ISIS, ISIL, or Islamic State?

When there’s a contested way of naming something or someone, the U.S. government often ends up stuck in a rut. Remember Usama bin Laden — which Fox News still stubbornly clings on to? Now President Obama, sounding as though he’s slurring his speech, still keeps on saying ISIL instead of ISIS.

Truly, the only thing that makes something linguistically correct is usage. If the “wrong” way of saying something or writing it becomes the most common way, it’s no longer wrong.

A few days ago, Max Rodenbeck threw a new acronym into the mix (just for a laugh, I suspect). He opted for SIC (State of the Islamic Caliphate).

There’s no question, they’re sick, but I doubt SIC will catch on — just as QSIS (coined by Egypt’s grand mufti Shawki Ibrahim Allam) is destined to go nowhere.

Nowadays, wordsmiths really don’t need to waste time figuring out which linguistic forms they want to hold up as authoritative — all anyone has to do is use Google Trends.

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