'WikiLeaks' storms in English lexicon | world | Hindustan Times
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'WikiLeaks' storms in English lexicon

world Updated: Dec 28, 2010 12:59 IST

'WikiLeaks' has stormed its way into the English lexicon after meeting every 'depth and breadth' of recorded usage of the language.

According to Global language Monitor (GLM), the word appeared sporadically in the global media in 2006 until it has now been cited more than 300 million times, even with a quick Google search.

GLM recognises a word as being part of the English language once it meets the requisite criteria of geographic reach as well as "depth and breadth" of recorded usage.

GLM standards include a minimum of 25,000 citations of a new term in the global media that encompass the English-speaking world, which now encompasses some 1.58 billion people.

"'WikiLeaks' joins a number of new media and high technology companies whose names and functions are being incorporated into the language," said Paul J J Payack, GLM's chief word analyst.

"These include Google, Twitter and the 'friending' function of Facebook. The most recent language spin-off from Google appears to be Xoogler, referring to ex-Google employees who bring their talents to other start-ups."

The word 'wiki' is Hawaiian in origin and is usually defined as 'quick' or 'fast' especially when used in rapid succession: "wiki, wiki, wiki!"

In computing, a wiki describes software that lets any user create or edit web-server content. The WikiLeaks organisation was originally set up as a 'wiki'.

The GLM says there is no official English institution charged with maintaining the 'purity' of the language and to maintain vigilance of the 'corrupting influence' of other languages.

"English accepts any and all contenders as long as they meet the requisite criteria of geographic reach as well as depth and breadth of usage."

The most recent words acknowledged by GLM include 'refudiate' - a malapropism coined by Sarah Palin, 'vuvuzela' - the brightly-coloured plastic horns made famous at the World Cup in South Africa, and 'snowmageddon' that President Barack Obama used to described the winter storms that nearly shut down Washington, DC during the recent winter.