- American Dialect Society
The American Dialect Society, founded in 1889, is a
learned society"dedicated to the study of the English languagein North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other languages, influencing it or influenced by it."Flexner, Stuart B. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9807E5D8163BF936A25751C1A963948260&scp=2&sq=%22American+Dialect+Society%22+1889&st=nyt "ONE LANGUAGE, HIGHLY DIVISIBLE""] , " The New York Times", December 15, 1985. Accessed February 19, 2008. "THE DARE project began in 1889, when a group of American philologists founded the American Dialect Society to sponsor and gather material for an American dialect dictionary."] The Society publishes the academic journal, " American Speech". Since its foundation, dialectologists in English-speaking North America have affiliated themselves with the American Dialect Society, an association which in its first constitution defined its objective as "the investigation of the spoken English of the United States and Canada" (Constitution, 1890). Over the years its objective remained essentially the same, only expanded to encompass "the English language in North America, together with other languages or dialects of other languages influencing it or influenced by it" (Fundamentals, 1991).Sylvain Auroux, [http://books.google.com/books?id=oJDtIToTmcAC&pg=PA2366&lpg=PA2366&dq=%22american+dialect+society%22&source=web&ots=5eDm-_bHly&sig=25v5L9bqz-MgHb7noj_ZpH2-eJg History of the Language Sciences] , Page 2366, Walter de Gruyter, 2006, ISBN 3110167360]
The organization was founded as part of a near century-long effort to create the "
Dictionary of American Regional English". In 1889, when Joseph Wright began editing the "English Dialect Dictionary", a group of American philologists founded the American Dialect Society with the ultimate purpose of producing a similar work for the United States. Members of the Society began to collect material, much of which was published in the Society's journal "Dialect Notes", but little was done toward compiling a dictionary recording nationwide usage until Frederic G. Cassidy was appointed Chief Editor in 1963. [Hall, Joan Houston. "The Dictionary of American Regional English." "Language in the USA: Perspectives for the 21st Century". Eds. Edward Finegan, John Rickford. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. p. 94-95.] The first volume of the "Dictionary of American Regional English", covering the letters A-C, was published in 1985. The other major project of the Society is the Linguistic Atlas of the United States and Canada.
The Society has never had more than a few hundred active members. With so few scholars advancing the enterprise, the developments in the field came slowly. Members of the organization include "linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, authors, editors, professors, university students, and independent scholars." [http://www.americandialect.org/index.php/amerdial/subprime_voted_2007_word_of_the_year/ “Subprime” voted 2007 word of the year] , American Dialect Society,
January 4, 2008. Accessed February 19, 2008.]
Its activities include a mailing list, [ [http://www.americandialect.org/index.php/amerdial/ads_l_the_american_dialect_society_email_discussion_list/ description of the ADS-L mailing list] ] which deals chiefly with American English but also carries some discussion of other issues of linguistic interest. [E.g., [http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0301E&L=ADS-L&P=R605&I=-3 this letter] from 2003, in which a longtime member assures another that discussion of Canadian English is welcome despite the organization's name and official self-description: "But as others have pointed out, we're the American [Dialect Society] not the [American Dialect] Society. So in principle even non-NAFTA dialects are fair game as well."]
Word of the Year
Since 1991, the American Dialect Society has designated one or more words or terms to be the "
word of the year". " The New York Times" credits the American Dialect Society with starting the phenomenon. 2007 was the 18th time ADS members have voted to choose it, though the society says its vote is for fun only and that they do not act in any official capacity of introducing words into the English language. Words recognized include:
*1990: "bushlips" (similar to "
bullshit" – stemming from President George H. W. Bush's 1988 "" broken promise)
mother of all" (as in Saddam Hussein's foretold " Mother of all battles")
Not!" (meaning "just kidding")
cyber", "morph" (to change form)
*1995: "Web" and "(to) newt" (to act aggressively as a newcomer). [Ritter, Jim. [http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=CSTB&p_theme=cstb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB4227D06587E92&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM "1995's Word Of the Year: Either `Web' - Or `Newt'"] , "
Chicago Sun-Times", December 31, 1995. Accessed February 21, 2008. " The American Dialect Society selected the 1995 word or phrase of the year Friday night, and it was a tie between Worldwide Web and a bunch of words referring to House Speaker Newt Gingrich - Newt Age, Newt Dealer, Newt World Order, Newtopia, Newtron bomb, Newtspeak, Newtworking, femiNewtie and King Newt."] [ [http://www.americandialect.org/index.php/amerdial/1995_words_of_the_year/ 1995 Words of the Year] , American Dialect Society, January 13, 1996. Accessed February 21, 2008.]
*1996: "mom" (as in "
soccer mom"). [via Associated press. [http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=PI&s_site=philly&p_multi=PI&p_theme=realcities&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB32E29ECBB2945&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM "LINGUISTS PICK `SOCCER MOM' AS 1996'S WORD"] , " The Philadelphia Inquirer", January 5, 1997. Accessed February 21, 2008. "Soccer mom was voted Word of the Year for 1996 by the American Dialect Society."] [ [http://www.americandialect.org/index.php/amerdial/1996_words_of_the_ye/ 1996 Words of the Year] , American Dialect Society, January 13, 1997. Accessed February 21, 2008.]
*1997: "millennium bug". [Smith, Sheron. [http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=MT&s_site=macon&p_multi=MT&p_theme=realcities&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB76DBE260565EF&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM "WORD! `MILLENNIUM BUG' IS PICKED AS TOP PHRASE OF 1997"] , "
The Macon Telegraph", January 10, 1998. Accessed February 21, 2008. "The word of the year for 1997 is ... ``Millennium bug." That's right. The word, actually a phrase, describing the feared inability of computers to properly recognize the year 2000, came out on top Friday in the eighth annual ``Word of the Year" balloting in New York City."] [ [http://www.americandialect.org/index.php/amerdial/1997_words_of_the_year/ 1997 Words of the Year] , American Dialect Society, January 13, 1998. Accessed February 21, 2008.]
*1998: "e-" (as in "
The Red and Black", January 21, 1999. Accessed February 21, 2008. "The two, along with linguists from all over the country, voted for the word of the year at the American Dialect Society's annual meeting in Los Angeles last week. And what word did the society pick? 'E,' Burkette said. 'Electronic, as in e-mail, e-text, e-commerce. It actually won in a couple of categories, including most useful and most likely to be used later.'"] [ [http://www.americandialect.org/index.php/amerdial/1998_words_of_the_year/ 1998 Words of the Year] , American Dialect Society, January 13, 1999. Accessed February 21, 2008.]
*1999: "Y2K". [Freeman, Jan. [http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=BG&p_theme=bg&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EADDE5CC4775AB3&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM "STEAL THIS COINAGE"] , "
The Boston Globe", June 18, 2000. Accessed February 21, 2008. "The American Dialect Society named Y2K its word of the year for 1999, dot-com most likely to succeed, and cybersquat most original, while web, as in World Wide, was the word of the decade."] [ [http://www.americandialect.org/index.php/amerdial/1999_words_of_the_year_word_of_the_1990s_word_of_the_20th_century_word_of_t/ "1999 Words of the Year, Word of the 1990s, Word of the 20th Century, Word of the Millennium"] , American Dialect Society, January 13, 2000. Accessed February 21, 2008.]
*2000: "chad" (from the
2000 Presidential Electioncontroversy in Florida). [Kershner, Vlae. [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2002/12/11/word.DTL "Help us choose the 'Word of the Year' "] , " San Francisco Chronicle", December 11, 2002. Accessed February 19, 2008. "In 2000, the word of the year (as chosen by the American Dialect Society) was "chad," a reminder of that year's bizarre presidential election."] [ [http://www.americandialect.org/index.php/amerdial/2000_words_of_the_ye/ 2000 Words of the Year] , American Dialect Society, January 13, 2001. Accessed February 19, 2008.]
*2001: "9-11". [Scott, Janny. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9405E7DA1E3EF937A15751C0A9649C8B63&scp=1&sq=%22American+Dialect+Society%22+9%2F11&st=nyt "A NATION CHALLENGED: LANGUAGE; Words of 9/11 Go From Coffee Shops To the Dictionaries"] , "
The New York Times", February 24, 2002. Accessed February 19, 2008. "When the American Dialect Society, a group of scholars who study American English, recently held its annual voting on the top new, or newly reconditioned, words of the previous year, 9/11 was voted the expression most likely to last."] [ [http://www.americandialect.org/index.php/amerdial/2001_words_of_the_y/ 2001 Words of the Year] , American Dialect Society, January 13, 2002. Accessed February 19, 2008.]
weapons of mass destruction" (WMDs). [ [http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-01-06-word-of-year_x.htm "'W.M.D.' voted word of year"] , " USA Today", January 6, 2003. Accessed February 19, 2008. "A long-winded phrase whose meaning reflects a nation's worry about war with Iraq has been voted 2002's word of the year. The American Dialect Society selected "weapons of mass destruction" as its annual choice at a meeting in Atlanta."] [ [http://www.americandialect.org/index.php/amerdial/2002_words_of_the_y/ 2002 Words of the Year] , American Dialect Society, January 13, 2003. Accessed February 19, 2008.]
metrosexual". [Newman, Andrew Adam. [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/10/business/10metro.html?scp=1&sq=%22American+Dialect+Society%22+metrosexual&st=nyt "In Time of Studied Ambiguity, a Label for the Manly Man"] , " The New York Times", October 10, 2005. Accessed February 19, 2008. "The word of the year for 2003 for both the American Dialect Society and Merriam-Webster: metrosexual."] [ [http://www.americandialect.org/index.php/amerdial/2003_words_of_the_yea 2003 Words of the Year] , American dialect Society, January 13, 2004. Accessed February 19, 2008.]
red state", " blue state", " purple state" (from the 2004 presidential election). [via Associated Press. [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002147143_webwords10.html "Linguists' phrase of the year: "Red state, blue state, purple state""] , " The Seattle Times", January 10, 2005. Accessed February 19, 2008. "A panel of linguists has deemed "red state, blue state, purple state" the phrase that most colored the nation's lexicon in 2004. Attendees at the annual convention of the Linguistic Society of America on Friday chose the word or phrase that dominated national discourse over the course of the last year."] [ [http://www.americandialect.org/2004_Words_of_the_Year_Final_Vote_.pdf 2004 Word of the Year] , American Dialect Society, January 7, 2005. Accessed February 19, 2008.]
truthiness", popularized on " The Colbert Report". [Nash, Margo. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A06E4DF1130F93AA35757C0A9609C8B63&scp=2&sq=%22American+Dialect+Society%22+truthiness&st=nyt "Jersey Footlights"] , " The New York Times", April 9, 2006. Accessed February 19, 2008. "(And he's not bad at launching unusual words like "truthiness." In an interview last year, Mr. Colbert said, "Truthiness is sort of what you want to be true, as opposed to what the facts support." Earlier this year, the American Dialect Society cited Mr. Colbert for popularizing truthiness, the society's 2005 word of the year)."] [ [http://www.americandialect.org/index.php/amerdial/truthiness_voted_2005_word_of_the_year/ Truthiness Voted 2005 Word of the Year] , American Dialect Society, January 6, 2006. Accessed February 8, 2008.]
plutoed" (demoted or devalued, as happened to the former planet Pluto).Newman, Andrew Adam. [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/10/business/media/10oxford.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=%22American+Dialect+Society%22+plutoed&st=nyt&oref=slogin "How Dictionaries Define Publicity: the Word of the Year"] , " The New York Times", December 10, 2007. Accessed February 19, 2008. "The word-of-the-year ritual probably started with the American Dialect Society, a scholarly association whose Web site lists yearly picks as far back as 1990. This year the society will vote in January; its 2006 selection was “plutoed,” which means “to demote or devalue someone or something, as happened to the former planet Pluto.”"] [ [http://www.americandialect.org/index.php/amerdial/plutoed_voted_2006_word_of_the_year/ “Plutoed” Voted 2006 Word of the Year] , American Dialect Society, January 5, 2007. Accessed February 19, 2008.]
subprime" (an adjective used to describe a risky or less than ideal loan, mortgage, or investment). [Mullen, Jim. [http://searchchicago.suntimes.com/homes/news/755203,subprime23.article "LOL - Subprime is delighted to be word of the year"] , " Chicago Sun-Times", January 23, 2008. Accessed February 19, 2008.]
* [http://www.americandialect.org/ American Dialect Society home page]
* [http://www.americandialect.org/index.php/amerdial/categories/C178/ American Dialect Society: Words of the Year]
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