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Will "Noob" Be the Millionth Word in the English Language?

| 11 May 2009 20:26
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The English language is on the verge of adding its one millionth word and according to the Global Language Monitor, that word just might be "noob."

The Global Language Monitor recognizes words once they've been used 25,000 times by media outlets, social networks and other sources, and says the widespread use of English as a second language throughout Asia has resulted in its most dramatic growth since Shakespeare's era. The group currently predicts that the English language will hit the magic million mark at 10:22 am on June 10, and "noob" - including, presumably, its synonyms "n00b" and "newb" - could very well take the crown.

It's not a lock for the title, however. Other words in the running include "defollow" and "defriend," which refer to the act of dropping Twitter and Facebook contacts, "greenwashing," which describes the activities of companies attempting to appear environmentally friendly, and "chiconomics," which has something to do with maintaining a fashionable lifestyle during times of recession.

"Despite having a million words at our disposal it is unlikely that we will ever use more than just a tiny fraction of them," said Global Language Monitor Chief Analyst Paul Payack. "The average person's vocabulary is fewer than 14,000 words out of these million that are available. A person who is linguistically gifted would only use 70,000 words."

Of course, nailing down a specific one millionth entry in the English lexicon is an iffy proposition at best and some linguists have questioned whether such a determination can be made at all. For my part, I must admit to a certain ambivalence over the possibility that a milestone so noteworthy might be achieved by leet-speak; I realize that languages are organic and evolving but this feels vaguely regressive somehow. Isn't it just a tiny bit sad that 400 years of progress has brought us from "Let me be cruel, not unnatural; I will speak daggers to her, but use none," to "QQ more, noob?"

Source: The Telegraph

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