Friday, July 04, 2008

Still waiting for that millionth word

Over the years, the good folks at Language Log have ridiculed the claims of Paul JJ Payack and his Global Language Monitor. Mostly, they've pointed out how counting the words in English is simply not a viable enterprise. Payack, though, doesn't seem to mind. In fact, he doesn't even really seem to be trying. Rather he just keeps putting out essentially the same claim with later and later dates.
  1. In 2006, the Times of London had Payack predicting that "the one millionth word is likely to be formed this summer."

  2. Later, he said the date "should fall between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, 2006" (CBS News)

  3. Yesterday, we learned that the magic date has been postponed by about 2.5 years. "Author Paul JJ Payack, founding president of the Global Language Monitor, estimates English will hit the vocabulary milestone on April 29, 2009."

Meanwhile, language blog English, Jack predicts that Payack will continue to mine this publicity seam for at least two to three years to come. The question is: will fewer and fewer editors and reporters buy his line, or will they just keep on dutifully putting his name in print?

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