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MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

18 Most Relevant Words (By Candidate) from the GOP Debates

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

The word-learning site Vocabulary.com has a list-making tool that can automatically generate vocabulary study lists from speeches or passages in books. It finds the most relevant words in a text by looking at which words are used more frequently than one would expect when compared to the language as a whole. They ran the numbers on last night’s GOP debates, and came up with the most relevant words for each candidate. Click on the word to see the definition, or study the whole list at Vocabulary.com. Here are the results:

1. DEBATE AS A WHOLE // AMNESTY

This word relating to immigration policy was used by Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Scott Walker, as well as Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Perry in the preliminary debate.

2. JEB BUSH // VOUCHER

Bush touted his creation of a school voucher program in Florida, using a word you would normally see only once every 4,181 pages of text a total of three times.

3. BEN CARSON // TITHE

Carson’s proposal for a tax system based on the Christian practice of tithing tied him to this rarely used word. And got it trending on Twitter.

4. CHRIS CHRISTIE // ENTITLEMENT

This word, mostly found in discussions of government benefit programs, was used three times by the Governor of New Jersey.

5. TED CRUZ // AMNESTY

Though the word "amnesty" was used by many of the candidates, Cruz used it the most in voicing his opposition to pardoning illegal immigration.

6. MIKE HUCKABEE // BURGEONING

Huckabee employed this relatively rare word with reference to the danger of Iran as a “burgeoning nuclear power.”

7. JOHN KASICH // RECIDIVISM

Recidivism, the tendency of an ex-convict to go back to a previous behavior, was one of the rarest words used in the debate. Kasich used it in reference to the benefit of getting prisoners treatment for drug addiction.

8. MARCO RUBIO // EVISCERATE

In a call to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, Rubio claimed it was “eviscerating small businesses and small banks.”

9. RAND PAUL // ANIMUS

Paul made sure to say that animus, a feeling of ill-will or animosity, was not behind his proposal to decrease foreign aid to Israel.

10. DONALD TRUMP // DESTABILIZE

Trump bragged that only he had the foresight to know that the war in Iraq “was going to destabilize the Middle East.”

11. SCOTT WALKER // REINSTATE

Walker spoke about reinstating with reference to two things: the sanctions against Iran and the missile defense system in Eastern Europe.

And here were the most relevant candidate words from the preliminary debates and the quotes where they appeared: 

12. CARLY FIORINA // RESURGENCE

“We need a leader who will lead the resurgence of this great nation and unlock its potential once again.”

13. JIM GILMORE // LEGISLATING

“The President shouldn't be legislating.”

14. LINDSEY GRAHAM // EMPOWER

“She has empowered a failed agenda.”

15. BOBBY JINDAL // ASSIMILATION

“Immigration without assimilation is an invasion.”

16. GEORGE PATAKI // RADICALIZE

“…go after those who are here who we know who are here, before they can radicalize other Americans to carry out attacks.”

17. RICK PERRY // ENTITLEMENT

“We can reform those entitlements, we can change that corporate tax code and lower it.”

18. RICK SANTORUM // JUGGERNAUT

“It’s a 20 percent flat rate tax, it’ll take a blowtorch to the—to the IRS. It will create a manufacturing juggernaut in this country.”

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How Do You Stress the Word: THANKSgiving or ThanksGIVing?
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Here’s something else to stress about for Thanksgiving: where to put the stress in the word Thanksgiving.

If you’re from California, Iowa, or Delaware, you probably say ThanksGIVing, with the primary stress on the second syllable. If you’re from Georgia, Tennessee, or the Texas Panhandle, you probably say THANKSgiving, with the primary stress on the first syllable.

This north-south divide on syllable stress is found for other words like umbrella, guitar, insurance, and pecan. However, those words are borrowed from other languages (Italian, Spanish, French). Sometimes, in the borrowing process, competing stress patterns settle into regional differences. Just as some borrowed words get first syllable stress in the South and second syllable stress in the North, French words like garage and ballet get first syllable stress in the UK and second syllable stress in the U.S.

Thanksgiving, however, is an English word through and through. And if it behaved like a normal English word, it would have stress on the first syllable. Consider other words with the same noun-gerund structure just like it: SEAfaring, BAbysitting, HANDwriting, BULLfighting, BIRDwatching, HOMEcoming, ALMSgiving. The stress is always up front, on the noun. Why, in Thanksgiving alone, would stress shift to the GIVE?

The shift to the ThanksGIVing pronunciation is a bit of a mystery. Linguist John McWhorter has suggested that the loss of the stress on thanks has to do with a change in our concept of the holiday, that we “don’t truly think about Thanksgiving as being about thankfulness anymore.” This kind of thing can happen when a word takes on a new, more abstract sense. When we use outgoing for mail that is literally going out, we are likely to stress the OUT. When we use it as a description of someone’s personality ("She's so outgoing!"), the stress might show up on the GO. Stress can shift with meaning.

But the stress shift might not be solely connected to the entrenchment of our turkey-eating rituals. The thanksGIVing stress pattern seems to have pre-dated the institution of the American holiday, according to an analysis of the meter of English poems by Mark Liberman at Language Log. ThanksGIVing has been around at least since the 17th century. However you say it, there is precedent to back you up. And room enough to focus on both the thanks and the giving.

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Designer Reimagines the Spanish Alphabet With Only 19 Letters
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According to designer José de la O, the Spanish alphabet is too crowded. Letters like B and V and S and Z are hard to tell apart when spoken out loud, which makes for a language that's "confusing, complicated, and unpractical," per his design agency's website. His solution is Nueva Qwerty. As Co.Design reports, the "speculative alphabet" combines redundant letters into single characters, leaving 19 letters total.

In place of the letters missing from the original 27-letter Spanish alphabet are five new symbols. The S slot, for example, is occupied by one letter that does the job of C, Z, and S. Q, K, and C have been merged into a single character, as have I and Y. The design of each glyph borrows elements from each of the letters it represents, making the new alphabet easy for Spanish-speakers to learn, its designer says.

Speculative Spanish alphabet.
José de la O

By streamlining the Spanish alphabet, de la O claims he's made it easier to read, write, and type. But the convenience factor may not be enough to win over some Spanish scholars: When the Royal Spanish Academy cut just two letters (CH and LL) from the Spanish alphabet in 2010, their decision was met with outrage.

José de la O has already envisioned how his alphabet might function in the real world, Photoshopping it onto storefronts and newspapers. He also showcased the letters in two new fonts. You can install New Times New Roman and Futurysma onto your computer after downloading it here.

[h/t Co.Design]

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