Structure and Meaning
The way in which
a word is constructed, the elements of which it is made, is an important
building block in our understanding of our language. Although it is often
easy to refer to vocabulary, which is a word and its meaning, it is also
important to consider the construction of a word, its morphemes, affixes
green sports car is
an example of a deconstructed sentence.
The word "disappeared" from that sentence is deconstructed here.
is linguistics terminology for words - their choice and appropriateness
in a text.
on the choice of lexis in the following extracts from speeches by George
youre not going to see me stay put... I am not going to forsake
my responsibilities. You may not see me put as much- I mean, un-put as
misunderestimated me. Nov. 2000
cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold
our allies hostile.
was just inebriating what Midland was all about then. reflecting
in 1994 about growing up in Midland, Texas
I think if you say youre going to do something and dont do
it, thats trustworthiness. in a CNN online chat,
and I will carry out this equivocal message to the world: Markets must
be open. at the swearing-in ceremony for Secretary of
Agriculture Ann Veneman, March 2, 2001
Words are known as neologisms. Read some examples
about language change here.
about words which are difficult to translate here.
about words in other languages which have no equivalent in English
- such as words for "expressing disappointment when things
turn out better than expected" or "a person who
has a creative idea which only makes things worse" or
"to exchange wives for a few days only". Read
a Times article about these words here
and visit The
Meaning of Tingo website.
the 86,000 most frequently used English words in the beautifully
National Corpus - a 100 million word collection of samples of
written and spoken language from a wide range of sources, designed
to represent a wide cross-section of current British English, both
spoken and written.
Neologisms are not too hard to create: just
join two or more word parts together to create an entirely new word.
If it has a useful or surprising meaning it might even catch on!
Here are a few a created in the last
volvocracy - government
by people who drive Volvos
pestiary - directory of unpleasant people and animals
abombination - terrorist explosion
dripod - waterproof cover for mp3 player
trypod - competition to win an iPod
skypod - wireless enabled iPod
commissionary - obsessive salesman
red pencilitis - students fear of having their
to create new words
The Macmillan English Dictionary
features Words of the Year and gives examples of typical ways
to create new words:
"to buy something intending to use it once, then return
it for a refund"
"a fan of the British sci-fi series Doctor Who"
Changing the part of
speech - eg making a noun or an adjective into a verb:
supersize "to provide an outsize version"
gripesite "a web-site that makes consumers aware
of deficient goods or services"
Borrowing from another
language: wiki "a website where users
can collectively add or modify text" [from Hawaiian for
"In Case of Emergency contact number stored in the address
book of a mobile pohone"
fanfic "new stories featuring characters and settings
from a movie, book or TV show, written by fans, not the original
(combining the start of one word with the end of another): spim
[spam + im] "unwanted adverts sent via instytant messaging"
"a PC infected by a virus that makes it send out
spam without the user's knowledge"
7/7 "terrorist bombing"
and sound symbolism: sneezle words that sound
like or remind one of the thing they describe"
English has many words that have been lost
from daily vocabulary, though they live on in dictionaries and sometimes
deserve to be revived.
Wonder of Whiffling by Adam Jacot de Boinod (author of The Meaning
of Tingo) is a tour of English around the globe to discover words you’ve
always wished existed but never knew, such as fornale,
to spend one’s money before it has been earned; cagg,
a solemn vow or resolution not to get drunk for a certain time; and petrichor,
the pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell.