English language: the 9/11 effect

While 11 September 2001 will forever remain a grim day in American history, it has had one surprising effect on the English language. 

According to the American Dialect Society, the way “nine-eleven” changed the English language was so significant, that the term was named the word of the year for 2001. 

What is the 9/11 effect?

Traditionally, significant moments in history in the United States are always spoken out and written in full. One example is the United Staes Independence Day, or in other words the “Fourth of July,” 

Even when it comes to significant military losses, historians and society never referred to these events by their date in number format. Such instances have their name, tied to the location, or people involved, for example, “Pearl Harbor.”

However, the tragic events of 11 September 2001 will always remain known as 9/11. What is fascinating is that all countries speaking the English language, and even countries where this is not the primary language, have adopted 9/11 as the correct term for this historic event.

Even countries where the date format does not follow the American standard and is usually expressed in the day followed by the mont, 9/11 remains the traditionally used term. 

According to specialists, one of the main reasons for 9/11 to be simply remembered by the numerical date is the fact that the terrorist attacks that happened on that day were spread over several locations. While the attack on Pearl Harbor happened at a single site, the 9/11 attacks were divided among four different places. 

What is even more impressive is that after 9/11 became a globally accepted term, other terrorist attacks were remembered just by their dates. Examples include 7/7, the date of the London bombings in 2005, and 11-M, or 11 March, the date of the Madrid bombings in 2004.

English language fluency

Language fluency is something tough to achieve. While nowadays many people are proficient in English, in order to achieve a level of fluency that will not differentiate you from native speakers. 

Extraordinary terms like 9/11 make it even harder for foreign speakers to completely master the English language. However, the immense tragedy of the events that took place on this date has made the term so popular that even people who are just starting with English language classes are familiar with it.