What is an example of neologism


Every language lives through the people who speak it. Language is a natural structure that is constantly in motion and adapts to changing circumstances. New words, so-called neologisms, are, for example, "invented" or re-coined by young people; Science, politics and society also create terms for new issues. Meanwhile, writers, poets and advertising professionals are looking for the perfect, unmistakable expression. If it does not yet exist, they resort to the popular stylistic device of neologism.

What is a neologism?

A new word creation, word formation or new meaning is called neologism. Neologisms are part of every living language. At the same time, neologism is one of the fundamental stylistic devices in literature: it can, in particular, underline the originality of a text. Advertising also uses new words to address the consumer in a targeted and unmistakable way.

  • nostalgia of GDR = Longing for life in the GDR, formed from East (Germany) and nostalgia
  • Newspeak = the language used for political purposes in George Orwell's dystopian novel "1984"
  • April freshness = according to self-promotion, the scent of the fabric softener »Lenor« since the 1960s

The term neologism can be derived from the Greek néos = new and lógos = Word. So the definition is New word or new word.

Where do neologisms arise?

In general, neologisms fill linguistic gaps: They arise in a linguistic community wherever a thing, a circumstance, a feeling or the like occurs. cannot be named or can only be named insufficiently with the help of known terms. Neologisms can also express things in a simplified manner, or transfer words that already exist to new facts (a well-known example of a new linguistic expression is "surfing").

1. Youth language

The youth language is one of the most important sources for new words or new meanings. Since 2008, Langenscheidt-Verlag has been using a (controversial) survey to determine the youth word of the year.

  • hard = actually: to live from Hartz IV; meanwhile the verb is also used as a synonym for idle or lazy; Youth word of the year 2009
  • relax = relax, de-energize
  • Smombie = someone who focuses all his attention on his smartphone and, like a zombie, no longer perceives his surroundings; Youth word of the year 2015

2. Foreign languages

The German language contains numerous words that have their origins in English. Camping is such a word - it appeared in the Duden for the first time in 1941. 50 years later, in 1991, the laptop found its way into German dictionaries. In some of the more recent new words, the (Germanized) Anglicism is even more noticeable.

  • trade = Trade; trade on the stock exchange (with securities)
  • Insider trading = Businesses in which investors use information that is not publicly available in order to derive economic advantages from it
  • flash = inspire; the word originally comes from music jargon; You can also be "flashed" by an unusual encounter or a great gift
  • fluffy = light, airy, fluffy; can refer to a cake as well as to a hairstyle, for example

From the so-called Kiezdeutsch used by young people with a migration background, Arabicisms are also used in the German language.

  • yalla = fast
  • Cho = Brother

3. Digitization

Digitization brought its own terms with it - mostly from English: Words like »download«, »swipe« or »like« are now firmly anchored in everyday life. The emergence of independent verbs in the wake of Internet services is particularly interesting.

  • googling = research on the Internet with a search engine, mostly Google®, founded in 1998
  • tweet = (Twitter) Publication of short messages (tweets) via the Twitter® platform, founded in 2006
  • tinder = Get to know people by using the dating app for your smartphone Tinder®, founded in 2012

4. Society, politics and science

The constantly changing world needs and invents new words in all areas. Developments in technology, medicine and psychology or in business and politics go hand in hand with a change in language.

  • Deceleration or slow down = an ever faster development, activity or similar. consciously slowing down (one's everyday life, family life, the financial markets)
  • Event catering = a restaurant or other gastronomic establishment that offers artistic demonstrations in addition to the actual food
  • Customer card = a card that is valid for a longer period of time, which the company issues to a customer and which grants him various advantages when shopping
  • Grexit, Brexit = Suitcase words from the first letters of an EU country, in the example Greece (Greece) or Great Britain (Britain) and the English word for exit exit, which mean leaving the EU
  • Baker dying = the closure of smaller bakeries, which are no longer competitive due to the mass production of bread in large factories

5. Advertising

Occasionally, terms that were invented by creative copywriters specifically to draw attention to a particular product are loosened from their narrow context. They are then also used as a neologism in "normal life".

  • pore-deep
    from the advertisement of "Clearasil" (particularly thorough)
  • april fresh
    from the advertisement by »Lenor« (spring-like lightness and freshness)
  • indestructible
    from advertising (for packaging that is indestructible)
  • have the tiger in the tank
    from the Esso advertisement (means a car or a person who is particularly strong, fast or capable)

In 2004, Volume 11 of the publications of the Institute for German Language was published. It is a large dictionary of neologisms. The authors have collected around 700 new word formulations that found their way into the general German language in the 1990s.

A small volume from Duden-Verlag presents (original) neologisms under the title: "Our words of the decade", which were added to the Duden vocabulary between 2000 and 2010. These included, for example, “Chai Latte”, “Alcopop”, “E-Learning” and “talent-free”.

How are neologisms formed?

Neologisms come about in different ways. Language theory, a field of literary studies, has examined this. Usually neologisms arise

  • by composition (= Composition) of independent words, for example »Dosenpfand« or »Genmais«;
  • by Derivation (= Derivation) of new words from an original word with the help of an affix, for example »cyber crime« or »cybersex«;
  • by abbreviation, for example »SMS«, »Zivi« or »FAQs«;
  • by Contraction existing known elements, for example »teleworking place«;
  • by Germanization of foreign words, for example "escapism", "download", "update" or "like";
  • by Shift in meaning: A "purpose" was originally a nail; today, according to Duden, it describes the "motivation and goal of an action".
Criticism of language change in everyday life

The language change is being critically monitored by several institutions. The Society for the German Language (GfdS) is an association financed by the Conference of Ministers of Education. He has dedicated himself to maintaining the German language. He also researches the change in language and makes recommendations for language use. Since 1971 the GfdS has been voting for a »word of the year«. In 2016 it was the neologism "post-factual" (= according to the facts, the term describes a time in which feelings or "perceived truths" are becoming increasingly more important than facts or the truth itself).

The "Deutsche Sprache" association complains much more decisively about the decay of the German language and, for example, vehemently opposes the use of Anglicisms. But since language is a reflection of social changes, nothing can stop a change in language.

The neologism in literature

Neologism is one of the basic stylistic and rhetorical tools in literature. Writers use it to implement

  • to distinguish literary language from everyday language;
  • to underline your own and unmistakable style;
  • nuanced the meaning of a statement or text;
  • to have a language appropriate to the fantastic content in science fiction or fantasy literature.

"O tumultuous World"
from Hermann Hesse's poem "Evanescence" (1919)

»If [...] you on Earth heaven appear to us
Our beautiful future, dawn! "
from Hermann Hesse's poem »Friede« (1914)

"I am so great fun awakens "
from the poem »Morgenwonne« by Joachim Ringelnatz

“The hallway is dusted with Ash seed
from Gottfried Keller's poem "Land im Autumn" (1879)

»Half and a half god«
from Hermann Hesse's novel "Steppenwolf" (1927)

»I 'play' chess in the truest sense of the word, while the others, the real chess players, play chess ›Serious‹to introduce a bold new word into the German language. "
from Stefan Zweig's »Schachnovelle« (1942)
The unusual thing about this example is that Stefan Zweig specifically points out the neologism to the reader.

Examples from science fiction and fantasy:

from George Orwell's dystopian novel "1984" (1948)

"Newspeak" is the official language of the fictional state of Oceania and the generic term under which Orwell introduces other neologisms such as "Engsoz", "thought offense" or "double thinking".

from Walter Moers ‘novel" The thirteen 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear "
In his series of novels from the fictional land of Zamonia, Walter Moers depicts an entire universe with the help of neologisms. Examples are the "Buchlinge" (a form of existence that books worship), the "Schrecksen" (terrible creatures who supposedly have the properties of witches) or the "Ormen" (a guessing game).

The neologism in advertising

Advertising should draw the attention of potential customers to a certain product. Creativity in dealing with language is required. Advertising is therefore a rich source for New language creations.

  • Discover the new one Vegetableiness (Rama margarine)
  • NOVOTEL is an artificial word from Novus (Latin: new) and hotel
  • Best ager = Target group that is considered to be particularly demanding and consumer-friendly

In the advertising industry, new terms are not only constantly being invented to influence people and markets. They are also common Word formation. Known words are reassembled in order to create positive associations with the consumer.

  • Cuddly wool (Perwoll detergent)
  • Crispy light (Duplo chocolate bar)
  • The Media Markt invite you to Morning shopping (Just a bargain for breakfast)

Differentiation from other stylistic devices

Archaism as the opposite of neologism

Every living language is subject to natural change: new terms emerge while others disappear from linguistic usage. Language changes not only through neologisms, but also through its opposite, the archaisms. A archaism denotes a linguistic expression that out of fashion has become. It comes from another time and is now uncommon. The Duden characterizes such terms as linguistically obsolete or outdated.

Examples of archaisms:
  • Fried fish:
    (obsolete) for female teenagers
  • Nappy child:
    (obsolete) for child
  • Uncle:
    (obsolete) for uncle
  • Pupil:
    (obsolete) for child, student

Occasionalism as a possible preliminary stage of a neologism

A Occasionalism is an occasional term that, so to speak, from the state and related to the situation is formed. For example, an infant who always drinks much too hastily and spits out some of the milk is affectionately called "little spit" by his parents.

If the term were to spread among other parents and later in society, the occasionalism "spitting" could become a neologism. This could then even pass into common usage.

However, once it was established in the language, strictly speaking, it should no longer be called neologism. A word formation can usually only be viewed in a fixed temporal context.

Page published on 07/19/2017. Last updated on September 3rd, 2020.
Text by Heike Münnich. © Inhalt.de.