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Millionth English Word Or Just "Nonsense?"

Set your clocks. The English language is weeks away from expanding its lexicon to one million words.

So says Paul Payack, chief of the Website Global Language Monitor and author of A Million Words And Counting. The self-style language expert from Texas predicts the millionth entry will come on June 10, at 10:22 a.m., according to a report in the Houston Chronicle Monday.

According to Payack, a new English word is created every 98 minutes and those new entries are fed into his site where they are checked for acceptance. (Words must be published 25,000 times before being candidates.)

But that prediction has come under fire from linguists who say Payack is more interested in generating publicity than in adding to linguistic scholarship.

"He made it all up in his head," said Robert Beard, a linguist who worked with Payack on an Internet dictionary told the Houston Chronicle "He's a great marketer, but he's a classics major. He knows nothing about linguistics."

"I think it's pure fraud," said Geoffrey Nunberg, a University of California-Berkeley linguistics professor. "It's not bad science. It's nonsense."

Experts say it's impossible to calculate the number of words in the English language, which is complicated by the classification of compound words, verb forms and obsolete terms.

But don't tell that to Payack.

"We believe words can be counted if you define them in the right way," he told the Chronicle. "You can count them like anything else in science. You can count how many atoms there are in the ocean."