Textbook Obama

New York Magazine, September 21, 2009

Which Presidential Orator Did Obama Mimic for His Health-Care Speech?

According to Paul J. J. Payack, a speech analyst with the Austin-based Global Language Monitor, Obama’s health-care speech this week was constructed at a ninth-grade reading level, which was the level at which Lincoln crafted the Gettysburg Address. But that was back when rhetorical flourishes were in vogue. The closest modern equivalent has been Ronald Reagan, whose folksy speeches belied their own competent, clever construction.


Obama election tops all news stories since Year 2000

More than double all the other major news events COMBINED

Austin, TX December 29, 2008 (MetaNewswire) – The election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States tops all major news stories since the year 2000 according to a analysis released by the Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com).  In fact citations of Barack Obama in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, and throughout the blogosphere more than double the other main stories of the last decade combined.  These include in descending order:  the Iraq War, the Beijing Olympics, the Financial Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the death of Pope John Paul II, the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks and the Asian Tsunami.

Media, Internet & Blogosphere
Rank Story
1 Obama
2 Iraq War
3 Beijing Olympics
4 Financial Tsunami
5 Hurricane Katrina
6 Pope John Paul II
7 9/11 Terrorist Attacks
8 S. Asian Tsunami

When separating out the global print and electronic media alone, GLM found that more stories have appeared about the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States than the number of stories about Hurricane Katrina (No. 2), the Financial Tsunami (No. 3), and the Iraq War (No. 4) combined. Next on the list of top stories since the Year 2000 include The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks (No. 5), the Beijing Olympics (No. 6), the Death of Pope John Paul II (No.7), and the South Asian Tsunami (No.8) 

The stories were measured in the print and electronic media for a one year period after the event.

Print and Electronic Media
Rank Story
1 Obama
2 Hurricane Katrina
3 Financial Tsunami
4 Iraq War
5 9/11 Terrorist  Attacks
6 Beijing Olympics
7 Pope John Paul II
8 S. Asian Tsunami

“The historical confluence of events in the year 2008 is unprecedented. Aside from Obama’s election, we witnessed the Financial Tsunami which appears to be a vast restructuring of the world economic order, and the Beijing Olympics, which can be viewed as the unofficial welcoming of China into the world community as a nation of the first rank,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM. “This lends some credence to the idea that on January 20th, 2009 we are about to embark on the second decade of the second millennium.

To the popular mind, History rarely follows chronology: the Fifties ended with JFK’s Assassination in 1963; the Sixties with the Nixon’s resignation in ‘74; the Eighties with the fall of the Berlin Wall; while the Nineties, as well as the 20th century persisted until 9/11/2001.

Obama as a Top Word of the Year

Austin, TX December 5 2008 – In an election cycle known for its many twists and turns, another unexpected result pops up in calculating the Top Words of 2008. According to the analysis performed by the Global Language Monitor’s (www.Languagemonitor.com), the word ‘change’ was the Top Word of 2008, followed by ‘bailout’ and ‘Obamamania’.

“However, it is interesting to note,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM, “that if you included ‘obama-’ as a root word or word stem, Obama- in its many forms (ObamaMania, Obamamentum, Obmanomics, Obamacize, Obamanation, and even O-phoria and Obamalot as a stand-in for JFK’s Camelot, etc.), would have overtaken both change, and bailout for the top spot. In a year of footnotes, GLM felt it important to add this interesting linguistic twist to the historical record.”

Obama’s oft cited refrain, “Yes, we can!” was ranked third as Phrase of the Year, following “financial tsunami” and “global warming.”  Barack Obama was ranked the Top Name of the Year, followed by George W. Bush and Michael Phelps, the Olympic 8-time gold medal winner.

The analysis was completed using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.

See also:  Obama as a Top Word of 2008

See also:  ObamaSpeak

See also:  Obama Victory Speach Ranked

See also:  Final Debate — Candidates Differ Sharply

See also:  Obama Acceptance at 9th Grade Level

‘Obama’ as a Word Enters English Language

Watch the Jeanne Moos’ CNN Segment

Presidential names that have made the leap include Jeffersonian,
Lincolnesque, Nixonian, and Clintonesque
San Diego, California, (February 18, 2007) The latest word to enter the English language is ‘obama’ in its many variations, according to the Global Language Monitor (GLM), (www.LanguageMonitor.com). GLM tracks the growth and evolution of the English language around the globe. The word is derived from the name, Barack Obama, the Senator from Illinois, and a top contender for the Democratic nomination for the US Presidency. Obama- is used as a ‘root’ for an ever-expanding number of words, including:
  • obamamentum,
  • obamaBot (new!)
  • obamacize,
  • obamarama,
  • obamaNation,
  • obamanomics,
  • obamican,
  • obamafy,
  • obamamania, and
  • obamacam.
The list is growing. In August 2007, GLM noted that ‘obama’ had become a political buzzword, ranking No. 2 on its Top Political Buzzwords list of the 2008 Presidential Campaign.
Presidential names that have made the leap include Jeffersonian, Lincolnesque, Nixonian, and Clintonesque (referring to former president Bill Clinton).
According to Paul JJ Payack, GLM’s president and chief word analyst, “To enter the English language, a word has to meet certain criteria, including: frequency of appearance in the written and spoken language, in the media, have a large geographic footprint, and to stand the test of time. In the past, this process would unfold over many years, even decades or centuries. However, the Internet, with instant global communication to billions of people has radically accelerated the cycle.”
Many names have made the leap into the language including OK (from the nickname US President Martin Van Buren “Old Kinderhook”); jacuzzi, kodak, macadam,
Caesarian section (after Julius Caesar); decibel (the measure of sound), Hertz, and frisbee.
The Global Language Monitor uses a proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) to track the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.
Currently, GLM is counting the number of words in the English Language. The Million Word March currently stands just short of the million-word mark at 995,118.
The English Language has some 1.35 billion speakers as a first, second or auxiliary language.

See also:  Obama as a Top Word of 2008

See also:  Obama Victory Speach Ranked

See also: Final Debate — Candidates Differ Sharply

See also:  Obama Acceptance at 9th Grade Level


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