1.1. Neologisms as a Linguistic Phenomenon
No living language remains stable; its vocabulary is constantly growing and changing. Some words drop out of the vocabulary of a language with changes in the social system, with the growth and development of culture and technology.
The object of our interest and investigation is neologisms. Many linguists have researched this phenomenon.
«Neologisms is a linguistic term which refers to any newly coined word, word combination, a new meaning for an existing word, or a word borrowed from another language, the novelty of which is still felt»
(Arnold : 217)
Lexicographers consider neologisms words that appeared in the language not later a certain time. Some researchers put this boundary to be after the end of World War II (Миклашевская : 12); some linguists think that neologisms are words invented after 1957 – the year of the first satellite aprobation and of space. (Заботкина В.И. : 16)
New lexical units may be coined through « vocabulary extension and semantic extension.
Vocabulary extension is the appearance of new lexical items which usually appear as the result of
· productive (patterned) ways of word-formation;
· non-productive (non-patterned) ways of word-formation;
· borrowing from other languages.
Semantic extension is the appearance of new lexical meanings of existing words.
(Ginsburg : 184)
1.1.1. Vocabulary Extension
Neologisms are usually coined out of elements, which already exist in Modern English. Deliberate coinage is mostly the product of one’s creativity, ingenuity, and imitation. One should distinguish between patterned and non-patterned ways of word-formation.
The most widely used patterned means are:
Neologisms coined by these means are made up of elements already available in the language. The novelty of them lies in the particular combination of these elements.
The affixes that are thought to be the most productive are: -ness, -er, mini-, over-:
e.g.: a roomer, well-to-do-ness, thingness, oneness etc.
The most productive patterns of forming new nouns are:
Verb + -er ,
e.g.: brain-washer, double-talker;
Verb + -ing,
e.g.: cracking, phreaking.
The most frequent ways of verb coinage are:
un- + verb,
e.g.: unhook, undo, unbreak;
(adjective/noun + noun) + -ed, e.g.: long-legged, flat-bottomed
The most widely used ways of forming new adjectives are:
verb + -able,
e.g.: attachable, livable-in;
un- + Participle I or II,
e.g.: unguarded, unheard-of;
un- + adverb,
e.g.: unsouled, uncool.
Conversion, or zero- inflection, is a special non-affixal type of transforming a word into another part of speech.»
(Marchand : 293)
The most frequently used patterns of conversion are:
Noun - verb
E.g.: a butcher – to butcher, a boss – to boss
Verb - noun
E.g.: to know how – the know-how, to catch – the catch
Adjective – noun
E.g.: intellectual – the intellectual, progressive – the progressive
Noun – adjective
E.g.: a maiden – maiden, a sidelong - sidelong
Composition of words is compounding a word of smaller words.
E.g.: fish-in, laugh-in etc.
The second component of compound nouns often becomes centers of inventions by analogy. For instance, the component sick in seasick and homesick led to invention of space-sick, airsick, carsick etc. Quake in earthquake led to birthquake (population explosion); scraper in skyscraper led to thighscraper (mini-scirt).
New words may be coined in a non-patterned way. There are two types of non-patterned way of word creation:
Lexicalization as a transformation of a word-form
Shortening which consists in substituting a part for a whole. It involves 1. transformation of a word-group into a word and 2. a change of the word-structure resulting in a new lexical item.
Due to various semantic and syntactic reasons a form that originally expressed grammatical meaning, for example, the plural of nouns, becomes a basis for a new lexical meaning. This process is called lexicalization.
E.g.: the nouns arms, customs lost their grammatical meaning and became isolated from the paradigm of the words arm, custom, and develop a different lexical meaning of «weapons and «import duties».
Occasional lexicalization of phrases is an effective linguistic device used for stylistic purposes.
E.g.: a happy-go-lucky man; these how-do-you-do’s are annoying etc.
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