Creation of new words [Archives:2006/916/Education]

January 30 2006

Dr. Bushra S. Al-Noori
Language has become an important issue all over the world today. It is a well known historical fact that all languages are constantly in a state of change. One of the most comprehensive expositions of such processes as pointed out by Yule (1985) are summarized as follows:

a. Coinage: the least common way among the various ways of creating words. It refers to the invention of totally new words, e.g., 'blurb'.

b. Borrowing:one of the most common ways in which linguistic elements of non-native origin are taken over and used in the language concerned.

c. Compounding: A joining of two or more separate words functioning as a single word, e.g., 'textbook'.

d. Blending: a combination of only the beginning of one word with the end of another word, e.g., 'smog' from 'smoke' and 'fog'.

e. Clipping:a word of more than one syllable is reduced to a shorter form, e.g., the term 'gasoline' is still in use but occurs much less frequently than 'gas'.

f. Back formation: the reduction of one word to form another, e.g., the verb 'televise' was formed from the noun 'television'.

g. Conversion: a change in the function of a word. For instance, a noun can be used as a verb as in the following sentence: He's papering the room walls.

h. Acronym: a word formed by putting together the initial letters of a group of words, as in UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization).

i. Derivation: this is the most common word-formation process to be found in the production of new words. It means the formation of new words by adding affixes to other words: 'terseness' for example, is derived from 'terse' by the addition of the affix -ness.