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Thread: New words

  1. #1 New words 
    Forum Ph.D. Darius's Avatar
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    I am deeply disturbed by my inability to find serious attempts at adding new words (or better words) to the English language. I often search for "neologisms", but few (if any) make etymological sense, and none are really useful. Why is it English word creation seems limited to science and technology? Why can't we use a similar process, which I can't seem to find, to create new everyday words? New philosophical concepts? New beliefs? The apparent inability for English to easily form new concepts is a serious hindrance, especially for me.

    For example, if I could describe some of my concepts (such as the mental framework) in a single word that makes etymological sense, it would be far easier to get the idea across. But how? With what process? Is English truly at the mercy of nonsense words for new material?


    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Necessity is the mother of invention. Blog is a fairly new word, for instance. It has both noun and verb form and isn't found in any dictionary prior to the 1990's. This is, as you pointed out, a result of technology, but that also has the privilege of being a continually novel concept in humanity. Other human endeavors have the unfortunate position of "having been done" to death.

    I would, however, expect to see new words in religion, which is culturally evolving. Though I cannot currently think of any. If I do, they'll probably turn out to be in response to the effect of technology or science on religious thought.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Ph.D. Darius's Avatar
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    This just makes the problem worse, though. There is really no official process for formulating new (needed) words? Just relying on people stumbling about and mashing shit together seems like a very inefficient system, though probably one that has evolved languages since the dawn of time. Either way, I'd prefer a goddamn system.
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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  5. #4  
    Forum Freshman Incoming Dessert's Avatar
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    Apparently Shakespeare had around 100,000 words to play with, whereas it's just hit 1,000,000 in modern times. A system's too hard to do. If a word is invented and becomes common usage, then it may as well be put in the dictionary. No point in not having a word in the dictionary that's being used, or having one that's never used.
    The wise man believes half of what he reads. If he knew which half to believe, he'd be a much wiser man.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Ph.D. Darius's Avatar
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    Sad thing is, the majority of English words are, in fact, synonyms. Most of them artifacts of a once distinct and colorful language. Shakespear had fewer words, but with each word he had more meaning. On the other hand, English has plenty of words, and most of them mean the same damn thing.
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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  7. #6  
    Forum Freshman Incoming Dessert's Avatar
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    With some slight differences. I've noticed that when I've got to write in German, there's very few synonyms, and so I end up sounding like I'm continually repeating myself. For example the word schon (Should be an umlaut there, but my keyboard's not good enough) covers almost every variation of the word pretty, with pretty, beautiful, gorgeous etc all seeming to translate to it. Lots of synonyms is good. It makes reading more interesting.

    As for brand new words unrelated to anything, we don't develop them because we don't need them. And if any new words sound an awful lot like old words, that's just how language works. The vast majority of words are based on older words.
    The wise man believes half of what he reads. If he knew which half to believe, he'd be a much wiser man.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    My runin with would-be philosophers is that they are either too bussy trying to redefine words, or correct other people's usage of words that they don't have any time left to create anything new.

    In my opinion it is not how many words you speak that make you understood, but how many words you understand that make's you well spoken.
    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Necessity is the mother of invention. Blog is a fairly new word, for instance. It has both noun and verb form and isn't found in any dictionary prior to the 1990's.
    You know what other word is missing from every dictionary from the '80s that I've looked at? "America"!

    Rich
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