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"Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter's pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year's ill,
And prayer to purify the new year's will."
Helen Hunt Jackson, A Calendar of Sonnet's: February
Learn English in February

Monday Night Owls - 11 November 2019 - Why you should invent new words

We read an article which talked about a dictionary editor who encourages people to make up new words:

https://www.ozy.com/rising-stars/erin-mckean-the-dictionary-editor-who-wants-you-to-invent-more-words/31794/


Vocabulary Top 10:

tack on - to add on or attach (something) in a quick or careless way

lexicographer - a person who compiles dictionaries

inalienable - impossible to take away or give up

disclaimer - a statement that is meant to prevent an incorrect understanding of something (such as a book, a movie, or an advertisement)

trove - a source or collection of valuable things

spawn - to cause (something) to develop or begin : to produce or create (something)

lexicon - the words used in a language or by a person or group of people

assimilate - to adopt (something) as part of a larger thing

bangs - the front section of a person's hair when it is cut short and worn over the forehead (in British English - fringe)

linguistics - the study of language and of the way languages work


If you could make up a new word to add to English, what word would it be? What would it mean?
Do you think anyone should be able to add new words to the dictionary?

@Shiny03 @Sarraf @april @Alexa @Manar @taghried @filauzio @Monik @aladdin

Comments

  • AlexaAlexa Posts: 23 ✭✭
    edited November 2019
    I am not sure, if we really need so
    much new words. Now just imagine - each person creates only one new word. What for chaos will be then ? ))) And English already hat a lot of dialects
    Post edited by Alexa on
  • Rob_NegreteRob_Negrete Posts: 8
    Humm... At this evolving world, new words popups everywhere. But not necessarily those need to be included at dictionaries. For example: youtuber! Come on, that does not any value.

    However, words that add cultural significance should be.
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,315 mod
    @Sarraf - Here is your correction:-

    I'm not against the idea of adding new words to the dictionary, especially with the advances in technology and the sciences entering into everyday life. It is inevitable that we will face new situations that may require using new words. However, I think the process of creating new words should be carried out by the experts, and not left to everyone.

    Of course, I'm taking into account the difficulties that adding new words to a language would cause for someone like me who's trying to learn the language. ;)
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,315 mod
    @april - Here is your correction:-

    I agree with @Sarraf.

    People should be able to suggest new words, if they are relevant to something that is known and used in general life. However, it will be very confusing for other people, especially for language learners, when everybody just adds any word with any meaning they want to a dictionary.

    One word could have a thousand meanings, with one being the opposite of the other, which one should we believe then?

    Even now, a single English word can have a lot of meanings in the Cambridge or Oxford Dictionary. Imagine what would happen if anybody could give their own interpretation and was allowed to add it online.

    Don't @NatashaT or @Teach frequently say, " this is a word that has different meanings"? :D

    Maybe there is one advantage; I could create any word in Scrabble. I'd just say: "I've just added that word into the dictionary".

    Also, do you think that the creator of a word would be able to copyright that word?
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,315 mod
    @Alexa - Here is your correction:-

    I am not sure, if we really need so many new words. Just imagine if each person creates only one new word. What kind of chaos would there be? Besides which, English already has a lot of dialects
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,315 mod
    @Rob_Negrete - Here is your correction:-

    Hmm... In this constantly evolving world, new words popup everywhere, but they don't necessarily need to be included in dictionaries. For example: youtuber! Come on, that does not add any value.

    However, words that have cultural significance should be added.
  • ElfishElfish Posts: 282 ✭✭✭✭
    I hesitate between Ameritish English or Britamerican English to describe the kind of English I speak (I learnt British English at school but I watch American series so I mix them up in the end).
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,992 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @Sarraf wrote:

    ' I'm not against the idea of adding new words to the dictionary. Especially with the advances in technology and sciences entering into everyday life, it is inevitable for us to face new situations that may require using new words. But I think the process of making new words should be carried out by the experts not everyone... '

    I disagree to this last statement: I think anyone should be able to coin and add new words, relative to their underground, knowledge, experiences and feelings of the world and life they are living.

    I think the task of experts should be to investigate how largely spread is the current use of such new idioms, come up with a universally agreed-upon meaning of the term, sustain the new entry with synonims, antonyms, typical phrases, etc.

    Then, the lexicographers should delimit the contexts where the term is mainly or exclusively used, identify the jargon/slang involved, not to allow for common people getting confused.

    Just not to allow the babel-like, cacophonous situation predicted by @april:

    ' .. However, it will be very confusing for other people, especially for language learners, when everybody just adds any word with any meaning they want to a dictionary.
    One word could have thousand meanings, the one is just the opposite of the other, which one should we believe then?
    Even now, one English word can have a lot of meanings in the Cambridge or Oxford Dictionary, let alone if anybody would give their own interpretation and is allowed to add it online. .. '

    I really think that, in order to keep a language living and lively, we should encourage new words to replace the obsolete, unused anymore ones.

    Many words bring creativity within themselves, even poetry sometimes: they have to do with the inner, intimate feelings of individuals or communities.

    Words are born from the lives of real life persons, so why shouldn't we allow real life persons to make up our dictionaries ?

    Recently, I came upon an interesting new word while reading an article:

    ecocrite

    I wasn't given the exact meaning, but I'm pretty sure, considering the passage's meaning where I read it, that it comes from the two words: ecology + hypocrite.

    It should signify a person who pretend to be eco-friendly by their daily behaviours, e.g. keep recycling their waste, don't use disposable plastic items.

    Nevertheless, they stubbornly won't give up their polluting habit to flying for vacation purposes, even on short flight's legs, this way off-setting their virtuous behaviour with an heavy carbon footprint.

    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • JanjardJanjard Posts: 2,120 ✭✭✭✭
    Because I am a Dutch citizen and think in terms of the Dutch language practice, I think that new words should be used by large groups of people to get into the dictionary.
    But I am sure, that will be the same in English.

    New words generally say something about developments in society:
    - they come with technological developments, but
    - they can also be formed by creative minds who use developments to connect (for example) two words.

    On condition that these words are accepted (understood and used) by a large audience do they have value. These words are then automatically included in a dictionary.

    I think the intention here was to make new words as a creative game with no intention to become of value for the English language. Too difficult for people (as me) who are just starting to speak the English language!

    https://ideas.ted.com/20-words-that-arent-in-the-dictionary-yet/
    Here I found a number of words for English practice, some of which could be upgraded by a large audience, and therefore end up in a dictionary.


    (As an aside: Here in the Netherlands, people are inclined to translate -many?- new English words untranslated into Dutch. The Belgians are more creative in that and let the language be less Englishismed.)
  • SarrafSarraf Posts: 27 ✭✭
    Thank you very much @Teach .
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,139 Teacher
    @Sarraf I also think it's inevitable that new words will appear, especially as we have new technologies appearing all the time. I'm not sure whether we should just leave it to the experts though - maybe for formal words, but I think informal words could be created by different groups of people.

    @april I agree, we definitely have to have a big number of people using a word before we can say that this word has a particular meaning! Otherwise it would be chaos! But sometimes meanings change over time - maybe because people were using them incorrectly, and that gradually came to be accepted as a possible meaning. But it is confusing when you feel like you are constantly presented with new words to learn!

    @Alexa It would be chaos!! We need to agree on how many people use a word before it becomes a 'real' word, I think! Otherwise no one will ever understand each other...

    @Rob_Negrete Hmmm... I can see that the word needs to be important... but isn't it important to be able to describe new things? What would you call a 'youtuber' if they weren't called that so that people easily understand what you are talking about?

    @Elfish maybe you should describe it as Australian or Canadian English instead - I think they are both big mixes of American and British English now!

    @filauzio I think you've presented a good way to deal with potential problems while still allowing people to create new words. Sometimes older words don't accurately describe the ideas we have, so new words might be better to convey those ideas more clearly - especially if it's a new concept, such as ecocrite.
  • ElfishElfish Posts: 282 ✭✭✭✭
    @Elfish maybe you should describe it as Australian or Canadian English instead - I think they are both big mixes of American and British English now!

    Oh great! We were told by so many teachers to choose either Br or Am English "and don't mix them when you speak!" LOL :p



  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,139 Teacher
    @Elfish If you are writing an academic paper, that's still correct :D But in normal everyday life, I'm not sure it's possible not to mix them anymore! We can 'blame' the internet for that!!
  • SarrafSarraf Posts: 27 ✭✭
    edited December 2019
    @filauzio I think what you said in response to my comment was right. I meant something similar by saying I think experts should create new words. Because ordinary people being interested in using new words is very important. I meant expert should have the last call to enter it into the dictionary or not.
    Maybe I misunderstood what was said in the article. I thought that everyone can add new words to the dictionary right away, even before the experts check for its popularity or analyse the number of people who have proposed the same word to the dictionary.
    @NatashaT I would agree with you.
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