Thursday, January 10, 2013


Sorry for taking such a long break from blogging over Christmas and New Year; this was partly down to lots of work and partly down to a bad case of man flu (not wine flu, which is one of the Australian Macquarie Dictionary's nominations for Word of the Year 2012).

Many recent language stories have picked up on the end of year new word round-ups and votes, so you can find a summary of recently fashionable English words in this Observer piece by Rafael Behr (HT to Jon Dolton for the link) which includes some from popular culture and some from wider social changes. So, we get X Factor's Nicole's shamazing (jahmazing, more likely, given it was invented for Jahmene), the song that had uncles dancing badly everywhere, Gangnam Style, Tory incompetence (rather than their usual malevolence) with Omnishambles, and the big winner this year, Hashtag, becoming not just a ubiquitous octothorpe (#) but a real, spoken expression (just like guest blogger Emma Bertouche said on this blog back in 2011). Fearne Cotton off of that there Radio 1 even slotted "Hashtag Biffy Clyro" into one of her pre-Christmas shows, as a reference to the angular-haired Scottish riff-makers. While it's clearly become accepted as a new way of making reference to something in speech, it still made me choke on my cornflakes and SCOMK (Spit Coffee on My Keyboard).

Hashtag was the winner in the American Dialect Society WOTY 2012 poll. You can read more about the nominations and winners in this pdf, but their choice of hashtag has been celebrated and discussed further here and questioned here.

Meanwhile, the Australian Macquarie Dictionary has its poll still running and there are some crackers on there, including the aforementioned wine flu, and  dramality.

What were your winning words of 2012 and which bugged you the most? Personally amazeballs tickled my fancy, but reem irritated me in ways that I can't really explain. Also, what are your predictions for 2013?

Black British English vs MLE

The latest episode of Lexis is out and it features an interview with Ife Thompson about lots of issues connected to Black British English, i...