Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

2012 vocabulary reflected impending doom

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AS we say goodbye to 2012, let's hope our vocabulary shifts from bad vibes to positive signs.

The Global Language Monitor announced that "apocalypse" is the most influential word for 2012 in its 13th-annual global survey of the English language.

In 2012, eight of the top words and phrases identified in the new survey "were directly related to a sense of impending doom," says Paul J.J. Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor. Fears of the end of the world from a misinterpretation of the ancient Maya calendar probably helped drive the dour tone, but the list of oft-used words and phrases included "global warming," "fiscal cliff," "rogue nukes" and "near-Earth asteroids."

"So many words had to do with the end of life and end of the world," says Payack.

The rankings are based on word usage throughout the English-speaking world whether in print or electronic media. The words, phrases and names must be found globally and have a minimum of 25,000 citations.

The top phrase was "Gangnam Style," the title of South Korean pop star Psy's single. Gangnam Style became the first video to hit a billion views on YouTube.

 

Top words of 2012:

1. Apocalypse

2. Deficit

3. Olympiad

4. Bak'tun

5. Meme

6. MOOC

7. The Cloud

8. Omnishambles

9. Frankenstorm

10. Obesogenic

-- USA Today

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 2, 2013 A2

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