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.<WC>
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 it?s pure fraud ... It?s not bad science. It?s 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.
Dougherty, co-founder of Sebastopol tech trend-setter O?Reilly Media, devised the phrase Web 2.0 to describe the explosion of mass interactivity online.
?I simply came up with a name to designate that there was a new beginning ? new energy, new ideas, new approaches to problems ? after the dot-com bust,? Dougherty told The Press Democrat in 2007. ?For me, Web 2.0 was a re-affirmation that the most amazing and innovative technology at hand was the Web, once again.?
O?Reilly Media helped turn Web 2.0 into a pop culture concept. Its Web 2.0 conferences drew thousands of people looking for insights into the next big trend on the Internet.
In April, O?Reilly Media chief executive Tim O?Reilly signaled he might soon be ready to retire the buzz phrase. He offered a tag for the next iteration of the Web, one where social networking technologies interact with GPS sensors and other location-based devices that enable people to interact around the world.
?We?re calling it Web squared,? O?Reilly said. ?Web 2.0 + world = Web squared.?
Press Democrat staff and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this story.
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