The Null Device

Words of 2014 (international edition)

Arika Okrent, author of In The Land Of Invented Languages, has a survey of neologisms of the year from various countries:
In the Netherlands, the Van Dale dictionary group chose dagobertducktaks, “Scrooge McDuck tax,” a tax on the super rich. The “youth language” category choice was aanmodderfakker (someone with no ambition in life, from a blend of aanmodderen, “muddle,” and motherf***er).
Médicalmant, a word for a medicine taken to in order to calm down (a blend of médicament, “drug,” and calmant, “soothing”) was selected word of the year at the annual XYZ Festival of New Words in Le Havre
The Fundéu BBVA, a Madrid organization tasked with the protection of the purity of the Spanish language, made selfi, without the English e, the word of the year. Previous suggestions such as autofoto and autorretrato (self-portrait) had failed to catch on, so the spelling change to selfi seemed the next best option. Other candidates were amigovio (blend of amigo, “friend,” and novio, “boyfriend/girlfriend,” for “friends with benefits”) and impago (successfully replacing “default” in discussion of the economy).
Elsewhere in the list, a few themes recur: the younger generation's attachment to their mobile phones gives rise to the German neologism Generation Kopf unten (“generation head down”); members of this generation may be at risk of what the Norwegians call mobilnakke, mobile neck. Meanwhile, the Swedish Language Council's list of words included fotobomba (to intrude into someone else's selfi) and klickfiske (“click-fishing”, i.e., what viral content sites engage in). On the other side of the Öresund Bridge, political issues such as hverdagssexisme (“everyday sexism”) and madspild (“food waste”) were the order of the day, while Portugal tackled the social implications of technology, from gamificação (gamification), to cibervadiagem (“cyberslacking”). And apparently in Finland, the word of 2014 was Putin-juusto (“Putin-cheese”), referring to Finnish cheese intended for the Russian market, knocked back because of import bans and sold at a steep discount all over Finland, with Cyrillic lettering still on the packaging.

English, meanwhile, had fairly mundane ones; the OED chose “vape” (relating to electronic nicotine inhalers), while Merriam-Webster's choice of “culture”, seemingly mundane, reflected the mainstreaming of anthropological thinking about collective human behaviour (in the sense of “company culture” or “rape culture”). And Australia had “shirtfront”, a testament to the virility of its elected leader.

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