Neologisms

The creation of new words is one of the most natural things in the (linguistic) world. It is what keeps the linguistic organism fresh and full of vitality. As presented in a previous post on New Words the renewal of linguistic tissue is a wonderful phenomenon.

With a change in the political system and entry into the European Union, Poland is experiencing major political, economic, social and psychological upheavals and it comes as no surprise that new lexcial items are forcing themselves into the vacuum left by the fall of social-realism and other now defunct social and political phenomena.

Of great interest are words like Gadu-Gadu (the internet messenger) or Spychologia (an attitude among people who constantly ‘pass the buck’). Obviously, proper nouns and company names are not translated, but ideas such as Walkie-Talkie and pass-buck-ability come to mind.

The politician Janusz Palikot in an effort to promote his weblog has embarked on an advertising campaign that makes use of some fascinating neologisms. These include: pyskusja (= ‘pyskować’ + ‘dyskusja’), odwkurzacz (= ‘odkurzacz’ + ‘wkurzać’), paplament (= ‘paplać’ + ‘parlament’), cudzogłupstwo (= ‘cudzołóstwo’ + ‘głupstwo’) and nielękarka (= ‘pielęgniarka’ + ‘nie lękać’). The neologisms reflect a particular approach to life and in an effort to understand this approach a translation of these words may be revealing:

pyskusja ~ disgussion
odwkurzacz ~ dumb-downer; zone-outer
paplament ~ howliament; growliament; borliament; papliament
cudzogłupstwo ~ adultawry; stupidility
nielękarka ~ nofearlette

14 Responses to “Neologisms”

  1. Margola Says:

    The currently-not-ruling class kept on producting many neologisms. For those willing to make great ranslation effort I suggest visiting:
    http://www.polityka.pl/polityka/index.jsp?place=Lead33&news_cat_id=1561&news_id=223113&layout=18&forum_id=10807&fpage=Threads&page=text
    Our President and his Twin Brother produce sth every day. Are you willing to take challenge?

  2. Kasia S. Says:

    The first thing, which come to my mind when talking about neologisms is my matura exam, when I had to name one title of a poem, having neologism. The poem was entitled “Dusiołek”. It is the first thing/memory, which comes to my mind while talking about neologisms-my exam🙂
    In every day life we create tons of neologisms, while writing e-mails, letters, or in a conversations. Even, when we hear those words for the first time, we decode their meaning immdately, because, as it was mentioned in “Neologisms”, most of neologisms are combined of two normal words.
    It is also fun to create neologisms, they are often part of some kind of slang, created by a group of friends.
    I think that in every second somone creates itsown neologism🙂

  3. Kasia S. Says:

    The first thing, which comes to my mind when talking about neologisms is my matura exam, when I had to name one title of a poem, having neologism. The poem was entitled “Dusiołek”. It is the first thing/memory, which comes to my mind while talking about neologisms-my exam🙂
    In every day life we create tons of neologisms, while writing e-mails, letters, or in a conversations. Even, when we hear those words for the first time, we decode their meaning immidately, because, as it was mentioned in “Neologisms”, most of neologisms are combined of two normal words.
    It is also fun to create neologisms, they are often part of some kind of slang, created by a group of friends.
    I think that every second somone creates its own neologism🙂

  4. transubstantiation Says:

    This may be true but does it mean that we #should# create neologisms when we translate?

  5. Margola Says:

    translation is about conveying the same sense of a discourse of an utterance so translating neologisms seems unevitable (if you translate neologisms ,of course). However, the problem arrises when you translate clusters as those produced by Palikot. Meanings of particular words are deeply rooted in our culture so they produce a certain effect on a reader which for sure will be lost in translation. Those words may still sound funny but the real meaning will be distorted.

    creating neologisms in your translaton just because you cannnot come up with better eqivalent seems…unprofessional to me. If in the L2 exists phrase/word/saying which serves the same purpose as in L1 there is no need to produce anything new.

  6. transubstantiation Says:

    “Meanings of particular words are deeply rooted in our culture so they produce a certain effect on a reader which for sure will be lost in translation…”

    Is that not always the case?

  7. Sao Says:

    I think we should be careful in both creating and using neologisms. Coming up with new words might be both fun and dangerous. Why fun? Because it is somewhat our contribution to development of the lexis, especially when the word is ‘approved’ or becomes commonly used. Combining old words and creating new ones from them reminds me of putting the puzzles together in order to complete the picture.
    Why dangerous? Well, it might create some mess in the already existing word stock. Why making up new words when we are able to express ourselves with those we already know? Can neologisms oust the other words from everyday usage? The next thing is that neologisms can result both a) from the world’s development, discoveries and necessity of naming new notions, objects etc. b) simply from someone’s poor language stock and thus not being able to express oneself properly.

    All in all, if the new words are really necessary, if they bring in freshness and wit, and they are not created thoughtlessly – they are something positive😉
    And if they appear as a result of someone’s blissful ignorance…that’s questionable.

  8. m Says:

    i’m quite sure that if we for example translate some fantasy book, it would be necessary to come up with some neologisms. i don’t think that it would be a good way to deal for instans with some technical translation🙂

  9. transubstantiation Says:

    The English translation of “Solaris” by Stanislaw Lem is a good example.

  10. agata Says:

    Creating new words occurs normally among small groups, among friends who spaek in a similar way and use almost in the same style. Introducing new words can be really funny and thanks to them we sometimes have a one word instead of a multiplied set of different words, standing for activities or things; so it’s also easier. They are always understood within the particular group and everyone can always add something new. Really nice..🙂

  11. transubstantiation Says:

    “Creating new words occurs normally among small groups…”

    “Normally” is perhaps not appropriate.

  12. Kamil Says:

    These words sound stupid😀

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