New Media Discourse and Lexicalization in English: An Analysis of Selected Neologisms from Twitter

Authors

  • Halima Abdul Fari Department of English, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria
  • Adam Al-Amin Abdullahi

Keywords:

New Media, Discourse, Lexicalization, Neologism, Twitter

Abstract

The emergence of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) has charted a path for the lexicon of English to change so rapidly. Consequently, this study investigates how language and various semiotic resources, that is discourse contribute to “emergent word structures” (neologism), which in turn leads to lexicalization in our second English language linguistic environment. Incidentally a shared feature among actors in the new media discourse particularly tweeters is a preference for coined words (neologism) as against the conventional vocabulary in constructing discourse. This situation precipitates the need to interrogate the new media discourse with especial focus on an interactive-communicative-options social network site - Twitter. The paper examined lexicalization or word-formation processes of neologisms in English tweets from the researchers’ follower lists. The data generated were analysed using the Social Presence Concept and Stekauer (2005) Word Formation Theory. The study revealed that English newly coined words or neologisms extracted from twitter, derive their morphological structures using similar word formation processes with the existing lexicon. These are compounding, blending, affixation and coinage. It was also noted that ‘blending’ had the highest frequency of occurrence compared to compounding and affixation, a fact which contrasted with some previous investigations rating ‘blending’ as less frequent in general English usage.

References

Akunna, O. (2012). Social Media Neologisms: A Morphosemantic Analysis. An Unpublished M.A. Thesis Submitted to the Department of English, University of Lagos, Akoka.
Liu, W. & Liu, W. (2014). Analysis on the Word-formation of English Netspeak Neologism. Journal of Arts and Humanity, (4), 22-30.
Nworia, M.R. (2015). Use of English Neologisms in Social Media: A Case of Twitter Language in Kenya. Nigerian Journal of Humanities, (21), 51-62.
Saveljeva, N. (2014). Blending as a Process of Creating Neologism in Modern English: A Study based on Electronic Media. Journal of Language Evolution, 1, (1), 84-97.
Sproull, L. & Kiesler, S. (1991). Computers, networks work. Scientific American, 265(3), 116 - 127.
Stekauer, P. (2005). Onomasiological Approach to Word Formation. USA: Springer.

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Published

2021-05-09