In English-speaking countries, the most popular words of the year are often published. There is also a list of the worst words that cause negative emotions.
In English-speaking countries, the season begins when the "words of the year" are announced. The initiative includes the American Dialectological Society, Oxford University Press and Merriam-Webster, and Dictionary.com. Their choice, as a rule, does not coincide. Meanwhile, Time magazine tried to pick the "anti-word of the year" and faced harsh criticism.
So, "The Oxford Dictionary named vape as the 2014 word," says Time in the headline. Journalist Katie Steinmetz explains: vape means "to inhale and exhale the vapors that are emitted from an electronic cigarette or similar device." The word appeared in the late 80s, but the need for it has arisen only now to distinguish the use of electronic cigarettes from smoking tobacco.
At first glance, the choice of vape reflects the growing popularity of electronic cigarettes.
But if you dig deeper, according to Kasper Gratwall, president of the Oxfords dictionaries division, the word is associated with concerns about freedom, health and jurisprudence. “How dangerous are e-cigarettes to health and what place do they occupy in our culture? What is unacceptable in public places? What should be regulated by the government? In the answers to these questions, the word vape may sound,”the author writes.
The magazine also provides a "short list" of 2014 words according to the Oxford Dictionary:
bae - a loved one, something nice or fashionable;
budtender - an employee of a medical marijuana dispenser or retail marijuana store;
contactless is a word for wireless communication technology between a payment card and a reader;
indyref - referendum on the independence of Scotland;
normcore is a conscious "fashion" for simple, unfashionable clothes;
slacktivist is a social activist whose activity on the Internet does not require much effort or time.
The same Katie Steinmetz tells in Time's pages “how the fruitful tradition of choosing“words of the year”began. In 1990, members of the American Dialectological Society declared bushlips, the word "Bush" and "lips," as the Neologism of the Year, to denote President Bush Sr.'s insincere political rhetoric. It arose as a mockery of Bush's unfulfilled promise: "Read my lips: there will be no new taxes."
Since 2000, new societies and publishing houses have been joining the initiative.
How are words selected? Everyone has their own criteria. Merriam-Webster focuses primarily on the words that readers search the Internet dictionary more often than others. For example, last year the publishing house named the word "science". Oxford University Press often chooses two words of the year - for American English and for British English. Dictionary.com draws attention to journalistic articles and popular internet search terms. In the American Dialectological Society, people vote live by simply raising their hands. Moreover, not only members of the Society are allowed to vote, but everyone who comes to the meeting.
For its part, on November 12, Time magazine asked its readers for the fourth year in a row, "Which word should be banned in 2015?" Katie Steinmetz clarifies: we are talking about words that cause irritation. To avoid hearing them, "you are ready to grab your chopsticks and pierce your eardrums with them."
The magazine offered readers a list of anti-words and invited them to vote on the Internet. The list included, including:
- the aforementioned bae (according to the editorial board, it has already become hackneyed);
- disrupt (in the meaning of "disruptive innovation" going back to the ideas of Silicon Valley);
- feminist (“you have nothing against feminism, but why suddenly all celebrities undertook to declare whether this word refers to them or not, - like politicians declaring their party affiliation,” the publication comments);
- om nom nom nom - “om-yum-yum” (the editors dream that “people would stop uploading photos of their brunch to the Internet, like their delicious slices of bread are newborn babies”).
Time later included the editor-in-chief's apology in this article: “The word feminist should not have been included in the list of words to be banned. We intended to stimulate debate about some uses of the word this year, but this nuance went unnoticed."
Meanwhile, The Daily Beast said in the headline: Time Magazine's List of Worst Words - Sexist and Racist. “When celebrities hesitate to call themselves 'feminists', it’s in itself annoying, especially since gender inequality remains a persistent problem in Hollywood: hardly 30% of roles with words go to women. But many Time readers seem so annoyed by questions about feminism addressed to celebrities that they would rather ban the word “feminist” altogether,”writes columnist Samantha Allen.
The author also has a harsher gripe with Time's "worst word lists" - "over-emphasis on slang and dialectal expressions used by young white women and people of color." On this year's list, only a third of the words do not fall into these categories.
The Time list is good because it inadvertently showed what a huge impact rappers and hip-hop have on the change in the English language. “In American popular culture, it is the people of color who invent words that add flavor to music, comedy and everyday speech,” the article says.