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Coinage – English Word Enrichment

Posted on: 10. März 2009

Though this blog was originally supposed to be in two languages, we have yet to actually publish an article in another language! Oops. Well, consider that changed.

The topic I wish to discuss today is that of word coinage – inventing new words. There are of course many ways to coin new words, for instance you can take an already existing word and change it slightly to give it a different meaning. Or you could just make up a completely arbitrary string of phonemes and coin a completely new word, but make sure it has meaning! Tfulu, see, I just coined a word. It is synonymous with slightly drunk, tipsy, as in „Mark is on the slightly tfulu side.“

Yeah, not the best coinage, I agree.

All the new words however will not mean that you expanded the English language – for that your word has to be in use first. You can go about by spreading it yourself, try using it until other people pick it up. Not working? Well, not every newly coined word is meant to be in the English language. Also, many words ‚die out‘, for instance the context they depend on may not be relevant anymore. Even more established words that have just gone out of fashion can die out, however it is much harder for them to be completely forgotten by the general public, but it happens.

A great source of information on word coinage is Jeffrey Hill’s English Blog and his latest article of the recent financial crisis sparking more and more words for the English language. More on word coinage and the „Dying Words“ soon to come!

-Moritz

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