Anne Curzan talk about the yearly vote by the American Dialect Society

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In a previous module, you heard Anne Curzan talk about the yearly vote by the American Dialect Society for their ‘Word of the Year’ competition. Every year at the annual meetin” rel=”nofollow”>ing of the Lin” rel=”nofollow”>inguistic
Society of America, hundreds of lin” rel=”nofollow”>inguists get together and vote on the word of the year.

In 2012, the win” rel=”nofollow”>inner was ‘Hashtag’ (press release).

In 2014, the win” rel=”nofollow”>inner was #BlackLivesMatter. Lin” rel=”nofollow”>inguist Ben Zimmer noted in” rel=”nofollow”>in the press release that, “While #blacklivesmatter may not fit the traditional defin” rel=”nofollow”>inition of a word, it demonstrates how
powerfully a hashtag can convey a succin” rel=”nofollow”>inct social message.”

In 2016, the win” rel=”nofollow”>inner was ‘dumpster fire’ and the voters in” rel=”nofollow”>in particular noted the emoji combin” rel=”nofollow”>ination of ?? to denote the word. The full press release from ADS is available here. ADS defin” rel=”nofollow”>ined ‘dumpster
fire’ as “an exceedin” rel=”nofollow”>ingly disastrous or chaotic situation.”

In 2015, the Oxford Dictionary also chose the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji (?) as their word of the year.

In recent year’s these votes seemed to have been driftin” rel=”nofollow”>ing towards nomin” rel=”nofollow”>inatin” rel=”nofollow”>ing/choosin” rel=”nofollow”>ing words of the year that look potentially less like the types of ‘words’ that we’ve been talkin” rel=”nofollow”>ing about here.
Based on some of the commentary provided in” rel=”nofollow”>in these press released / lin” rel=”nofollow”>inks from ADS and Oxford, I’d like you to thin” rel=”nofollow”>ink more about what constitutes a word, or when somethin” rel=”nofollow”>ing becomes a word. Do you
thin” rel=”nofollow”>ink that hashtags can ultimately become words? What about emojis? What kin” rel=”nofollow”>inds of justifications did ADS and Oxford provide for their choices of the above ‘words of the year’? Does this challenge
how we’ve been conceivin” rel=”nofollow”>ing words? Why or why not?

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