Early nominations received for the 2009 word of the year vote

Early nominations for the American Dialect Society’s 2009 word of the year vote are now available from society members who specialize in following language trends.

All nominations will be considered for the American Dialect Society’s 20th annual word-of-the-year (WOTY) vote, the longest-running vote of its kind in the Anglophone world and the WOTY event up to which all others lead. It will be held in Baltimore, Maryland, on Friday, January 8, 2010, and is open at no cost to members of the press and public. Detailed information on where and when the final vote will be held is here.

Nominations from Grant Barrett, chair of the American Dialect Society’s New Words Committee editor of the “Among the New Words” column of the society’s journal American Speech.

Nominations from Wayne Glowka, Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Georgia.

Nominations from Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus, and member of the Executive Council of the American Dialect Society.

Nominations from David Barnhart of Lexik House, editor of the Barnhart Dictionary Companion.

Nominations from Nancy Friedman, a name developer at Wordworking in Oakland, California. She keeps the blog Fritinancy.

Media contact information for each nominator is included in the files above.

Nominations from the public can still be sent to this address.

The best “word of the year” candidates will be:

—new or newly popular in 2009
—widely or prominently used in 2009
—indicative or reflective of the national discourse

Multi-word compounds or phrases that act as single lexical items are welcomed, as well.

Sub-categories for “word of the year” include most useful, most creative, most unnecessary, most outrageous, most euphemistic, most likely to succeed, and least likely to succeed.

The vote is informed by the members’ expertise in the study of words, but it is far from a solemn occasion. Members in the 119-year-old academic organization include linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, authors, editors, professors, university students, and independent scholars. In conducting the vote, they act in fun and do not pretend to be officially inducting words into the English language. Instead, they are highlighting that language change is normal, ongoing, and entertaining.

Previous winners can be found here.

The American Dialect Society is open to all persons worldwide who have an interest in language. Membership includes four annual issues of the society’s academic journal, one complete scholarly work per year from the Publication of the American Dialect Society series, and subscription to its email newsletter. There is a discounted membership rate for students at any academic level, who are especially encouraged to join.