What guy hasn't done something ridiculous to attract female attention? Southern Oregon University linguistics professor Ed Battistella has a word for these silly stunts. He calls them "testosterantics."

What guy hasn't done something ridiculous to attract female attention? Southern Oregon University linguistics professor Ed Battistella has a word for these silly stunts. He calls them "testosterantics."

Have you ever been bumped into by someone who was texting and walking at the same time? If so, then you were the victim of a "twalker."

Battistella is on a mission to fill gaps in the English language, inventing words for concepts that should have words — but don't. A pleasant feeling inspired by sunshine? That's "soloria" (from "sol" plus "euphoria"). The emotional rush that lovers experience on Feb. 14? Call it a "valentingle."

Since the first of the year, Battistella has been coining a word a day with the goal of creating 366 new words for 2012. (The extra day on Feb. 29 added some "leapwork" to the wordsmith's undertaking.)

Perhaps you've been lost for long stretches of time online, sifting through marginally relevant search results. Next time this happens, tell your friends you were "begoogled."

Every morning Battistella tweets his latest creation and its definition at @Literary Ashland. Then, on the last day of each month, he publishes a summary on a blog (LiteraryAshland.org) that he and his students maintain. He has dubbed his project the 2012 Literary Non-Word of the Day.

He settled on the term "non-word" for his apt inventions while his project was still in the planning stages.

"I thought 'neologisms' would sound too academic," he explains, "and with 'New Word of the Day,' people might think these were existing words meant to expand their vocabulary."

Battistella's daily tweets have served as a useful "teaching tool," he says, raising student interest in words and word formation.

"In my linguistic classes we study how meaning shifts over time — for example, 'deer' once referred to any animal — and we study how words are blended, clipped, reduplicated and built up and down from prefixes and suffixes."

The class also looks at how advertisers use new words, and how language spreads through different social groups. Battistella, the author of four books on grammar and language, sees his project as a way of showing students that language is constantly growing and evolving.

Occasionally students will pitch in with suggestions for non-words, taken straight from their world. After all, only someone living in student housing would know about "fratulence" — the bad odor associated with frat houses and dorm rooms.

Following rules that he set for himself back in January, Battistella has introduced new words in all parts of speech, and he has coined words in new ways — by using an exclamation point, for example, in "whew!able" (characterizing a close call).

The current political season has given rise to some non-words, while testing Battistella's resolve to remain nonpartisan. He has come up with "doubtcome" for a close electoral result that triggers a recount or court judgment. In January, the noise from the Iowa caucuses inspired him to think of "caucauphony."

"Not to be confused with 'cawcawphony,' " Battistella points out — which is a symphony of crows.

By deciding to skip the recent Jeremy Lin hype (Lin is an Asian-American basketball player for the NBA's New York Knicks who exploded into national prominence), Battistella stuck to his principle of not being trendy.

"Because I thought the words would soon become linsignificant," he jokes.

Though completing the project would be rewarding in itself, Battistella would love it if some of his non-words stuck, got picked up by dictionary makers and, thus, became actual words.

"I do have some linguist friends who are talking about them in their classes," he says, adding he has high hopes that "twalkers" might enter the general vocabulary. He thinks "velsh" (the sound of Velcro opening) stands a good chance of catching on, too.

He looks forward to his presentation at the Oregon Council of Teachers of English conference on April 21 in Ashland as a way of gaining more exposure for his project. An appearance on "The Colbert Report" would be even better.

"I'd love to have Colbert ask me about words," he says. "I could even make up a word for the occasion, like 'Colberance.' "

An unapologetic language enthusiast, Battistella admits to making up words to help him go to sleep. Moreover, he enjoys playing Scrabble, diagramming sentences, and "talking phonetics" with whomever will listen.

"I'm proud to know the parts of speech," he adds.

He wouldn't be insulted if you called him a word nerd, but he has a more flattering phrase for people like himself who enjoy taking a thought and some letters and seeing where they lead.

"We're lexical athletes," he says. Or, in a word, "lexthetes."

Before committing to the yearlong project, Battistella spent a weekend creating as many non-words as he could. Once he reached 100, he knew he was up to the task. With such a cache to plunder should he suffer a creative dry spell, he is confident that he can make it to Dec. 31.

Still, one thing worries him.

"There's a long tradition of lexicographers going insane," he says. "Check back with me in December."

Battistella welcomes ideas for non-words. Reach him at edbattistella@gmail.com.

Paul Hadella is a freelance writer living in Talent. Reach him at talenthouse@charter.net.