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Millionth English word is Web 2.0

N00b misses landmark

The millionth word in the English language has been announced - and it's 'Web 2.0'.

The term Web 2.0 was coined by Darcy DiNucci in 1999 in an article entitled "Fragmented Future".

It was made popular by Tim O'Reilly because of the O'Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004.

The Telegraph reports that an organisation that tracks linguistic trends Global Language Monitor acknowledges new words when they have appeared 25,000 times in the global print media, the web, the blogosphere and sites such as Twitter and YouTube.

The 999,998th word was 'N00b', a derogatory term for those new to the gaming community.

Web 2.0

Other words and phrases that have entered the English language recently are 'cloud computing', 'carbon neutral' and 'sexting' (sending suggestive messages by text).

Linguistic experts disagree on how to classify words, but under Global Language Monitor's criteria a word is generated every 98 minutes.

Paul JJ Payack, the Texas-based organisation's chief word analyst, said the millionth word and others like it demonstrated the extent to which technical jargon has overtaken the language of William Shakespeare:

"Some 400 years after the death of the Bard, the words and phrases were coined far from Stratford-upon-Avon, emerging instead from Silicon Valley, India, China and Poland, as well as Australia, Canada, the US and the UK," said Mr Payack.

"Despite having a million words at our disposal, it is unlikely that we will ever use more than just a tiny fraction of them. The average person's vocabulary is fewer than 14,000 words out of the million that are available."

Payack told CNN that English has become a complex, global language: "It's a people's language," he said.

Other languages, like French, Payack said, put big walls around their vocabularies. English brings others in.

"English has the tradition of swallowing new words whole," he said.

"Other languages translate."


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