A Million English Words

According to the Global Language Monitor (GLM), at the current pace of a new English-language word being created about every 98 minutes, English will cross the Million Word Mark on June 10th, 2009 at 10:22 am (Stratford-on Avon Time).

I don't envy them doing the addition. There are always new words under consideration.

In Shakespeare's time, there were less than 100,000 words. Of course, Willie added about 1,700 with his own writing. And all that in an age when there were only about 2 million English speakers.

The Million Word milestone brings to notice the coming of age of English as the first, truly global Language, said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor.

He says that there are three major trends involving the English language today:
1) An explosion in word creation; English words are being added to the language at the rate of some 14.7 words a day;
2) a geographic explosion where some 1.53 billion people now speak English around the globe as a primary, auxiliary, or business language; and
3) English has become, in fact, the first truly global language.

That millionth word might be one from India, China, or England. There is a long list of possibilities on their site.

It might be chiconomics - the ability to maintain one's fashion sense or chicness amidst the current financial crisis. I really hope that, if only for Shakespeare's sake, that the millionth one is NOT recessionista or octomom or sexting or mobama.

How about the environmentally-conscious choices: Green washing (re-branding an old product as environmentally friendly) E-vampire (an appliance or machine on standby-mode, which continually uses electrical energy).

A few possibilities have been around long enough that I thought they already were "official" like: slow food (food other than the fast-food variety) and locavores (someone who eats locally produced foods) and defriend or defollow (dropping someone from your social network).

It is the "English Conquest."


You can find out all possibilities with their meanings and follow the English Language WordClock counting down to the one millionth word at LanguageMonitor.com.


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