June 15th, 2014

IH - space

Saturday Word & Sunday Word: Nihilartikel & Zzxjoanw

ni·hil·ar·ti·kel [naɪhɪlˈarˈtiːkəl]:
origin: nihil= nothing + artikel= article

Much like "cromulent" and "embiggens", this is a word designed as a joke that never actually existed and now does (semi-)legitimately; a neologism, first appearing in the German version of wikipedia.

Rightly enough, nihilartikel has come to mean exactly what it started out as: A deliberately fictitious entry or article on a subject, designed more to be playful than to cause deliberate harm, entrapment, or to further willful ignorance. However, it also raises the more and more dominant questions about "information" in the modern era, of the CIA-like pressure now facing everyday citizens on a daily basis regarding what is real or reliable, along with the corruption of what passes for fact.


zzxjoanw [ˈshȯ] or [ziks-jo'an]:
origin: supposedly New Zealand, Maori

Here is a perfect example of a nihilartikel!

Like many things we may wish existed or should in theory, but we are eventually forced to accept do not, similarly author Rupert Hughes made everyone want to accept zzxjoanw as a Maori word that could mean drum; fife; or conclusion -- it was republished several times, over a span of 70 years, before our culture's ignorance of their language was exposed. For the word cannot exist, as the Maoris' alphabet only possesses fourteen letters: AEGHIKMNOPRTUW (none of which are Z, X, or J).

A ghost word.