Chicago Tribune, “‘Hashtag’ Crowned 2012 Word of the Year”

January 9, 2013

Heidi Stevens, “‘Hashtag’ Crowned 2012 Word of the Year” (Chicago Tribune, Jan. 9, 2013)

Team “fiscal cliff” and team “YOLO” made strong showings. “Marriage equality” came from behind and threatened to knock them both from the running. There was mention made of crowning “Gangnam style” the victor.

But “hashtag,” in the end, proved impossible to defeat.

“It had an obvious appeal to a room full of linguists and lexicographers and language watchers, in that it is itself a kind of meta-linguistic term for this new kind of communication,” Ben Zimmer, chair of the new words committee of the American Dialect Society (and executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and explained to us after the vote. “It’s a word that is specifically related to Twitter, but people are finding it a useful vehicle and a new way of crafting online talk.”

Read the rest here.

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