FOR THE WEEK OF DEC. 17, 2007
W00t's up! Gaming word goes mainstream
Learning new words is one benefit of newspaper reading. How many other types of useful knowledge can students think of gaining from the paper that might be useful in school or everyday life.
Editors, reporters and page designers work to reach readers of various ages and interests, just as Merriam Webster does by focusing on a word used by gamers. Ask class members to spot coverage that appeals to them because of its topic, language or visual presentation.
Have students discuss how coverage of slang and other forms of popular culture fits the paperï¿½s mission of educating and entertaining readers.
Just in time to put it to work during holiday celebrations, weï¿½ve got a Word of the Year, thanks to the dictionary folks at Merriam-Webster -- and it's one many adults never heard of and never will use. The offbeat word is w00t, written with two zeroes and pronounced "whoot" (rhymes with hoot).
Thereï¿½s a few versions of how w00t originated. It may have come from role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons or World of Warcraft, perhaps as an exuberant abbreviation for We Own the Other Team. Others believe it comes from the phrase "wow loot" used in other multiplayer games, or began as hackers' jargon describing a system break-in. Apparently the zeroes were added to make the word look cooler.
A Merriam Websterï¿½s president says w00t is an ideal choice for its fifth Word of the Year because it blends whimsy and new technology. "It shows a really interesting thing that's going on in language,ï¿½ explains John Morse. ï¿½It's a term that's arrived only because we're now communicating electronically with each other."
Previous winner: "Truthiness" was 2006 Word of the Year after it was popularized by Stephen Colbert on his cable TV news satire show The Colbert Report. Websterï¿½s defines it as things a person claims to know intuitively or "from the gut" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination or facts.
Journalist says: "Merriam-Webster sure left me scratching my head. The Word of the Year selection left me feeling, well, anything but w00t." -- Jeff Hage, managing editor of The Daily Journal in Fergus Falls, Minn.
Professor says: "It's amusing, but it's limited to a small community and unlikely to spread and unlikely to last." -- Allan Metcalf, English professor at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill.
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