Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 15:50:12 -0500 From: Brenda Lester Subject: WOTY WOTY made front page in my hometown paper. WORD! "Millennium bug' is picked as top phrase of 1997 We now pause from the real news of the day to bring this word from the wise. The word of the year for 1997 is ... "Millennium bug." That's right. The word, actually a phrase, describing the feared inability of computers to properly recognize the year 2000, came out on top Friday in the eight annual "Word of the Year" balloting in New York City. Members of the American Dialect Society picked the winner from a list of four finalists, after nominations from professors and other word experts as the words most representative of 1997. "I think 'millennium bug' was a good choice," society member Wayne Glowka, an English professor at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, said in a telephone interview from New York just after the voting. "It's something that kept coming up over and over again during the year," he said. "It's been the subject of big stories in Time and Newsweek." Other finalists for 1997 Word of the Year were "jitterati," which means the community of people with coffee fetishes; the suffix "-(r) azzi" attached to words meaning aggressive pursuer (as in paparazzi); and The Bomb, meaning the greatest. The American Dialect Society, with a membership of about 500, was founded by legendary newspaper editor H.L. Mencken more than a century ago to study the evolution of the English language in North America. Glowka is chairman of the group's "new words" committee and a columnist for the quarterly journal, American Speech. In 1990, the group began choosing a Word of the Year as a tongue-in-cheek way to draw attention to changes in the English language. "It helps promote the idea that change in language is normal, and certainly nothing to be upset about," Glowka said. "This is a fun way to document changes in the language that take place before our very eyes." The balloting began getting national media attention last year: Glowka said a Washington Post reporter attended Friday's vote. Smith, Sharon. "Word! 'Millennium Bug' is picked as top phrase of 1997." _The Macon Telegraph_. 10 Jan 1997, 1A+.