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and the millionth winner is …

June 10, 2009

wordsToday, the millionth English word has been unveiled. Suspense has been gathering all week – well ok for me it’s only been over the last couple of hours since I heard about this imminent announcement, but still 😉

To be honest, I’m a little disheartened to learn that it’s actually an American group who are going to make this decision.  Yes, American, those of the land of the free who regularly subject great injury & infliction upon our great English language.

Nonetheless, I did wonder what those powers that be would extol on us?  What would they deem to be a word worthy of being added to our potential vocabulary.  I say potential because apparently the average person actually only uses a vocab of about 3000 words!  Quite a waste considering the wealth of options which is seems are available.   Why say colourful when you can say iridescent? (I do like that word)  Why not use irascible instead of angry?  After all Shakespeare had a vocab of some 27,000 words and Victor Hugo, well he stretched his to some 45,000!

A few months ago I wrote about how it was now not pc to use Latin words in everyday life, that we are excluding people by doing so.  Are we not then pandering to those of a lower common denominator, not endeavouring to educate and inform and encourage them to extend their knowledge?  Hmm, if we carried on like that, we’d still be cavemen, using sticks & stones & dressed in rags.  No, I think it’s our duty to educate our children, to help them to become better than us, to increase their options & provide them with even better opportunities than we had.  Granted language might not be the only way to do this, but it’s a good place to start.

Anyway, back to the topic in hand.  That millionth word.  Are you wondering what it is yet? 😉

Well I’m pleased to announce that the newest word in the English language is …  wait for it  …

Web 2.0

Are you as underwhelmed as I am?

I must admit I was hoping for something a bit more original, something interesting, something which told a story.  But I guess this is very much a word of our times, isnt it?  In this techy age in which we live, we are constantly bombarded by new terminology and expressions, constantly seeing words introduced which illustrate the technology around us which we are learning to accept as everyday life.  After all, how many of us google? or surf? or even blog?  So I supposed – reluctantly- that Web 2.0 is another illustration of that world in which we live, of life today.

I’m passionate about words and language and all those things.  After all, they are the essence of communication, the very heart of our conversations.  I believe we should try to increase our personal vocabulary and learn more.  I would even go so far as to say we shouldnt just concentrate on English, but that we should learn other languages as well.  After all communication breaks down boundaries and what better way to communicate but to talk – but that’s a whole different post.

So go forth and talk and learn! 🙂

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