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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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「今年の流行語」30年を振り返る

 
オックスフォード辞典がselfieを今年の流行語に選んだ事は日本でも広く報道されました。Selfieについてはこのブログでも『最高の自分撮り写真とは?』という英国インデペンデントの記事を紹介させていただきました。

今年の単語は自分撮りの「selfie」 オックスフォード辞典
2013.11.20 Wed posted at 11:40 JST

selfieについてはなるほどと共感できるものですが、果たして10年前、20年前に選ばれた流行語はどうでしょうか。どれだけ定着しているのでしょうか?1990年代からの今年の流行語を振り返る興味深い記事がありました。

Words of the Year: Where are they now?
Why some endure, and others become embarrassing
By Britt Peterson | GLOBE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 08, 2013

IF YOU’RE A LINGUIST, lexicographer, or just a person who likes to argue about language, the winter months bring a special treat. From November until January, a growing number of dictionaries, learned societies, and university groups release their picks for Word of the Year. Oxford Dictionaries kicked it off last month with “selfie.” Merriam-Webster just announced last week that “science” had seen the greatest increase in lookups this year. And in January, the American Dialect Society meets to debate winners in several categories, including “most useful” and “most likely to succeed.”

過去の恥ずかしいものの例はA failed one is more like an embarrassing Christmas photo with perm and reindeer sweater.はなぜか共感できますね(苦笑)

But Word of the Year is more than a linguistic parlor game: It’s a snapshot of a year in the culture. And this is the perfect time of year to reflect on how good those snapshots turned out to be. A successful WOTY looks great in hindsight—the beginning of something big, or at least a resonant moment in our shared history. A failed one is more like an embarrassing Christmas photo with perm and reindeer sweater.

恥ずかしい筆頭候補が1990年代のBushlipsだそうです。英語学習者的にもbushlipsはどうでもいいですが、ブッシュ大統領が選挙で“Read my lips: no new taxes!”と言っておきながら増税したというエピソードは覚えておいた方がいいかもしれません。

When you ask members of the ADS, which has been choosing WOTYs the longest, which words of the year they regret, they all mention “Bushlips,” the society’s first WOTY. “Bushlips” spoke to a particular historical moment: President George H.W. Bush’s broken “Read my lips: no new taxes!” promise. But even back in 1990, it wasn’t clear people were actually using the term. “Even a couple years after, everybody was rolling their eyes going, uh, why did we choose that,” says Grant Barrett, a scholar of slang and ADS vice president. Another “classic” early failure, according to Barrett, was the 1995 WOTY choice “to newt,” a verb meaning “to make aggressive changes as a newcomer”—perhaps too obvious a successor to 1994’s “Most Useful” choice, “to gingrich” (“to deal with government agencies, policies, and people in the manner of...Newt Gingrich”).


新しい単語が定着する条件のようなものが以下のようなものだそうです。

Allan Metcalf, an English professor at MacMurray College, started the WOTY voting at the ADS and is the author of “Predicting New Words: The Secrets of Their Success.” He calls his criteria for new-word stickiness the “FUDGE factors”: frequency of use; unobtrusiveness (is it normal-sounding enough to become a comfortable part of speech?); diversity of users (i.e., can you say it at the dinner table and be understood?); generation of new forms (is it grammatically versatile?); and endurance of a concept (does it describe something that will continue to exist?).

じゃあ今年のselfieはどうなのという説明は記事の最後にありました。こちらはスマホが健在の限り定着しそうです。

So what are the prospects for “selfie”? (We’re pretty sure “science” isn’t going away.) Critics wasted no time in proclaiming Oxford’s word of the year a silly fad; as Daniel Menaker wrote in The New York Times, “selfie” “seems like an embarrassing word to me, on the baby-talk side of talk, and destined for the etymological trash basket that is already brimming with ‘jeggings,’ ‘man cave,’ ‘chillax,’ ‘locovore,’ etc.”

But “selfie” actually has a lot going for it. On Google Trends, while “twerk” appears to have peaked, “selfie” is gathering steam. Where Menaker finds it embarrassing, Metcalf sees it as both unobtrusive and “cute,” he said. The list of variants is endless—“unselfie,” “helfie” (self-portrait with hair), “shelfie” (with bookshelves). Whatever anyone says about “selfie” as an emblem of our narcissistic society, the self-portrait has been around for centuries. So whether or not 2013 was the year of “selfie,” “selfie” could well be with us long after 2013 ends.
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