It's WOTY season again. Oxford Dictionaries enters with a splash: Their Word of the Year is.... not a word at all. It's a pictograph, the "Face with Tears of Joy" emoij.
I find this rather disappointing. Where to begin? For a start, it's not a word, at least not in the traditional sense of the, eh, word. (Just as the hashtag #blacklivesmatter -- voted "Word of the Year" by the American Dialect Society last year -- is not a word. Just as the new "because" construction -- voted "Word of the Year" by the American Dialect Society in 2013 -- is not a word.) Call me old schook, but what's wrong with trying to find an actual word that "best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015"?
Second, I'm having a really hard time to accept that the "ethos, mood, and preoccupation of 2015" is best characterized by an overflowing expression of joy. Perhaps it's a matter of timing: The Oxford announcement came three days after the Paris/Beirut attacks. I've seen a lot of emojis on my screen, but they were not of the "Face with Tears of Joy" kind.
I’m on the home stretch of Rieber’s The Struggle for the Eurasian Borderlands (see this post), and in the course of reading up on the Great Eastern Crisis ...