Origins of New English Words

This paper is a research project that studies recent additions to the English language, the word formation processes, and the general subject areas to which these new words belong.

This paper reports that, to get a representative sample of new words, all 101 entries in the T, U, and V sections of the Oxford Dictionary of New Words, published in 1997, were used as a sample. The author states that the sample reveals a very low degree of borrowing from other languages; instead, internal word formation processes, such as compounding, semantic change, derivation, and abbreviation are used to form the new words. The paper concludes that, as long as English is a dominant global language, it is unlikely that this trend towards internal coinage in favor of borrowing will change.

Table of Contents
“Instead, compounding was used to form the majority (40%) of the new words in the sample. These were often adjective-noun or noun-noun compounds such as “tight building syndrome” and “theme park”. This process produces words that are usually self-evident in a simple, logical manner, and it is hardly surprising that it is as frequently used in the formation of new words today as it has been throughout the history of the language.Derivation processes were used to form about 12% of the sample. As well as existing affixes being attached to existing words (“tankie”), a number of new prefixes and suffixes such as ?-ware? and ?techno-? were attached to pre-existing words to create new lexical items (“technobabble”).”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *