Thursday, June 11, 2009

The First Word; The Millionth Word

The first word? Sorry; we just don’t know. I claim it was “huh,” grunted around a campfire one prehistoric evening. It meant: “More meat.” It also meant: “Tastes nice; you good cook.” Or, quite possibly, it might also have been something like, “When kids in bed, we make whoopee in back of cave.”

Maybe the Geico Cavemen might have it in their oral history. They invented language, so they might know what that elusive first word was. Those ancestors of theirs certainly didn’t sit around the fire, sipping chardonnay and discussing the finer points of philosophy.

Tom Utley, writing from London, laments: “We wait 1,500 years to welcome the millionth word into the English language, with the champagne on ice and the fatted calf slain and oven-ready for the newcomer's arrival. Then at long last it appears, and it turns out to be an outrageous impostor: 'Web 2.0'.

“On Wednesday, a Texas-based internet company solemnly announced that at precisely 10.22 GMT that morning, this wretched expression joined the language to bring the number of English words in common usage into seven figures.”

The self-proclaimed Global Language Monitor sweeps the Web and decides when a word is worthy, in its opinion, to be added. Their stats tell us English grows at the rate of one new word every 98 minutes.


Anonymous ruthc said...

If the first word was "huh", it probably meant "Get me a beer".

June 16, 2009 10:45 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home