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Opinion

American as she is spoke

"Subprime" (or sub-prime if you write for Euromoney) has been voted "word of the year, 2007" by the American Dialect Society.

The society, which includes linguists, writers, professors and grammarians, has been selecting words of prominence for the past 18 years.

Speaking about this year’s selection, Professor Wayne Glowka, chair of the new words committee, essayed a joke: "When you have investment companies losing billions of dollars over something like bundled subprime loans, then you have to consider whether it’s important. You probably also want to think about paying off that third mortgage."

Also in contention for word of the year were "Facebook" and "Googleganger" (a person with your name who shows up when you Google yourself).

In the new category of finance, contenders for the crown were "Ninja" (No income, no job or assets. A poorly documented loan made to a high-risk borrower), and "exploding ARM" (an adjustable rate mortgage whose rates soon rise beyond a borrower’s ability to pay).

In the more light-hearted categories, "tapafication" was runner-up in the most creative category; it means the tendency of restaurants to serve food in small portions similar to tapas. "Quadriboobage" (the appearance of having four breasts caused by wearing a bra that is too tight) received runner-up status in the category of words "least likely to succeed".

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