Top Trending People, Phrases and Words of 2011

15 Nov

Global Language Monitor, a US media analysis firm, has revealed the top trending words, people and phrases of 2011 so far.

The recently departed Apple boss Steve Jobs has emerged as the top searched name for 2011, replacing 2010’s Hu Jintao, the Chinese leader. He was clearly very well-respected and admired and the tribute site “Remembering Steve” set up at Apple has so far attracted tributes from over a million people including many of the staff who worked for him and with him over the years.

When Steve Jobs died in October at the age of 56 he received tributes from many world leaders with US President Barack Obama calling him “a visionary”.

He introduced the colourful iMac computer, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad to the world. His death came just a day after Apple unveiled its latest iPhone 4S model.

He oversaw the rise of Apple Inc to become the world’s highest valued technology company worth around £227 billion at the time of his death. He became totally linked with Apple and there were genuine concerns for the company when it was announced that he was suffering from the pancreatic cancer that was sadly to result in his death. His appearances at technology fairs were much anticipated with his trademark speeches often announcing another new Apple product to the world.

The second top trending name for 2011 was that of Osama bin-Laden, who was often searched for with Seal Team 6, who killed the Al Qaeda leader in a raid on his hideout in Abbottabad in May this year. Bin-Laden, who was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1957, was the founder of Al Qaeda (The Base), who were of course the organisation behind the attacks in the US on 11 September 2001. As a result of the US attacks Bin-Laden had become the most sought after person in the world.

The FBI 10 Most Wanted Fugitives showed him to be known under the following aliases: Usama Bin Muhammad Bin Ladin, Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin, the Prince, the Emir, Abu Abdallah, Mujahid Shaykh, Hajj and the Director. Despite the tremendous efforts put into bringing him to justice and also the $25 million reward from the  United States Department of State for information leading to his apprehension, Osama managed to keep himself safe for almost a decade.

He came from a privileged background with his family having close links to the Saudi royal family and his father,  Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, being a billionaire from the construction industry.

According to former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, who led the CIA’s hunt for Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader was motivated by a belief that U.S. foreign policy has oppressed, killed, or otherwise harmed Muslims in the Middle East, condensed in the phrase “They hate us for what we do, not who we are.”

In April 2011, various intelligence outlets were able to pinpoint bin Laden’s suspected location near Abbottabad, Pakistan. It was originally believed that bin Laden was hiding near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, but he was found 100 miles (160 km) away in a three-story mansion in Abbottabad at 34°10′9.51″N 73°14′32.78″E. Bin Laden’s mansion was located 0.8 miles (1.3 km) southwest of the Pakistan Military Academy. Google Earth maps show that the compound was not present in 2001, but was present on images taken in 2005.

The operation to kill Bin-Laden was code-named Operation Neptune Spear, and was ordered by US President Barack Obama and carried out in a CIA operation by a team of US Navy SEALs from the US Naval Special Warfare Development Group (also known as DEVGRU or informally by its former name, SEAL Team Six) of the Joint Special Operations Command, with support from CIA operatives on the ground The raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan was launched from Afghanistan. After the raid, U.S. forces took bin Laden’s body to Afghanistan for identification, then buried it at sea within 24 hours of his death.

The top trending word of 2011 is “occupy“. The word has been used to search for various different things throughout the year with the coverage of the Occupy protestors in London and also the coverage of the problems in Iraq were reported as the “occupation of Iraq”.

The Occupy movement now has a presence in over 80 different countries and has been involved with over 950 protests including the high-profile protest held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. The movement initially developed as a protest against the global financial system and corporate greed. The UK Occupy movement started in October this year, around a month after the protests held in New York.

At the time of the attempt to occupy the London Stock Exchange the movement issued a statement which had as its first point: “The current system is unsustainable. It is undemocratic and unjust. We need alternatives; this is where we work towards them.”

The Occupy movement has gained momentum extremely quickly as it only began  in Kuala Lumpur on July 30 this year, with Occupy Dataran, followed by New York City and San Francisco on September 17, with Occupy Wall Street and Occupy San Francisco.

The second most popular word for 2011 is deficit, which links in nicely with the evolution of the Occupy movement above. Put simply a deficit is much the same for a country as it is for an individual, meaning that they are spending more than they are earning over a specified period of time.

In the UK there have been grave concerns over the impact on the UK economy of the eurozone financial crisis.Less than a week ago we discovered that the UK’s trade deficit (the difference between the value of the country’s exports and imports) grew to a record £10 billion in September. Experts believe that with the turmoil in the eurozone region a recovery in the UK’s deficit is very unlikely in the short-term.

Although a deficit might sound like bad news there are a number of economists who argue that it is a necessary feature of government spending to run deficits from time to time. The arguments can be quite complicated and if you want to know more then search for articles on Keynesian economics and for the counter view look for articles on monetarist economics or fiscal conservatism.

The top trending phrase for 2011 is Arab Spring. This was the term coined to describe the pro-democracy uprisings Tunisia, Egypt and Libya which led to the overthrow of the governments in these countries.

The protests in the region are estimated to have cost the Arab Springs countries around $50 billion from their economies this year. This does not of course attempt to relate to the cost in human life that has resulted from the protests. However, the region as a whole, is benefiting economically from the Arab Spring. Oil rich countries that have suppressed or avoided uprisings are set to gain the most.

The Arab Spring is shown in Arabic as الربيع العربي‎, and the slogan of demonstrators in the region has been  ash-shab yurid isqat an-nizam (“the people want to bring down the regime”).

The Arab Spring (also sometimes known as the Arab Spring and Winter or Arab Awakening)  started in Tunisia on 18 December 2010 following Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in protest of police corruption and ill-treatment.

The Occupy movement (see above)  drew direct inspiration from the Arab Spring, with organizers asking U.S. citizens “Are you ready for a Tahrir moment?

The second top trending phrase for 2011 is Royal Wedding. Anyone who was in the UK during this year could not help seeing articles in the media covering various aspects of the wedding of Catherine (formerly known as Kate) Middleton to Prince William in April. The wedding also received huge worldwide coverage as of course did Kate’s sister’s bottom!

The wedding took place on 29th April this year at Westminster Abbey. As the Prince was not heir apparent to the throne (his father is), he and Catherine were able to arrange many aspects of the day themselves as it was not classed as a full state occasion. Just before the wedding the Queen gave Prince William the title of the Duke of Cambridge so after her wedding Catherine was known as the Duchess of Cambridge.

On the day itself one of the biggest points of interest was Catherine’s wedding dress which was designed by UK designer Sarah Burton. Other points of interest for the day include Prince Harry being his brother William’s best man and Pippa Middleton being her sister Catherine’s maid of honour (also in a Sarah Burton dress).

The wedding was a good PR event for the country with nearly every country in the world televising some of the ceremony and the US even lit up the Empire State Building in red, white and blue to mark the event.

The honeymoon was also a point of much speculation prior to the wedding and although it at first seemed as though the couple were not likely to have a traditional honeymoon they did end up going to a private island in the Seychelles 10 days after the wedding. The location was such a closely guarded secret that it is alleged not even Catherine was aware of their destination.


Posted by on November 15, 2011 in Trending now


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