by Dan Ward
What were you doing at 5:22 a.m., Wednesday, June 10? If you answered “sleeping,” then you sadly missed a monumental, noteworthy, extraordinary, momentous occasion in the history of language and communication.
At that moment, the English language, which already contains more words than any language on the planet, finally added its millionth word, according to the Global Language Monitor (GLM).
Scrabble® enthusiasts around the globe had waited breathlessly for the word on The Word … but were sadly disappointed that the chosen word – “Web 2.0” – contained a numeral. (It is their hope that “WebTwoPointO” will soon be accepted by the Scrabble dictionary.)
Others might quibble, nit-pick or carp about the choice of “Web 2.0” because it combines an existing word and a number. I, for one, am just glad it beat out “Jai Ho!,” “cloud computing” and “carbon neutral,” each of which, to the untrained eye, appears to be a grouping of existing words joined to convey a single thought, sometimes known as a “phrase.”
But since word No. 1,000,001 was subsequently announced as “financial tsunami,” I can only assume that it is now accepted linguistic practice to consider two words as one. Good thing nobody mentioned to the linguists that the financial tsunami was carbon neutral.