AP story today via the NYPost about using the net to troll — and track — for neologisms both historical and current. Jon Kleinberg, a computer scientist at Cornell, has tricked up software that searches the net for abrupt shifts in lingo tied to a certain era.
The program is intended to look at data about which the searcher has no clue – say a mountain of unread e-mail or documents – and divulge a list of what topics were hot and when they started to heat up.
(A quick look at Kleinberg’s publications list looks really interesting, if you care at about how people spread news/gossip. I do.)
Seems that the hosting company Verity is aiming Klenberg’s software at weblogs. Why? Because it
…could ultimately help advertisers target their sales pitches.
Another collector of neologisms is Paul McFredries, an author who’s written a bunch of “Complete Idiot’s Guides” and maintains the web site wordspy.
Some of the words spotted by McFedries are tech-related, e.g., “ham,” which means legitimate e-mail that gets lost in spam filters because it contains some spam-like phrases. Others are free-floating jargon, such as “induhvidual,” meaning one who acts foolishly.
I first saw “induhvidual” in Dilbert. This usage of “ham” is new to me; I think it’s a keeper.