12 gennaio 2011

2010: a year with words

Each year the English language takes a fresh beating, but in 2010 it was intensified more than ever by the widening reach and quickening pace of the internet.

New words and constructions like "Obamacare," "WikiLeaks," "lamestream," "shovel-ready," "sexting," and many others like them were uttered or typed and in minutes spread across the globe.

But I think we need not worry too much about the new words entering or trying to enter the language. Most of them are what linguists call "nonce" words, words that someone dreams up for the nonce, which is to say, for a particular occasion. A nonce word usually vanishes as soon as the occasion that motivated its creation passes.
For example? Even though the East was buried under snow over the holidays, few invoked "snowmageddon," the off-the-cuff creation from last winter's blizzard that was created by smushing (smashing into a mush) the two words "snow" and "Armageddon."
Source: CNN