Please add this to the dictionary! – The amazing world of neologisms

paperclip-defined-512769-mIt shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that languages are constantly changing, developing and growing, if not in the number of speakers then at least in the numbers of new words. Neologisms, meaning words or expressions that are used but not yet part of the everyday vocabulary, are frequently born. Many common expressions of today started their lives as neologisms, and most likely you have heard or used at least a few of them. Internet? X-ray? Meme? Sounds familiar, right!

In some countries, such as Finland, neologisms get legitimately accepted to the mainstream language when a public, language-centered institution acknowledges them. The lists of new neologisms are published yearly, and are eagerly awaited by many language lovers. Sometimes the neologisms are simple and straightforward, sometimes more obscure, but more often than not they represent current phenomena and trends. Or what do you think of these four words that were accepted to the Finnish language earlier this year?

Blondie: a sweet confection, similar to a brownie with the exception that it doesn’t contain any chocolate or cocoa powder

Gayby: a word that is used to refer to a baby with two parents being the same gender

Momo: an abbreviation of the expression modest modernism, a new tendency in architecture

Phablet: a combination of nouns phone and tablet, referring to a mobile phone with a particularly big touch screen

Of course, not all neologisms survive for long. The linguistic trends are hard to predict and only time will tell what will happen to twerking, tebowing and chapulling. Maybe Thanksgivukkah disappears altogether, and selfie gets replaced by something else. But one thing is for sure: neologisms are not going anywhere.

If you know other interesting new words in your own language, please feel free to share them in the comment section!

[Suomi]

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