chapter  Chapter 6
24 Pages

Micrological: New Words

WithPeter Stockwell

This chapter describes the new words of mainstream fiction are almost always the result of creation, and they usually take the form of proper names and it outlines a simple structural description, based on a hierarchical taxonomy, of neologism-types. It is important to distinguish between new word-shapes and new meanings attached to existing words; only the former new words are usually called neologisms, from a literal etymological reading of the Greek neo-logos. Metaphor, with reference to language change, describes the shift in meaning when creative metaphorical neologisms lose their original sense, as have 'bitter' and 'harrowing'. Recontextualisation is a global textual effect of changing the meanings of words, and this is the source of most neosemy in science fiction. It is where the peculiarities of the text world affect the semantic field of a word. Derivation is the process of creating neologisms by adding morphemic elements. Properly, this is affixing morphemes to the front, end or middle of a word.