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Logophiles Unite

The Best (And Worst) Words Of 2017

By Tara Bannon Williamson

Librarian, Park Hill Branch

If you are a logophile, a lover of words, you already know that the 2017 words of the year were announced in December. There are several words of the year, as many institutions and organizations declare their choice of the word of the year based on their own set of criteria.

The tradition began in Germany in 1977. In 1991, the American Dialect Society brought the tradition to America. The American Dialect Society announces their word of the year after the end of the calendar year. The decision is made by the vote of independent linguists.

The word of the year is meant to celebrate the changing and expansive nature of language. Words of the year are also meant to capture the year’s meaningful events, in 1999, the American Dialect Society declared the word was “Y2K” and in 2000, “chad.” While both words are not in much use today, they were part of our daily lives a short time ago.

For 2017, Dictionary.com declared the Word of the Year to be “Complicit.” Their word of the year is determined by an increase in daily average lookups according to their website.

Selected for similar reasons, Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year that just ended is “Feminism.”

Other institutions and media groups picked the following for 2017: Fake News, Alternative Facts, Take A Knee, Resistance, Snowflake, Tribalism, and #MeToo.

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2017 is “Youthquake” – something I must confess to not knowing the definition of prior to this article. (In fact, my spellcheck does not even recognize the word) From their website, “The noun, Youthquake, is defined as ‘a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people’.”

Apparently, Youthquake has been around since 1965, though its use has surged in the past year.

Words matter. The kind (or unkind) words we say to neighbors make an impact in our community. The words we choose not to say also matter.

What word best embodies 2017 for you? What word would you like to guide you in 2018?

For more fun with words, try one of these great books:

The Accidental Dictionary: The Remarkable Twists and Turns of English Words by Paul Anthony Jones (2017)

Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper (2017)

• The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester (1998)

For the little logophile:

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jennifer Bryant (2014)

You Talking to Me?: Discover the World of Words, Codes, Emojis, Signs, Slang, Smoke Signals, Barks, Babbles, Growls, Gestures, Hieroglyphics & More by Catherine Ham (2017)

Noah Webster’s Fighting Words by Tracy Maurer (2017)

Pauline Robinson Library Events

Tech Help One-on-One | Mondays and Tuesdays, noon-1 p.m.

Get technology assistance from one of our in-house experts on your own device or a public computer. Learn the basics, such as email, social networking, word processing and eMedia. Call the library at 720-865-0290 to schedule an appointment.

Preschool Storytime | Wednesdays, Jan. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 10:30 a.m.

Stories, songs, rhymes and fun for 3-5 year olds and their parents or caregivers.

Cooking with Mo Betta Greens | Wednesday, Jan. 3 & Thursday, Jan. 4, 1 p.m.

We’ll be learning how to make healthy and yummy snacks.

Ideal for ages 8-12.

Smartphone and Tablet Basics | Wednesday, Jan. 10, 1 – 3 p.m.

Students are given a basic overview of how to use their smartphone or tablet. After that, there will be time for students to ask questions. Please bring your own device.

Your Income Taxes: What You Need to Know NOW | Saturday, Jan. 20, 11a.m.

Topics will include: Tax Law Changes 2017 (and 2018, if available); Gathering Tax Documents; Tax Payments: Withholding versus Estimated Taxes; Timely Filing/Extension; Tax Notices and Audits; Common Errors; Record Retention; Recognizing Tax Scams; & More. Presented by Susan O’Grady from Equipoise Wealth Management.

Meet Your Neighbors Potluck | Saturday, Jan. 20, 12 p.m.

Let’s get together and mingle! Bring a dish you would like to share, and we will have some refreshments too!

The Pauline Robinson Book Club | Saturday, Jan. 27, 12 p.m.

This month’s selection: “Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat” by Pat Williams. Drop-ins are welcome

Park Hill Library Events

All Ages Storytime | Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

Stories, songs, rhymes and fun for children of all ages and their parents or caregivers. Craft activity immediately follows the program.

Baby Storytime | Thursdays and Fridays at 11:15 a.m.

Stories, songs, rhymes and fun for babies ages 0-18 months and their caregivers. Play and social time immediately follow the program.

Toddler Storytime | Fridays at 10:30 a.m.

Stories, songs, rhymes and fun for toddlers ages 18-36 months and their caregivers.

Dinosaur Diorama | Wednesday, Jan. 3, 3 p.m.

Create a prehistoric scene, complete with dinosaurs. Ideal for ages 3-8 with an adult helper.

Magic Club | Monday, Jan. 8 and Monday, Jan. 22, 4:30 p.m.

Do you already play Magic: the Gathering, or are you interested in learning? Stop by two afternoons a month to play and meet other teens. Ideal for ages 10-17.

Teen Advisory Board (TAB) | Tuesday, Jan. 9 and Tuesday, Jan. 23, 6 p.m.

Join the Park Hill TAB. Help plan events and projects, talk about your favorite books, music, movies and make your opinion count. Plus snacks. Ideal for ages 13-18.

No Strings Attached Book Chat | Saturday, Jan. 13, 11 a.m.

Read whatever you want and attend whenever you can. Share a recent read, an old favorite, or anything in between.

Kids’ Book Club | Tuesday, Jan. 16, 3:30 p.m.

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Activity:Sphero Robots ; Ideal for grades 2-3.

Crazy 8’s Math Club | Wednesdays, Jan. 17, 24, and 31, 4 p.m.

Eight weekly sessions on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. A math club where you will build stuff, run, jump, and make music! Materials are limited so registration is suggested. Ideal for grades K-2.

Tween Book Club | Thursday, Jan. 18, 4:30 p.m.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Activity: colored ice suncatcher

The Haunts of Mayfair with Author Phil Goodstein | Saturday, Jan. 27, 2:30 p.m.

Phil Goodstein has written widely about the city of Denver. His latest book, The Story of Modern East Denver: Magnificent Mayfair, Beautiful Bellevue, Hale, Hilltop, Hospitals, is a look at the city south of Colfax, from Colorado Boulevard to Monaco Street Parkway to Sixth Avenue Parkway. Included will be a few ghost stories to add spice to the drama of the people, places and politics that have led residents proudly to call these neighborhoods their homes.

Play & Explore | Monday, Jan. 29, 10 -11:30 a.m.

Engage your child in play that helps strengthen motor skills, social skills, and encourages early literacy. This drop-in play session is recommended for children 12 months – preschool with their adult caregivers.

Age by Design: The Process and the Players with Jane Barton | Tuesday, Jan. 30, 4 p.m.

The journey of aging presents a myriad of challenges for one and all—physical, cognitive, emotional, psychosocial, financial and spiritual. By understanding the shared journey of aging, you can anticipate the inevitable changes and design a preferred plan for aging. Please join us for a thought-provoking chat about the process of aging and to imagine a life that you love.

Let’s Talk About Gentrification | Wednesday, Jan. 31, 6:30 p.m.

Gain insight to better understand the impact of gentrification on Denver’s neighborhoods. What societal structures support gentrification? Discuss possible actions we can take to create and retain diversity in our community.

* Note: All libraries will be closed Monday, Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day and Monday, Jan. 15 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


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