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New Words from Technology, Neologisms in the Information Age

As a technologist I am interesting in the history of computers and technology. Part of the history of technology includes the formation of new words that emerge from the invention and use of new technologies. I recently came across a reference to a book published in 1998 that contained original research on neologisms (new words, phrases or expresssions) that appeared in newspaper print in the first half of the 1990s, theses included new technology related words. I was able to obtain a loan of the book from a library and it was interesting reading. In this article I provide a brief summary of what I learnt from the book.

How do New Words Emerge from New Technologies?

Language is always evolving, if you watching an old film or reading an old book from a few decades ago the words used and the style of speech or writing is different from today. Language slowly changes even though it is passed on through writing and other media. The book Lexical change in present-day English: a corpus-based study of the motivation, institutionalization, and productivity of creative neologisms by Rowitha Fischer provides an interesting read on the formation of new words and expressions and the issues and processes in defining such neologisms. The book is a short read, around 200 pages, including data and tables. What I found interesting is that some of the neologisms cover are related to the emergence of the information age and the technology used to achieve it.

Fischer, Rowitha Lexical change in present-day English: a corpus-based study of the motivation, institutionalization, and productivity of creative neologisms, 1998, Gunter Narr Verlag Tubingen, ISBN 3823349406

technological impact on language

covers the later 20th century

modern sounding words have been around for longer than you may think

neologisms (new words not recorded in dictionaries) coined (created) or institutionalised (integrated into the language) since 1960 and after

to be added to the dictionary must be made aware to the public and became vogue or popular, not the date of first use but is being increasingly used, proposing a certain frequency and distribution over a period of time

|language level|process|linguistic element|

parole|innovation|nonce-formation norm|institutionalization|neologism langue|language change|lexical element of the common vocabulary

nonce formation -> neologism -> common vocabulary parole -> norm -> langue

social-historical, new objects, new concepts

institutionalization (not topicality, i.e. time limited)

Data for analysis, The Guardian 1990-1996, The Miami Herald 1992 both available on CD-ROM

Conditions for new words (motivation) How to become part of speech (spread and institutionalization) Rules for production (productivity)

Limitations - no end of word searching, search not 100% reliable, manual processing of search results, variation in the source material (increases, decreases in article numbers and supplements)

GUI, graphic(al) user interface Midi Risc DAT mips ASCII OLE cyborg techno virtual reality

interesting discussion on the institutionalisation of virtual reality, VR and shortening to just virtual

Newsworthy innovations impact upon language

techno- (technology) info- (information)

cyber- (cybernetics)

-netic -netist -man Times -suit -space -Swindon -Medics -dreams Assault -zone -seed Club -seeders -cafe -ia -phobia -phobe -phobic -punk -spook -manual corporation sex -sex -cafe cafe

Nagel, Rainer, study of fantasy role playing games, 104 cyber- forms

G90:cybernatic, cyberscratch, cyberwalkman G91:cybernaut G92:cyber artist, cyber meditation, cybernaut, cybernaut-rap, cybernoidal G93:cyberbunker, cyber-fashion, cyberhero, cyberlunch, cyberthreat, cybervision G94:cyber age, cyberbook, cybercash, cyberforum, cybermagical, cyberpirate, cyber revolution G95:cybercrazy, cyber-cult, cyberhost, cybermuseum, cyberjournalism, cyberqueen G96:cyber-ad, cyberaddiction, cyberfriendly, cyberlingo, cyberpagan, cyberviolence, cyberware Miami Herald92: cyber-bug, cyber-gun, cyber-hippie

5+ cafe, club, culture, feminist, -man, -naut, novel, porn, sex, surfer, thriller, world

Nagel - 1) persons (e.g. cyber artist, cybernaut) 2) living things (e.g. cyber-bug, cyberdog) 3) objects (e.g. cyber-gun, cybersuit, cyber-buck) 4) body parts or sense organs (cyberface) 5) Places or buildings (e.g. cybercafe, cyberstation) 6) Institutions and organisations (e.g. cyberforum) 7) Events, happenings or situations (e.g. cybersymposium) 8) Abilities or characteristics (e.g. cyberskills) 9) abstract concepts (e.g. cyberstupidities)

Adjectives: cybermagical, cyberwary, cybernautic, Verbs: cyberdated, cyber-poked Adverb: cyberly cyberdom cyberpunkish go cyber cyber up on all things cyber

swappable with virtual (synonym) virtual gun - cyber-gun virtual sex - cybersex

cyberpunk, cyberspace, steampunk, mythospace, hyperspace, dataspace

Cyber 100CS

Nagel, Rainer, Das Wortbildungsmorphem CYBER (The word formation morpheme CYBER), Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik (ZAA, A Quarterly of Language, Literature and Culture), Volume 42 (2), 1994, pages 163-170,

Langenscheidt KG, Berlin De Gruyter

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