Occupy, Steve Jobs & Arab Spring: Search words sum up 2011
THEY are the keywords that have echoed around cyberspace and been on the lips and fingertips of the English speaking and typing world in 2011.
According to an annual study, the past year can most easily be reduced to the following word, name and phrase: “Occupy”; “Steve Jobs”; and “Arab Spring”.
The rise of protest movements in the West and the uprising in North Africa and the Middle East combined with the death of the founder of Apple has dominated the internet, according to the new study by the Global Language Monitor (GLM) that yesterday revealed the top English language word of the year was “occupy”.
Steve Jobs, the Apple boss who recently died, was the top name of 2011 and “Arab Spring” the top phrase, according to the 12th annual survey by the GLM. Osama bin Laden came second in the name list while Royal Wedding fever saw Kate Middleton rise to number six. Occupy was followed as top word by deficit, fracking, drone, and non-veg.
Royal Wedding came second in the top phrase list while “climate change” and “bunga bunga” – the phrase used by Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi to describe his raucous parties – also made the top ten.
As the lists were compiled by an American company, it contained words popular in the US relatively unknown in Britain. For example, coming in at number six on the top words of 2011 was “kummerspeck”, which is a German term that means “grief bacon” and has become popular in America to describe “comfort-eating” or excess weight gained from emotion related over-eating.
At number seven was “Haboob”, the term for the intense 50-mile wide dust storm which hit Phoenix, Arizona, in July with winds of 70mph. Number eight on the word list was “3Q”, which, according to GLM, is the new universal term for “thank you” and particular popular among English-speaking Chinese.
GLM president Paul Payack said: “Our selections this year to a large extent reflect the ongoing political and economic uncertainty that seems to be affecting much of the developed world – with notable exceptions such as the Royal Wedding and the continuing rise of China.
“Our top words, phrases and names this year come from five continents, confirmation of the ever expanding influence of the English language.”
The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.58 billion people. GLM employs its NarrativeTracker technologies for global internet and social media analysis. NarrativeTracker is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture about any topic, at any point in time. It analyses the internet, blogosphere, the top 75,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources.
For cultural commentator Peter York the most popular word, name and phrases were understandable.
He said: “There has been a lot of occupying going on in terms of land, cities and countries and Steve Jobs has sadly been in the news recently.
“But I would have liked to see a bad name for bankers as one of the top words of the year because they are more unpopular now than they were three years ago.”
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