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Paul J. Payack
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In 2007, the English language passed the million-word mark. That shouldn't come as a surprise since over a billion Earthlings speak English (no one knows about other planets, but they probably speak it, too). That makes for a lot of word-coiners (neologists) out there. And where are all these new words coming from? Hollywood? Technology? The Internet? Corporate boardrooms? Youthspeak? How do world events--from tsunamis and hurricanes to political doublespeak and presidential linguistic bumbling--influence the words we use on a daily basis? What do e-mails, text messages, and emoticons contribute to the language?
Let WordMan Paul J.J. Payack take you on a global tour of English-speaking worlds--virtual and otherwise:
Get ready for a whirlwind tour of our increasingly global culture and how it becomes that way.
Podcast, Chinglish, truthiness, crunk. Just a year or two ago, these words were gibberish to most English speakers. Today they pop up in everyday conversation worldwide, just four of the ten thousand new words added to the English language every year. Spurred by the universality of the Internet--where it is the de facto lingua franca--and the global reach of its media, English is growing at a rate unprecedented in its 1500-year history. Indeed, in the spring of 2007, the English word count surpassed a million--over ten times the number available in French.
At the crest of this linguistic tsunami surfs Paul J.J. Payack, aka the WordMan. As president of the Global Language Monitor, he has tracked the latest developments--the fascinating hybrids, the bizarre etymologies, the lasting malapropisms--in the language shared by two billion of the Earth's citizens. Aided by a worldwide network of similarly obsessed "language mavens" and armed with his own powerful word-counting algorithm, Payack ensures that no new English word falls from the tongue or marks the page without being counted toward the Million Word March.
A Million Words and Counting is a celebration of the vast variety and ever-evolving expressiveness of humanity's most universal language. Fun and informative, this guide is a joyful exploration of English as it spreads across the globe, as it is spoken today, and as it expands into the future. Each entertaining chapter of this ambitious linguistic survey examines another source of new English, including Hollywood, youth culture, other languages, corporate boardrooms, and tongue-tied presidents. An engaging compendium of English-language facts and factoids, this is a trivia lover's goldmine and a logophile's playground.
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