A litmus test for cultural literacy is whether or not the above sentence makes any sense at all. If not, you’ll have to look up “tase” and “locavore” in an upcoming edition of the New Oxford American Dictionary, which has named the latter its 2007 word of the year (“tase” is one of the runners-up; for a satiric depiction of its evolution in the American lexicon see here).
Here’s an excerpt about the winning word on the Oxford University Press blog:
The past year saw the popularization of a trend in using locally grown ingredients, taking advantage of seasonally available foodstuffs that can be bought and prepared without the need for extra preservatives.
The “locavore” movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to grow or pick their own food, arguing that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locavores also shun supermarket offerings as an environmentally friendly measure, since shipping food over long distances often requires more fuel for transportation.
A quick glance at some of the other candidates for word of the year seems to indicate dire times, with new words in American English to describe counterinsurgency warfare (“MRAP vehicle”), ecological disaster (“colony collapse disorder”), and an aging population (“cougar” and “aging in place”).
Next year, this Quillblogger hopes to get less utilitarian, more suggestive words – like one of those Inuit words for snow, say, or something to describe the in-between state of wakefulness and sleep.