Date: Tue, 19 Dec 1995 13:57:32 -0600 From: Cynthia Bernstein Subject: Re: woty Here at Auburn, "hey" is the equivalent of the Texas A&M "howdy." It's not a new word; in fact, it's so much a part of the institution that "hey day" is celebrated each year. Cynthia Bernstein Dept. of English Auburn University, AL 36849-5203 On Tue, 19 Dec 1995 debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UIUC.EDU wrote: > Here's my personal list, finally. > > The Word of the Year > by Dennis Baron > > It's time again to announce the word of the year, and one of the finalists > for 1995 is "hey." Hey is fast becoming the universal informal greeting. > Like aloha and shalom, hey can mean both hello and good-bye. It's used > more than "hi," and a lot more than "hello." The exclamation "hey" goes > back to the twelfth century. Medieval children often said "Hey!" to which > their middle-aged parents replied, "Hey is for horses." "Hey" as a > greeting made its dictionary debut less than five years ago. It may be a > shortened form of "Hey, what's happenin'?" My children say "hey" all the > time, both coming and going. And their medieval parents still reply, "Hey > is for horses." > Another finalist for word of the year is "cool," which is actually > pronounced "kul." Like hey, cool is popular among the young, who act like > they invented it. In fact cool first became hot back in the 1950s, as part > of the lingo of jazz musicians. Like those wide ties in my closet, "cool" > is back in style, and if you want to sound like a nineties type of person, > you might want to trot out a "Hey, cool," every once in a while-but please, > leave those wide ties on the rack. > Speaking of a nineties type of person, the turning of the year has > turned public attention toward the millennium, and while this year the word > "millennium" rates the second runner-up spot, in a few short years it > should move up to word of the year in its own right. Whether the > millennium brings the destruction of civilization or just one heck of a big > New Year's bash, everybody is looking forward to Century 21. The most > popular resorts are already booked solid for Dec. 31, 1999, and the > pessimists who think there won't be a January 1, 2000, have already picked > out the best trees to wait in, so they can be closer to heaven when the end > comes. Unfortunately, there's some disagreement over just when the next > thousand years will start. Purists assure us that the millennium won't > turn until Dec. 31, 2000, which is why Arthur C. Clarke called his > apocalyptic space odyssey "2001." That gives us more time to plan the > party, and we'll get a whole extra year to use the word "millennium." But > if you're going to spend that bonus year sitting up in a tree, I can see > why a more precise method of dating things would be useful to you. > Runner-up for word of the year is "Windows95." The Microsoft > Corporation spent a lot of money to ensure that Windows95 would be the best > word of 1995, but unlike the Beatles CD, Windows95 didn't "walk out the > door." Those who did buy it were soon jamming help lines to find out how > to make the new operating system live up to its promise. Even if it was > initially disappointing, Windows95 is expected to cause a major shift in > how we use computers, though Microsoft may have to wait for Windows2000 to > meet its sales quota. > And now it's time to announce the word of the year for 1995, > actually a phrase: "the World Wide Web." The World Wide Web-the Web, for > short-is a vast collection of computer sites, a virtual reality somewhere > in cyberspace. It's called the Web because everything on it is connected. > Just click on a picture or some highlighted text, and suddenly you're > someplace else. Not only can you explore the Web, but anyone with a > computer and a modem can create their own Web "home page." Businesses are > using home pages to advertise their wares. Schools and museums have home > pages. Even Congress and NASA have home pages-but don't try to use them if > the government happens to be shut down for a budget crisis: webmasters, who > maintain home pages, are considered nonessential personnel. > Web home pages are popular with individuals as well. You can put > your picture on your home page, or a picture of your dog. You can put your > diary, or your resume, or your favorite recipes on it. I'm not sure why > anyone would want one, but personal home pages have become so popular that > people without them are starting to feel left out. I don't have a home > page, but I'm on the Web. Someone put my picture on their Web page. > Someone else put an article I wrote on the Web. I found both by accident, > while browsing the Web. You may be on the Web too, without knowing it. > Someone out there is putting us all on the Web, one by one, a virtual > spider collecting us for her own inscrutable ends, or perhaps just a > Microsoft employee. The Web is becoming as inevitable as the millennium. > It has earned its place as the word of the year. > ------------------------ > > Dennis Baron debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] > > Department of English office: 217-333-2392 > University of Illinois fax: 217-333-4321 > 608 South Wright Street home: 217-384-1683 > Urbana, Illinois 61801 >