Schools Training

Neologisms and the Changing Nature of the English Language

10 DEC 2014
Career Path : Education News


If you’re reading this post right now, there’s a 99% chance that you yourself speak or at least read English. We know it as a diverse language, often spoken as a second language all around the world. British colonization of North America lead to a spread of English speakers to multiple continents and large populations. Today there are 335,000,000 speakers of English in the world, just behind Spanish yet still very far behind the number of Mandarin speakers.

But the English language has also been called one of the most difficult languages to learn. English spelling is oftentimes full of illogical spelling, inconsistent grammar and conundrums which can make learning a nightmare. English is also a hodgepodge of so many other countries’ languages, particularly German, Latin and French. Even today, words are being created, by authors, pop culture and scientists. Some of those latin-based words however originate from the Renaissance era, where a rebirth of culture gave leeway to new creation. New words todays are called neologisms.

Shakespeare created the words bedazzled, eyeball, inaudible, swagger and uncomfortable—words we use in our everyday life (surprisingly even bedazzled and swagger!). John Milton, famous for his poem Paradise Lost, has the most neologisms attributed to his name. He invented words such as pandemonium (derived from Latin), space, fragrance and terrific.

But what about modern day neologisms. Well, believe it or not the Oxford dictionary add news words to their collection each year. Some examples of 2014 additions include:

  • Bookaholic
  • Tropically
  • Sciency
  • Exfoliator
  • Bestie (referring to someone’s best friend)

In 2013, Oxford dictionary named “selfie” their word of the year! Runners up were bitcoin, showroomer and twerk.

English is growing everyday! What do you think 2015’s word of the year will be?

Source: Huffington Post