The Atlantic Wire, “Inside the Search for 2012′s Word of the Year”

November 21, 2012

Jen Doll, “Inside the Search for 2012′s Word of the Year” (The Atlantic Wire, Nov. 21, 2012)

Elsewhere on the Internet, the American Dialect Society is accepting nominations for Words of the Year (#woty). Linguist-about-the-Internet Ben Zimmer is chair of the New Words Committee for ADS, and as such, has “something of a vested interest in the whole Word of the Year business,” he told The Atlantic Wire, giving us a brief history of the program, which he calls “the granddaddy of all the WOTYs.” It started back in 1990, when “it was the only game in town,” a way to generate publicity for the organization. He says, “Some selections have made more of a splash than others: the 2005 choice of the Colbert-ism truthiness got a little out of hand. For dictionary programs that have joined the WOTY bandwagon, it’s also clearly a public-relations opportunity, one of the few surefire ways for a dictionary publisher to get some media attention. I was part of that marketing machine when I served as editor for American dictionaries for Oxford University Press and was responsible for the 2007 choice of locavore. (A New York Times piece that year went with the meta angle, reporting not so much on the word itself but on my efforts in publicizing the selection of it.)”

Read the rest here.

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