Nucular VictoryIn my Nov. 1 column I facetiously suggested that we give up and just accept the word nucular because we can't seem to get many of our public figures to pronounce nuclear correctly.
To my surprise, in The New York Times Magazine Sunday, Nov. 5, there was an article by James Gleick about the rapid changes in our language and the efforts of the Oxford English Dictionary to keep up by changing online. Included in it was the following:
"No one is particularly proud of the new entry as of December 1993 for nucular, a word not associated with high standards of diction. 'Bizarrely, I was amazed to find that the spelling nucular has decades of history,' one of the editors said."
The online entry from the O.E.D. contains examples dating from 1958 through 2003.
My opinion, for what it is worth, is that in this case the O.E.D. is giving up too easily.
To Tell the Truth?It's that time: Word experts are choosing the words of the year. The Oxford English Dictionary already has pronounced its winner: carbon neutral, which "involves calculating your total climate-damaging carbon emissions (your carbon footprint), reducing them where possible, and then balancing your remaining emissions, often by purchasing a carbon offset paying to plant new trees or investing in 'green' technologies such as solar and wind power."
Last year, the American Dialect Society chose the word truthiness to be its word of the year, and according to The Washington Post, in August 2006 it was chosen by Global Language Monitor, another language group, as one of the two top TV buzzwords of this year.
Wikipedia describes truthiness as referring to "the quality of stating concepts or facts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true."
My vote goes to truthiness. I'm afraid we heard a lot of truthiness in this recent election, and let's hope we don't have to use it again this year. S