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One millionth English 'word' is... Web 2.0

Jai Ho! as n00b celebrates Landmark 0.2

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It's official: The one millionth English "word" is "Web 2.0", which secured the the crown earlier today, beating "Jai Ho!"*, "n00b" and "Slumdog" in the race to linguistic glory in the process.

That's according to the Global Language Monitor, which was uncannily able to predict back in May the exact moment this milestone would be reached.

Global Language Monitor prez Paul JJ Payack hailed the historic event, announcing: "As expected, English crossed the 1,000,000 word threshold on June 10, 2009 at 10:22 am GMT. However, some 400 years after the death of the Bard, the words and phrases were coined far from Stratford-Upon-Avon, emerging instead from Silicon Valley, India, China, and Poland, as well as Australia, Canada, the US and the UK."

The Monitor's methodology is this: Accept a neologism "once it's clocked up 25,000 deployments in the media, social networking sites, and other hotbeds of linguistic creation", as we previously put it.

The site reckons English is churning out new lingo at the rate of one word every 98 minutes, which means that our beloved mother tongue will, by our reckoning, be a few dozen words richer by the time the next Blighty MP expenses scandal breaks, and 1,504,784 terms fatter before Barack Obama gives every kiddie in the world the puppy he promised them.

And before you lot start protesting at Global Language Monitor's millionth word count, we're fully aware that linguists of weight have dismissed the whole thing as a load of old cobblers.

We're inclined to let it go as a bit of harmless fun and ask the more serious question: WTF they thought they were doing when they allowed lexicographical n00b outrage Web 2.0 shout Jai Ho!?

Oh yes, and it doesn't get much better. Word number 1,000,001 is "financial tsunami", which, in common with Web 2.0, is a term rather than a word. Mind you, it's better than "cloud computing", which polluted English in 999,996th place. ®

Bootnote

*Hindi expression "signifying the joy of victory", as popularised by movie Slumdog Millionaire.

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