The Plague: The Imminent Danger (and increasing threat) of the “Super Spreader” Phenomenon

Commentary by Paul JJ Payack

    Paul JJ Payack

There is a very real and imminent threat of the emergence of “Super Spreaders” from the coronavirus pandemic.  This threat appears to be largely overlooked in an analysis of the news media recently completed by Austin-based Global Language Monitor, the data research company.

This risk of the emergence of ‘super spreaders’ has been significantly heightened  by three factors:  the gradual re-opening of the American economy, people flocking to summertime activities after Memorial Day, and the mass protests that have arisen since the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25th, 2020.  

Official statistics concerning the number of protesters have not been officially tallied, but it is reasonable to assume that there have been more than 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 participating in the US-based protests with another 500,000 in the rest of the world. The period of the protests continues lasted about two weeks ending with the march on Washington, on June 6, 2020.  Many participated on multiple days, multiplying chances of exposure.  

There has been significant research in the clustering and superspreader phenomena particularly since the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

On-going research, such as “Clustering and superspreading potential of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in Hong Kong” are currently in the process of peer review,  This and other similar studies are being posted online before the completion of the peer review process because of the severity of the on-going crisis.

The study suggests that most new cases of Covid-19 are propagated by ‘superspreaders’ and not by direct contact or one-on-one transmission.   Researchers assessed more than 1,000 infections in Hong Kong between January 23 and April 28.   The authors used intense contact tracing to determine the manner in which persons were infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.   Other researchers have found that some 20% of Covid-19 carriers are responsible for about 80% of disease transmissions

Scientists tracking the new coronavirus’ spread have generally focused on two numbers:  reproduction number (Rο) pronounced ‘R-nought), which represents the average number of new infections caused by a single infected person. The second is called the dispersion factor (k), a number indicating the likelihood that a particular disease will spread in clusters.

Without any social distancing, the new coronavirus’ R-number, according to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), is around 2.6 - 3.5 

This is where the K factor, measuring dispersion, comes into play. As opposed to the R number, the lower the lower the K number, the more likely it is the virus is propagated by small group of people.

Recent evidence concerning super spreading events abounds:  a meeting of pharmaceutical executives in Boston;  a house party in Westport, Connecticut; and a choir practice in Washington State, among many others.  Each of these smaller events resulted in the transmission of the virus to scores or hundreds of individuals.

Perhaps the most well-known of the current crop of superspreaders is the unnamed bartender at an Austrian Ski Resort.  Contact tracing found some 1300 infections in a number of countries traced to this particular transmitter.  Infections were traced to Iceland, Norway, Austria, and Germany.

Also of note is the finding that the key method of transmission appears to be exercising one’s lungs:  talking, singing, shouting, and speech-giving.  This makes any large gathering problematic in the extreme; whether cheering at a Trump rally, singing on a beach or shouting at a protest.

There is some concern that the fact of the potential exponential progression of the transmission of Covid-19. is not being widely discussed in the media, as shown below.  

The first graphic shows that as the Coronavirus Rapidly Spread in January, the pandemic that would ultimately take the lives of some 100,000 Americans by Labor Day, was treated as an after thought, the News Media was Focused on the Impeachment of President  Trump by a 10:1 Margin (Source: Google Trends).  

The second graphic shows that after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police on May 25, the news media, overlooked the potential  for the exponential growth of the virus led by the superspreader phenomenon.  The ratio was 2:1 protests vs. Covid-19 stories, with virtually no mention of the inherent danger of the superspreader phenomenon.

 

According to Preliminary Estimation of the Basic Reproduction Number of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China, “The mean estimate of R0 for the 2019-nCoV ranges from 2.24 to 3.58, and is significantly larger than 1” 

This is especially troubling since a recent article in the New York Times,  an epidemiologist  opined  about the number of infections that could be attributed to the recent protests are based on his assumption that  “Over several weeks, as each infected person infected just under one other person on average — the current U.S. transmission rate — those infections would in turn lead to 15,000 to 50,000 more, and 50 to 500 eventual deaths”.   The article does not mention the possibility of the Superspreader Phenomenon.

If the effective R nought rate is indeed closer to that found in the HKUST study and if superspreaders lurk in the midst of these crowds,  both of which seem likely, than the number of infections would increase by a factor of ten, or more.

The New York Times article concluded that “Societal benefit of continued protests must be weighed against substantial potential impacts to health.”  According to the CDC,  some 60% of those deaths would be suffered by persons of color.

In another study, Clustering and superspreading potential of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in Hong Kong,  Benjamin  Cowling of Princeton University, one of the study coauthors, told Business Insider, “Superspreading events are happening more than we expected, more than what could be explained by chance. The frequency of superspreading is beyond what we could have imagined”.

Study the figure below: Transmission network associated with a single wedding exposure subsequently linked to a preceding social gathering and local source exposure.  Again, the graphic was based on contact tracing in Hong Kong.

From:  Clustering and superspreading potential of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in Hong Kong

Now consider the timely and very real example  of  the infamous Philadelphia Parade at the height of the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918.

 

A huge parade was scheduled in the summer of 1918, the height of the Spanish Flu epidemic, to take place in the heart of Philadelphia.  It purpose was to raise money to support the ‘dough boys’ that had recently been shipped off to Europe to end the stalemate of the horrific ‘trench warfare’.  

Some 200,000 people thronged Broad Street on parade day, along a two-mile route; they cheered as the procession passed along the route.  The unintended result:  within a few days, every hospital bed in he city was occupied.  Within a week, nearly 3,000 died.  Ultimately some 20,000 would die.

The parade was for worthy cause:  The ending of the Great War.  World War I ended with a death toll of some 20,000,000.

Was participating in this colossal event, showing one’s commitment to the cause, to help change the course of world events worth the risk?  Most, at the time,  would have answered yes.

 

For Other Articles on Covid-19, click here. 

Windsor Women Effect

The Windsor Women Fashion Effect
& A New Fashion Hierarchy for the Windsor Women

Contact: 1.737.215.7750
pjjp@post.harvard.edu

Austin, Texas. May 20, 2018 – The Windsor Women Fashion Effect appears ready to extend far beyond The Duchess Effect with the addition of a powerful new ‘brand’: that of Meghan Markle, the soon-to-be wife of Prince Harry, the current sixth in line to the British Throne.

Meghan Markle further enhances the already formidable ‘cred’ of the Windsor family beyond that of Princess Kate as she is widely known to the world. Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, first stood atop the Fashion Buzzword List back in 2012 for ‘the Duchess Effect’, according to the annual analysis by the Global Language Monitor (GLM).

GLM utilized over 20,000,000 data points and citations to produce its data arrays. This is but a single array in the analysis.

And Introducing, The New Fashion Hierarchy for the House of Windsor

House of Windsor New Fashion Hierarchy Commentary
1 Meghan Markle, Title yet to be Announced Meghan’s royal title will be announced during the ceremony
2 Diana, Princess of Wales Amazing staying power for Princess Di and fashion
3 Kate Middleton or Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge Kate has changed the course of British fashion for a number of years
4 Queen Elizabeth II High fashion has little to do with age.
5 Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York Fading from view but still a favorite of the Brits
6 Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall Camilla, ah Camilla! A mystery to the American mind.
7 Princess Charlotte Princess Charlotte is already moving up the chart…
Copyright ©2018 The Global Language Monitor

And the Breakdown …

About Global Language Monitor

Founded in Silicon Valley, Austin, Texas-based GLM collectively documents, analyzes and tracks trends worldwide, with a particular emphasis upon the English language.

GLM employs proprietary ‘algorithmic methodologies’ such as the NarrativeTracker for global Internet and social media analysis. NarrativeTracker is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 375,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new media sources, as they emerge. For more information, go to www.LanguageMonitor.com, call 1.737.215.7750 or email pauljjpayack@gmail.com.
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Coronavirus Calendar: TrendTopper Institute

CoronaVirus Calendar

GLM has created a which is based on published findings in the journal Lancet and the University of Hong Kong. We have created our own unpublished algorithm based on the official releases of China’s National Health Commission in which the numbers are much lower but still are cause for alarm. #china 

Analysis:

 

How Do We Measure Progress Against the Plague

By Paul JJ Payack

 

1. The Pandemic is a Plague.

2. Plagues exact a gruesome toll; plagues kill.

3. Plagues are relentless; plagues have destroyed nations; plagues have destroyed civilizations.

4. This is not the New Normal; this is The New Reality

5. And not only the present reality; this is also the reality for the foreseeable future.

6. The plague will end only when the population achieves ‘herd immunity’.

7. Herd Immunity is achieved when 60-70% of a given population has developed the antibodies needed for protection against the virus.

8. Herd Immunity from the Spanish Flu was achieved after some 50,000,000 to-100.000.000 had died. This is the downside to achieving herd immunity.

9. However, you can achieve Herd Immunity from a vaccine, but an effective vaccine will take (in total) years to develop, manufacture, and distribute across the globe. .

10. In history, most plagues have ended only after they had burned themselves out.

 

How to Measure Progress Against the Pandemic?

1. Stop judging the Pandemic minute-by-minute; it is not a spectator sport. There are no innings, no quarters, no time periods. Worse yet, there are no time outs.

2. There are no goal posts. There can be no last-minute heroics, because there is no last minute.Stop moving the goal posts. In January, GLM createed the CoronaVirus Calndar based upon data compiled by the Hong Kong Univesity of Science & Technology and the published in the Lancet, the prestigous UK medical journal. GLM extpolated those numbers forward. As you can see below, the numbers were (and continue to be) extremely frightening,

Projections based upon data from the HKUST and published in The Lancet (assumptions noted above.)

The actual numbers recorded by the Johns Hopkins University CSEE Covid-19 Resource Center Dashboard are 5.6 million ‘confirmed cases’ and some 350,000 ‘total deaths’ recorded as of this posting (May 27, 2020). The projections based upon the original Lancet/HKUST data were about 40 million cses worldwide with some 800,000 deaths.

Clearly something has changed: the R0 number indicating the rate of transmission, and the mortailty rate, indicating the percentage of confirmed cases that lead to death. Both of these numbers are significantly lower than original projections.

Can this be considered progress? How can one speak of progress amid a soaring (by any measure) death toll?  And the death toll will continue to mount, for weeks, months , and likely for years.

Blame, of course, will need to be assigned. This seems to be a human imperative. In History the assignment varies with the commonly perceived enemies.

Here are some of the Great Plagues in recent history (the last 2000 or so years).

1.  Antonine Plague (A.D. 165-180).  Marked the end of the 200 year-long Pax Romana, considered the height of the Roman Empire.  Named after (and killing) Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the plague wiped out up to 10% of the Empire’s population.  Hastened the rise of Christianity — and the ultimate fall of the Empire.  Most likely smallpox.

2.  The Plague of Justinian (A.D. 541-542).   The Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire was devestated by what was probably the bubonic plague, losing some 10% of it population.  The Plague of Justinian has been frequently cited as hastening the decline of the Byzantine Empire.

3. The Black Death (1346-53).   This is the Plague that is most frequently considered when the word plague come to mind.  The Black Death killed up to 50% of the population of Europe (and some 10% of the world’s), ended the feudal era, and hastened the rise of the Modern world, nation-states, and Capitalism.                                                                    

4.  New World Plagues.  (Post 1492 - ).  Arriving Europeans inadverantly brought with them a dozen or more disease never before encountered by Nativen Americans, including smallpox, bubonic  plague, tuberculosis, measles, typhoid, and scarlet fever, among others.  Nearly every tribe was affected, including the great Aztec and Inca civilizations resulting in tens of millos of deaths.  

5.  Spanish Flu (1918-1920).  An estimated 50 to 100 million died of the Spanish Flu, a misnomer, since the disease did not originate in Spain.   The Sp;anish Flu not only hastened the end of World War I, but also set the stage for the economic disruption that that enabled the rise of Fascism and National Socialism.

6.  AIDS (1920s -present).  An estimated 40,000,000 people have fallen to AIDS, the dealy virus developed from HIV (the human immunodeficiecy virus).

 
















































































































































has ben publishing

1. Stop judging it minute-by-minute.

 

 

See CoronaGeddon: Words of the Pandemic You Need to Know

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Spread-of-Coronavirus-Jan-2020.jpg
The Early Stages of the Pandemic from The Lancet. with Data from HKUS&T

See The Coronavirus Calendar Here

The potential for a global pandemic of historic proportions was in plain sight for the administration, academia, and the global media to see in January and February.

Back in January, the Global Language Monitor, the data research company,  created a data model of the expansion of the newly discovered n-coronavirus in Wuhan, China.   (You can see this on the LanguageMonitor (dot) com site.)

The numbers were truly frightening, so frightening that I decided not to publish my findings until I could find a respected research study that mirrored my numbers and projections. I found one, published in The Lancet medical journal in the UK, that used data from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUS&T).   The Lancet created a number of graphics that illustrated the impending nightmare that you can see on our site.

The key to HKS&T’s data is that it assumes a much larger base to start from (rather than China’s official count). I then created the Coronavirus Calendar that I published about six or seven weeks ago, the main point of which was that the virus doubles every six days or so, with an infection rate of 2.63 with a mortality rate of about .02.  (The mortality rate has been a bit lower over the last few weeks but is actually higher in Iran and Italy.) GLM distributed this study to the worldwide media. 

Update: China Did Not Count 43,000 Asymptomatic Cases

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A Brief Retrospective on the Nature of Truth and Why It Confuses Us So

Diogenes Searching For TRUTH in Ancient Greece

 Recently, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) announced that Truth is the Word of the Year for 2017.

Austin, Texas, December 2017.  If you kept abreast of the daily press reports, you would think an outbreak of mass hysteria or at least amnesia had swept over the nations of the West. The world’s leading print and electronic media acted as if the concept of truth had been circumvented, or even, contravened, and sounded alarm after alarm that what we all knew as facts were no longer discernible. The source of this disruption in the news cycle, of course, was what came to be known as fake news and post-truth.

For historical comparisons of a number of the terms used in this analysis, GLM used the Google Ngram Viewer.   You can use the Ngram Viewer to chart frequencies of comma-delimited search strings.  The Google Ngram Viewer uses yearly counts from sources printed between 1500 and 2008, though in some cases later dates of publications are included.

In the first example, frequencies of citations between and among a number of words used to describe the Top Words of the Year for 2016 are plotted between 1940 and the present.

Figure 1. Relative Frequency of citations among words used to describe the Top Words of the Year for 2016

Figure 2. Close-up on Relative Frequency Among Some Top Words of the Year for 2016

Figure 3.  Comparisons of the Words Truth Vs. Lie Since 1740

This is why early in the century, the Global Language Monitor put into place a methodology that clearly states that each considered word or phrase must adhere to the published criteria (see below). The methodology calls for words and phrases from the entire global English linguasphere to be considered, as well as each fulfilling geographic and demographic requirements. This automatically excludes the lists created by those organizations that rely on polls and other such non-scientific tools

A Methodology Optimized for the Wired World -- GLM’s Word of the Year rankings are based upon actual word usage 
throughout the English-speaking world, which now approaches some 2.38 billion people, who use the language 
as a first, second, business language. To qualify for these lists, the words, names, and phrases must meet 
three criteria: 1) found globally, 2) have a minimum of 25,000 citations, and 3) have the requisite ‘depth’ 
and ‘breadth’ of usage. Depth is here defined as appearing in various forms of media; breadth that they must 
appear world-over, not limited to a particular profession or social group or geography. The goal is to find 
the word usage that will endure the test of time.

Global Language Monitor began to use newly available technologies to document the Words of the Year for Global English at the turn of the 21st century, with the idea to encapsulate and capture the essence of the preceding twelve months in a sort of linguistic amber.

Consider for a moment that fact that in 2009 GLM named ‘twitter’ as the Global English Word of the Year, not only as a social media phenomenon but as a potential Weapon of Mass Disruption (or even destruction). Witness: 1) the Arab Spring and 2) the actions of one Donald J. Trump.

Political Correctness

In a time so debilitated by the specter of political correctness (both from the left and the right), it seems rather demeaning to advance the concept of ‘fake news’, once you study its etymology, tracing back the origins of the word ‘fake’.

Cambridge Dictionaries’ definition of fakir: A Muslim (or, loosely, a Hindu) religious ascetic who lives solely on alms. Origin: Early 17th century: via French from Arabic faqīr. Fakir, Arabic Faqīr (“poor”), originally, a mendicant dervish. In mystical usage, the word fakir refers to man’s spiritual need for God, who alone is self-sufficient. Although of Muslim origin, the term has come to be applied in India to Hindus as well.

Fakirs are generally regarded as holy men who are possessed of miraculous powers, such as the ability to walk on fire or to subsist by looking only at the face of God.

In a Languagelog posting by Mark Liberman, How Fakirs Became Fakers, Edmund Wilson comments (from the grave) that Fakirs began to become entwined with fakers with a common usage that arose out of the American spiritualism craze of the 19th century.  This is where one can witness the shift in meaning for the word fakir, from an Islamic religious ascetic to the Hindu “Yogi,” to a sort of street corner or carnival barker or “producer of illusions”.

In other words ‘fake news” joins a long list of ethnic slurs that have imbued American English since before the founding of the republic. They are too many to repeat. However the most common of these might be ‘ethnic-group’ giver’ or ‘ethnic-group rich’. Specifically, using the term fake news could be said to humiliate and/or cast aspersions upon Muslim and/or Hindu holy men. Recent searches of the New York Times found 869 instances of ‘fake news,’ while searches of The Washington Post found 1,352. None mentioned the historical dubiousness of the practice.

You can see this linguistic shift peaking around 1940 and continuing to this day.

Figure 4. Shift in Meaning Between Fakir and Faker During the 1940s

In retrospective, even the whole idea of fake news and post-truth is a bit of an over-reaction. The organizations that were disrupted the most by the appearance of unchecked, non-verifiable and inadequately sourced stories, were those upon which the world came to rely and depend upon to safeguard the information delivered to their audiences as verifiably true. To continue in these roles as stewards of truth, it was incumbent upon them to put into place new methods of testing information.

The unvarnished truth is that the dominant news gathering and distribution organizations fell behind the curve as sources of information multiplied by orders of magnitude. Neither did they comprehend the astonishingly rapid advances in computing power. Finally, the evolution of communication and social media tools advanced far more quickly than the old line media’s ability to adapt to and absorb them.

Decades of reporting on the decline of the US manufacturing base never seemed to register to old media as applicable lessons for themselves. In the mid-’80s, an HBS case study inquired as to which fared better — companies with strategic plans in place or those that had none. The answer: a dead heat. Apparently, companies without strategic plans were able to adjust more quickly to changing market conditions while companies with strategic plans all too often, steadfastly rode these plans straight into oblivion.  (For more information on this phenomenon, check out the first two editions of In Search of Excellence.  Prepare to be shocked.)

What is Truth?

The debate over what is truth has been ongoing since the search for an ‘honest man’ by Diogenes the Cynic, the dialogues of Socrates as recorded by Plato, the rhetorical question Pontius Pilate asked of the Christ, the Confessions of Augustine, the Summa of Aquinas, and the monastic scriptoria of Medieval Europe.

In the scriptoria of the Middle Ages, an elaborate system was constructed to ensure that no discrepancies were introduced into Scripture or highly-prized scholarly works — before the coming of movable type and the printing press. Can you imagine the decibel level of a discussion that played out over the misrepresentation of a single iota when dealing with the work of a Church Father, the Apostle Peter (or Paul), or the words of the Lord himself? This, of course, was complicated by the fact that there were few grammatical rules, little or no punctuation, no spaces between and among words, nor between sentences or paragraphs, and the like.

Even in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Harvard and Yale engaged in the same sort of tussle about the owner of Truth as the Right and Left are engaged in today.  Harvard chose the Latin word Veritas (Truth) on its official seal, while Yale considered the matter closed by adding Lux et Veritas.  (Light and Truth) to its own shield.  Three hundred years later, in an academic world perhaps overly concerned with political correctness, Harvard won top honors for the Top Politically (in)Correct Word of 2016.

Watching the nightly news and reading the traditional (for the last two centuries, that is) media, one has the distinct sense that what they perceive as unprecedented almost chaotic circumstances is actually that of the normalcy of the new reality, that of communications at the speed of light that the internet has foisted upon us.

We keep hearing about this most unusual of election cycles, but this is only true when looking through the prism (and historical construct) of the traditional news gathering operations. What is called the 24-hour News Cycle is actually just the tip of the tsunami washing over the planet at an ever-quicker pace. Indeed, the nature of the beast hasn’t changed at all. It is our outdated techniques, that haven’t kept up with the new reality: News now emanates at the speed of thought, from tens of thousands or, even, millions of sources.

Can you imagine the uproar in the monastic world when documents would be produced with little or no vetting against the time-honored standards?

In 2008 GLM published an article, “Is Merriam-Webster its own Best Frenemy,” where we noted that its newest additions to its Collegiate Dictionary, were older than most entering college students at the time (28 years vs 18!)  Indeed, for the most part, technology could solve most of the Post-truth and Fake News phenomena.

Since the turn of the 21st century, the Global Language Monitor (GLM) has named the Top Words of Global English. A decade earlier, the American Dialect Society began to name the Word of The Year for mostly American (and a bit of British) English with little or no use of the then emerging computer power. By the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, the BBC chose the Global Language Monitor to determine the Top English Words of the Decade worldwide while they chose an UK-based Linguist to highlight those of the UK.

One of the most surprising trends in the evolution of the Words of the Year over the last two decades is that they have become decidedly more parochial, and more trivial, as the century has progressed. Now there are about a dozen players, all competing for the same space, so the race has been one of dumbing down the various nominees and ultimate winner in an apparently desperate attempt to seek the lowest common denominator, or even worse, to optimize entertainment value.

Perhaps most surprising of all is the apparent lack of preparation by the venerable incumbent organizations responsible for gathering, sifting through, and certifying information that then qualifies as verifiably newsworthy.

Apocalyptic language has been widely cited as word of the year worthy for the last several years — and rightly so. In fact, Apocalypse and Armageddon took Global Language Monitors’ honors as Top Global English Words of 2012. And though GLM’s proprietary algorithms have displayed a predictive element, it’s entirely possible that Apocalyptic language did indeed peak some five years too soon.

 

About the Global Language Monitor

In 2003, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) was founded in Silicon Valley by Paul J.J. Payack on the understanding that new technologies and techniques were necessary for truly understanding the world of Big Data, as it is now known.

Today, from its home in Austin, Texas GLM provides a number of innovative products and services that utilize its ‘algorithmic services’ to help worldwide customers protect, defend and nurture their branded products and entities. Products include ‘brand audits’ to assess the current status, establish baselines, and competitive benchmarks for current intellectual assets and brands, and to defend products against ambush marketing.

These services are currently provided to the Fortune 500, the Higher Education market, high technology firms, the worldwide print, and electronic media, as well as the global fashion industry, among others.

For more information, call 1.512.801-6823, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.


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OK: Everything is Going to be O.K.

Most Recognized Word on the Planet: OK or O.K. or Okay

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U.S. President Martin Van Buren (A.D. 1837–1841) was born in Old Kinderhook, New York. His nickname, Old Kinderhook, was incorporated into his campaign slogan (“Old Kinderhook is O.K.”) and O.K. Democratic Clubs sprung up around the young nation. Van Buren was a founding member of the Democratic Party. (He was overwhelmingly defeated by the Whigs in his re-election attempt in 1840.)

Presaging O.K. Democratic Clubs, was the pronunciation of the phrase ‘oll korrect’ in a bit of humerous wordplay found in the Boston Post newspaper in 1839.

Didn’t you ever wonder why the word consists of two capital letters? OK is now widely heard wherever one sets foot on the planet.

Alternative derivations, since disproven, suggested that OK was from the Greek phrase ola kala for ‘all well’ used in the shipping industry. Another, actually favored by president Woodrow Wilson, was that OK was derived from the Choctaw ‘okeh’.

However, what is sure is that the U.S. Presidential Election of 1840 secured its growing usage and subsequent global expansion during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Another lesser known catalyst to the word’s present ubiquitous, is the the global dominance of the software of the Microsoft Corporation.  Some 80% of its computer programs that are ‘localized’ into native languages use the English word OK to assert completion or assent.

OK?

 — Paul JJ Payack

See Bushisms

The Tangles of Time: A Brief History of Chess

A Brief History of Chess

Author’s Note: I wrote this aimost fifty years ago, during the Bobbie Fisher- Boris Spassky World Chess Championship held in Reykjavík, Iceland in 1972.

This was the beginning of the chess boom that continues to this day. You can’t call it a revival, because previous to this, chess was a fringe activity, at best, played by old men on park benches arguing in Yiddish, nerds before they were known as such, and pipe-smoking, well-to-do elder gentlemen player one other on seculded leafy estates.

I was captivated by the match and who wouldn’t be: the ‘Free World’ vs. the Soviet Communists, a brash, ill-mannered young American vs. the gentlemanly Grandmaster of old-school ways and traditional chess thinking. I went out bought every chess book I could find in Harvard Square and at the Chess Shop on Newberry Street (including the infamous Blue Book of Chess. At that time, the Blue Book recorded every move in evey championship match from the days of Lasker onward.. I also picked up a championship-scaled chessboard with the requisite ivory-styled pieces, a chess clock, and the like. But the one thing I could not find was a definitive History of Chess.

So I decided to write one myself. After countless hours of research (no internet, nor on-line journals, no Wikipedia, just Harvard’s Widener Library’s dusty stacks, I drafted The Tangles of Timee: A Short History of Chess over that summer and now present it to you here.

 — Paul JJ Payack

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Chess yields us, when we need them most

Companions in our loneliness.

—Mu’ Tazz

As masterful a player as Emmanuel Lasker regarded chess as neither an art nor a science but rather a war in which the pieces served as troops and the players the generals. This stemmed from the notion that chess was invented as a war game and so, that is the manner in which it should executed. Undoubtedly reality is reflected in the idea that chess originated either as an aid or substitute for warfare.

Lasker maintained that to understand its creation all that is needed is an understanding of the method of classical warfare. Lasker explained that opposing armies would take their positions in nearly straight lines separated by a nearly level plain. The generals, in order to make their plans comprehensible to their commanders, would sketch the original position and later movements of their pawns and men. Lasker was fond of using the Battle of Cannae, 216 BC, as an illustration. At Cannae, the Carthaginians under the command of Hannibal defeated a Roman force nearly twice their number with superior strategy.

Lasker thought that it was entirely possible that Hannibal not only drew lines and placed stones on a board to explain his stratagems, but did so on what would one day be called a chequer-board. This was given the now familiar shape of a square divided into sixty-four smaller squares, colored black and white alternately. Though Lasker’s contention that chess was invented as a game of war is undoubtedly true, he seems to have postdated its conception by some eight centuries and misplaced it by several worlds.

After a millennium passed in the Buddhist era, various references occur to a game that seems the direct forbear of present-day chess. According to Sanskrit literature, apart from the central king and counselor, the pieces represented the quadrants of the ancient Indian army: war chariots, cavalry, elephants, and foot soldiers. The Upper Basin of the Ganges, or thereabouts, was the locale where

this game first appeared. Since the area was a Buddhist stronghold, it is not unreasonable to assume that their monks had a hand in its inception. Since Buddhists oppose the killing of any form of life, it can be hypothesized that the game was invented as a bloodless substitute for war (by allowing men to engage in a combat of a higher sort).

In this version the infantrymen moved as pawns of all times and places, excepting the modern two-square debut. The cavalrymen were placed and manipulated in the same manner as the knight. The elephants’ movements were diagonal and limited to two squares, therefore they were inherently weaker than the bishops into which they were later transformed. The chariots were equal in every respect to the castles which through some ripple in history came to be called rooks. And the counselor, beside the king, moved diagonally also and only one square per move; as time passed its powers were increased to that of the bishop, thereby considerably enhancing the complexity of the game.

Chess spread rapidly (in historical terms) from the Subcontinent to the curiously diverse cultures further west, each leaving ineradicable traces of their time and culture. Persia bestowed the name to the game. Words, unlike mathematical formulae, both lose and gain in their sojourn through time and place. Aside from the usual etymological eddies, the development of the name flowed as follows. The Persian shah “king” came through the Arabic and the tangles of time to Europe as, among other variations, the Old French (e)sches, plural of (e)schek “check” derived from “shah.” From there it was but a minor simplification to the Saxon and Modern English word “chess.”

The culmination of this bloodless substitute for bloodletting is the murder of the enemy king, although the modern game ends euphemistically with the checkmate. This term, too, can be traced through a millennium to Persia. Shah mat “checkmate” means ‘the king (shah) is dead,’ where “mat” is related to the Latin stem mort- “death” found in “mortuary.”

Within a generation of the Hegira, the Arabs conquered Persia in the sacred name of Mohammed. As is usually the case, the two cultures became inextricably entwined and from that time forward it was the Islamic culture that became the primary vehicle of chess. As the game was carried from land to land it underwent a series of transmutations, some surprising and some not so surprising at all.

The Elephant was reduced to its ears. That is it was simplified (for reasons of convenience and religion) to a lump of wood, with a cut extracted from its center. An item of far more interest concerns the Arab rukh which predates the English rook for crow. It is still a matter of some controversy whether the rook was actually a chariot, a bird, or even a ship. It is highly probable that in differing cultures in differing centuries it was each.

In Arabia there seems little doubt that the chariot was replaced by a moderately prominent member the then-current mythology. In Arabian Nights the rukh was an enormous bird of gigantic girth which was inordinately wide of wing; a vast magnification of the eagle or condor. In most variations, the bird had the ability to carry an elephant, and sometimes several, in its talons. The thread of interest that lies about and through all variations of the rukh myth is that it was, whatever else, a deadly enemy of the elephant. (Later, with the aristocratization of chess, the elephant would be transformed into an ecclesiastic.)

Soon chess was a commonplace throughout the world of Islam, from Andalus in the West to the Indus in the East. The Moors carried chess to the Iberian Peninsula during the eighth century of the Christian era, and the Eastern Empire in Byzantium also learned of the game before the century had waned. From Iberia it spread to the north of Europe, while Russia seems to have acquired the game directly from India. (In Russian chess bears its original name, shakh-maty.)

During the High Middle Ages chess became a leisure time activity of the feudal lords, and the pieces began to resemble the aristocracy. (The rukh became, curiously enough, a castle.) A knowledge of ‘Nights and Days’ was considered a social grace for every genteel and parfait knight. Obviously, one reason for this was the connection between chess and war. Soon the powers of certain pieces were increased,making the game much more lively or, if you prefer, deadly.

That lump of wood with the split was not recognized in Europe as an elephant. This was understandably so, since to the folks of medieval Europe an elephant was just as much a mythological creature as the rukh, and possibly more so. To those who were unaware of its esoteric meaning, the elephant, also suggested a bishop’s mitre, an old man, a count or a fool. To this day in French the man is called Le Fou “the fool” and it is diagramed as a cap and bells.

The English, however, were the first to introduce chess diagrams to printing and since the piece remained a bishop there (and in Iceland) the bishop’s mitre would soon become the worldwide standard. However, Germans use this now universal symbol for their laufer “runner” while Russians use the mitre for their slon “the elephant.”

The evolution of the king’s counselor into the queen has been attributed to the similarity of the Arabic word fere “advisor,” to the French vierge “maiden” but probably can be more simply attributed to the make-up of the feudal court. A parallel between the historical liberation of women and the glorification of Mary by the Church could also have been factors in the metamorphosis.

And finally, a mention should be made of pawns; those so adequately named pieces which are even denied the status of chess ‘men’. They are, without exception in all cultures, represented by conveniently small and humble objects. For these there seems a universal need. History: read it and weep.

There are some 1.7 x 10 to the 29th methods of playing the first ten moves of this ancient and storied game. (The Greeks, clever as they were, didn’t even possess a symbol or number for any number larger than ten to the fourth, a myriad.) This being so, it becomes comprehensible why, while chess has ebbed and flowed through history, it has never been successful as a method of channeling the human mind to that combat of a higher sort.

To be sure, there have been wars of every possible description since its inception some thirteen hundred years ago, and when the number of possible permutations is envisioned even in this relatively simple game, it becomes obvious why there is more than adequate room for that phenomenon, war, in the universal scheme of things. This nightmare, even when contained by a square of sixty-four smaller squares, has the potential to continue in a million billion varying guises for eons on end (and still there would remain variations untried).

When one of the first Caliphs, Omar b. Al-Khattab, was asked if chess were lawful he replied, “There is nothing wrong in it; it has to do with war.”

Coronageddon: Words of the Pandemic You Need to Know

The Bottom Line: “turbulent gas clouds and respiratory pathogen emissions pose a threat to the public even without the presence of a host. In other words: the longer an individual is outside unprotected, the higher the contraction risk,” said MIT associate professor Lydia Bourouiba.

‘Words of the Pandemic’ glossary and explainer has been released by the Global Language Monitor. 

“As with other global and significant events, GLM has assembled ‘The Words of the Pandemic’ explainer, a glossary of the essential terms the educated layperson needs to know to better understand the significance of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic as it unfolds.” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. 

The “Words of the Pandemic” explainer will be continuously updated. 
Below is the list of currently defined terms.

Term      Definition

Asymptomatic – Those who test positive for Covid-19 who present no immediate symptoms.

Black Death — The most devastating pandemic recorded in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75-to-200 million people in Eurasia, peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351.

CDC — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the CDC is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Contagion — The definition of contagion is an infectious disease spread through contact, or the transmission of a disease from one person to another through contact, or the spread of a bad or harmful idea or practice

Corona – A crown or anything resembling a crown.  Also, the ring of highly charged ions surrounding the Sun that is visible during a total eclipse.  Under an electron microscope, the coronavirus outer surface resembles a crown.  Before the invention of the electron microscope, pandemic had more prosaic names such as the Black Death or Spanish Flu.

Covid-19 – The disease caused by the n-coronavirus-19 virus.  Officially named:  SARS-CoV-2.  n-coronavirus-19 is the medical classification of the current pandemic.

Endemic — A medical condition, regularly found a particular group or population.

Epicenter – The precise center of an earthquake or activity, or phenomenon.  The epicenter of Covid-19 is Wuhan China.

Epidemic — An outbreak of disease that spreads quickly and affects many individuals at the same time.

Epidemiology — the branch of medicine that investigates the causes and control of epidemics.

Exponential Growth — Growth whose rate becomes ever more rapid in proportion to the growing total number or size.

Flatten the Curve — Keeping people apart in time and space with social distancing measures, self-isolation and actual quarantine decreases opportunities for transmission.  The graphic below illustrates the effects of flattening the curve — a steep peak indicating a surge of coronavirus outbreak in the near term; the other has a flatter slope, indicating a more gradual rate of infection over a longer period of time.  The gentler curve results in fewer people infected at the beginning of an epidemic.  In effect, lessening the probability of a ‘’surge’ that would inundate a hospital system, as was recently occurred in Northern Italy.  The idea is to provide more time for a healthcare system to ramp up supplies, develop new medicines, and medical procedures.

Ground Zero — The location where the first case occurred, another term for ‘epicenter’.

H1N1 — The current strain of H1N1 consists of genes already found in existing variations of swine, avian and human flu viruses.

Inanimate Objects – So-called “seeds of disease” are able to transfer disease from one person to another.  In that new NEJM study, here’s the finding on coronavirus:  The coronavirus that causes covid-19 “was detectable … up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.”  Glass such as the ‘Gorilla Glass’ used for smart-phone displays are said to carry the virus for 10-days. 

Incubation Period — The time from exposure to a virus to the appearance of the symptoms.

Influenza — A serious disease caused by viruses that infects the upper respiratory tract.

Influenza Pandemic — A global outbreak of a new influenza ‘A’ virus that is easily transmitted from person-to-person worldwide.

Mutating Virus — In general, any flu virus mutates and evolves mechanisms that enable it to escape the immune defense systems of its victims. Scientists have now identified some six strains of the virus that causes Covid-19. 

Outbreak – Sudden increase in occurrence of disease in a particular place or locality.

Pandemic – an epidemic occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population. 

Pandemic Phases — WHO has divided pandemics into six phases.  (See Figure.)

Pandemic Phase 1 — Low risk of human cases.  No viruses circulating among animals have been reported to cause infections in humans.

Pandemic Phase 2 — Higher risk of human cases.  An animal influenza virus circulating among domesticated or wild animals is known to have caused infection in humans and is therefore considered a potential pandemic threat.

Pandemic Phase 3 — No or very limited human-to-human transmission.  An animal or human-animal influenza re-assortant virus has caused sporadic cases or small clusters of disease in people but has not resulted in human-to-human transmission sufficient to sustain community-level outbreaks.

Pandemic Phase 4 — Human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to cause “community-level outbreaks.” Implementation of a rapid pandemic containment operation is warranted. Phase 4 indicates a significant increase in risk of a pandemic.

Pandemic Phase 5 — Evidence of significant human-to-human transmission.  Human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region.  While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.

Pandemic Phase 6 — Efficient and sustained human-to-human transmission. This pandemic phase is characterized by community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5. Designation of this phase indicates that a global pandemic is under way.2q

Pangolin – A scaly anteater; a toothless mammal found in Asia and Africa that is thought to have passed the coronavirus from horse bats to humans.  Pangolins were suspected of being sold in an open-air to be ingested by humans.

Plague – The plague is an infectious disease due to a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. Y. that mainly infects rats and other rodents.

Quarantine – Isolating individuals to prevent the spread of infection diseases.

Quarantine in Place – Isolation for a two-week period after exposure to someone with Covid-19.

R0 — Reproductive value where R0 is the average number of people who will catch the disease from a single infected person, in a population that’s never seen the disease before; if it’s greater than 1, the infection will probably keep spreading, and if it’s less than 1, the outbreak will likely peter out.  New research reviews the basic reproduction number (R0) of the new coronavirus, that is, the number that indicates how transmissible a virus is, and finds that it is much higher than current estimates.  R0 for 2019-nCoV is expected to be around 2–3,

“Ring Around the Rosie” – Globally known children’s rhyme that harkens back to the Bubonic Plague of the Middle Ages.

Shelter in Place – An order to remain safety within the building one already occupies, rather than to evacuate the area or seek a community emergency shelter.

Self-isolate — Anyone with the tell-tale fever or cough has been told to self-isolate entirely for seven days, while other members of their household must do the same for two weeks.

Social Distancing — (See Update Newsflash Atop List) Keeping people apart in time and space with social distancing measures, self-isolation and actual quarantine decreases opportunities for transmission.

Spanish Flu – Some fifty-to-200 million or more died in the 1918 pandemic, up to 200,000 in the US.  Some 30% of the world’s population of 1.5 billion were infected.

Super Spreader — In epidemics, a small number of people can spread a disproportionately large number of infections.

Swine Flu — Officially named swine influenza A (H1N1).

Symptoms — Body aches, fever, headaches, sore throat, body pain, chills and fatigue. Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.         

Tokyo 2020:  The Games of the XXXII Olympiad – The Summer Olympic Games have been rescheduled to begin on July 23, 2021.

Typhoid Mary — Ms. Mallon was suspected of transmitting typhoid fever to 51 people during the Spanish Flu pandemic (Possibly by serving ice cream with unwashed hands.).

WHO — Located in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Health Organization, is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations

Zoonotic – Diseases that spread from animals to humans, such as the Covid-19 and Ebola.

About the Global Language Monitor

Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor is a data research firm that analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.  For more information, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, visit www.LanguageMonitor.com, or call +1.737.215.7750.

Question: Who Missed the Emergence of the Coronavirus?

Answer: The Administration (including Congress), Academia, and the Media

See CoronaGeddon: Words of the Pandemic You Need to Know

The Early Stages of the Pandemic from The Lancet. with Data from HKUS&T

See The Coronavirus Calendar Here

The potential for a global pandemic of historic proportions was in plain sight for the administration, academia, and the global media to see in January and February.

Back in January, the Global Language Monitor, the data research company,  created a data model of the expansion of the newly discovered n-coronavirus in Wuhan, China.   (You can see this on the LanguageMonitor (dot) com site.)

The numbers were truly frightening, so frightening that I decided not to publish my findings until I could find a respected research study that mirrored my numbers and projections. I found one, published in The Lancet medical journal in the UK, that used data from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUS&T).   The Lancet created a number of graphics that illustrated the impending nightmare that you can see on our site.

The key to HKS&T’s data is that it assumes a much larger base to start from (rather than China’s official count). I then created the Coronavirus Calendar that I published about six or seven weeks ago, the main point of which was that the virus doubles every six days or so, with an infection rate of 2.63 with a mortality rate of about .02.  (The mortality rate has been a bit lower over the last few weeks but is actually higher in Iran and Italy.) GLM distributed this study to the worldwide media. 

Update: China Did Not Count 43,000 Asymptomatic Cases

Though I created the Coronavirus Calendar, I am still shocked at how quickly it is moving. (For California, that’s 39 million * .6 * .02%.) If you extrapolate these numbers for your community, state, region or nation, you can see the horrifying conclusions.

This is not to say, of course, that this result is inevitable.  There is still much that can be done by the concerted efforts of the global institutions — and the very real fact that many pandemics in the past have actually burned themselves out.

Paul JJ Payack
President
The Global Language Monitor
Austin, Texas

REWIND from the ThoughtTopper Institute: The Battle Over Climate Climate Change Change Explained in Three Charts

Climate Change is an asteroid heading for a direct hit on Earth.

Updated: March 22, 2020

June 18-19, 2014, AUSTIN, Texas — The recent report on human-enhanced climate change points to the problem. The US National Climate Assessment, released May 6, 2014, represents the most comprehensive attempt yet to assess the current effects of human-enhanced climate change on America’s (and the Earth’s) future. Why does confusion persist about the subject? After all, Global Warming /Climate Change have ranked near the top of our Top Word lists for more than a decade.

Perhaps the major difficulty is overcoming the fact that:

  1. Few news reporters are well-versed in technical and scientific communication.
  2. Few scientists are well-versed in communicating effectively to a large public audience in non-scientific terms.
  3. The public is not trained in deciphering the reams of information that presents the case that is being argued.

Therefore, lack of technical communication skills inhibit true understanding of climate change news. As a former university lecturer on Scientific and Technical Communications, I’ve created a few rules to keep close to heart.

Rule No. 1 When Communicating a Scientific Truth Be Sure to Communicate the Whole Truth — The audience instinctively knows when you are leaving out some of the story that you think might confuse the issue.

Well known Fact: The temperatures are now the highest in 1,000 years.

Larger Reality: The global surface temperature has fluctuated greatly over the last 2100 years. Scientific and Technical writing professionals would, one hopes, clarify the discussion by writing from the audience’s point-of-view. An educated audience would expect a phrase, such as ‘not in a thousand years’ to mean ‘not ever’. They would likely be concerned if they knew an author to be shading the truth that actually obscures the larger truth.

Suffice to say the global temperature has fluctuated greatly over the last 1200 years as shown in the graphic using four different sources. Also note there was the well-known historical fact of the Little Ice Age, with many early New England documents noting various ‘Year(s) Without Summer(s)”.

 Temperature Fluctuation Over Preceding 1200 Years

Rule No. 2 Just because any particular analysis might be short-sighted, there is no need for you to be short-sighted also.

Well known Fact: Paleo-Indians crossed the Bering Land Bridge to first settle the Americas.

Larger Reality: For the Bering Land Bridge to exist, the sea level had to be about 100 meters (290 feet) LOWER than its current level.

 The Bering Land Bridge About 15,000 BCE

The US National Climate Assessment is estimating a one-to-two meter rise by the turn of the 22nd century. Add in the human-enhancement factor and climate change will be even more dramatic (and possibly happen more quickly) than anticipated.

Rule No. 3 In 10,000 BCE, (8,000 BC), New York City was also under a mile (1.6 km) of ice. Jericho was a thriving (albeit small) city at this time. Most people who are aware of this fact, place it in the distant past, say, 1,000,000 years BCE.

Well known Fact (though not true): Climate Change began in the late 20th century OR with the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century.

Larger Truth: Climate Change began with the advent of the atmosphere as we know it about 600 million years ago. This atmosphere enabled the ‘Cambrian Explosion’ as millions of life forms suddenly appeared on land.

The climate created by this atmosphere began to change at that time and continues to do so some 600,000,000 years later though we only have specific details of the last half-million years or so, as shown below.

These are a broad outline of temperature changes over the last 400,000 years as recorded by three different methods. Perhaps the most familiar is the Vostok Ice Core (Antarctica), drilled to a depth of 11,887 feet (3623 m) in 1998.

Conclusion: There are well-known facts that pale before a larger reality. Do not trim your arguments (whatever they be) to exclude the larger reality.

Well Known Fact: Climate Change is happening and its profound effect upon humankind is real. Human-influenced climate change is a new scientific reality

Larger Reality: Climate Change has a detailed in the scientific record for about 4oo,ooo years — and it has been ongoing for about 600,000,000 years.

What was the ongoing debate of our Paleoindian ancestors as they watched the megafauna (wooly mammoths, saber tooth tigers, etc.) disappear as the 5,000 ft (1.6 km) ice cap atop Manhattan melted away beneath their feet?

The Paleoindians had it within their power to preserve the megafauna if they had known the consequences of their overhunting.  However, the retreating glacier, a consequence of global cooling, was beyond their control.

Today humankind faces the same two problems. And this time we have a bigger stake in the game. If the will is there, we can stop or at least alter the course of the Fourth Great Extinction. And if the will is there, we can curb at least the human-enhancement portion of climate change, whether or not the planet is subject to the larger, longer-term climatic cycles.

Tokyo 2020: The Global Language Monitor Finds That the Olympic Games Have Been Ambushed by COVID-19

Through its proprietary algorithms, a study conducted by Global Language Monitor determined the Olympic Games themselves have a remarkable 84.5% correlation to the Coronavirus and Covid-19.

Copyright 2020 Global Language Monitor

The Correlation Between Tokyo 2020 and the Coronavirus

As the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo fast approach, the threat of coronavirus is dominating the global conversation. Global Language Monitor (GLM), an Austin-based data research firm that analyzes Global trends across the world, helps companies discover how their brands are being perceived, and how closely they are being associated with current events.

In their exclusive ambush marketing analysis for the seventh consecutive Olympic Games, GLM has found that the Tokyo 2020 Games have themselves been ambushed by the coronavirus and COVID-19, with a remarkable 84.5% correlation to the coronavirus and Covid-19. 

This means that in GLM’s global research data, out of every 100 references to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, more than 80 also contained a reference to the coronavirus and/or COVID-19. The study was concluded on March 16, 2020

“In our studies over the years we have found some remarkable ambushers from an animated cartoon character (Beijing 2008, Kung-fu Panda) to world leaders on the brink of a nuclear crisis (PyeongChang 2018, Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump), but never did we imagine a global pandemic as an Olympic Ambusher,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.

Going a step further, the GLM study also includes an analysis on how closely brands and a number of their competitors are being affected by the coronavirus, which is a global concern in the lead up to the Tokyo Games. The information is critical in helping brands position themselves accordingly and adapt to the volatility of the situation as the threat of COVID-19 looms.

“We actually found a remarkable correlation between the coronavirus and the Worldwide Olympic Partners,” Payack continued.  “A number of the Brands (and ambushers), actually had nearly as many citations linked to the coronavirus as to the Games themselves.  In a few cases, citations to the coronavirus actually exceeded those to the Tokyo 2020.”

Affiliation Between Worldwide Olympic Partners and the Coronavirus


Using the BAI™ (Brand Affiliation Index™), and the EAI™ (Entity Affiliation Index™) and other proprietary algorithms, GLM also determined which Tokyo sponsors are linked most closely to the Tokyo 2020 brand, as shown in the chart below,

The Affiliation of the Worldwide Olympic Partners to the Tokyo 2020 Brand by BAI

The study pulls data from an abundance of data points from across the internet and the top 350,000 print, electronic news media outlets, and social networking sites analyzing sentiment, context and a host of other factors to determine which Worldwide Olympic Partners are most closely associated with the Olympic Games, and which brands are being closely associated with Covid-19, the coronavirus or both. The findings are published in the Tokyo 2020 Ambush Marketing Report [link].  The Top Ambush Marketers ninety-days out from the start of the Tokyo Games follow:

The Top Ambush Marketers ninety-days out from the start of the Tokyo Games follow:

The Top Ambushers of the Worldwide Olympic Partners by BAI

Tokyo 2020 sponsors are segmented by the amount they pay in fees to the (IOC) International Olympic Committee. The various classifications are Worldwide Olympic Partners, Olympic Gold Partners, Olympic Official Partners, Official Olympic Supporters.

Though sponsorship fees are never officially acknowledged, the total, fully loaded, cost of a tier-one Olympic Sponsorship has been estimated to be as much as one billion USD ($1,000,000,000) over the course of a four-year Olympiad.  Partners’ competitors are also put under the microscope to determine the effectiveness of ambush marketing techniques. In Olympics past, opportunistic ambush marketers have leveraged the worldwide popularity of the Olympic Games without any sort of sponsorship, yet still maintained a high degree of association. The analysis helps provide insights that empower brands with leverage to determine whether their investment is worthwhile.  The complete Tokyo Olympics Ambush Marketing Report is available, here.

Early this March, the IOC Executive Board expressed its full commitment to the Tokyo Games, scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9, reporting that all protective measures are being taken to address the coronavirus situation. This situation has steadily deteriorated.

“Infodemic” Declared English-language Word by the Global Language Monitor

One of the Fastest Words Ever to be Recognized in Global English

March 3, 2020, Austin, Texas — Infodemic has been accepted as an official English-Language word by the Global Language Monitor (GLM), the US-based data research firm. This is among the fastest a word has ever met the minimum criteria for ‘wordhood,’ about six weeks from the first recorded citation.

The prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet, commented a few days ago: “A global epidemic of misinformation - spreading rapidly through social media platforms and other outlets - poses a serious problem for public health.

According to the MIT Technology Review, “The coronavirus is the first true social-media “infodemic” [where] Social media has zipped information and misinformation around the world at unprecedented speeds, fueling panic, racism … and hope”.

Infodemic has met all requirements to be considered an English-language word — ready to takes its place among the million-or-so others of the fourteen-hundred-year-old language,” said Paul JJ Payack, GLM’s President and Chief Word Analyst.

To be considered an official English-language, the neologism must satisfy all three criteria:

  • Geographic distribution — The word must appear across political entities and geographic regions.
  • Diversity of Media — The word must appear in a variety of media, including print and electronic media, online and social media, and books and magazines.
  • A minimum number of citations: 25,000.

At the Munich Security Conference on February 15, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pronounced, “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic”. Within a few weeks, market data provider Refinitiv included the word in research reports and then was repeated in various media outlets, including the South China Morning Post.

A quick search on Goole now provides nearly 700,000 entries.

Infodemic is a ‘portmanteau’ neologism. First used by Lewis Carroll in 1871, a linguistic blend of words or phonemes (sounds) are combined into a new word, in this case, Information and epidemic, Such words can be easier to pronounce and understand than other types of new word creation.

About Global Language Monitor

Based in Austin, Texas, the Global Language Monitor collectively documents, analyzes and tracks trends in language usage worldwide, with a particular emphasis upon the English language. The company is known for its Word of the Year, To Global Fashion Capitals, political analysis, college and university rankings, high-tech buzzwords, and media analytics.

For more information, visit Languagemonitor.com, email info@languagemonitor.com or call +1.737.215.7750.

The COVID-19 (Corona Virus) Calendar

The ThoughtTopper Institute

Projections from Published Numbers

The COVID-19 Virus
The COVID-19 Virus

March 29, 2020 Update

Beijing excluded 43,000 Positive Tests from the Published Numbers

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Calendar

New: What You Need to Know & How to Protect Yourself

(South China Morning Post 2/21/2020)

This is being posted only to those who follow me; Please be discreet when distributing.

We are publishing this article only to show the extent of the spread of the virus IF LEFT UNCHECKED. All recent potential pandemics (including Ebola, SARS, and MERS) were stopped due to deliberate action taken by the worldwide medical community (especially the WHO, the CDC, NHC, etc.,) and the proper precautions directed by the relevant government bodies and heroic NGOs.

*********************************************************

ThoughtTopper Institute: The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Calendar

Overview: The news from China is not good. Most recently The South China Morning Post detailed,

Measures unveiled by the authorities in Beijing and Shanghai on Monday include stricter controls on the movement of residents and vehicles, compulsory mask-wearing and shutting down leisure and other non-essential community services … Beijing Daily reported on Monday that the capital, with a population of over 20 million, would step up efforts to further restrict access to residential communities and compounds and introduce a citywide registration system for entries into Beijing. 

In addition, “Officials at the epidemic control and prevention centre in Shanghai said on Monday that “the vast majority” of the city’s 13,000 residential communities and compounds had instituted “lockdown management”, including entry restrictions and mandatory temperature checks.”

Confusion Abounds

According to the New York Times, “on Thursday, officials added more than 14,840 new cases to the tally of the infected in Hubei Province alone, bringing the total number to 48,206, the largest one-day increase so far recorded. The death toll in the province rose to 1,310, including 242 new deaths.

The sharp rise in reported cases illustrates how hard it has been for scientists to grasp the extent and severity of the coronavirus outbreak in China, particularly inside the epicenter, where thousands of sick people remain untested for the illness.”

Furthermore, some investigators have suggested that the number of new cases was leveling off and will, in fact, peak and level off in the next few weeks. One study actually picked a date (February 23); mark your calendar.

Projections from Published Numbers

The COVID-19 Calendar is based on the data provided by the British medical journal The Lancet working with data supplied to them by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), and the National Health Commission (NHC) of China, among others. The Global Language Monitor is not responsible for any of the data — only with the extrapolation of the data.

Obviously, COVID-19 cannot expand indefinitely as in the extrapolation above. Typically, these pandemics either burn themselves out or a halted through Human intervention. The gravest predictions now top out at a 60% infection rate for the entire Human population. Rest assured, that that has never happened in all recorded history.

Note: Tip of the Ice Berg? These extrapolations in themselves are hypothetical and should be taken as such. These numbers assume that the number of infections has been substantially under-reported, due to a number of factors, as outlined in the Lancet article.

This data was gathered with an abundance of caution after studying the various numbers coming out of Wuhan. The projected numbers are published herein because these results have been assiduously avoided in the media in all forms.

Origin of Graphics, The Lancet

No alt text provided for this image

This ThoughtTopper Institute publication was compiled by Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.

About Global Language Monitor

Based in Austin, Texas, the Global Language Monitor is a data research organization. For more information, call +1.737.215.7750 or email Info@languageMonitor.com

About

glm-logo

In 2003, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) was founded in Silicon Valley by Paul J.J. Payack on the understanding that new technologies and techniques were necessary for truly understanding the world of Big Data, as it is now known.
Today, from its home in Austin, Texas GLM provides a number of innovative products and services that utilize its ‘algorithmic services’ to help worldwide customers protect, defend and nurture their branded products and entities.  Products include ‘brand audits’ to assess the current status, establish baselines, and competitive benchmarks for current intellectual assets and brands.

These services are currently provided to the Fortune 500, Olympic Partners, leading Higher Education institutions, high-tech firms, the worldwide print and electronic media, the global fashion industry, among others.

Contact GLM directly ay  001 737 215 7750 or pauljjpayack@gmail.com or @languagemonitor.

Paul JJ Payack lecturing on Big and Ephemeral Data in Shanghai

Payack was cited as the first Shanghai International Creative City Think Tank Master.

GLM foresees a time in the near future where data doubles every hour, every minute, then every second.

To address this unfolding reality, GLM created the tools you need to address an enterprise in a world never at rest, where the facts can change before you locked your strategy into place, in the world where the social media of today is but a hint of what will emerge in the coming months and years.

GLM’s specialized products and services have been built from the ground up for Big and bigger date,  for a marketplace ever in flux, where the only constant changes.

Belfer Center Logo

To address this unfolding reality, GLM created the tools you need to address an enterprise in a world never at rest, where the facts can change before you locked your strategy into place, in the world where the social media of today is but a hint of what will emerge in the coming months and years.

GLM’s specialized products and services have been built from the ground up for Big and bigger date,  for a marketplace ever in flux, where the only constant changes.

 Global Language Monitor’s proprietary algorithms (including the PQI and Narrative Tracker) are used to plum ephemeral data on any topic for any industry worldwide, quickly and accurately.  Many organizations have used GLM as an additional input to their already robust analytical solutions.  Call 1.512.801.6823 or email info@LanguageMonitor.com

Subprime Meltdown (New York Times)

In 2006, The New York Times worked with the Global Language Monitor to assess the state of the New York City real estate market.  GLM’s used its proprietary POI technology, which The Times described as “an algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet in relation to frequency, context, and appearance in the global media.”  The study has been hailed as presaging the coming Financial Meltdown, now known as the Great Recession.

The New York Times featuring GLM’s PQI
.

GLM’s Founder on BBC America

GLM as a Source of Record

GLM continues to be cited hundreds of by the leading print and electronic media the world over. In fact, the worldwide print and electronic media have come to rely on The Global Language Monitor for its expert analysis on cultural trends and their subsequent impact on various aspects of culture.

Worldwide print and electronic media have come to rely on GLM for it Trend Tracking and analytics-based analyses.

BBC Cites GLM for Words of the Decade

At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the BBC used two global experts to choose the words that would sum up the decades,  represented English as spoken in the UK, the other English as spoken in America, Australia and the rest of the world.

The Global Language Monitor’s president was chosen for Global English as shown below.

A representative sampling includes:  CNN, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Associated Press, United Press International, Knight-Ridder, USAToday, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Charlotte Observer, Minneapolis Star Tribune, San Jose Mercury, New York Post, NPR, FoxNews, ABC, NBC, CBS, ChinaNews, Peoples Daily, The National Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, The BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Company, The Canadian Broadcasting Company, The Cape Town Argus, El Pais (Madrid), The Daily Mail (Scotland), The Hindustan Times, The Gulf News (Qatar), and various electronic and print media on six continents.

About Paul JJ Payack

Paul JJ Payack has served as a senior executive of three Fortune 500 high technology companies (Unisys, Dun & Bradstreet, and StorageTek), and three Silicon Valley technology companies (Apollo Computer, Intelliguard Software, Legato Systems) that were acquired by four other Silicon Valley giants (EMC, Dell, Oracle, and HP), as well as numerous start-ups and re-starts.  (For Payack’s Linkedin bio, go here.)

Currently, GLM’s President and Chief Word Analyst, he also was the founding president of yourDictionary.com. These two language sites attract millions of page views a month. He founded GLM in Silicon Valley in 2003 and moved it to Austin, Texas in 2008.

Payack taught scientific and technological communications at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Texas-Arlington and Babson College, the Federal Reserve Bank (NY), GM/Hughes Aircraft, and many others.

He is a frequent guest on the media circuit including CNN, the BBC, NPR, the CBS, Australia Broadcasting Company and Chinese Radio and Television.

Payack is the author of some eighteen collections (seven currently in print), including  A Million Words and Counting, Kensington (New York) as well as co-author with Edward ML Peters of  The Paid-for Option (Tower Oaks Press), an analysis of the healthcare crisis in the USA.  (For a sampling of Payack’s creative work, including metafiction, flash fiction, and collage art, go here.)

Payack studied philosophy and psychology at Bucknell University and was graduated from Harvard University where he studied comparative literature and classical languages, also publishing his first collection of metafiction, A Ripple in Entropy.  Later he earned a CAGS with a focus on fine arts;  his thesis being a Play in Seven Episodes.  Worlds to Shatter, Shattered Worlds.

He currently resides in Austin, Texas with his wife, Millie, and family. Contact Payack directly:  001 737 215 7750 or pauljjpayack@gmail.com or @languagemonitor.



click tracking

glm-logo

In 2003, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) was founded in Silicon Valley by Paul J.J. Payack on the understanding that new technologies and techniques were necessary for truly understanding the world of Big Data, as it is now known.
Today, from its home in Austin, Texas GLM provides a number of innovative products and services that utilize its ‘algorithmic services’ to help worldwide customers protect, defend and nurture their branded products and entities.  Products include ‘brand audits’ to assess the current status, establish baselines, and competitive benchmarks for current intellectual assets and brands.

These services are currently provided to the Fortune 500, Olympic Partners, leading Higher Education institutions, high-tech firms, the worldwide print and electronic media, the global fashion industry, among others.

Contact GLM directly at  001 737 215 7750 or pauljjpayack@gmail.com or @languagemonitor.

Paul JJ Payack lecturing on Big and Ephemeral Data in Shanghai

Payack was cited as the first Shanghai International Creative City Think Tank Master.

GLM foresees a time in the near future where data doubles every hour, every minute, then every second.

To address this unfolding reality, GLM created the tools you need to address an enterprise in a world never at rest, where the facts can change before you locked your strategy into place, in the world where the social media of today is but a hint of what will emerge in the coming months and years.

GLM’s specialized products and services have been built from the ground up for Big and bigger date,  for a marketplace ever in flux, where the only constant changes.

Belfer Center Logo

Ephemera

In 2003, GLM’s founder, Paul JJ Payack, first conceived of a new class of data that he called Ephemera, or Ephemeral Data.

 Global Language Monitor’s proprietary algorithms (including the PQI and Narrative Tracker) are used to plum ephemeral data on any topic for any industry worldwide, quickly and accurately.  Many organizations have used GLM as an additional input to their already robust analytical solutions.  Call 1.737.215.7750 or email info@LanguageMonitor.com

Subprime Meltdown (New York Times)

In 2006, The New York Times worked with the Global Language Monitor to assess the state of the New York City real estate market.  GLM’s used its proprietary POI technology, which The Times described as “an algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet in relation to frequency, context, and appearance in the global media.”  The study has been hailed as presaging the coming Financial Meltdown, now known as the Great Recession.

The New York Times featuring GLM’s PQI
.

GLM’s Founder on BBC America

GLM as a Source of Record

GLM continues to be cited hundreds of by the leading print and electronic media the world over. In fact, the worldwide print and electronic media have come to rely on The Global Language Monitor for its expert analysis on cultural trends and their subsequent impact on various aspects of culture.

Worldwide print and electronic media have come to rely on GLM for it Trend Tracking and analytics-based analyses.

BBC Cites GLM for Words of the Decade

At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the BBC used two global experts to choose the words that would sum up the decades,  represented English as spoken in the UK, the other English as spoken in America, Australia and the rest of the world.

The Global Language Monitor’s president was chosen for Global English as shown below.

A representative sampling includes:  CNN, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Associated Press, United Press International, Knight-Ridder, USAToday, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Charlotte Observer, Minneapolis Star Tribune, San Jose Mercury, New York Post, NPR, FoxNews, ABC, NBC, CBS, ChinaNews, Peoples Daily, The National Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, The BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Company, The Canadian Broadcasting Company, The Cape Town Argus, El Pais (Madrid), The Daily Mail (Scotland), The Hindustan Times, The Gulf News (Qatar), and various electronic and print media on six continents.

About Paul JJ Payack

Paul JJ Payack has served as a senior executive of three Fortune 500 high technology companies (Unisys, Dun & Bradstreet, and StorageTek), and three Silicon Valley technology companies (Apollo Computer, Intelliguard Software, Legato Systems) that were acquired by four other Silicon Valley giants (EMC, Dell, Oracle, and HP), as well as numerous start-ups and re-starts.  (For Payack’s Linkedin bio, go here.)

Currently, GLM’s President and Chief Word Analyst, he also was the founding president of yourDictionary.com. These two language sites attract millions of page views a month. He founded GLM in Silicon Valley in 2003 and moved it to Austin, Texas in 2008.

Payack taught scientific and technological communications at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Texas-Arlington and Babson College, the Federal Reserve Bank (NY), GM/Hughes Aircraft, and many others.

He is a frequent guest on the media circuit including CNN, the BBC, NPR, the CBS, Australia Broadcasting Company and Chinese Radio and Television.

Payack is the author of some eighteen collections (seven currently in print), including  A Million Words and Counting, Kensington (New York) as well as co-author with Edward ML Peters of  The Paid-for Option (Tower Oaks Press), an analysis of the healthcare crisis in the USA.  (For a sampling of Payack’s creative work, including metafiction, flash fiction, and collage art, go here.)

Payack studied philosophy and psychology at Bucknell University and was graduated from Harvard University where he studied comparative literature and classical languages, also publishing his first collection of metafiction, A Ripple in Entropy.  Later he earned a CAGS with a focus on fine arts;  his thesis being a Play in Seven Episodes.  Worlds to Shatter, Shattered Worlds.

He currently resides in Austin, Texas with his wife, Millie, and family. Contact Payack directly:  001 737 215 7750 or pauljjpayack@gmail.com or @languagemonitor.



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New York is Declared Top Global Fashion Capital of the Decade; Paris Takes the Crown for 2019.

PRESS RELEASE FEB 4, 2020

For more info email info@languagemonitor.com or call Paul JJ Payack +1 737. 215.7750

AUSTIN, Texas, February 4, 2020 (Newswire.com) - The Global Language Monitor, a United States-based Big-data research firm has announced the Top Global Fashion Capitals of the Decade (2010-2019) and of the Top Global Fashion of the Year 2019.   New York was named the Top Global Fashion Capitals of the Decade, while Paris takes the 2019 crown – its Third This Decade.  GLM has been ranking the Top Global Fashion Capitals since 2007.

Paris Takes the 2019 Crown - Its Third This Decade

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Global Language Monitor, the worldwide leader in the documentation, analysis, and tracking of trends in the English language worldwide, has announced the Top Global Fashion Capitals of the Decade (2010-2019) and of the Year 2019. New York was named the Top Global Fashion Capital of the Decade, while Paris Takes the 2019 Crown – its Third in the last 10 years. GLM has been ranking the Top Global Fashion Capitals since 2007.

It’s no surprise that New York and Paris have continued to vie for the top spot on the rankings. Paris won the Top Global Fashion Capital title for 2019, up from fourth place ranking in 2018. Over the decade, New York won big with an average rank of 1.6, finishing in first or second place every year since 2010 – earning it the number one spot for the decade. Paris finished second for the decade with an average rank of 2.4.  

New York Vs Paris Vie For the Top Global Fashion Capital Throughoutthe Decade

London took third place on the decade’s ranking with an average rank of 2.7, centering upon its spectacular two-year run from 2011 to 2012, coinciding with a highly-anticipated Olympics Game and the ever-stylish, Alexander McQueen-adorned Kate Middleton.

Global Language Monitor has been ranking the Top Fashion Capital since 2007

“Fashion is a driving force both economically and culturally and have an impact regionally, country-wide and even across the world,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “Structural change is here, as reflected in the rankings. The traditional fashion capitals are holding their own, but the emerging cities are appearing ever-more frequently throughout the rankings.”

These burgeoning fashion capitals include Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Barcelona, Madrid, and Berlin.

New York’s Mid-town Manhattan

The ever-increasing number of Red Carpet events is having a growing impact.  What was once reserved for the Oscars and Emmys, now include such worthy newcomers as the Met Gala and British Oscars down to ComicCon events and the Country Music Awards. Their impact is most readily seen in the rise of Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Also of note in 2019, Tel Aviv and Tehran earned inclusion on the rankings.  Tel Aviv came in at No.57 while Tehran took the 58th spot. Tel Aviv, promoted as the “non-stop city”, has a robust public fashion profile. Tehran, under the leadership of the Islamic state, has a hidden yet vibrant fashion scene. The long-awaited rise of Third World fashion centers has now arrived,  Perhaps the most dramatic example, including Lagos, which rose over three rankings from 60th to 41st.

More information about the company and its top lists can be found at Languagemonitor.com.

About Global Language Monitor

Based in Austin, Texas, the Global Language Monitor collectively documents, analyzes and tracks trends in language usage worldwide, with a particular emphasis upon the English language. The company is known for its Word of the Year, political analysis, college and university rankings, high-tech buzzwords, and media analytics. For more information, visit Languagemonitor.com.

Top Global Fashion Capitals Leaders in Sustainability

The Global Language Monitor has been at the forefront of the Sustainability movement since we named Sustainable as one of our Top Words of the Year some fourteen years ago in 2006.

When GLM named the Top Words of the 21st Century, ‘Truth’ was no. 1, followed closely ‘Progress’ at No. 2. Then came ‘Sustainability’ at No. 3. Sustainability has come a long way in the last decade-and-a-half, now besting even ‘Internet’, ‘Climate Change,’ and ‘Global Warming’.

We have also been ranking the ‘Top Global Fashion Capitals’ since 2007, and have been quoted widely on sustainable, ethical, and green fashion. Our Fashion Director penned a section in Red Carpet Green Dress’ Fashion Designer’s Resource Book

Therefore in 2020, we introduced the Sustainability Rankings as part of our annual Top Global Fashion Capital rankings. The first Sustainability Rankings appear below.

About Global Language Monitor

Based in Austin, Texas, the Global Language Monitor collectively documents, analyzes and tracks trends in language usage worldwide, with a particular emphasis upon the English language. The company is known for its Top Global Fashion Capitals, Word of the Year, political analysis, college and university rankings, high-tech buzzwords, and media analytics. For more information, visit Languagemonitor.com.

Media Contact:
info@languagemonitor.com

The Authority Behind The Top Global Fashion Capitals

The Top Global Fashion Capitals was created by the Global Language Monitor to provide a non-biased ranking of the Top Global Fashion Capitals using technology-industry standard tools to rank various entities from luxury automobile brands, to colleges and universties, and now to fashion capitals.

By Paul JJ Payack, Creator and Curator of The Top Global Fashion Capitals Program

Top 63 Global Fashion Capitals 2020 Edition

The fashion world is in a period of great flux. We created the Top Global Fashion Capitals™ rankings in 2007 when the global economy was reeling from a number of structural hits from which it has yet recovered.

Through our big data analysis of economic trends, we came to understand that fashion was and would continue to be, one of the few bright spots in the global economy. We also came to understand that it was a model of a decentralized, diversified industry with dozens of little- recognized centers from cities, nations, and cultural traditions.

Thus was born our effort to recognize and analyze the Top Global Fashion Capitals ranking them by their brand equity in the same manner as one would rank universities, luxury automobiles, and CPG brands.

GLM began with a few test runs and then published our first global rankings in 2007, which included the usual suspects and their immediate competitors, which we determined through global big-data analyses. We then ranked each city against three and then four different categories of fashion from which the final rankings would emerge.

Later, once we had gathered enough data, we included a trend-tracking ‘predictive element’ that had been used in GLM’s Narrative and Trend Tracking products and services.

The Top Global Fashion Capitals are now recognized as the standard in the fashion world, as you can see below. For the 2020 edition, we are tracking more than three-score established and emerging centers of fashion.

Our efforts have attracted an inordinate number of citations in the global media, as well as in academic, research and texts. For more than a decade now, the Global Language Monitor has employed its proprietary algorithms to cut through the world of Big Data establishing the definitive, non-biased rankings of the Top Global Fashion Capitals.

The result is a longitudinal survey that runs for three years, with its final updating in the weeks before the yearly announcement. GLM surveys. billions of web pages, millions of blogs, the top 300,000 global print and electronic media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge. In effect, any and all databases available on the web, including key proprietary databases for specific content.

“Since we are expanding to include a number of cities, each with emerging and burgeoning fashion scenes, we are quite excited about the 2020 Global Fashion Capital rankings,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “Fashion continues to drive both economic growth for the region as well as a release of creativity that will impact their city, their region, and perhaps even the world.

To see more on the Top Global Fashion Capitals , go here.

Number of Words in English

1,057,379.6

Number of Words in the English Language, January 1, 2020, estimate

Millionth English word’ declared

Matt Frei reports on English’s unique linguistic evolution and then spoke to Global Language Monitor’s Paul JJ Payack who helped find this millionth English word.


GLM TV

BBC America:  ’Millionth English word’ declared

A US web monitoring firm has declared the millionth English word to be Web 2.0, a term for the latest generation of web products and services.

Matt Frei reports on English’s unique linguistic evolution and then spoke to Global Language Monitor’s Paul Payack who helped find this millionth English word.

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SEE ALSO

BBC NEWS | Programmes | World News America | ‘Millionth English word’ declared

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One Million Words and Counting:  NBC

NBC News:  One Million Words and Counting

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Watch ABC NightLine:  ’The Word Nerd’ Discovers the Millionth Word

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Now you can watch the Global Language Monitor Channel on

All Language News, Any time You Want It!

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Top All-time Bushisms (CNN)

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2008 Presidential Elections Real-Time Analysis


2008 Presidential Election, Real-time Analysis

Real-time (Historical) Analysis

Complete Coverage of the 2008 Elections

Nicholas D. Kristof: Obama and the war on brains

Obama “Yes, We Can” Speech Ranked With “I have a Dream,” “Tear Down this Wall,” and JFK Inaugural

AUSTINTX,  November 7, 2008 – In an analysis completed earlier today, the Global Language Monitor has found that Barak Obama’s “Yes, We Can” speech delivered Tuesday night in Chicago’s Grant Park ranked favorably in tone, tenor and rhetorical flourishes with memorable political addresses of the recent past including Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech, “Tear Down his Wall,” by Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address. GLM has been tracking the language used in the debates and speeches of the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates throughout the bruising 2008 campaign. In nearly every category, from grade level to the use of passive voice, even the average numbers of letters in the words he chose, Obama’s Victory Speech was very similar in construction to the speeches of King, Reagan, and Kennedy.

Obama Speech a Winner

“As is appropriate for a forward-looking message of hope and reconciliation, words of change and hope, as well as future-related constructions dominated the address,” said Paul JJ Payack President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “Evidently, Obama is at his best at connecting with people at the 7th to 8th grade range, communicating directly to his audience using simple yet powerful rhetorical devices, such as the repetition of the cadenced phrase ‘Yes, we can’, which built to a powerful conclusion.”

Obama’s Victory Speech also was similar in construction to his 2004 Democratic Convention address, which first brought him to widespread national attention.

The statistical breakdown follows.

  Obama Victory Speech   Obama 2004 Convention
Words 2049   2238
Sentences/Paragraph 1.8   2
Words/Sentence 18.9   20.0
Characters/Word 4.2   4.3
Reading Ease 72.4   67.5
Passive 11%   8%
Grade Level 7.4   8.3

For a future-oriented message of hope and vision, the passive voice was used frequently but effectively. Examples include: “There will be setbacks and false starts. It was also noted that Obama spoke in the authoritative voice of the future Commander-in-Chief with such phrasings as “To those who would tear the world down – We will defeat you. Some commentators noticed the absence of the collapse of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in the 2001 terrorist attacks from Obama’s catalog of significant events of last 106 years. Historical comparisons follow.

Kennedy Inaugural Address 10.8
Reagan ‘Tear Down This Wall” 9.8
Lincoln “Gettysburg Address” 9.1
Martin Luther King: ”I have a dream” 8.8
Obama 2004 Democrat Convention 8.3
Obama Victory Speech “Yes, we can” 7.4

‘Change’, ‘Cataclysmic Events,’ and ‘Global Financial Tsunami’ Dominate Concerns of the American Electorate on Nov. 4

AUSTINTX, November 4, 2008 – In an analysis completed just hours before voting began for the 2008 the USPresidential Elections, Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor has found that ‘Change’, ‘‘Cataclysmic Events,’ and ‘Global Financial Tsunami’ related words and phrases dominate the Top Ten Concerns of the American Electorate on Nov. 4, 2008.

The results are based on an on-going 18-month analysis of the political language and buzzwords used throughout the presidential since before the primaries began.  GLM’s uses its PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration, and directional momentum. Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word.

Top Ten Concerns of the American Electorate on November 4, 2008.

  1. Change is key. Change favors Obama over McCain 3:2.
  2. Cataclysmic events, global warming and climate change rank higher than all other issues except change.
  3. The Global Financial Tsunami and related terms permeate the Election and are that persistent low-humming heard in the background.
  4. Experience counts. Experience favors McCain over Obama 4:3.
  5. Concerns persist about Obama’s experience, background, and the past and current associations.
  6. Gender is an ongoing issue: it began with Hillary and continues with Palin though it is disguised in all sorts of well-meaning platitudes.
  7. For many in this campaign, gender actually trumps race.
  8. For all the concern about race, it actually seems to be having a positive effect on the Obama campaign, in its an ongoing, just beneath the surface dialogue, with millions (both black and white) voting for Obama precisely BECAUSE he is a black man. This is viewed as separating us (and in some sense liberating us) from a long, painful history.
  9. Working Class Whites are used as a code word for whites who are working class. No other moniker, such as Reagan Democrats or Soccer Moms has caught on in this election cycle.
  10. Obama, to his great credit, is no longer perceived as ‘aloof’.

What’s the advantage of the PQI over the Polls?

According to Paul JJ Payack, president and chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor:

The PQI is, perhaps, the ultimate ‘It is what it is’ measurement of consumer (and in this case Political) sentiment. The PQI simply measures the occurrence of certain words or phrases in the print and electronic media (traditional or otherwise), on the Internet, and across the Blogosphere. It is by its very nature non-biased. When we take a statistical snapshot for the PQI there is no adjustment for ‘underrepresented’ groups, there are no assumptions about probability of turnout, the proportions of newly registered voters, traditional models, or expanded modularities. Rather we take our measurements, check for the rate of positive or negative change in the appearance of a searched word or phrase (what we call velocity and) and publish our results. In other words, it is what it is. Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.”

The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:  Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included:  Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!

Top 10 Things Political Buzzwords Tell Us About the Vote

AUSTINTX, November 3, 2008 – In an analysis completed just 48 hours before the US Presidential Elections theGlobal Language Monitor has announced the final installment of the Top Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Presidential Campaign. GLM, has been tracking the buzzwords in this election cycle for some eighteen months. Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word. For example, the word surge has been in the English-language vocabulary since time immemorial.  However, in its new context as an Iraq War strategy, it inspires a set of emotions in many people far beyond the norm.

According to Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of Global Language Monitor:

  1. The electorate appears to be more advanced in its thinking than either party (or platform). Taken as a whole their concerns center upon uncontrollable, cataclysmic events such as the global financial meltdown and climate change (Nos. 1 and 2), while raising taxes (No. 22) or cutting taxes (No. 27) are lesser (though still important) concerns.
  2. The phrase ‘Financial Meltdown’ has broken into the Top 20, jumping some 2600% in usage over the last month.
  3. Change is the topmost concern. Though change from what to what remains a good question. ‘Change’ is,without question the top word of this campaign. Both candidates are benefitting from the mantra; however Obama holds a 3:2 edge over McCain in this regard.
  4. The second-most discussed term of the campaign barely surfaces in most media reports, and this is the combination of ‘Climate Change’ and/or ‘Global Warming’.
  5. Experience (No. 5) counts. A lot. Especially, if that experience can serve as a guide through the current series of cataclysmic events. McCain edges Obama 4:3 in the experience category. But Obama is given significant credit as a quick (and judicious) study.
  6. Everyone is talking about race (No. 16) except, apparently, the electorate. It is a Top Twenty issue, but it’s nestled between Joe the Plumber and Obama’s smoking.
  7. Iraq is now a non-issue. No. 8, Surge,and its apparent success has settled the argument, so it is no longer a question of victory or defeat. Even Al Qaeda has lost its grip on the electorate, falling some 11 spots in two weeks.
  8. Palin (Nos 14 and 21) is a ‘go-to’ subject for the media and campaigns alike, with both sides thinking they gain tremendous leverage in her disparagement or apotheosis.
  9. Tony Rezko (No. 23), Acorn (No. 24) and Jeremiah Wright (No. 26) are indeed issues, but are viewed as minor, settled or both for the Obama campaign.
  10. The word, aloof, as related to Obama is no longer on the list.  At the end of the Primary season in June, it was No 14 and a major concern of the Obama campaign.  Obama has apparently overcome this sense of aloofness.

The ranking of Top Election Buzzwords of the 2008 Presidential Campaign and commentary follow.

  Presidential Campaign PQI 11.2.08 Comment
Rank    
1 Change Obama has a 3:2 Edge over McCain with Change
2 Climate Change Global warming within 1/2 of 1% for the overall lead
3 Gasoline Up 2 this week as prices fall
4 Recession Does a global financial meltdown count as a recession?
5 Experience Down 2; McCain has 4:3 Edge Here
6 Obama Muslim A continued presence in Cyberspace
7 Subprime How we got into this mess in the first place
8 Surge One of the Top Words from ’07 now taking a victory lap
9 “That one” Has spurred the Obama base with ‘I’m for That One’ slogans
10 “Just Words” Oh Hillary, what hath thou wrought?
11 Gender Up dramatically since fall campaign though down for week
12 Working Class Whites Still the object of much affection AND derision
13 Price of oil More discussion as price declines; up 5
14 Palin Swimsuit On SNL Alec Baldwin claimed Balin’s ‘way hotter in person’
15 Joe the Plumber Now making appearances with McCain; up 5
16 Racism (election) Belies all the media buzz; now in top 20
17 Obama smoking Down 5 but still in Top Twenty
18 Financial meltdown Now buzzworthy, indeed.
19 Wall Street Bailout As reality of global financial meltdown sets in, down 6
20 Internet fundraising Hangs in there as a hot buzzword at 20
21 Lipstick Drops dramatically over the last survey; down 10
22 Raise taxes Raise Taxes No 22; cut taxes No. 27.  Ho Hum.
23 Rezko Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko gains one
24 Acorn Voter Reg Loses a couple as interest apparently wanes
25 Al Qaeda election Lurking beneath the surface but falls out of Top Twenty
26 Jeremiah Wright Dr. Wright remains on the radar though falling five more spots
27 Cut taxes Raise Taxes No 22; cut taxes No. 27.  Ho Hum.
28 Hockey Mom Causes headlines but not a top issue
29 Nuclear Iran Drops one more spot since last survey
30 Wash Talking Heads Not a good week for the Cognoscenti; down 15

The ranking is determined by GLM’s PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.  Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.

The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:  Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included:  Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!

Listen to the Interview on WNYC/PRI

The Final Debate:  Obama & McCain Differ Sharply

Obama Doubles Use of Passive Voice Over McCain

Memorable quotes: ‘Joe the Plumber’; ‘I am not President Bush’

AUSTINTX,  October 16, 2008.  In a linguistic analysis of the final Presidential Debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, the Global Language Monitor has found that in sharp contrast to prior debates, Obama’s use of the passive voice doubled that of McCain (and was significantly higher than he typically uses).  The use of the passive voice is considered significant in political speech because audiences generally respond better to active voice, which they tend to view asmore direct.  On a grade-level basis, Obama came in at 9.3 with McCain scoring grade level, while McCain came in at 7.4, a difference of nearly two grade levels.  The debate took place at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York.   The statistical breakdown follows.

  Obama McCain Difference
       
Words 7,146 6,562 584
Words/Sentence 19.4 15.2 4.2
Sentences/Paragraph 2.0 2.1 5%
Characters/Word 4.4 4.4 0%
Passive Voice (%) 6% 3% 100%
Reading Ease 62.6 68.6 6
Grade level 9.3 7.4 1.9

Using industry-standard tools and techniques, GLM ranks the candidates’ speech on a number of levels from grade-reading level, the use of the passive voice, a reading ease score (the higher, the easiest to understand), the number of words per sentence, the number of characters per word, among others.

“Again, word choice and usage speaks volumes,” said Paul JJ Payack, GLM’s President & Chief Word Analyst. “Obama came in at a higher grade level than his previous efforts, but McCain was somewhat easier to understand.  Obama’s significantly higher use of the passive voice combined with his frequent use of the word ‘I’ perhaps indicated an impatience with his opponent  last witnessed in his debates with Hillary Clinton.”

Read:   L’Histoire’s    La Langue des Campagnes

Obama used the personal pronoun, ‘I’ about 158 times in the debate, while McCain used the word some 119 times.

Memorable phrases include more than a dozen references to ‘Joe the Plumber,’ one Joe Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio, and John McCain’s ‘I am not President Bush’ retort to Sen. Obama’s attempt to link his policies to those of the current president.

Obama the Intellectual
Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

For comparison purposes, here is the results last week’s Town-hall style debate. That debate was notable in the fact that the questions asked by the audience outdistanced both Obama and McCain in the grade-level ranking category.  Perhaps, the most memorable phrase from that debate is perhaps ‘’That one!” the term McCain used to refer to Obama.  “That One” has already joined GLM’s analysis of the Top Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Campaign.

  Obama McCain Difference
       
Words 7,146 6,562 584
Words/Sentence 19.4 15.2 4.2
Sentences/Paragraph 2.0 2.1 5%
Characters/Word 4.4 4.4 0%
Passive Voice (%) 6% 3% 100%
Reading Ease 62.6 68.6 6
Grade level 9.3 7.4 1.9

Top Buzzwords of Presidential Campaign: Two Weeks Out

Bailout falls dramatically; Experience and Gender Rise
‘Change’ and ’Global Warming/Climate Change’ in statistical tie for top

.

AUSTINTX, October 21, 2008 – In an analysis completed just two weeks before the US Presidential Elections the Global Language Monitor has announced that Change and Climate Change remain in a statistical tie for top spot in its list of Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Presidential Campaign, with Bailout falling dramatically to No. 13.

“In the Change ranking, Obama outdistanced McCain by a 3:2 ratio, while in the No. 2 Experience ranking, McCain held a 3:2 edge over Obama,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “Joe the Plumber and ACORN voter registration references broke into the Top 25, at No. 19 and No. 22, respectively. In a related finding, Gender (No. 10) continued to rise as Race (No. 20) continued to fall, raising the question if gender is the new race?”

Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word.  For example, the word surge has been in the English-language vocabulary since time immemorial.  However, in its new context as an Iraq War strategy, it inspires a set of emotions in many people far beyond the norm. The rank of Top Election Buzzwords, past rank, and commentary follow.

  1. Change (1) — Obama has a 3:2 edge over McCain with Change
  2. Climate Change (2) — Global warming within 1/2 of 1% for the overall lead
  3. Experience (5) — McCain has 3:2 edge over Obama with Experience
  4. Recession (4) — World economy imploding but still not officially a ‘recession’
  5. Gasoline (6) — Up one as the price dropsa1
  6. Obama Muslim Connection (8) — A persistent topic in Cyberspace; up 2
  7. Subprime (7) — How we got into this mess in the first place
  8. Surge (10) — One of the Top Words from ‘07 moving up ‘ 08 chart
  9. “That one” (12) – The remark has spurred the Obama base: ‘I’m for That One’
  10. Gender (9) – Is ‘gender’ the new ‘race’?
  11. Lipstick (13) — Any talk of Lipstick seems to spur McCain-Palin base
  12. Obama smoking (11) – Surprise here; continues to draw interest
  13. Bailout (3) – Bailout, as a word, dramatically slipping as reality of the entire debacle sets in
  14. “Just Words” (20) — Hillary’s comment on Obama still echoes through the media
  15. Washington Talking Heads (21) – Up six this past week alone
  16. Palin Swimsuit (24) – Fueled by Alec Baldwin on SNL: Balin’s ‘way hotter in person’
  17. Al Qaeda (14) — Always lurking beneath the surface
  18. Price of oil (15) – Weakens as price declines
  19. Joe the Plumber (NR) – Breaks into Top 25 in debut
  20. Race (16) – Continues to drop in media buzz
  21. Jeremiah Wright (19) — Dr. Wright remains on the radar, down from No.2 at start
  22. Acorn Voter Registration (NR) – Debuts in Top 25; dramatic move over last week
  23. Internet fundraising (17) — Loses luster as story; down 6 more spots
  24. Rezko (25) — Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko breaks into Top 25
  25. Raise taxes (18) Raise Taxes No 25; cut taxes No. 27: Are you Listening

Others

  1. Hockey Mom (22) – Loses a bit of steam
  2. Cut taxes (26) Both ‘cut’ and ‘raise’ down this week, again
  3. Nuclear Iran (23) Peaked out at No. 18

The ranking is determined by GLM’s PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.  Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.

The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:  Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included:  Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!

The US Presidential Election and the Financial Tsunami

Seemingly chaotic events reflect normalcy of new reality

A Historical Inflection Point

AUSTINTX,  October 13, 2008. The worldwide financial tsunami that has captured the attention of the worldwide media (as well as governments, corporations, and ordinary citizens), has come to dominate one of the great quadrennial media events of the post-Modern era. No, we are not referring to the Olympics, most recently held in Beijing, or even football’s World Cup but, rather, the US Presidential elections.

The immediate effect of this unprecedented upheaval of global markets is the obfuscation of the clear lines of division offered by the opposing parties in the US Presidential Elections.

There is the sense that we are witnessing an unprecedented historical event; historical in the sense that we now appear to be standing astride (or atop) a cusp in history, a delta, a decision point, what is now called a point of inflection or inflection point.

Watching the nightly news and reading the traditional (for the last two centuries, that is) media, one has the distinct sense that what they perceive as unprecedented almost chaotic circumstances is actually that of the normalcy of the new reality, that of communications at the speed of light that the internet has foisted upon us.

We keep hearing about this most unusual of election cycles, but this is only true when looking through the prism (and historical construct) of the traditional news gathering operations. What is called the 24-hour News Cycle is actually just the tip of the Tsunami washing over the planet at a steady speed and ever-quicker pace. Indeed, the nature of the beast hasn’t change at all. It is our outdated techniques, that haven’t kept up with the new reality: News now emanates at the speed of thought, from tens of thousands or, even, millions of sources.

The nature of a Tsunami is little understood other than the tremendous damage it unleashes when it washes ashore. What we do know, however, is that a tsunami travels in exceedingly long waves (tens of kilometers in length) racing through the oceanic depths at hundreds of kilometers per hour. Only upon reaching the shore is its true destructive power unleashed for all to see (if they survive to witness it at all).

In the same manner, the traditional media become transfixed with the roiling surface seas but fail to acknowledge the more sustained and significant, movements occurring just beneath the surface.

The surface swirls about in fascinating eddies, but the true transformation is occurring as the nearly undetectable waves rush through the open sea only occasionally, though dramatically, making their way onto shore.

In the same manner, the traditional media focuses on the Twenty-four-hour News Cycle but seem to miss the strong and prevalent currents immediately beneath the surface. They vainly attempt to tie global, transformative, and unprecedented events to relatively parochial events and forces (the Reagan Years, the Clinton administration, Bush 41 and 43, the deregulation initiatives of Alan Greenspan of ‘99) that are being all but overshadowed (and –whelmed) by unyielding and all-but-irresistible forces.

There is an almost palpable sense and correct sense that things are 1) changing forever, 2) out of our control (or even influence), and 3) will have a direct impact upon the planet for generations to follow.

What we can control, and make sense of, however, is a candidate’s wink, smirk or disdainful reference. We can emphatically pin down our opponents into convenient sound bites, hopefully, contradict earlier sound bites. Do you personally take responsibility for Climate Change? (Does the fact that New York City was beneath 5,000 feet of Ice a few dozen centuries ago influence your vote today? A yes or no will suffice!) Is your personal philosophy, whatever it might be, grounded in a belief system that I can systematically debunk and demean. (Yes or no.) Are you for or against atom smashers creating minuscule black holes that may or may not swallow up the Earth? (Answer yes and you are a barbarian; answer no and you have absolutely no respects of the future prospects of the human race.) Did you ever consider yourself a loser (at any point in your life)? Did you ever make the acquaintance of fellow losers?

Nevertheless, the US Presidential Election will proceed to its own conclusion on the first Tuesday of November in the year two thousand and eight.

For the preceding five years, The Global Language Monitor has attempted to clarify the course (and future course) of human events as documented in the English language. The tools at our disposal have sometimes allowed us to peer into events and trends that become, otherwise, obscured, by the ‘noise’ of the Twenty-four Hour News Cycle. Our goal was, and continues to be, to extricate (and explicate upon) the true currents underpinning the events we call news, and to better understand what they mean and how they are perceived with the new media reality in mind. For example, back in the days preceding the 2004 Presidential election cycle, GLM discovered the fact that once ideas, words and phrases were launched into the vast, uncharted, oceanic Internet, they do not, indeed, die out after twenty-four hours but, rather, travel in deep, powerful currents and waves (not unlike those of a tsunami) that only grow stronger as they make their ways to distant shores.

In this new reality, tsunami-like ideas pass through vast seas of information of the Internet, nearly undetected and often unmeasured, until they crash upon our shorelines, where their full power (and possibly fury) is unleashed. The fact that we only entertain them for 24 hours before they are dispatched into the archives of what is considered ‘past’ or ‘passed’ and readily discarded, is beyond the point. We often hear that ‘we’ve never seen anything like this’ before. Of course not. Think back a few hundred years to other information revolutions, such as that introduced along with mechanical type. What do you think the fortunate few thought when they first laid their eyes upon the works of Aristotle, the Bible, or the Arabic translations of Euclid? No one had ever seen anything like that before! Indeed. And astonishment will only become more so as the future unfolds.

— Paul JJ Payack, President & Chief Word Analyst, The Global Language Monitor

Vice Presidential Debate Linguistic Analysis:

Palin at 10th Grade-level; Biden at 8th Grade-level
Palin’s use of passive voice highest of the 2008 Debates

AUSTINTX,  October 3, 2008. The first and only vice presidential debate of the 2008 Campaign has resulted in Governor Sarah Palin, the republican nominee for vice president speaking at a 10th-grade level, with Senator Joe Biden coming in at an 8th-grade level.  Also noteworthy was the fact that Gov. Palin’s use of passive voice was the highest (at 8%) of the 2008 Presidential and Vice Presidential debates thus far.  The analysis was performed by The Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com), the Austin, Texas-based media analytics and analysis company.

GLM ranks the candidates’ speech on a number of levels from grade-reading level, the use of the passive voice, ‘a readability’ score (the closer to one hundred the easiest to understand, the number of words per sentence, even the number of characters per word.

The statistical breakdown follows.

Vice Presidential Debate    
       
  Biden Palin Comment
       
Grade Level 7.8 9.5 Palin raises a few eyebrows here.
No. of Words 5,492 5235 This is a surprise; shows tremendous restraint on the normally loquacious Biden. Obama used 20 more words per minute than McCain.
Sentences/Paragraph 2.7 2.6 A statistical tie.
Words/Sentence 15.8 19.9 Palin even outdistances professorial Obama on this one; Obama scored 17.4
Characters/Word 4.4 4.4 Everyone has apparently learned that shorter words are easier to understand (rather than monosyllabic words facilitate comprehension).
Passive Voice 5% 8% Passive voice can be used to deflect responsibility; Biden used active voice when referring to Cheney and Bush; Palin countered with passive deflections.
Ease of Reading 66.7 62.4 100 is the easiest to read (or hear).

Notes:  The excessive use of passive voice can be used to obscure responsibility since there is no ‘doer of the action’.  For example, ‘Taxes will be raised’ is a passive construction, while ‘I will raise (or lower) taxes’ is an active construction.  Five percent is considered average; low for a politician.

By way of comparison, the ranking by grade-levels for historical debates follow.

Historical Contrasts Grade level
   
Lincoln in Lincoln-Douglas Debates 11.2
Joseph Lieberman 9.9
Ronald Reagan 9.8
John F. Kennedy 9.6
Sarah Palin 9.5
Richard Nixon 9.1
Dick Cheney 9.1
Michael Dukakis 8.9
Bill Clinton 8.5
Al Gore 8.4
George W. Bush 7.1
George H.W. Bush 6.6
Ross Perot 6.3

The number of words is considered approximate, since transcripts vary.

The methodology employed is a modified Flesch-Kincaid formulation.

The First Presidential Debate:

A ‘Linguistic Dead Heat’ — with One Exception

In true professorial fashion, Obama averages some 20 more words per minute

AUSTINTX,  September 28, 2008. The first presidential debate of the 2008 Campaign resulted in a ‘Linguistic Dead Heat’ according to an analysis performed by The Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com).  In nearly every category, from grade level to the use of passive voice, even the average numbers of letters in the words they chose, the candidates remained within the statistical margin of error with one major exception.  In the Number of Words category that the candidates used to convey their messages, Obama, in true professorial style, outdistanced McCain by some thousand words, which breaks down to an average of about 20 more words per minute.

“As in the famous Harvard-Yale game back in 1968, Harvard declared a victory after securing a come-from-behind 29-29 tie.   In the same manner, both sides of the debate have declared victory in an essential deadlocked outcome,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM. “Look at the debate as a football game.  Both teams effectively moved the ball.  However, the scoring was low, and the quarterbacks performed as expected, with McCain completing some excellently thrown passes only to have others blocked by Obama.  Obama’s ground game was more impressive, churning out the yards — but he had difficulty getting the ball over the goal line.”

The statistical breakdown follows.

  McCain Obama
     
Sentences per paragraph 2.2 2.1
Words per sentence 15.9 17.4
Characters per word 4.4 4.3
Passive voice 5% 5%
Ease of Reading (100 Top) 63.7 66.8
Grade Level 8.3 8.2
Number of words (approximate) 7,150 8,068

Notes:  The excessive use of passive voice can be used to obscure responsibility since there is no ‘doer of the action’.  For example, ‘Taxes will be raised’ is a passive construction, while ‘I will raise (or lower) taxes’ is an active construction.  Five percent is considered low.

What are they saying in China?

McCain’s Speech Comes in at the Third Grade Level: Most Direct of all Speakers at Either Convention

Palin & Obama Speech Score Nearly Identical

AUSTINTX, . September 7, 2008. (Updated)  In an exclusive analysis of the speeches made at the recently concluded Political Conventions, the Global Language Monitor found that John McCain spoke at a third-grade reading level, meaning that his speech was the easiest to comprehend of any delivered at either convention. GLM also found that McCain scored the lowest of all convention speakers in use of the passive voice, an indication of ‘direct’ talk. Higher use of the passive voice is often viewed as an indicator of ‘indirect’ and more easily confused speech because the doer of the action is obscured: ‘Taxes will be raised’ rather than ‘I will raise taxes’.

In another finding, GLM found that both Sarah Palin’s and Barack Obama’s widely viewed (38 and 37 million viewers respectively), and much-acclaimed acceptance speeches were closely similar, delivered in language that reflected a ninth grade (9.2 and 9.3 respectively) ‘reading level’.

The basic language evaluation stats are shown below.

John McCain   Sarah Palin   Barack Obama  
3.7   9.2   9.3 Grade Level
1.9   1.3   1.5 Sentences / Paragraph
4.4   4.4   4.4 Letters / Word
79.1   63.8   64.4 Reading Ease (100 is easiest)
6.4   19.5   22.1 Words / Sentence
2%   8%   5% Passive Sentences

It is widely believed that shorter sentences, words and paragraphs are easier to comprehend.

The analysis was performed by the Global Language Monitor, the media analysis, and analytics agency.

GLM used a modified Flesch-Kincaid formula for its analysis, which measures factors such as the number of words in a sentence, the number of letters in a word, the percentage of sentences in passive voice, and other indicators of making things easier to read and, hence, understand.

This release comes in at the second year of college level (14+). 

Warning: do not incorporate these words into presidential addresses.

admin2008 Presidential ElectionBarack ObamaPQIPresidential Elections

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2008 Presidential Election, Real-time (Historical) Analysis

Complete Coverage of the 2008 Elections

 Nicholas D. Kristof: Obama and the war on brains

Obama’s “Yes, We Can” Speech Ranked with “I have a Dream,”

“Tear Down this Wall,” and JFK Inaugural

AUSTINTX,  November 7, 2008 – In an analysis completed earlier today, the Global Language Monitor has found that Barack Obama’s “Yes, We Can” speech delivered Tuesday night in Chicago’s Grant Park ranked favorably in tone, tenor and rhetorical flourishes with memorable political addresses of the recent past including Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech, “Tear Down his Wall,” by Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address. GLM has been tracking the language used in the debates and speeches of the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates throughout the bruising 2008 campaign. In nearly every category, from grade level to the use of passive voice, even the average numbers of letters in the words he chose, Obama’s Victory Speech was very similar in construction to the speeches of King, Reagan, and Kennedy.

Obama Speech a Winner

“Complete Coverage of the for a forward-looking message of hope and reconciliation, words of change and hope, as well as future-related constructions dominated the address,” said Paul JJ Payack President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “Evidently, Obama is at his best at connecting with people at the 7th to 8th-grade range, communicating directly to his audience using simple yet powerful rhetorical devices, such as the repetition of the cadenced phrase ‘Yes, we can’, which built to a powerful conclusion.”

Obama’s Victory Speech also was similar in construction to his 2004 Democratic Convention address, which first brought him to widespread national attention.

The statistical breakdown follows.

  Obama Victory Speech   Obama 2004 Convention
Words 2049   2238
Sentences/Paragraph 1.8   2
Words/Sentence 18.9   20.0
Characters/Word 4.2   4.3
Reading Ease 72.4   67.5
Passive 11%   8%
Grade Level 7.4   8.3

For a future-oriented message of hope and vision, the passive voice was used frequently but effectively. Examples include: “There will be setbacks and false starts. It was also noted that Obama spoke in the authoritative voice of the future Commander-in-Chief with such phrasings as “To those who would tear the world down – We will defeat you.

Some commentators noticed the absence of the collapse of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in the 2001 terrorist attacks from Obama’s catalog of significant events of last 106 years.

Historical comparisons follow.

Kennedy Inaugural Address 10.8
Reagan ‘Tear Down This Wall” 9.8
Lincoln “Gettysburg Address” 9.1
Martin Luther King: ”I have a dream” 8.8
Obama 2004 Democrat Convention 8.3
Obama Victory Speech “Yes, we can” 7.4

Change’, ‘Cataclysmic Events,’ and ‘Global Financial Tsunami’

Dominate Concerns of the American Electorate on Nov. 4

AUSTINTX, November 4, 2008 – In an analysis completed just hours before voting began for the 2008 the USPresidential Elections, Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor has found that ‘Change’, ‘‘Cataclysmic Events,’ and ‘Global Financial Tsunami’ related words and phrases dominate the Top Ten Concerns of the American Electorate on Nov. 4, 2008.

The results are based on an on-going 18-month analysis of the political language and buzzwords used throughout the presidential since before the primaries began.  GLM’s uses its PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration, and directional momentum. Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word.

Top Ten Concerns of the American Electorate on November 4, 2008.

1. Change is key. Change favors Obama over McCain 3:2.

2. Cataclysmic events, global warming and climate change rank higher than all other issues except change.

3. The Global Financial Tsunami and related terms permeate the Election and are that persistent low-humming heard in the background.

4. Experience counts. Experience favors McCain over Obama 4:3.

5. Concerns persist about Obama’s experience, background, and the past and current associations.

6. Gender is an ongoing issue: it began with Hillary and continues with Palin though it is disguised in all sorts of well-meaning platitudes.

7. For many in this campaign, gender actually trumps race.

8. For all the concern about race, it actually seems to be having a positive effect on the Obama campaign, in its an ongoing, just beneath the surface dialogue, with millions (both black and white) voting for Obama precisely BECAUSE he is a black man. This is viewed as separating us (and in some sense liberating us) from a long, painful history.

9. Working Class Whites are used as a code word for whites who are working class. No other moniker, such as Reagan Democrats or Soccer Moms has caught on in this election cycle.

10.  Obama, to his great credit, is no longer perceived as ‘aloof’.

What’s the advantage of the PQI over the Polls?

According to Paul JJ Payack, president and chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor:

The PQI is, perhaps, the ultimate ‘It is what it is’ measurement of consumer (and in this case Political) sentiment. The PQI simply measures the occurrence of certain words or phrases in the print and electronic media (traditional or otherwise), on the Internet, and across the Blogosphere. It is by its very nature non-biased. When we take a statistical snapshot for the PQI there is no adjustment for ‘underrepresented’ groups, there are no assumptions about probability of turnout, the proportions of newly registered voters, traditional models, or expanded modularities. Rather we take our measurements, check for the rate of positive or negative change in the appearance of a searched word or phrase (what we call velocity and) and publish our results. In other words, it is what it is. Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.”

The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:  Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included:  Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!

Top 10 Things Political Buzzwords Tell Us About the Vote

AUSTINTX, November 3, 2008 – In an analysis completed just 48 hours before the US Presidential Elections theGlobal Language Monitor has announced the final installment of the Top Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Presidential Campaign. GLM, has been tracking the buzzwords in this election cycle for some eighteen months. Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word. For example, the word surge has been in the English-language vocabulary since time immemorial.  However, in its new context as an Iraq War strategy, it inspires a set of emotions in many people far beyond the norm.

According to Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of Global Language Monitor:

  1. The electorate appears to be more advanced in its thinking than either party (or platform). Taken as a whole their concerns center upon uncontrollable, cataclysmic events such as the global financial meltdown and climate change (Nos. 1 and 2), while raising taxes (No. 22) or cutting taxes (No. 27) are lesser (though still important) concerns.
  2. The phrase ‘Financial Meltdown’ has broken into the Top 20, jumping some 2600% in usage over the last month.
  3. Change is the topmost concern. Though change from what to what remains a good question. ‘Change’ is,without question the top word of this campaign. Both candidates are benefitting from the mantra; however Obama holds a 3:2 edge over McCain in this regard.
  4. The second-most discussed term of the campaign barely surfaces in most media reports, and this is the combination of ‘Climate Change’ and/or ‘Global Warming’.
  5. Experience (No. 5) counts. A lot. Especially, if that experience can serve as a guide through the current series of cataclysmic events. McCain edges Obama 4:3 in the experience category. But Obama is given significant credit as a quick (and judicious) study.
  6. Everyone is talking about race (No. 16) except, apparently, the electorate. It is a Top Twenty issue, but it’s nestled between Joe the Plumber and Obama’s smoking.
  7. Iraq is now a non-issue. No. 8, Surge,and its apparent success has settled the argument, so it is no longer a question of victory or defeat. Even Al Qaeda has lost its grip on the electorate, falling some 11 spots in two weeks.
  8. Palin (Nos 14 and 21) is a ‘go-to’ subject for the media and campaigns alike, with both sides thinking they gain tremendous leverage in her disparagement or apotheosis.
  9. Tony Rezko (No. 23), Acorn (No. 24) and Jeremiah Wright (No. 26) are indeed issues, but are viewed as minor, settled or both for the Obama campaign.
  10. The word, aloof, as related to Obama is no longer on the list.  At the end of the Primary season in June, it was No 14 and a major concern of the Obama campaign.  Obama has apparently overcome this sense of aloofness.

The ranking of Top Election Buzzwords of the 2008 Presidential Campaign and commentary follow.

  Presidential Campaign PQI 11.2.08 Comment
Rank    
1 Change Obama has a 3:2 Edge over McCain with Change
2 Climate Change Global warming within 1/2 of 1% for the overall lead
3 Gasoline Up 2 this week as prices fall
4 Recession Does a global financial meltdown count as a recession?
5 Experience Down 2; McCain has 4:3 Edge Here
6 Obama Muslim A continued presence in Cyberspace
7 Subprime How we got into this mess in the first place
8 Surge One of the Top Words from ‘07 now taking a victory lap
9 “That one” Has spurred the Obama base with ‘I’m for That One’ slogans
10 “Just Words” Oh Hillary, what hath thou wrought?
11 Gender Up dramatically since fall campaign though down for week
12 Working Class Whites Still the object of much affection AND derision
13 Price of oil More discussion as price declines; up 5
14 Palin Swimsuit On SNL Alec Baldwin claimed Balin’s ‘way hotter in person’
15 Joe the Plumber Now making appearances with McCain; up 5
16 Racism (election) Belies all the media buzz; now in top 20
17 Obama smoking Down 5 but still in Top Twenty
18 Financial meltdown Now buzzworthy, indeed.
19 Wall Street Bailout As reality of global financial meltdown sets in, down 6
20 Internet fundraising Hangs in there as a hot buzzword at 20
21 Lipstick Drops dramatically over the last survey; down 10
22 Raise taxes Raise Taxes No 22; cut taxes No. 27.  Ho Hum.
23 Rezko Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko gains one
24 Acorn Voter Reg Loses a couple as interest apparently wanes
25 Al Qaeda election Lurking beneath the surface but falls out of Top Twenty
26 Jeremiah Wright Dr. Wright remains on the radar though falling five more spots
27 Cut taxes Raise Taxes No 22; cut taxes No. 27.  Ho Hum.
28 Hockey Mom Causes headlines but not a top issue
29 Nuclear Iran Drops one more spot since last survey
30 Wash Talking Heads Not a good week for the Cognoscenti; down 15

The ranking is determined by GLM’s PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.  Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.

The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:  Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included:  Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!

Listen to the Interview on WNYC/PRI

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The Final Debate:  Obama & McCain Differ Sharply

Obama Doubles Use of Passive Voice Over McCain

Memorable quotes: ‘Joe the Plumber’; ‘I am not President Bush’

AUSTIN, Texas,  October 16, 2008.  In a linguistic analysis of the final Presidential Debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, the Global Language Monitor has found that in sharp contrast to prior debates, Obama’s use of the passive voice doubled that of McCain (and was significantly higher than he typically uses).  The use of the passive voice is considered significant in political speech because audiences generally respond better to active voice, which they tend to view asmore direct.  On a grade-level basis, Obama came in at 9.3 with McCain scoring grade level, while McCain came in at 7.4, a difference of nearly two grade levels.  The debate took place at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York.   The statistical breakdown follows.

  Obama McCain Difference
       
Words 7,146 6,562 584
Words/Sentence 19.4 15.2 4.2
Sentences/Paragraph 2.0 2.1 5%
Characters/Word 4.4 4.4 0%
Passive Voice (%) 6% 3% 100%
Reading Ease 62.6 68.6 6
Grade level 9.3 7.4 1.9

Using industry-standard tools and techniques, GLM ranks the candidates’ speech on a number of levels from grade-reading level, the use of the passive voice, a reading ease score (the higher, the easiest to understand), the number of words per sentence, the number of characters per word, among others.

“Again, word choice and usage speaks volumes,” said Paul JJ Payack, GLM’s President & Chief Word Analyst. “Obama came in at a higher grade level than his previous efforts, but McCain was somewhat easier to understand.  Obama’s significantly higher use of the passive voice combined with his frequent use of the word ‘I’ perhaps indicated an impatience with his opponent  last witnessed in his debates with Hillary Clinton.”

Read:   L’Histoire’s    La Langue des Campagnes

Obama used the personal pronoun, ‘I’ about 158 times in the debate, while McCain used the word some 119 times.

Memorable phrases include more than a dozen references to ‘Joe the Plumber,’ one Joe Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio, and John McCain’s ‘I am not President Bush’ retort to Sen. Obama’s attempt to link his policies to those of the current president.

Obama the Intellectual
Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

For comparison purposes, here is the results last week’s Town-hall style debate. That debate was notable in the fact that the questions asked by the audience outdistanced both Obama and McCain in the grade-level ranking category.  Perhaps, the most memorable phrase from that debate is perhaps ‘’That one!” the term McCain used to refer to Obama.  “That One” has already joined GLM’s analysis of the Top Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Campaign.

  Obama McCain Difference
       
Words 7,146 6,562 584
Words/Sentence 19.4 15.2 4.2
Sentences/Paragraph 2.0 2.1 5%
Characters/Word 4.4 4.4 0%
Passive Voice (%) 6% 3% 100%
Reading Ease 62.6 68.6 6
Grade level 9.3 7.4 1.9

Top Buzzwords of Presidential Campaign: Two Weeks Out

Bailout falls dramatically; Experience and Gender Rise
‘Change’ and ’Global Warming/Climate Change’ in statistical tie for top

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AUSTIN, Texas,  October 21, 2008 – In an analysis completed just two weeks before the US Presidential Elections the Global Language Monitor has announced that Change and Climate Change remain in a statistical tie for top spot in its list of Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Presidential Campaign, with Bailout falling dramatically to No. 13.

“In the Change ranking, Obama outdistanced McCain by a 3:2 ratio, while in the No. 2 Experience ranking, McCain held a 3:2 edge over Obama,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “Joe the Plumber and ACORN voter registration references broke into the Top 25, at No. 19 and No. 22, respectively. In a related finding, Gender (No. 10) continued to rise as Race (No. 20) continued to fall, raising the question if gender is the new race?”

Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word.  For example, the word surge has been in the English-language vocabulary since time immemorial.  However, in its new context as an Iraq War strategy, it inspires a set of emotions in many people far beyond the norm. The rank of Top Election Buzzwords, past rank, and commentary follow.

1. Change (1) — Obama has a 3:2 edge over McCain with Change

2. Climate Change (2) — Global warming within 1/2 of 1% for the overall lead

3. Experience (5) — McCain has 3:2 edge over Obama with Experience

4. Recession (4) — World economy imploding but still not officially a ‘recession’

5. Gasoline (6) — Up one as the price dropsa1

6. Obama Muslim Connection (8) — A persistent topic in Cyberspace; up 2

7. Subprime (7) — How we got into this mess in the first place

8. Surge (10) — One of the Top Words from ‘07 moving up ‘ 08 chart

9. “That one” (12) – The remark has spurred the Obama base: ‘I’m for That One’

10. Gender (9) – Is ‘gender’ the new ‘race’?

11. Lipstick (13) — Any talk of Lipstick seems to spur McCain-Palin base

12. Obama smoking (11) – Surprise here; continues to draw interest

13. Bailout (3) – Bailout, as a word, dramatically slipping as reality of the entire debacle sets in

14. “Just Words” (20) — Hillary’s comment on Obama still echoes through the media

15. Washington Talking Heads (21) – Up six this past week alone

16. Palin Swimsuit (24) – Fueled by Alec Baldwin on SNL: Balin’s ‘way hotter in person’

17. Al Qaeda (14) — Always lurking beneath the surface

18. Price of oil (15) – Weakens as price declines

19. Joe the Plumber (NR) – Breaks into Top 25 in debut

20. Race (16) – Continues to drop in media buzz

21. Jeremiah Wright (19) — Dr. Wright remains on the radar, down from No.2 at start

22. Acorn Voter Registration (NR) – Debuts in Top 25; dramatic move over last week

23. Internet fundraising (17) — Loses luster as story; down 6 more spots

24. Rezko (25) — Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko breaks into Top 25

25. Raise taxes (18) Raise Taxes No 25; cut taxes No. 27: Are you Listening

Others

26. Hockey Mom (22) – Loses a bit of steam

27. Cut taxes (26) Both ‘cut’ and ‘raise’ down this week, again

28. Nuclear Iran (23) Peaked out at No. 18

The ranking is determined by GLM’s PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.  Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.

The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:  Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included:  Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!

The US Presidential Election and the Financial Tsunami

Seemingly chaotic events reflect normalcy of new reality

A Historical Inflection Point

AUSTIN, Texas,   October 13, 2008. The worldwide financial tsunami that has captured the attention of the worldwide media (as well as governments, corporations, and ordinary citizens), has come to dominate one of the great quadrennial media events of the post-Modern era. No, we are not referring to the Olympics, most recently held in Beijing, or even football’s World Cup but, rather, the US Presidential elections.

The immediate effect of this unprecedented upheaval of global markets is the obfuscation of the clear lines of division offered by the opposing parties in the US Presidential Elections.

There is the sense that we are witnessing an unprecedented historical event; historical in the sense that we now appear to be standing astride (or atop) a cusp in history, a delta, a decision point, what is now called a point of inflection or inflection point.

Watching the nightly news and reading the traditional (for the last two centuries, that is) media, one has the distinct sense that what they perceive as unprecedented almost chaotic circumstances is actually that of the normalcy of the new reality, that of communications at the speed of light that the internet has foisted upon us.

We keep hearing about this most unusual of election cycles, but this is only true when looking through the prism (and historical construct) of the traditional news gathering operations. What is called the 24-hour News Cycle is actually just the tip of the Tsunami washing over the planet at a steady speed and ever-quicker pace. Indeed, the nature of the beast hasn’t change at all. It is our outdated techniques, that haven’t kept up with the new reality: News now emanates at the speed of thought, from tens of thousands or, even, millions of sources.

The nature of a Tsunami is little understood other than the tremendous damage it unleashes when it washes ashore. What we do know, however, is that a tsunami travels in exceedingly long waves (tens of kilometers in length) racing through the oceanic depths at hundreds of kilometers per hour. Only upon reaching the shore is its true destructive power unleashed for all to see (if they survive to witness it at all).

In the same manner, the traditional media become transfixed with the roiling surface seas but fail to acknowledge the more sustained and significant, movements occurring just beneath the surface.

The surface swirls about in fascinating eddies, but the true transformation is occurring as the nearly undetectable waves rush through the open sea only occasionally, though dramatically, making their way onto shore.

In the same manner, the traditional media focuses on the Twenty-four-hour News Cycle but seem to miss the strong and prevalent currents immediately beneath the surface. They vainly attempt to tie global, transformative, and unprecedented events to relatively parochial events and forces (the Reagan Years, the Clinton administration, Bush 41 and 43, the deregulation initiatives of Alan Greenspan of ‘99) that are being all but overshadowed (and –whelmed) by unyielding and all-but-irresistible forces.

There is an almost palpable sense and correct sense that things are 1) changing forever, 2) out of our control (or even influence), and 3) will have a direct impact upon the planet for generations to follow.

What we can control, and make sense of, however, is a candidate’s wink, smirk or disdainful reference. We can emphatically pin down our opponents into convenient sound bites, hopefully, contradict earlier sound bites. Do you personally take responsibility for Climate Change? (Does the fact that New York City was beneath 5,000 feet of Ice a few dozen centuries ago influence your vote today? A yes or no will suffice!) Is your personal philosophy, whatever it might be, grounded in a belief system that I can systematically debunk and demean. (Yes or no.) Are you for or against atom smashers creating minuscule black holes that may or may not swallow up the Earth? (Answer yes and you are a barbarian; answer no and you have absolutely no respects of the future prospects of the human race.) Did you ever consider yourself a loser (at any point in your life)? Did you ever make the acquaintance of fellow losers?

Nevertheless, the US Presidential Election will proceed to its own conclusion on the first Tuesday of November in the year two thousand and eight.

For the preceding five years, The Global Language Monitor has attempted to clarify the course (and future course) of human events as documented in the English language. The tools at our disposal have sometimes allowed us to peer into events and trends that become, otherwise, obscured, by the ‘noise’ of the Twenty-four Hour News Cycle. Our goal was, and continues to be, to extricate (and explicate upon) the true currents underpinning the events we call news, and to better understand what they mean and how they are perceived with the new media reality in mind. For example, back in the days preceding the 2004 Presidential election cycle, GLM discovered the fact that once ideas, words and phrases were launched into the vast, uncharted, oceanic Internet, they do not, indeed, die out after twenty-four hours but, rather, travel in deep, powerful currents and waves (not unlike those of a tsunami) that only grow stronger as they make their ways to distant shores.

In this new reality, tsunami-like ideas pass through vast seas of information of the Internet, nearly undetected and often unmeasured, until they crash upon our shorelines, where their full power (and possibly fury) is unleashed. The fact that we only entertain them for 24 hours before they are dispatched into the archives of what is considered ‘past’ or ‘passed’ and readily discarded, is beyond the point. We often hear that ‘we’ve never seen anything like this’ before. Of course not. Think back a few hundred years to other information revolutions, such as that introduced along with mechanical type. What do you think the fortunate few thought when they first laid their eyes upon the works of Aristotle, the Bible, or the Arabic translations of Euclid? No one had ever seen anything like that before! Indeed. And astonishment will only become more so as the future unfolds.

 — Paul JJ Payack, President & Chief Word Analyst, The Global Language Monitor

Vice Presidential Debate Linguistic Analysis:

Palin at 10th Grade-level; Biden at 8th Grade-level

Palin’s use of passive voice highest of the 2008 Debates

Read about CNN’s take on the GLM debate analysis.

The Debate on the Debate on the 

An Analysis of the Analysis

AUSTIN, Texas,  October 3, 2008. The first and only vice presidential debate of the 2008 Campaign has resulted in Governor Sarah Palin, the republican nominee for vice president speaking at a 10th-grade level, with Senator Joe Biden coming in at an 8th-grade level.  Also noteworthy was the fact that Gov. Palin’s use of passive voice was the highest (at 8%) of the 2008 Presidential and Vice Presidential debates thus far.  The analysis was performed by The Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com), the Austin, Texas-based media analytics and analysis company.

GLM ranks the candidates’ speech on a number of levels from grade-reading level, the use of the passive voice, ‘a readability’ score (the closer to one hundred the easiest to understand, the number of words per sentence, even the number of characters per word.

The statistical breakdown follows.

Vice Presidential Debate    
       
  Biden Palin Comment
       
Grade Level 7.8 9.5 Palin raises a few eyebrows here.
No. of Words 5,492 5235 This is a surprise; shows tremendous restraint on the normally loquacious Biden. Obama used 20 more words per minute than McCain.
Sentences/Paragraph 2.7 2.6 A statistical tie.
Words/Sentence 15.8 19.9 Palin even outdistances professorial Obama on this one; Obama scored 17.4
Characters/Word 4.4 4.4 Everyone has apparently learned that shorter words are easier to understand (rather than monosylablic words facilitate comprehension).
Passive Voice 5% 8% Passive voice can be used to deflect responsibility; Biden used active voice when referring to Cheney and Bush; Palin countered with passive deflections.
Ease of Reading 66.7 62.4 100 is the easiest to read (or hear).

Notes:  The excessive use of passive voice can be used to obscure responsibility, since there is no ‘doer of the action’.  For example, ‘Taxes will be raised’ is a passive construction, while ‘I will raise (or lower) taxes’ is an active construction.  Five percent is considered average; low for a politician.

By way of comparison, the ranking by grade-levels for historical debates follow.

Historical Contrasts Grade level
   
Lincoln in Lincoln-Douglas Debates 11.2
Joseph Lieberman 9.9
Ronald Reagan 9.8
John F. Kennedy 9.6
Sarah Palin 9.5
Richard Nixon 9.1
Dick Cheney 9.1
Michael Dukakis 8.9
Bill Clinton 8.5
Al Gore 8.4
George W. Bush 7.1
George H.W. Bush 6.6
Ross Perot 6.3

The number of words is considered approximate, since transcripts vary.

The methodology employed is a modified Flesch-Kincaid formulation.

The First Presidential Debate:

A ‘Linguistic Dead Heat’ — with One Exception

In true professorial fashion, Obama averages some 20 more words per minute

AUSTIN, Texas,  September 28, 2008. The first presidential debate of the 2008 Campaign resulted in a ‘Linguistic Dead Heat’ according to an analysis performed by The Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com).  In nearly every category, from grade level to the use of passive voice, even the average numbers of letters in the words they chose, the candidates remained within the statistical margin of error with one major exception.  In the Number of Words category that the candidates used to convey their messages, Obama, in true professorial style, outdistanced McCain by some thousand words, which breaks down to an average of about 20 more words per minute.

“As in the famous Harvard-Yale game back in 1968, Harvard declared a victory after securing a come-from-behind 29-29 tie.   In the same manner, both sides of the debate have declared victory in an essential deadlocked outcome,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM. “Look at the debate as a football game.  Both teams effectively moved the ball.  However, the scoring was low, and the quarterbacks performed as expected, with McCain completing some excellently thrown passes only to have others blocked by Obama.  Obama’s ground game was more impressive, churning out the yards — but he had difficulty getting the ball over the goal line.”

The statistical breakdown follows.

  McCain Obama
     
Sentences per paragraph 2.2 2.1
Words per sentence 15.9 17.4
Characters per word 4.4 4.3
Passive voice 5% 5%
Ease of Reading (100 Top) 63.7 66.8
Grade Level 8.3 8.2
Number of words (approximate) 7,150 8,068

Notes:  The excessive use of passive voice can be used to obscure responsibility, since there is no ‘doer of the action’.  For example, ‘Taxes will be raised’ is a passive construction, while ‘I will raise (or lower) taxes’ is an active construction.  Five percent is considered low.

What are they saying in China?

McCain’s Speech Comes in at the Third Grade Level

Most Direct of all Speakers at Either Convention

Palin & Obama Speech Score Nearly IdenticalAustin, Texas, USA. September 7, 2008. (Updated)  In an exclusive analysis of the speeches made at the recently concluded Political Conventions, the Global Language Monitor found that John McCain spoke at a third-grade reading level, meaning that his speech was the easiest to comprehend of any delivered at either convention. GLM also found that McCain scored the lowest of all convention speakers in use of the passive voice, an indication of ‘direct’ talk. Higher use of the passive voice is often view as an indicator of ‘indirect’ and more easily confused speech because the doer of the action is obscured: ‘Taxes will be raised’ rather than ‘I will raise taxes’.

In another finding, GLM found that both Sarah Palin’s and Barack Obama’s widely viewed (38 and 37 million viewers respectively), and much acclaimed acceptance speeches were closely similar, delivered in language that reflected a ninth grade (9.2 and 9.3 respectively) ‘reading level’.

The basic language evaluation stats are shown below.

John McCain   Sarah Palin   Barack Obama  
3.7   9.2   9.3 Grade Level
1.9   1.3   1.5 Sentences / Paragraph
4.4   4.4   4.4 Letters / Word
79.1   63.8   64.4 Reading Ease (100 is easiest)
6.4   19.5   22.1 Words / Sentence
2%   8%   5% Passive Sentences

It is widely believed that shorter sentences, words and paragraphs are easier to comprehend.

The analysis was performed by the Global Language Monitor, the media analysis and analytics agency.

GLM used a modified Flesch-Kincaid formula for its analysis, which measures factors such as number of words in a sentence, number of letters in a word, the percentage of sentences in passive voice, and other indicators of making things easier to read and, hence, understand.

This release comes in at the second year of college level (14+). 

Warning: do not incorporate these words into presidential addresses.

Top Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Primary Season

Top Political Buzzwords BEFORE the Primary Season