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And the millionth word in the English language is ...

  • O'Reilly Media co-founder Dale Dougherty, shown here in 2007, coined the term "Web 2.0" to describe the next generation of Web services. (JEFF KAN LEE/The Press Democrat)

There are now 1 million words in the English language and the millionth word was created in Sonoma County.

Web 2.0, a term coined by Sebastopol resident Dale Dougherty in 2004 to describe the next generation of Web services, became the one-millionth word in the English language on Wednesday, according to a company that documents and analyzes languages.

It beat out 14 other finalists to earn the designation from Global Language Monitor. The Austin, Texas-based company factored in depth and breadth of usage and the number of appearances the word made on the Internet and in print, electronic and social media.

The 999,999th and 999,997th words are two Indian terms, Jai Ho! and slumdog, both made popular by the Academy Award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.

Jai ho is a Hindi victory phrase and slumdog refers to a person living in the slums of India.

Some of the other finalists included: defriend, cloud computing, carbon neutral, octomom and sexting, the act of sending sexual content through text messages.

Some linguists denounced the list as pure publicity and unscientific, according to a report by Reuters news service. Critics said it was impossible to count English words in use or to agree on how many times a word must be used before it is officially accepted.

I think its pure fraud ... Its not bad science. Its nonsense, Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguistics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, told reporters.

Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor, said his method was technically sound.

If you want to count the stars in the sky, you have to define what a star is first and then count. Our criteria is quite plain and if you follow those criteria you can count words. Most academics say what we are doing is very valuable, Payack told Reuters.

The English language currently generates about one word every 98 minutes. Four hundred years ago, in the day of the great bard William Shakespeare, there were fewer than 100,000 words in the English language, according to Global Language Monitor.

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