The Indian Word of the Year: Twitstorm
It’s that time of the year again, for doing the kind of things that an older blog post just did. It’s also the time of the year when lexicographers announce the one word that has had the most impact that year (and is therefore, in most cases, on its way out). Global Language Monitor has chosen this list:
- Spillcam: the camera that BP installed to monitor & broadcast the Gulf of Mexico spill.
- Vuvuzela: That amazing (un)musical instrument that drowned out the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
- Refudiate: The much-written about word invented by the will-she-won’t-she-run-for-president politician Sarah Palin.
- Deficit: Not even a new word, the thing every government wants to cut but won’t because it can’t.
- Shellacking: The word that has single-handedly come to describe the US Elections of 2010, and deserves to be retired from the English language for overuse (596,000 search results on Google for the past month alone).
and of course, this blogger’s favourite:
Merriam-Webster has crowned ‘austerity‘ as their word of the year (close cousin to deficit), while the Oxford American Dictionary plumped for refudiate (though it refudiated including it in the published dictionary). The favourite dictionary of yours truly has a list which cannot be published, but can surely be linked to. And the Australian newspaper Herald Sun has a much readable list of aggravating words (topped by the MBA cliche ‘moving forward’). If you want to have any of your favourites chosen, you can vote at the American Dialect Society’s competition.
And then there is the word that should have been there but will not for fear of offending several governments – WikiLeaks.
So what would be India’s word of the year? The word that defined Indian society in 2010, dominating its cultural and political landscape?
- Candidate #1: ‘Dabangg’, the Hindi word for a fearless person and the biggest movie of the year.
- Candidate #2: ‘Interlocutor’, the word that Shashi Tharoor had to define and insist that it did not mean mediator.
- Candidate #3: ‘JPC’ which doesn’t need explanation today.
- Candidate#4: ‘scam’; but then it’s a word that runs every year.
- Candidate#5: ‘Spectrum’, the word that seems to mean Rs. 1.76 lakh crore, and not quite a frequency range of electromagnetic waves.
- Candidate #6: ‘Sedition’, the charge the government refused to bring against certain citizens.
- Candidate#7: ‘Stalling’, what we see to have elected our MPs to do in Parliament.
- Candidate #8: ‘Inflation’, but that too runs every year.
- Candidate #9: ‘Onion’, the word that gives everyone a reason to cry.
- Candidate #10: ‘Twitstorm’, describing the phenomenon that accompanied the ruin of several careers in 2010.
So what should we, at R K SWAMY Interactive, plump for as the Indian word of the year?
Twitstorm clearly. It meshes in so well with what we do for a living. Defining the way the new media affects everybody. And how everybody is coming to grips with the new media.
Shashi Tharoor, the government’s former tweeter-in-chief, and Lalit Modi, the former poster-boy of Indian cricket administration. It is Twitter and tweeting and the twitstorm they generated that helped add ‘former’ to their appelations. And then there was #barkhagate, which rubbed so many journalistic names into the dust. And the highly pointless, but highly amusing, battle between KRK & SRK at the start of the year. And the national frenzy when Sachin Tendulkar joined Twitter.
And unlike several of the other candidates, Twitstorm holds out more promise for 2011, as more Indians migrate to the online medium. So it clearly deserves to be word of the year.
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about 2 years ago - No comments
You might have seen the new Zandu balm commercial on air – the one with Munni in it. (Here’s a link, but not to the real thing.) I found nothing particularly creative or memorable about this ad, but that isn’t the point. The point is a lawsuit that Emami (who owns the Zandu Balm brand)
about 3 years ago - 4 comments
How do new words arise in a language? Are they even legitimate? Does usage make a new word suddenly acceptable to the dictionary? A hot question is now spreading through the internet – is Sarah Palin’s neologism ‘refudiate’ (coined on 18 July on Twitter) a legitimate word? It has already received 38,200 citations on Google