitter was followed by Obama, H1N1, Stimulus, and Vampire. The near-ubiquitous suffix, 2.0, was No. 6, with Deficit, Hadron the object of study of CERN’s new atom smasher, Healthcare, and Transparency rounded out the Top 10.

Twitter represents a new form of social interaction, where all communication is reduced to 140 characters,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor. “Being limited to strict formats did wonders for the sonnet and haiku. One wonders where this highly impractical word-limit will lead as the future unfolds.”

The Top Words of 2009

Phrase Comments

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

The analysis was completed in late November using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet, now including blogs and social media. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.


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