WHAT’S IN A WORD?
The mumblecore-haters may be out in force these days but, hey, it’s not like they got a word into the New Oxford American Dictionary. As reported on the Oxford University Press blog, “mumblecore” is a runner-up 2007 “word of the year.” The OAD defines mumblecore as: “an independent film movement featuring low-budget production, non-professional actors, and largely improvised dialogue.”
As a word, mumblecore faced stiffed competition. Some of its challengers included “upcycling” (“the transformation of waste materials into something more useful or valuable”); “previvor” (” a person who has not been diagnosed with a form of cancer but has survived a genetic predisposition for cancer”); and “aging in place” “(the process of growing older while living in one’s own residence, instead of having to move to a new home or community”). In the end, mumblecore was beat by a word representing another low-tech, DIY movement: “locavore”:
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.
“The word ‘locavore’ shows how food-lovers can enjoy what they eat while still appreciating the impact they have on the environment,” said Ben Zimmer, editor for American dictionaries at Oxford University Press. “It’s significant in that it brings together eating and ecology in a new way.”
“Locavore” was coined two years ago by a group of four women in San Francisco who proposed that local residents should try to eat only food grown or produced within a 100-mile radius. Other regional movements have emerged since then, though some groups refer to themselves as “localvores” rather than “locavores.” However it’s spelled, it’s a word to watch.