сряда, 24 ноември 2010 г.
'Big society' chosen as Oxford University's Word of 2010
Coined (or at any rate hammered almost to death) by the prime minister, David Cameron, and other coalition politicians, it has been chosen by Oxford academics as the Word of 2010.
The award for the word of the year, which has been relaxed in the last decade to include short phrases, was given last night after a sharp final tussle with vuvuzela and Boris bike.
Lexicographers at Oxford University Press rejected another 11 shortlisted terms which vied to "express in shorthand" the dominant tone and issues of the last 12 months.
"The concept of big society was a clear winner because it embraces so much of the year's political and economic mood," Susie Dent, of Oxford Dictionaries, said. "It has also begun to take on a life of its own, and that's a sure sign of linguistic success."
He suggested, in a speech delivered in Liverpool, that it meant "the biggest, most dramatic redistribution of power to date from elites in Whitehall to the man and woman on the street".
The phrase has since acquired an increasing mystique as analysts try to work out exactly what this means. Dent said: "People take it in different ways, and that is another advantage for a would-be Word of the Year."
The term takes over from a quartet which shared the title last year, when the dictionary's staff reached a stalemate in the final judging.
Tweetup, simples, staycation and jegging flew their flags for Twitter, TV advertising, British holidays and women's leggings, but none emerged as a clear winner.
Earlier words of the year have included bovvered, credit crunch and footprint, which was also runner-up in 2007's Word of the Century So Far.
That title went to 9/11 in both Britain and the US. This year's American winner is refudiate, the mash of refute and repudiate invented by Sarah Palin.
Dent said entrants did not have to be new coinings – although they often have been – and victory did not often mean that the word or phrase would be around in the long term, or eventually get a place in the Oxford English Dictionary.
"The winner and all the words on our shortlist give a telling snapshot of the year's preoccupations," she said.
"They also demonstrate the most successful processes behind language change – wordplay, blending, and the adoption of foreign terms are all there."