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Неологизмы Способы образования неологизмов

New notions constantly come into being, requiring new words to name them. Sometimes a new name is introduced for a thing or notion that continues to exist, and the older name ceases to be used. The number of words in a language is therefore not constant, the increase, as a rule, more than makes up for the leak-out.

New words and expressions or neоlоgisms are created for new things irrespective of their scale of importance. They may be all-important and concern some social relationships, such as a new form of state, e. g. People’s Republic, or something threatening the very existence of humanity, like nuclear war. Or again the thing may be quite insignificant and short-lived, like fashions in dancing, clothing, hairdo or footwear (e.g. roll-neck). In every case either the old words are appropriately changed in meaning or new words are borrowed, or more often coined out of the existing language material either according to the patterns and ways already productive in the language at a given stage of its development or creating new ones.

Thus, a neologism is a newly coined word or phrase or a new meaning for an existing word, or a word borrowed from another language.

The intense development of science and industry has called forth the invention and introduction of an immense number of new words and changed the meanings of old ones, e. g. aerobic, black hole, computer, isotope, feedback, penicillin, pulsar, quasar, tape-recorder, supermarket and so on.

The laws of efficient communication demand maximum signal in minimum time. To meet these requirements the adaptive lexical system is not only adding new units but readjusts the ways and means of word-formation and the word-building means. Thus, when radio location was invented it was defined as radio detection and ranging which is long and so a convenient abbreviation out of the first letter or letters of each word in this phrase was coined, hence radar. The process of nomination may pass several stages. In other words, a new notion is named by a terminological phrase consisting of words which in their turn are made up of morphemes. The phrase may be shortened by ellipsis or by graphical abbreviation, and this change of form is achieved without change of meaning. Acronyms are not composed of existing morphemes according to existing word-formation patterns, but on the contrary revolutionise the system by forming new words and new morphemes out of letters. The whole process of word-formation is paradoxically reversed.

The lexical system may adapt itself to new functions by combining several word-building processes. Thus fall-out — the radioactive dust descending through the air after an atomic explosion — is coined by composition and conversion simultaneously. Ad-lib ‘to improvise’ is the result of borrowing (Lat. ad libitum), shortening, compounding and conversion. Compare also admass coined by J.B. Priestley and meaning ‘mass advertising in its harmful effect on society’. It is also interesting to mention the new meaning of word-formation patterns in composition (see § 6.9). Teach-in is a student conference or a series of seminars on some burning issue of the day, meaning some demonstration of protest. This pattern is very frequent: lie-in, sleep-in, pray-in, laugh-in, love-in, read-in, sing-in, stay-in, talk-in.

In all the above variants the semantic components ‘protest’ and ‘place’ are invariably present. This is a subgroup of peculiarly English and steadily develop-ing type of nouns formed by a combined process of conversion and composition from verbs with postpositives, such as a holdup ‘armed robbery’ from hold-up ‘rob’,come-back ‘a person who returns after a long absence’.

The intense development of shortening aimed at economy of time and effort but keeping the sense complete is manifest not only in acronyms and abbreviations but also in blends, e.g. bionics < bio+(electr)onics; slintnastics < slim+gymnastics and back-formation. The very means of word-formation change their status. This is for instance manifest in the set of combining forms. In the past these were only bound forms borrowings from Latin and Greek mostly used to form technical terms. Now some of them turn into free standing words, e.g. maxi n ‘something very large’.

Semi-affixes which used to be not numerous and might be treated as exceptions now evolve into a separate set. An interesting case is person substituting the semi-affix -man due to an extra linguistic cause — a tendency to degender professional names, to avoid mentioning sex discrimination (chairperson, policeperson). A freer use of semi-affixes has been illustrated on p. 118. The set of semi-affixes is also increased due to the so-called abstracted forms, that is parts of words or phrases used in what seems the meaning they contribute to the unit. E. g. workaholic ‘a person with a compulsive desire to work’ was patterned on alcoholic; footballaholic and bookaholic are selfex-planatory. Compare also: washeteria ‘a self-service laundry’.

When some word becomes a very frequent element in compounds the discrimination of compounds and derivatives, the difference between affix and semi-affix is blurred. Here are some neologisms meaning ‘obsessed with sth’ and containing the elements mad and happy: power-mad, money-mad, speed-mad, movie-madand auto-happy, trigger-happy, footlight-happy. It is not quite clear whether, in spite of their limitless productivity, we are still justified in considering them as compounds.

Our survey has touched only upon a representative series of problems connected with the functioning and development of the present-day English vocabulary as an adaptive system and of the tendency in coining new words. For a reliable mass of evidence on the new English vocabulary the reader is referred to lexicographic sources. New additions to the English vocabulary are collected in addenda to explanatory dictionaries and in special dictionaries of new words. One should consult the supplementary volume of the English-Russian Dictionary ed. by I.R. Galperin, the three supplementary volumes of “The Oxford English Dictionary” and the dictionaries of New English which are usually referred to as Barnhart Dictionaries, because Clarence Barnhart, a distinguished American lexicographer, is the senior of the three editors. The first volume covers words and word equiva-lents that have come into the vocabulary of the English-speaking world during the period 1963-1972 and the second — those of the 70s.

In what follows the student will find a few examples of neologisms showing the patterns according to which they are formed. Automation ‘automatic control of production’ is irregularly formed from the stem automatic with the help of the very productive suffix -tion. The corresponding verb automate is a back-formation, i. e. ‘re-equip in the most modern and automated fashion’. Re- is one of the most productive prefixes, the others are anti-, de-, un-, the semi-affixes self-, super-and mini- and many more; e. g. anti-flash ‘serving to protect the eyes’, antimatter n, anti-novel n, anti-pollution, deglamorise ‘to make less attractive’, resit ‘to take a written examination a second time’, rehouse ‘to move a family, a community, etc. to new houses’. The prefix un- increases its combining power, enjoys a new wave of fashion and is now attached even to noun stems. A literary critic refers to the broken-down “Entertainer” (in John Osborne’s play) as a“contemporary un-hero, the desperately unfunny Archie Rice”. Unfunny here means “not amusing in spite of the desire to amuse’. All the other types of word-formation described in the previous chapters are in constant use, especially conversion (orbit the moon, service a car), composition and semantic change.

Compounding by mere juxtaposition of free forms has been a frequent pattern since the Old English period and is so now, сf. brains-trust ‘a group of experts’,brain drain ‘emigration of scientists’, to brain-drain, brain-drainer, quiz-master ‘chairman in competitions designed to test the knowledge of the participants’. In the neologism backroom boys ‘men engaged in secret research’ the structural cohesion of the compound is enhanced by the attributive function. Cf. redbrick (universities), paperback (books), ban-the-bomb (demonstration). The change of meaning, or rather the introduction of a new, additional meaning may be illustrated by the word net-work ‘a number of broadcasting stations, connected for a simultaneous broadcast of the same programme’. Another example is a word of American literary slang — the square. This neologism is used as a derogatory epithet for a person who plays safe, who sticks to his illusions, and thinks that only his own life embodies all decent moral values.

As a general rule neologisms are at first clearly motivated. An exception is shown by those based on borrowings or learned coinages which, though motivated at an early stage, very soon begin to function as indivisible signs. A good example is the much used term cybernetics ‘study of systems of control and communication in living beings and man-made devices’ coined by Norbert Wiener from the Greek word kyberne-tes ‘steersman’ + suffix -ics.

There are, however, cases when etymology of comparatively new words is obscure, as in the noun boffin ‘a scientist engaged in research work’ or in gimmick ‘a tricky device’ — an American slang word that is now often used in British English.

In the course of time the new word is accepted into the word-stock of the language and being often used ceases to be considered new, or else it may not be accepted for some reason or other and vanish from the language. The fate of neologisms is hardly predictable: some of them are short-lived, others, on the contrary, become durable as they are liked and accepted. Once accepted, they may serve as a basis for further word-formation: gimmick, gimmickry, gimmicky.Zip (an imitative word denoting a certain type of fastener) is hardly felt as new, but its derivatives — the verb zip (zip from one place to another), the corresponding personal noun zipper and the adjective zippy — appear to be neologisms.


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