Thursday, February 21, 2008

I've got a word for him

I've heard a lot lately about mistaken spellings and pronunciations of Barack Obama's name. As if a slip of the tongue is disrespectful. It happens. I've already heard him mistakenly called Oback Barama several times. And just last week Jay Leno slipped and called him Osama. I trust it was a mistake. It has nothing to do with attitude.

Now over at the Global Language Monitor Obama is being counted as a new root word in English and its various derivations are adding up: Obamamentum, Obamacize, Obamarama, ObamaNation, Obamanomics, Obamican, Obamafy, Obamamania, Obamacam

Why is the word count important? Because Paul JJ Payack, "GLM’s president and chief word analyst" has been peddling his million word landmark for several years now and his latest promise is that we are only 4,882 away in the English language. There's a clock on the page keeping track of seconds.

Back to the mispronunciation topic: whole word metathesis was never mentioned. Over on the Global Language Monitor page

A lot of papers and stations are taking this Payack fellow seriously. He's worth ignoring. A simple mistake like switching the names is nothing. The mistake is believing that anyone could pin down and count the words in the English language. And the shame is in claiming to be the one doing it. I'll make up a word: lexicanery. That's trying to make money by making false but seductive claims about language.

It didn't drop to 4,881 did it?



  1. lexicanery. I love it. But do they have to be trying to make money to be practicing it?

  2. Hmm. I suppose not.

    How about any such ploy to gain money or attention?


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