New words and expressions in the English language

 In Classes, Grammar, Study Skills

There is constantly a barrage of new words and expressions being added to the language. There are many ways of inventing new words, and some are created from mass culture.

There are 13 ways to create a new word:

  1. Derivation: Fasten a prefix or suffix to an already existing word. Example: preteen
  2. Back formation: Take away a prefix or suffix from an existing word. Example: sleaze (from sleazy).
  3. Compounding: Juxtapose two existing words to create a compound word. Initially, compound words may include a hyphen in between, but this hyphen is thrown out eventually to produce one word. Examples: drumstick, nobody, daydream.
  4. Repurposing: A word is applied in a different way to create a new meaning. Example: computer mouse
  5. Conversion: A noun also becomes as adjective (example: giant) or a noun becomes a verb (example: friend, as in, when you friend someone on social media). Conversion is when a word from one word class moves into another class.
  6. Eponyms: These words are created from the name of a person or place. Some examples are atlas, sandwich, alsatian, diesel, and wellington. Some eponyms hang on to their capital letters.
  7. Abbreviations: Words may have been “clipped” from a longer version to become shorter, such as mob (mobile vulgus), goodbye (God be with you), curio (curiosity), and rifle (rifled pistol). Words can be created from acronyms, such as laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) and scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus).
  8. Loanwords: Words are taken from other languages. English words have been borrowed from French, Latin, Greek, Flemish, Romany, Portuguese, Nahuatl, Tahitian, Russian, Mayan, Gaelic, Japanese, West Turkic, Walloon, and Polynesian. For example, the word “tattoo” has Tahitian origins, and the word “taboo” has Polynesian origins. The word “rabbit” is derived from Walloon.
  9. Onomatopoeia: By mimicking a relevant sound, a new word is born. Such examples include “cuckoo”, “bump”, and “plop”.
  10. Reduplication: The method by which repeating or almost repeating a word or sound creates a new word. Some examples include “flip-flop”, “lovey-dovey”, “boo-boo”, and “hip-hop”.
  11. Randomly created words: Such words include “bling” and “quark”.
  12. Error: This may be a disturbing thought, but sometimes when enough people misspell, mispronounce or mistranscribe a word, this word becomes a word.
  13. Portmanteaus: When a part of one word is combined with another word that is whole or that has also been modified, you create a new word. Examples: sitcoms, internet.
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