Neologism in the lexical system of modern English

On the mass media material

Master's Thesis 2010 132 Pages

Didactics - English - Literature, Works




1.1. The definition of neologism
1.2. Transposition and identification as the two stages of nominative
1.3. The types of transposition
1.4. The meaning structure of a word

2.1. The principles of collecting neologisms
2.2. Paradigmatic analysis of the new lexical units
2.3. Neologism as a result of transposition
2.4. Contrastive analysis of a neologism as for the types of transposition






“The nature of the Universe loves nothing so much as to change the things

which are and make new things like them”

(Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, 121 – 180).


A living language leads a dynamic existence, it is constantly developing its internal and external resources, adapting to ever changing circumstances of social, cultural, political and scientific life, generating new forms and content and abandoning old ones, improving its expressive means and devices through their structural complication or simplification. Language is one of those spheres of human activity that are the first to bring reaction to social and other kinds of changes in human life and activities. Language may even not only follow or accompany these changes but also cause them – “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought” [46], and it is not an insoluble problem to find illustrative examples for that in the past and present.

Every social or political change, revolution, innovation is preceded by introduction of new words and terms, many of which are only euphemisms: “enemy of the people” (French and Russian revolution), “bourgeois nationalism” (communist USSR), “the final solution of the Jewish question” (fascist Germany), “iron curtain”, “perestroika” (Gorbachev reforms), etc. All these terms had corresponding consequences after being proclaimed.

Any historical period has a factor or a group of factors that cause the appearance of new features and properties of a certain language [47, p. 28]. These factors – both linguistic and extralinguistic – play a crucial role in the research of the nature of linguistic changes, their inner essence and regularities.

The transformations within a language take place on different levels – phonetic, morphemic, lexical, syntactic, etc. – and the first three ones are the layers that are the most susceptible to change, which may be evident even to one certain generation. Syntactic changes are somewhat slower and we identify them mainly with the help of written texts several generations older then we are.

The most visible are lexical changes, for it is when we meet a new word, misunderstanding may appear. A new unknown word as a rule draws attention, makes a person think over or guess its meaning, denotative and connotative, it may as well puzzle or stir negative emotions.

The development of language was firstly grounded on the lexical changes, when the first linguists saw that the older the text, written or oral, is, the less its language has similarities with that of their own time. That was one of the reasons to start exploring and investigating the nature of language, as we see it on the examples of Panini, Greek and Roman grammarians and lexicographers [7, p. 15].

In Ancient and Medieval periods the development of language was a notion unknown to professional grammarians. The dominant conviction was that the new European languages were more primitive, poorer and ruder than Old Greek and Latin. It was wholly acceptable to assert that Romance languages are the product of Latin’s simplification and degeneration, as they don’t possess the numerous inflections and other riches of grammatical forms of their mother language [22, p. 19]. It was also evident that Latin words underwent slight or considerable transformations after penetrating into new European languages.

Any new epoch was accompanied by introduction of new words denoting new things, object and phenomena.

The English language in this respect shares the destiny of other European languages. It developed from the Anglo-Saxon language (or the Old English) to modern English, the native language of some 375 million people and the language of international communication [32, p. 98].

The ancient Continental period, the migration to the British Isles, the raids of the Vikings, the Norman Conquest, the end of the Hundred Year’s War, the Great geographical discoveries and the following revolutions in science and society brought about new features and characteristics to the English language and its vocabulary in particular.

There were accepted new standards of pronunciation, new syntactic properties, but the main changes lied in introduction of new words and the semantic transformations of the old ones.

Thus, the central point in the development of a certain language is enrichment and enlargement of its vocabulary. The newly created or borrowed words known as neologisms (from Greek νεολογισμός) after a certain period of being perceived as unusual and new entered the stock of the English lexicon as its integral part.

As a result, lexicological layer appears to be the first reliable indicator of the constant and gradual linguistic transformation and development. And it is words that make the changes in language noticeable and evident.

The current paper is devoted to neologisms as the constituent part of the modern English vocabulary. The topicality of the research lies in the fact that modern period is characterized by intensive development and changes of social, political and scientific spheres of human life. They are accompanied by the changes in the English language which is to reflect the objective reality. What is more, outside reality is cognized and registered through language, and thus we need to be aware of modern language resources in order to adequately perceive modern realities of our existence. Effective communication is impossible without having knowledge of modern trends and tendencies in various aspects of human activity that are immediately reflected in the language on their appearance.

The object of research is the lexical system of modern English as it is represented in mass media discourse.

The subject of investigation are the neologisms that appeared in 2000 – 2010 years issues of the following British newspapers: The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Economist, The Daily Telegraph, The Observer, and Herald Scotland.

The purpose of the present work is to investigate the neologisms in the lexical system of the modern English language and reveal the major trends and tendencies taking place within the processes of the new words formation and distribution.

To achieve the above mentioned purpose the following objectives are established:

- to study the theoretical linguistic material and the latest data on those lexicological facts and phenomena which are related to the topic of the present research;
- to analyze the most highly rated newspapers of Great Britain with the aim of selecting newly created and borrowed lexemes;
- to build up a collection of neologisms from the above mentioned mass media;
- to define the dominant part of speech prevailing among the collected neologisms and the distribution of other parts of speech within this framework;
- to define and study the types of word building inherent in the neologisms;
- to define and investigate the most dominant word building type and study the distribution of other ones characteristic of the collected new lexemes.

In the present paper there were used such methods of scientific research as analysis and synthesis, following every chapter and part of the current work, descriptive method and the method of statistical analysis, methods of typological and lexicological analysis, comparative method, adapted NeoTrack method of neologisms detection (Appendix B), plus deductive and inductive methods of investigation and generalising the retrieved facts and data.

The hypotheses of the research are that:

- the majority of newly created and borrowed words should be nouns;
- the prevalent word building type should be affixation.

These hypotheses are based on a significant amount of lexicological and lexicographical literature and sources of the previous years [1; 2; 4; 6; 8; 11; 15; 16; 20; 28; 29; 31; 33; 42; 53; 54; 59; 68; 76; 82; 85; 89; 94; 106], which point out the fact that the parts of speech dominant among the appearing neologisms are nouns, and prefixation is exceeding all other types of word building with only composition slightly lagging behind.

In order to make the circle of investigation narrower, only the UK newspapers were used. The following seven newspapers were included into the research: The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Economist, The Daily Telegraph, The Observer plus Herald Scotland. The major reason to select the above mentioned editions lies in their high national and international status and authority, as they are regarded to be classic British papers. Conventionally, they are named ‘heavyweights’, which gives a sufficient reason to treat their linguistic material as official or generally accepted [53, p. 58]. Thus, the neologisms used in the articles of these mass media are of special interest and importance for the present research as they allow monitoring the latest trends and tendencies in modern Standard English. Even the bare fact that certain lexical units penetrated into these papers proves that those words and word combinations gained recognition and are accepted into the vocabulary as its ‘new members’.

There, however, exist other types of mass media – TV and radio programs, numerous video reports, news forums and blogs etc. They might be also a rich resource of newly created words and word combinations; what is more, they represent the main, basic layer of language which is the primary means of communication – oral speech. Therefore, it is necessary to point out that the lexical material of oral speech consists of elements belonging to numerous types, i.e. different registers, styles, and is much less edited due to its impromptu and spontaneous nature. Thus, the above mentioned sources may include the words created by the speaker and the lifetime of such lexemes is restricted to the communicative act where they first and last appear.

For the present research, however, it is important to pay attention to the neologisms which have acquired a certain status and entered or are in the process of entering the official language. Such lexical units have more chances to remain in the English vocabulary for a long period of time and thus are worth drawing our attention to.

In order to perform a maximum detailed research and description of modern neologisms the work is divided into two chapters:

Chapter 1 consists of four parts that cover the following aspects of the nature of English neologisms:
- part 1.1 provides a general introduction to the notion of neologism, including the definitions offered by different linguistic schools and their representatives, their opinions on the nature and role of newly created and borrowed words;
- part 1.2 deals with the role transposition and identification play in the nominative processes taking place in the lexical system and their influence on the newly created words;
- part 1.3 investigates the types of transposition and singles out their key characteristics important for the present research;
- part 1.4 focuses on the characteristics of meaning structure of a word as it is viewed by the distinguished scholars and linguists;
Chapter 2 consists of five parts, where the object of research is investigated from several approaches and the attempt of classification is made:
- part 2.1 deals with the peculiarities of collecting the list of neologisms (Appendix A), with the method applied to that kind of work (Appendix B) and the results that might be expected after accomplishing the collection;
- part 2.2 investigates the essential features of distribution of the neologisms among the parts of speech, performing a paradigmatic analysis of the new lexical units, calculating and presenting the statistical data on the percentage of each part of speech present in the list of neologisms (Appendix A);
- part 2.3 gives a detailed description of the transpositional processes separately focusing on composition (Part 2.3.1), prefixation and suffixation (Part 2.3.2), blending (Part 2.3.3), and the three remaining types of word building – agglutination, conversion, and contraction (Part 2.3.4);
- part 2.4 is focused on the contrastive analysis of a neologism as for the types of transposition, defines the prevailing ones and provides the statistical data concerning the percentage of each transpositional type within Appendix A;

The present research paper does not claim to cover all the aspects of such a complicated and many-sided phenomenon as neologism, many of which have to be ignored with respect to the volume and framework of the thesis. The attempt is made to single out the main features, i.e. those ones that are of primary importance for communicative and social activity in their broadest sense.

The torrents of new words in technological, scientific, social and political spheres need paying careful attention in order to find out their original and true sense, its scope and bounds. For, as it has been found out [21, p. 49], the discourse in modern mass media (as far as it concerns the present research) abounds with the examples when certain words and terms bear no definite meaning and are virtually applicable to any object, person or phenomena – such a trend is characteristic mainly of political or pseudoscientific discourse [21, p. 53]. Here we approach the boundary of ethics with its eternal problem of truth and falsehood which is beyond the aims of the present work.

Another aspect of neologisms touched in the paper is when an old word changes its meaning or adds some more ones among the already existing ones
[5, p. 21]. Possible confusions when a word is misunderstood, i.e. when its old meaning is taken, might be a real problem in communication.

Modern period is significant for our interest due to the fact that the English language has become the means of international communication and started wielding influence on the languages of the world, unlike the previous periods when it chiefly was under the influence of the ancient languages and those of its neighbours. This fact, for example, may explain why the neologisms appear mainly through the means of world building – conversion, derivation, composition etc – and not through the process of borrowing, but the latter still exists as well, though on a smaller scale. So, the neologisms in modern English are created first of all with the help of its own resources.

The list of the neologisms found in the British newspapers The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Economist, The Daily Telegraph, The Observer and Herald Scotland is added in the Appendix A. The list does not claim overall completeness or fullness, but it, however, might be a suggestion for lexicographers in their work of compiling or supplementing the dictionaries.


1.1. The definition of neologism

Dealing with such a lexicological phenomenon as neologism requires first of all clearing out what it exactly is and what the criteria to differentiate it among the multitude of lexemes are.

Most frequently, neologism is explained and defined as ‘a new word’ [20, p. 15; 31, p. 5; 33, p. 21; 42, p. 32; 54, p. 359], which seems quite clear and simple. But when it is necessary to identify which words can be regarded as new ones and which not, there arises a problem. The problem lies in the relativity of the concept of novelty, newness as it depends on what period is taken into consideration, for how long the word has status of being new, etc. The Ukrainian philologist professor M.I. Mostovy states that “there are no clear criteria of defining neologism as a linguistic phenomenon” [94, p. 174]. As a result, we face a kind of ambiguity at the very beginning of neologism investigation.

There, however, are a number of definitions of neologism offered by various linguists, which brings us some clarity in making out neologisms within the vocabulary of English. The above mentioned professor M.I. Mostovy writes, “neologism is a linguistic unit that is created for the definition of a new notion” [94, p. 174]. He does not deepen into the features and characteristics of the new words, but rather displays the main idea of neologism that lies in expressing new objects and phenomena.

The well-known “Dictionary of Linguistic Terms” by O.S. Akhmanova provides a more detailed definition, where there are distinguished two kinds of neologisms. The first definition runs as follows: “neologism is a word or phrase created for defining a new (unknown before) object or expressing a new notion” [69, p. 263], the second one says that it is “a new word or expression that has not received the right for citizenship in the national language and thus is perceived as belonging to a specific, often substandard style of speech” [69, p. 263]. The second definition refers to some kind of barbarism or xenism and is not appropriate in research of neologisms that are mainly relevant and in demand in a certain linguistic community. The first one is quite sufficient in giving the idea proper of neologism, although it does not indicate their characteristic features.

The linguistic encyclopaedia by V.N. Yartseva offers a broader definition, stating that “neologisms are words, word meanings or collocations that appeared in a certain period in a language or that are once used (‘occasional’ words) in a text or speech act” [109, p. 279]. Here the notion of neologism expands beyond the framework of a lexeme and includes also new meanings and collocations, which might be conveyed by old and known words. This approach seems to be more profound as it takes into consideration not only the fact of the appearance of a new word form but also the changes of its internal and external organisation.

The most abstract definition is given by Russian professor in linguistics V.I. Zabotkina who says that new words are “units that appear in a language after certain temporal bounds taken as initial ones” [85, 16]. This definition is the broadest one and allows including into the category of neologism almost all the possible new trends and tendencies in lexicological and semantic areas of a language.

The Dutch linguist M. Janssen offers five criteria for defining a neologism:

- psychological – “a neologism is a word that is perceived as new by the language community” [31, p. 2];
- lexicographic – “any word that does not appear in the dictionary is considered a neologism” [31, p. 4];
- exclusive definition – “a word not appearing in a pre-determined exclusion lexicon[1] is a neologism” [31, p. 3; Appendix B];
- diachronic definition – “any word-form that appears in a recent general language text, and was not previously part of that language is a neologism” [31, p. 6];
- reference corpora definition – “any word-form, which appears in a recent general language text, and does not appear in an established reference corpus of that language is a neologism” [31, p. 6].

Finally, he offers his own definition that he named as “extended lexicographic diachronic” one and which sounds as follows – “any word that does not occur in the morphological database derived from the dictionary because of its recentness is a neologism” [31, p. 8].

The complaint of professor V.I. Zabotkina who writes that “one of the unsolved problems of neology is the problem of the term of neologism” [85, p. 16] is fair up to a certain extent, for the number of definitions virtually coincides with the number of the scholars and the latter regard the phenomenon of new words from different standpoints, so that the general view on the issue varies from author to author. But it is also vitally important not to overlook the similarities in those definitions and approaches which are based on the common concept of novelty.

Janssen M. shares his view on the ambiguity of the term “neologism” stating that “the word being new should imply that the word is currently part of language but was not so previously. But language does not progress through well defined stages, where the words in the new lexicon can be compared to the words in the old lexicon. Firstly, “new” is a relative notion – some words may be older than others, but there is no demarcated period for being new. And secondly, there is no well-defined, stable lexicon of a language against which the newness can be tested – a language cannot be stably defined within its limits in the chronological, special and social dimensions” [31, 2].

In all the definitions, there is mentioned the fact of a novelty for some lexical units as a new word, phrase or expression. Some definitions add the facts of semantic novelty, e.g. new meaning, or even the syntactic one, e.g. new collocations.

The difference is chiefly in an extent of newness: either it concerns only the shift in meaning or in a structure too. So, the sphere of difference is more or less clear.

Balyuta E.G. points out that there is also a range of terms related to the notion of neologism and they refer to the same object, so along with “neologism” such terms are often used in the lexicological research as “new words”, “lexical innovation”, “neoseme”, “actual derivate”, etc [76, 149].

Thus, in treating the concept of neologism there may be discerned a threefold nature of the new words, and it would be quite reasonable to graphically depict it with the help of the following scheme.

Diagram 1.2

The types of neologisms

illustration not visible in this excerpt

The first circle includes only those lexemes which have not existed up to a certain period of time, i.e. they cannot be found in the texts written before a given moment. Thus, it includes the smallest number of lexical units. For example such words as googling, Blairite, Eurabia had not existed even in the first half of 1990s.

The second circle represents the words that have changed their meaning but retained their old form, with their old meaning lost or moved towards secondary importance, e.g. web, net, mobile, etc. These units are the result of secondary nomination.

The last, third, circle contains those lexemes which have only added one or more new meanings without losing the significance of the old ones, they present the paradigmatic relations of polysemy, e.g. surf, printer, cut etc.

Taking into account all the mentioned approaches to the definition of neologism and the manifold structure of the term, it will be taken in its all three meanings but the main focus will be placed on the first circle of neologisms as they are the most characteristic and relevant to the topic of our research.

1.2. Transposition and identification as the two stages of nominative process

The process of nomination is a complicated linguistic phenomenon representing internal and external reality through the reflective ability of human consciousness; it generalizes the notions which already exist and establishes the new ones [9, p. 42]. In this way some part, constituent of reality is labelled, i.e. it is given a name. So, any process that results in a new name-label is an element of the process of nomination.

The process of nomination proper is a complicated phenomenon; it includes numerous patterns, regularities and stages that are organized according to certain linguistic laws. The latter are discovered a posteriori, after analysing some significant group of units that is the product of nominalisation.

The process of nomination, however, consists of two basic stages – transposition and identification.

The former is the mechanism of word derivation which functions in conditions of speech on a syntagmatic level. Transposition in turn is divided by the majority of linguists into three following types.

Morphological (or structural) transposition is characterised by covering the processes of word formation, such as composition, agglutination, affixation, abbreviation, back-formation and compound derivation.

Onomasiologically, the derivative process designates the unknown through the known, so that a new experience is discretely combined with an old one [104, p. 15]. Derivation may include one or more stages – derivational steps – where only two constituents enter into relations of derivativeness, one of which makes the basis of nomination and another renders some new information.

The basis of nomination (or OB[2] ) represents the above mentioned ‘known’ and in this way reflects some human experience which is already familiar to the representatives of a certain linguistic community. As for determinant – determinatum syntagmatic sequence, OB is associated with the determinatum.

The new information (or OS[3] ) represents the ‘unknown’, and it is determinant in the mentioned syntagmatic sequence.

All processes of derivation follow the rule of analogy that is realised with the help of patterning. So every new fact may be compared with the similar fact in the past, and in such a way it can be disposed in a certain ‘lot’ of our memory. The rule of analogy allows both to effectively create new lexicological items without some significant limits in their number and preserve old material, so a certain succession (or even evolution) takes place in language – a new item is correlated with the old one and in turn may be used for producing next items in following derivational steps.

There can be traced back all the derivational stages of many words, so that the whole lexical transformation may be illustrated.

E.g. 1) pyrrhically

illustration not visible in this excerpt
2) anti-intellectualising

illustration not visible in this excerpt

It is significant that in cases of prefixation the role of a basis belongs to a stem because of its modifying function, as prefixes do not change the lexico-grammatical status of a derivative but just add some shade of meaning.

Syntactical (or paradigmatic, or morphosyntactical) transposition is characterised by conversion as a derivational act [98, p. 73]. Here we have pattern as well as in the previous type of transposition, but there are no additional structural elements. The semantic shift is realised due to the paradigmatic oppositions that result in either meaning expansion or narrowing.

E.g.: google (n) → google (v) = N → V

twitter (v) → twitter (n) = V → N

Back-formation might be also regarded as a type of morphosyntactical transposition:

aborigines → aborigine

unkempt → kempt

Semantic transposition is peculiar for the semantic expansion either from a concrete to a more generalised meaning, or on the contrary – from a more abstract to concrete. It is tightly correlated with metonymic and metaphoric usages connected with a semantic shift in their meaning structure.

E.g. Washington sent military troops to Iraq.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

But still the transposition itself does not give good chances for a word to get accepted by a linguistic community and thus be fixed in a vocabulary.

The second and most decisive part of nomination is identification, it belongs to a social factor, and this stage of the process of nomination either “lets in” a new word or not. If that process has positive result – the conventional character of a linguistic sign is realized.

Identification plays the role of ‘filter’ in giving access only to the most relevant and correct (from the speakers’ viewpoint) words. Thus the majority of the products of transposition appearing in written and oral speech do not live a long life, they are quickly forgotten and are substituted by “more appropriate” linguistic signs.

If a word has passed through identification – it becomes a ‘full member’ of a certain linguistic community’s vocabulary, and thus the process of nomination is over.

The appearance of neologisms in a living language is a constant and regular process, its word stock is always adopting new words as a result of social and linguistic changes, innovations and development. The language is rapidly reacting to the emergence of new social phenomena, objects and activities which immediately undergo the process of nomination. The suggestion that new notions appear simultaneously with their signifiers does not seem to be ungrounded, for the most of human mental activity is carried out with the help of verbal means.

The question where neologisms come from, the question of their origin or source lies within the field of our scientific interest. The topic of the research offers a remarkable opportunity to trace the life of modern neologisms from their very conception to overall recognition and inclusion in the dictionaries and databases. The modern epoch produces a lot of inventions and innovations in virtually every sphere of human activity – scientific, political, commercial and others. There appear new objects and devices that penetrate into everyday life of many people.

So, it is not too problematic to find and single out the sources where the neologism comes from, these sources are often so evident that it is almost impossible not to see them. It is, however, necessary to pay special attention to them in order to define their types, the importance and distribution of the latter.

The most neologisms appear according to the following simple pattern – first there appears a new object / phenomenon or just some necessity for it, then it is nominated by a word, chiefly a newly created one. So, the introduction of new words shares its nature practically with all the kinds of innovations – political, technological, scientific etc – as all of them are caused by social demand [33, p. 19; 42, p. 12].

The material aspect of the neologisms cannot be ignored as well, as the new lexemes are built with the help of certain linguistic “matter” which represents its substantial side and is a “framework” where the notion is inserted.

So, the sources of neologisms can be divided into two types of different nature, but neither of them is sufficient for the emergence of a new word. They lead a parallel existing and are practically inseparable. These groups or sources are:

- linguistic (mainly morphological units) and
- extra-linguistic (being beyond the language).

The first one gives the word forms proper through the processes of word building and borrowing. The difference between them lies in the fact that the former involves only the existing resources of the language – morphemes (stems, roots, prefixes, and suffixes), phonemes and graphemes. The latter is based on the lexical resources of another language, a new word may be borrowed either without any significant change, although it happens rather rarely, because it should undergo at least some phonological adaptation in the new language in order to be freely used by the native speakers, e.g. Maidan, Taliban, etc.

German linguists J. Grzega and M. Schöner distinguish three main groups of lexemes according to the peculiarity of their “name-giving” – old words in new use (“when no formally new creation occurs, but an already existing form is extended in use”), juggling with already existing forms (“sticking together morphemes”, conversion, derivation etc.) and borrowings (loans and calques) [25, p. 41 – 51].

The borrowing may also perform a deeper penetration into the new language through its connection with native morphemes, e.g. Dhimmitude etc.

Thus, the two sources – borrowing and word building provide for the linguistic material basis of the new lexemes.

The extra-linguistic group of sources is more numerous and includes various spheres of human activity where verbal means are applied, but for the better convenience there have been singled out five ones:

- social (relating to different sides of human society);
- political (relating to national and international politics);
- scientific (referring to various sciences);
- technological (relating to devices);
- economic (referring to national and international economy).

It should be pointed out that political, social and economical sources are very close and quite often difficult to distinguish, the newspapers researched, however, imply the difference between them covering economic, political, and social news separately; the same is about the scientific and technological ones.

There might be mentioned such sources as fiction, popular culture etc as well, but they can be easily distributed among the mentioned ones, and it would be rather inconvenient to multiply those divisions and subdivisions.

On the whole linguistic and extra-linguistic sources of neologisms may be presented in the following scheme:

Table 1.1

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We will touch each source trying to define their most characteristic features, and their relationships, although the volume of the paper does not allow us to do that. The next paragraph, however, will be devoted to a more detailed description of word building.

The British mass media of nowadays – The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Economist, The Daily Telegraph, The Observer, and Herald Scotland – cover the news from political, economic, social, scientific and some other fields of human activity.

Accordingly, we will have a look at each of them, and the first one that presents a rather high number of new lexics is politics. The ever changing political realities make a noticeable imprint on the vocabulary of newspaper articles, especially the emergence of a new organization or political figure causes the appearance of a range of neologisms [1, p. 1691; 53, p. 59].

Thus, with the emergence of articles covering different aspects of international terrorism, there have appeared a number of terms with negative connotations referring to the Islamic terrorist movement – Islamism, Islamophobia, Islamofascism etc, very often terms Islamic and Islamist are differentiated with the latter denoting new pseudo religious movements with political constituent, like Al-Qaeda, Taliban and the like.

British political discourse has been also incorporating new words, terms and often labels to refer to some political phenomena or movements – many of them are not supposed to have a long life but still they are used in the press – corporatocracy, Bairite, Neocons, Republicrats, Brownite, Theoconservatice etc.

Some other new vocabulary refers to the international global politics, and the names to new political structures are given – European Union (EU), Chindia, Eurabia and others; and some new words are derived form them – Euroscepticism, Eurosphere, Eurorealism etc.

The social sphere has given names to the new phenomena that have appeared recently in the end of the 20th - beginning of the 21st centuries. These neologisms refer to various aspects of human live and activity including work, leisure time activities, hobbies and so on – consumerisation, webinar, wardrobe malfunction, santorum, saddlebacking, fauxhawk end others.

The economic sphere launched many lexemes denoting different brands, logotypes and trademarks that are not to be pointed out in the present paper, but still there emerge many words that have a broader meaning and denote some group of products, or commercial activities – laundromat, hoover, band-aid, chav and others [53, p. 58].

The scientific and technological sphere are very close to each other not only in the ontological sense but also in their terms which are being introduced virtually every day with every new invention, discovery or innovation. Many of them deeply penetrate into our daily life and activities and have already become quite trivial both in formal and informal oral discourse and in the newspaper. Here are sonly some of them – Internet, World Wide Web (www), blog, Intranet, forum etc. But still the majority of scientific neologism remain unknown by the wide society and are limited by some professional field.

Thus, there have been shown the variety of sources of the new words that enter the vocabulary of modern British mass media and penetrate the everyday vocabulary of the English speakers. There have been highlighted two types of sources – the first one that construes the material of a new word and the second one that has a more speculative nature. Being a social phenomenon, language enriches its vocabulary due to development of different aspects of human life and activity.

1.3. The types of transposition

The fundamental function of language lies in the relations between language and world – it is known as representation of thinking in the process of communication. The real functioning of language presents a permanent process of people’s verbal communication, so language becomes a necessary constituent of human society that allows accumulating knowledge and experience and pass them on to the forthcoming generations.

The process of thinking is realized on the basis of neologisms and sentences as empirical, material form of ideal reality. Natural language is not only the means of cognizing the environment. Every idea, being materialized in a form of any meaningful unit of a language hierarchy takes part in the process of thinking. That is why language and meaning are the two closely interrelated notions. The opinion that the notion of language is to a certain degree a notion of meaning and every theory which ignores the semantic aspect of language cannot be a theory of language is fully justified and, indeed, it is hardly possible to exclude the semantic aspect from linguistic studies, and all investigations concerning language appeal to semantics in evident or latent form [5, p. 30; 12, p. 13; 41, p. 409].

Language generalizes and differentiates the properties and relations of the exterior world, keeps social and historical information reflected in neologisms, at the same time satisfying the needs of the people, expressing all emphatic and pragmatic peculiarities pertaining to a communicative act.

In a broad sense, the informative aspect of language makes its semantic sphere, and a very particular realization of a neologism, relates to the nominative sphere providing first and foremost function of language – to represent a human thought. The process of nomination is simultaneously presented with the relation of language units to the extralinguistic facts and situations, and their relation to the objects of the outside world imprinted in a mental sphere of a human in a form of images involving all the complex of features of a referent. In the whole the features of a referent make a semantic paradigm or image-schema [106, p. 241] with the components of a different level of abstraction. The number of prognostic image-schemas to fix and contain the imprints of new facts of reality is almost ceaseless on that ground that the possibilities of human cognition constantly grow. Though not so long ago in linguistic papers there reigned the term ‘paradigmatic sphere’, which replaced that of ‘association’ given by Saussure with the paradigms or associative families in which ‘ a particular word is like a centre of a constellation’ or ‘the point of convergence of an indefinite number of coordinated terms’ that float around’ within’ one or more associated series’ [39, p. 5], now it is common to regard the informative potential in a conceptual sphere of human mind as the domain of cognitive semantics. The notion of a term ‘image schema’ is equipotent to that as a paradigm, or semantic field, or frame, all of them reflecting the systemic relations of the elements constituting any language: an image schema is a recurring structure of or within our cognitive processes, which establishes patterns of understanding and reasoning. Image schemas emerge from our bodily interactions, linguistic experience and historical context [44, p. 256].

In contemporary cognitive linguistics, an image schema is considered an embodied prelinguistic structure of experience that motivates conceptual metaphor mappings. Evidence for image schemas is drawn from a number of related disciplines, including work on cross-modal cognition in psychology, from spatial cognition in both linguistics and psychology, and from neuroscience. The term ‘prelinguistic structure’ to our mind presents the same notion as ‘presemantics’ [12, p. 104; 22, p. 97] and it seems reasonable to establish the line of demarcation between these two notions. When semantics describes the linguistic signs in relation to their referents and this relation is disposed in a human mind as a reflective system, there arises the need to realize all the potential of language facts to a more or less degree connected with the given act of description and nomination. In fact, this is the type of a paradigmatic description of linguistic signs of a certain class which with the necessity precedes the recognition of a unit in question. In other words, the content part of sign gives a single representation of a referent alongside all the varieties of relations and interrelations of this referent in the outside world, i.e the semantic interpretation of a linguistic sign makes the sum of sense and cognition. So it comes out that whatever is the terminological label, the essence of the phenomenon remains the same: the contensive or informative basis of any language fact is formed through the conceptual procedures of reflection, generalization and thinking as part and parcel of cognitive processes.

In agreement with our pattern of the meaning structure the semantic load of a linguistic unit includes all lexico-semantic paradigm, i.e. all the aspects of a sign behaviour in different linguistic positions registered paradigmatically. Such paradigm includes obligatory positions as intralinguistic components of meaning, pertaining to the very nature of a linguistic unit and non-obligatory, imposed by the extralinguistic factors. The latter ones, in their turn, may with the time acquire their legitimate status in the composition of paradigmatic meaning of one or another linguistic sign. It is worth to remark once again that every new nuance of a sign meaning depends on the internal – paradigmatic and external – syntagmatic factors. When represented for the first time in some new aspect of meaning the sign in question is simultaneously regarded as the result of a nominative act, so arises the nominative meaning as the fact of speech.


[1] The exclusion lexicon defines the stable language fragment, against the background of which the neologisms count as new.

[2] Onomasiological basis

[3] Onomasiological sign


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neologism part of speech transposition identification british newspapers derivation composition new prefixes




Title: Neologism in the lexical system of modern English