CONCEPTS

What is a neologism?

We explain what a neologism is, some characteristics of this term and a list of neologisms and what their origins are.

  1. What is a neologism?

non-existent word is called neologism that is incorporated into a language to express a novel or recent reality , for which there was no appropriate term yet. It can also be the inclusion of a new meaning for a known word.

Neologisms are the order of the day and are part of the creative capacity of language , especially in the face of the vertiginous technological career of the so-called Digital Revolution.

When an element of the real world that lacks an appropriate term in the language emerges, we proceed to create a new one to be able to talk about it, thus giving birth to a novel term or neologism.

Around the incorporation of these new terms into the language, there are found positions.

Purists, concerned with the mutation and contamination of language, argue that new terms should only be created when existing ones are not sufficient to communicate a concrete reality , and not by socially transmitted fashions or trends.

Other positions, on the other hand, think that language is a living and dynamic body of changes, losses and incorporations, and there is no need to fear its creative capacity.

Neologisms can be of four types:

  • Neologisms of form . Those words created by modifying the morphological structure of words already existing in the language.
  • Neologisms of meaning . New words that arise from a semantic alteration or meaning in existing terms, very common in the field of slang or popular language.
  • Extranjerismos . Loans of another language that are more or less faithfully incorporated into their own language, given that there is no equivalent in it or not seems appropriate.
  • Barbarisms . It is an error in the pronunciation or in the writing of certain words, but they are accepted informally by the users of the language.

A lot of neologisms today come from the mass media and the Internet culture , and many are often ephemeral, or very specific in a community .

Others, on the other hand, impose themselves in time as an expressive necessity and end up being formally accepted by the institutions of the language (such as the Royal Spanish Academy).

  1. List of Neologisms

A necessarily partial list of neologisms would include the following:

  • Bullying . A term borrowed from English to refer to school or work harassment. It comes from  Bully , “abusive, abusive.”
  • Brainstorming . Another foreignism from English literally translates “Brain Storm” and refers to a very popular creativity technique that involves saying all the ideas that come to mind on a subject.
  • Escrachar . A verb widely used in the Spanish variants of southern South America (Argentina and Uruguay) but which became popular until it became common. It means “to speak badly of someone” or “to leave someone ill-faced before third parties”, but it is used mainly in a sense of popular denunciation similar to lynching.
  • Hacker . Coming from English, it is a term that denotes a hacker or a user with great knowledge of the Internet. It comes from the verb  to  Hack  (“Enter without authorization”).
  • Hoax . Another loan from English refers to false news or malicious deception, usually in the field of social networks .
  • In the n ube . It does not literally refer to clouds, but to the Internet and online storage, which seems to keep information “on the air”. Thus: “save in the cloud” or “leave in the cloud”.
  • Selfie . Coming from the English word  self  (“self”), it is a term put into fashion by social networks and cell phone front cameras, which allow you to photograph yourself.
  • Seropositive . A term that arose to describe the condition of people infected with the HIV virus, known as serpositives from the result of the disease screening test.
  • Tuitear . Derived from the English  tweet  (“pío”, onomatopoeia of the birds), a term that was established from the use of the social network Twitter and its particular imaginary.
  • Viral . Initially with a medical or biological meaning (related to viruses), this term gained a specific meaning in the world of social networks and the Internet, since it serves to name that content that is replicated by many and therefore is transmitted quickly , as computer viruses used to do. Thus it became a valuation term.
  • Wifi . Pronounced  uifi  or  uaifai , it refers to wireless radio data transmission networks. It comes from the name of the company that certifies the standards in this regard: the Wi-Fi ( Wireless  Fidelity ) brand.

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