Creating New Words

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Hip Hop Skeptic, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. Hip Hop Skeptic Registered Member

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    How are words added to the English language?

    If I have some good ideas for new words, what are the odds in them being accepted and added to the dictionaries?
     
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  3. original sine Registered Senior Member

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    The attraction of animal hairs to clothing is known as a damncat if expressive of feline hairs, or damndog if they are canine hairs.

    Honestly, I don't know. Widespread use and acceptance of a word is a safe bet, and having roots to other languages can help (though Spanglish is just cheating).
     
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  5. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    Dictionaries like the OED have researchers who look for the use of new words in everyday usage and in print. You always add a new word by getting people to use that words, the most common way being to use it in some widely distributed medium (literature, TV, etc) and hoping the word catches on with others.

    The word "google" made the cut just last year in the OED. Though they add a lot of words every year.
     
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  7. Hip Hop Skeptic Registered Member

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    It made the cut meaning : google- to search for something?

    Or isn't google a very large number (one to the 100th power)?

    Which definition of the word "made the cut" or did both?
     
  8. tablariddim forexU2 Valued Senior Member

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    I mixed, premonition with trepidation and came up with premidation, or trepinition, either will do...remember, I invented it and you heard it here first.
     
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The English language is a democracy. We have no equivalent of L'Academie Française, which rules on whether a new word is honorable, necessary, and... well... French enough to add to the dictionaries, and dictionary makers who obey them, presumably by law. We're not even like the Germans, who for the most part heed the scoldings of their elders and use the pure German compound Fernseh instead of the literally equivalent, internationally recognizable, but hopelessly foreign (two different languages) compound "television."

    So there is no one to petition, no one to appeal to, if you have just thought of the best word ever. You have to have a lot of influence so that people simply start using your word, and eventually the Red-Blooded American Free Market will force the dictionaries to start listing it. Even the nice chaps across the Pond at the OED work pretty much the same way.

    Invent a popular product and some day you'll find your trademark in the dictionary shorn of its capital letter: aspirin, heroin, thermos, nylon, kleenex, coke, hoover, frisbee, google. Develop a whole new technology and you may find it shorn of all its capitals, or all but one: radar, Cobol. Make a popular movie: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Win the nation's heart on a quiz show: splendiferous. Create a whole new world: hobbit. Or a whole new universe: warp drive, beam (the verb), Klingon.

    As a musician I'm embarrassed not to be able to think of any words that entered English through song lyrics, but I'm sure you'll all embarrass me further by thinking of them. Hey, I'm a bass guitarist, not a singer.

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    I'm not sure that politicians, despite their influence, give us new words. This supports my libertarian theory that they build their influence by pandering to us rather than leading us. Nixon's Vice President Spiro Agnew was notorious for his inflammatory but amusing coinages such as "nattering nabobs of negativism," but apparently he was no Shakespeare and his words are forgotten.
    It's a good thing this isn't the math subforum. One to the 100th power is still one.

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    It's ten to the hundredth power--one with a hundred zeroes--and it's spelled googol. The word was coined by a mathematician--I believe during my school days in the 1950s--after a sound his very young child made. It was adopted by the profession and with those credentials it quickly made it into the dictionaries. It's a bit easier to say than tretrigintillion, which is not in any dictionary but follows the handy old quadrillion-quintillion paradigm.

    BTW, a googolplex is ten to the googol power, one with a googol zeroes. This is why scientific notation is popular: 10^(10^100). IIRC, that is larger than the number of atoms in the universe.
     
  10. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    We need that word like we need a hole in the head

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    I came up with Inamerrata for a poem; think about it.
     
  11. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    google as in "to search for something online." The number, "googol" has been in the dictionary for a while.
     
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The Washington Post runs a weekly contest called "The Style Invitational" that is always about words. The rules for this one were to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Some of the winners:
    • Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
    • Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
    • Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
    • Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
    • Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
    • Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
    • Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
    • Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease.
    • Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
    • Glibido: All talk and no action.
    • Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
    • Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
     
  13. §outh§tar is feeling caustic Registered Senior Member

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    Ignoranus.. *chuckle*
     
  14. Hip Hop Skeptic Registered Member

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    Yea, I meant to say 1 followed by 100 zeros.

    But didn't google get their name form googol?
     
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    That's an interesting question. Shouldn't be hard to google that.

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    Some trademarks are just arbitrary sounds that were thought to invoke the right feeling, like Kodak for photography. Others are thoughtfully crafted. Bayer named heroin "heroin" because of the connection with feelings of heroism.
     
  16. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    11,888
    http://www.linesave.co.uk/the_meaning_of_google.html

    And also:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google

    Double joke!
     
  17. Facial Valued Senior Member

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    2,217
    Bush probably "invented" as many words as Shakespeare, but the esteem to which they are held is extremely low.

    Personally, I am rather glad of that.
     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I wonder if anyone has put together a book yet. My favorite is "misunderestimate."
     
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    This site: http://www.dubyaspeak.com/

    has a category labeled "Dubya the Grammarian" that compiles (along the way) quite a few coinages. Many are bolded, for easy skimming.

    "Misunderestimate" is hard to top. "Uninalienable" is pretty good, in context (it describes the kinds of rights enjoyed by the fortunate citizens of the US).

    Most of them are just clumsy: suiciders, ennerate, malfeance.
     
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Yes, and I think nookyaler belongs in that category. And it's not even his own blunder. Much as it grates on my ears I have to admit that quite a few other equally uneducated people pronounce it that way. He probably actually learned that pronunciation. I wonder if they also say nookyalus?
     

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