OED [ Oxford English Dictionary]

  1. Neologisms:

After browsing the OED for the date of first citations which range from 2000-2015, I found the following words as the most interesting  to discuss.

Some of these words include:

  1. Flash mob(2003): A large group of people organized by means of the Internet, or mobile phones or other wireless devices, who assemble in public to perform a prearranged action together and then quickly disperse.
  2. Photobomb ( 2008):A photograph that has been spoiled by the presence of an unintended subject in the camera’s field of view as the picture was taken.
  3. Retweet(2007):On the social networking service Twitter: to post a message, image, link, etc., originally posted by another user.
  4. Selfie(2002):A photograph of oneself, usually taken with a cell-phone or similar device in order to be displayed on social media.

Surprisingly, the OED incorporated words that people created as a result of the rise in technology and social media. We notice how flash mob, photobomb, and selfie are related to pictures. Often, these are used in applications like Instagram and Facebook. Whereas Retweet was originally taken from Twitter. What’s striking is that the word ” selfie” was named Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013. The word attracted people all around the globe. Language research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries editors reveals how the use of this word in the English language increased by 17,000% since 2012. This word was not suddenly associated to a self-portrait photograph, it passed in a process of evolution. First, it was used as a social media buzzword and then as a self-portrait. Also, this word contributed in the creation of other words like welfie( workout selfie) and shelfie (book shelf).

Judy Pearsall, Editorial Director for Oxford Dictionaries, explained the decision: “Using the Oxford Dictionaries language research programme, which collects around 150 million words of current English in use each month, we can see a phenomenal upward trend in the use of selfie in 2013, and this helped to cement its selection as Word of the Year.”

2. Categories:

Origin : Middle Eastern and Afro-Asiastic languages

After exploring this origin in the OED, I found the following words the most interesting( the date next to each word is reference to when the word entered the language) :

1)Abba(Bible Passage applying in Romans):Father or God

2)Abjad(1793): Arabic alphabet

3)Afrit(1712): Quran 29:39

4)Al-Hajj (1609): Islam

5)Al-Hamdullilah (1816): Muslims praise of God

6)Allah (1612): name of God among Muslims

7)Argile (1758): Syria and neighboring Arabic speaking countries

8)Baba ganoush( 1938): Middle Eastern dish

9)Bi’smillah (1813): common among Muslims

10)Caaba (1734): sacred edifice at Mecca

11)Darbuka(1836): A goblet-shaped, single-headed hand drum of a type originating in the Middle East and North Africa.

12)Druse(1613): One of a political and religious sect of Muslim origin, inhabiting the region round Mount Lebanon

What’s interesting is that most of these words are in a Muslim context,  dating from the 17th  to 18th century. We might wonder what happened in these two centuries for these words to enter the OED. After researching about the major events in these centuries, I figured that by the mid 16th century, there was a broad sweep of Islam, from the Atlantic world of north Africa all the way to India.

“In the west, occupying roughly the extent of the Byzantine territory before the Arab conquests of the 7th century, is the Ottoman empire with its capital in Istanbul. In the centre is the Safavid dynasty of Persia, passionately committed to the doctrines of The Shi’as in opposition to the Sunni orthodoxy of the Ottoman Turks. In the east is the Moghul empire, covering the greater part of India. It differs from the others in that its Muslim ruling class is a minority in an infidel population”.

As we can see, 6 out of 12 words are in a Muslim context. These are just some few words out of 100s found in that origin. This is all due to the expansion of Islam. People started using more words like ” Lhamdilla”, which is the answer to most of the questions asked now.Even Americans use it!
The chart below explains the number of words that entered the OED with respect to the centuries:
229 blog
As we can see, there’s a peak in the 18th century. More words entered the OED then. We might wonder why, but it is all due to the intellectual,social, and political ferment that took place in that century. It is referred to as the Age of Enlightenment. Ideas of the previous 100 years were implemented on a broad scale. Also, there was a rise in scientific journals and a scientific revolution.

The chart below explains when the number of words that has to do with religion and beliefs started to increase throughout time:

religion and belief
As we can see, there’s a peak in the 16th and 18th century. The 16th century explains the Protestant Reformation which took place at that time, which totally explains why words entered the OED. The first chart explained the reasons for the peak in the 18th century.

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