Predicting New Words: The Secrets of Their Success

Predicting New Words The Secrets of Their Success Have you ever aspired to gain linguistic immortality by making up a word Many people such famous writers as Jonathan Swift Lewis Carroll and Dr Seuss along with many lesser knowns have coined new w

  • Title: Predicting New Words: The Secrets of Their Success
  • Author: Allan Metcalf
  • ISBN: 9780618130085
  • Page: 299
  • Format: Paperback
  • Have you ever aspired to gain linguistic immortality by making up a word Many people such famous writers as Jonathan Swift, Lewis Carroll, and Dr Seuss, along with many lesser knowns have coined new words that have endured But most of the new words people put forward fail to find favor Why are some new words adopted, while others are ignored Allan Metcalf exploresHave you ever aspired to gain linguistic immortality by making up a word Many people such famous writers as Jonathan Swift, Lewis Carroll, and Dr Seuss, along with many lesser knowns have coined new words that have endured But most of the new words people put forward fail to find favor Why are some new words adopted, while others are ignored Allan Metcalf explores this question in his fascinating look at new word creation In surveying past coinages and proposed new words, Metcalf discerns lessons for linguistic longevity He shows us, for instance, why the humorist Gelett Burgess succeeded in contributing the words blurb and bromide to the language but failed to win anyone over to bleesh or diabob Metcalf examines terms invented to describe political causes and social phenomena silent majority, Gen X , terms coined in books edge city, Catch 22 , brand names and words derived from them aspirin, Ping Pong , and words that derive from misunderstandings cherry, kudo He develops a scale for predicting the success of newly coined words and uses it to foretell which emerging words will outlast the twenty first century In this highly original work, Metcalf shows us how to spin syllabic straw into linguistic gold.

    One thought on “Predicting New Words: The Secrets of Their Success”

    1. "English is famous for its expansive vocabulary and for its endless fascination with new words. Every year, hundreds of new words come into the language - words for new products and technologies, words for emerging fads in fashion and the arts, words for political and social developments, hip words, slang words, even words that were created as jokes. But for every one of these new adoptions, there are many more coinages that people choose to ignore. In fact, the history of the English language i [...]

    2. Allan Metcalf’s Predicting New Words had a fantastic concept, but it was remarkably unremarkable. I was excited to read a book that would talk of words, how they are coined, how they die out or, miraculously, survive. However, from the beginning of this book I learned to settle for a little less and just read what I was dealt.I learned a few new facts, such as where the term ‘couch potato’ came from, and how not to create a word, but I was otherwise bored and sometimes a little lost. He wa [...]

    3. A fun, quick read about how new words enter our modern English vocabulary (modern here meaning 19th century and onwards), including origins and critiques of some of the most and least popular neologisms. It even includes an evaluation method to gauge whether a new word has staying power (inspired by the Apgar score). Most interesting tidbit for me: I had no idea "chortle" was a portmanteau, nor that CS Lewis coined it! I suppose if I ever thought about it, I assumed it was Anglo-Saxon in origin. [...]

    4. Blah. Some fun facts, but the author seems to bring nothing new to the table beyond what he cites others have already done. This doesn't seem cohesive at all.

    5. Already dated, but with some interesting ideas on what causes a popular and enduring new word to become commonplace.

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