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TWTS: The 2019 Word of the Year is...


This week, English Professor Anne Curzan joined us from New Orleans, where members of the American Dialect Society gathered to make their annual "Word of the Year" selection.

This year was special. That's because not only did the ADS choose a word to represent the past year, members also chose a word to represent the past decade.

The pick for 2019's Word of the Year is "(my) pronouns." It was recognized as introduction for sharing one's set of personal pronouns. Ben Zimmer is chair of the ADS’s New Words Committee and language columnist for the Wall Street Journal:

When a basic part of speech like the pronoun becomes a vital indicator of social trends, linguists pay attention. The selection of "(my) pronouns" as Word of the Year speaks to how the personal expression of gender identity has become an increasing part of our shared discourse.

Now that you know the word of the year, any guesses on the word of the decade? Here's a hint: They're related. To hear about the word of the decade as well as winners in other categories, listen to the full conversation above. You can also read more about 2019's Word of the Year here.

Anne Curzan is the Geneva Smitherman Collegiate Professor of English and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan. She also holds faculty appointments in the Department of Linguistics and the School of Education.
Rebecca Kruth is the host of Weekend Edition at Michigan Radio. She also co-hosts Michigan Radio’s weekly language podcast That’s What They Say with English professor Anne Curzan.
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