Two new words for 2014

Photo by Flickr user miguelphotobooth.

If only a mind-reading device could read our feelings, too. Photo by Flickr user miguelphotobooth.

In 2013, the word “selfie” catapulted to fame. It happened organically at first, its usage jumping 17,000 percent in a single year, according to Oxford Dictionaries’ calculations. Then it happened officially, when that great keeper of human vocabulary declared “selfie” the Word of the Year.

Which word will light up the lexicon in 2014? That’s a tough call with so many months and pop culture phenomena still to come. I recently learned a couple of words I would like to share, though. Here goes:

Telempathy (n.) According to science writer Michael Chorost, telempathy is “the apprehension of another person’s feelings, rather than thoughts.”

As I mentioned before, I’ve been reading Chorost’s book World Wide Mind, and came across it there. This is a next step in interconnectedness begun by the Internet. We know the content of others’ thoughts through blogs and emails with astonishing speed. But what about the emotions behind them? That element lags behind, or never even makes it to the other side. Emoticons can only go so far.

A dose of telempathy would really come in handy for one of my email groups, not to mention Canadians.*

Translanguaging (v.) “An approach to bilingualism where speakers switch from one language to another,” according to The New York Times. I came across it earlier this week in a faculty development session. Dr. Laurene Simms explained how she uses translanguaging in the bilingual American Sign Language-English classroom environment. For example, Simms sometimes gives quiz questions in ASL and asks her students to write the answers in English, or vice versa. There was a great deal of deliberate fingerspelling during the Q and A session as the professor and commenters distinguished between translanguaging and translating.

Research shows that translanguaging can solidify bilingual kids’ language skills and reinforce learning in school.

Which words are new, exciting, or way too ubiquitous for you?

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*If you can’t grab the sound clip, it says, “I’m sorry, are you being sarcastic? Canadians have a hard time recognizing it ’cause we don’t have a big Jewish population.” Ah, 30 Rock.

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