February 09, 2004

Igry and ghits

Trevor at Kaleboel observes that igry "already gets slightly more ghits (ca 200 to 175, once you've sifted out the Russians) than its Catalan equivalent, vergonya aliena, although it's still way behind plaatsvervangende schaamte and vergüenza ajena (not to mention verguenza ajena)."

All the same, he says that "I don't think it'll stick for two reasons: firstly, it gets you tied up in the back of your throat in a way English speakers don't like; secondly, it sounds too much like the Antipodean rendering of angry." Maybe so, though avoidance of Australian sound-alikes is a hitherto-undocumented force in linguistic history -:).

For me, though, the most important thing in his post is the neologism ghits. Now there's a word that fills a need! I don't know if this is Trevor's coinage, but it seems to be pretty new: "ghits" has 2380 ghits, at the moment, but all the 50 or so that I checked were programming language variable names, words in languages other than English, alternative spellings of "gits", or jokes like "ghits and siggles". Anyhow, I'm in Trevor's debt for the tip, and if he's the author, he deserves immortal renown.

One question, though: does one have ghits or get ghits? Trevor uses get. My unthinking reflex is have, as above, but on reflection, get is more in tune with the ephemeral and process-dependent nature of ghits.

Sic transit googlia mundi, and all.

[Update: it seems that Trevor is the responsible party. He's posted that

I am having 1,500 cards printed with "ghit = google hit 2004 followthebaldie.com" and am going to flog them down the Ramblas this lunchtime. I am unsure as to whether this constitutes a business plan.

I'm not sure about the law in Calalunya, but in the U.S. I don't think you can copyright a word. Luckily. You could register it as a trademark or service mark, but in this case, for what?]

Posted by Mark Liberman at February 9, 2004 05:11 PM