Neonominations Of A Person In English Discourse: Word-Formation Aspect


The article is devoted to the word-forming aspect of neologisms that nominate a person in English discourse. The language functions in the language which develops and evolves as a system, so it constantly needs support in the language and the reflections in the changes which in its turn stimulates linguistic processes. The significant peculiarity of vocabulary is its inherent direction to the phenomena of reality, that’s why it is the vocabulary that reflects all the changes happening in the public life, which inevitably leads to the formation of new nominations. An important direction in linguistic research on the problems of word formation is the identification of the semantic properties of word formation units and the peculiarities of the organization of word-formation semantics as well as the identification of factors and conditions affecting the pragmatic aspects of derived words. The article underlines that the analysis of English new words contributes to the understanding of typical and specific peculiarities of a people by a language personality, and as a result of a description of cultural interpretation of a basis of the analysed units conceptual values of the people based on their mentality, typical traits of an ethnos can be singled out.

Keywords: Nominations of a personneologismEnglish discourseword-formationsuffixinformation


Linguistic research of modern English word formation is extensive. The invariable interest of modern linguistics in various aspects of word formation is due primarily to the fact that the word is the central unit of the language. The proper properties of a word as a lexical unit interact in it with the properties of other elements of the language which underlies the functioning of the language system as a whole (Arnold, 2002; Bessonova, 2012; Popova, 2011).

An important direction in linguistic research of word formation problems is the identification of the semantic properties of word formation units and the organization of word-formation semantics (Ulukhanov, 2007), as well as the identification of factors and conditions that affect the pragmatic aspects of derived words.

Problem Statement

The development of the language proceeds due to its constant improvement and enrichment of functional capabilities which is particularly intensively and visually realized at the lexical level in the constant two-way archaization process which is the renewal of the vocabulary of the language

A striking evidence of the dynamics of the language is the process of the emergence of new words caused by the changes in an objective reality since any society always seeks means to nominate new notions.

With the help of lexical nominations a person perceives the representation of objects of the real world. In words as nominative units of the language certain knowledge of reality is stored sufficient to identify the real or ideal words denoted by words.

On the one hand, there is a person objectifying the objective world, connected with all the stages of their social experience and activity, with the selection and generalization of the necessary and essential in the object of knowledge. And on the other hand, it is the designation of a new object through non-essential, secondary signs of another object reflected in its name (Katermina, 2017).

Research Questions

  • How do word-formation processes (mainly the affixation) influence the appearance of new words denoting a person?

  • 3.2 What new linguistic constructions have emerged in the process of new words’ formation?

  • 3.3 How do new words reflect innovations in social, economic, political and cultural spheres?

  • 3.4 What are the discourses mostly involved in the formation of new words denoting a person?

Purpose of the Study

In this article we will analyze English neologisms, nominating people, formed with the help of suffixes taken from electronic dictionaries of new words: Wordspy, Macmillan Buzzword Dictionary, Urban Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionaries Online Blog.

The analysis of English new words contributes to the understanding of typical and specific peculiarities of a people by a language personality, and as a result of a description of cultural interpretation of a basis of the analysed units conceptual values of the people based on their mentality, typical traits of an ethnos can be singled out.

For a long time, autonomy and certain isolation were inherent in word-formation as a linguistic activity. However, in recent years, word-building material has been increasingly used in already existing language models. And the word-formation semantics is directly associated with the semantics of the text, the pragmatic and communicative aspects of its functioning.

Although suffixes are not syntactically free, they definitely have semantic content, grammatical, word-formative and stylistic meanings. The most productive suffixes, forming new words, give them a variety of emotionally expressive nuances and simultaneously fix them for one or another sphere of use.

In the case of suffixation, the expression of the derivational value occurs with the help of the suffix and the system of inflections of the derived word, with the suffixes not only formalizing the word as a certain part of speech, but also introducing a new lexical tone or connotation into the derivative.

Research Methods

  • 5.1 For achievement of a goal of research, we use the linguocultural approach to the study of the role neologisms play in the language. The modern approach to the study of the language, and in particular of its vocabulary, involves the analysis of lexical units as elements of a linguistic space in the conditions of a culturological space, which gives a new dimension to the study of language. The interaction of the linguistic and cultural aspects is most clearly traced in the new vocabulary, since new words reflect the changing needs, interests, opportunities of people, and the integration of old linguistic forms with new concepts

  • 5.2 The method of describing the most active word-building models used to create new vocabulary has made it possible to determine their functional capabilities and characterize the tendencies of adaptation and stabilization of new words in the modern English language.

  • 5.3 In the process of describing the functioning of new words there was an interpretation of their non-systematic lexical meanings actualized in speech on the basis of concrete realizations and contextual situations.


Different languages demonstrate a vivid national specifics in the field of naming people. This is explained by the fact that, firstly, the names of persons reflect national socio-political and everyday notions and representations, and secondly, they include a large number of peripheral, secondary semantic components that reflect the national specificity of the designated realities (Popova, 1985).

New vocabulary reflects all innovations in the social, economic, political, cultural and spiritual fields.

The most frequent suffix -er nominates people spending their time on social networks:

mumblogger–a mother who blogs about topics of interest to other mothers;

micro-influencer – someone who has a small number of followers on social media and who influences what people buy through the products they write about.

If the first unit denotes a mother who marks blog posts about her interests, the second unit refers to a person who has a small number of followers in social networks but who influences what people buy depending on the products they write about.

Being in a virtual reality, the behavior of users can be very often assessed in a negative way when they pretend to be other people: twitterjacker–someone who poses as someone else in order to Tweet mischievously on their behalf.

The theme of shopping continues with the neologism thrifter–a person who shops only at discount stores and thrift shops selling secondhand goods . In this case, the basis is the lexeme thrift – the practice of spending money carefully so that you do not waste any .

Ecological discourse is represented by the unit picker – a person who takes it on himself to pick up litter in public places. In computer discourse it is shown by a neologism modder – someone who modifies software, often illegally . Note that in the latter case, the basis is the reduced form of the verb to modify .

The opening of the borders allowed people not only to travel but also to move freely to different countries in search of life and work. One of the meanings of the suffix -er is ‘someone skilled in studying the stated subject’. In the analyzed material, the following units of this type can be distinguished:

  • cricketer – a person who plays cricket;

  • life hacker–a person who helps people to redefine their lives;

  • influencer – a person who influences other people and by doing so brings about change.

The first lexeme as a person engaged in any activity names the cricket player (the noun is the basis of the name of the game itself). The lexemes life-hacker and i nfluencer give a new connotation to the basic meaning of the given suffix.

Influencer is the person who exerts influence. In business discourse it can be a person or a group of people, for example, the chief of the planning and production department indirectly related to the use of the goods; agent of influence; the person influencing the decision making, the adviser. In everyday discourse it is a family member who does not make purchasing decisions but influences the decision (e.g. small children in shops and cafes trying to ‘convince’ their parents of the need of a purchase).

Lifehacker is a person who ‘breaks’, ‘deceives’ the life around him making it easier with the help of various useful tips.

The appearance of lifehacks is attributed to the end of the XXth century, when programming and IT-technologies have just begun to emerge. Programmers and computer scientists have faced the problem of optimizing all the processes and machine tasks. Later the search for such a solution began to be called "hacks" in slang. Soon it was the people of this profession who decided to transfer their ‘hacks’ to everyday life adding before them the word ‘life’.

In 2004, English journalist Danny O'Brien published an article in which he reported about the whole movement of ‘lifehackers’ who took for themselves the goal of making life of everyone much easier. In 2005 the phenomenon conquered the Internet and since that time it remains one of the most popular requests of all search engines (What is it a lifehack? n.d., para. 1, 2).

Another meaning of the suffix -er is a follower, a supporter, a believer .

Among the English neologisms one can distinguish the units denoting the supporter of the American president, Donald Trump ( Trumper – a person who is a supporter of politician Donald Trump ), the supporter of the UK exit from the European Union ( Brexiter – one who favours Brexit ) as well as the person who does not believe that American troops killed Osama bin Ladan ( deather–a person who does not believe that US forces killed Osama Bin Laden ).

Neologisms with the suffix -ist and the suffix -eer have a similar meaning.

deathist – a person who is prejudiced against the belief that science and technology will someday overcome human death;

denialist – someone who deliberately chooses to deny the truth about something because it is too uncomfortable or difficult to accept;

eruptionist – a person who believes that life on Earth can or will be mostly destroyed by a massive volcanic eruption;

Brexiteer – one who favours Brexit.

New living conditions have led to the emergence of a new profession, formed with the suffix - ist: bibliotherapist– a therapist who uses books to facilitate better mental health .

As noted by modern scholars, a characteristic feature of scientific knowledge of the beginning of the XXIst century is the transformation of human problems into the subject of a whole series of sciences. Consequently there is a problem in terms of bringing the extracted knowledge into a single system and establishing the boundaries of the ‘interests’ of each individual industry. Bibliotherapy is referred to the cycle of social sciences since the object of its study is a person existing within the framework of a particular society. At the same time, it is at the junction of library science and medicine being an integral part of psychotherapy.

The librarian strives to achieve the desired therapeutic effect on patients and preventive effects on the health through the book, to stimulate positive moods and to extinguish negative ones.

The study of the concept of linguistic evaluation makes it possible to assume that the cognitive-classifying activity of a person is reflected in linguistic units, in particular, in words that go along with the results of cognitive activity of a person and the relation of the cognizing subject to cognized reality. Thus the evaluation component acts as an obligatory semantic component of the word meaning (Katermina, 2016).

The material allowed to identify the suffix -ster – suffix denoting a person associated with something or related to something.

  • Hipster – a young person who lives in a city and is self-consciously cool and interested in non-mainstream culture.

Hipster is the name sometimes slightly disdainful, of ‘golden’ youth from large cities. They like fashionable ‘vintage’ clothes, iPhones with Instagrams, sneakers and other useless paraphernalia. They belong to the ‘middle class’ and can afford a fashionable outfit, stylish cars and expensive accessories (Hipster – what is it? n.d., para. 1).

Scenester –a person who frequently attends a particular social or cultural scene.

It is a slang term used to describe a person who consciously tries to fit into a specific cultural life based on music, cinema, art. This term can also refer to a child who follows fashion trends, preferences and moods of his peers.

Neologisms related to gender discourse which has been widely spread in the late XXth – early XXIst century are represented by the suffix -ess ( songstress – a female singer ) and the suffix -er ( walker – a platonic male friend with whom to go for walks, to the theater, etc .). And if in the first case the suffix clearly indicates gender, the second unit uses the neutral suffix -er , and gender tendencies can be traced only by the meaning of the new lexical unit.


Language is a complex social phenomenon. It is a means of human communication and is in constant movement. As the researchers note language is the mirror of a society. In our age of industrialization, scientific and technological progress, intensive social and political life full of events of international significance the process of lexical enrichment of the language is constantly going on. All the changes and processes taking place in public life are directly reflected in the languages of all countries of the world.

The vocabulary of the language is enriched mainly by derivation, that is the formation of new words based on and using the lexical material that already exists in the language. Without word-building, language could not have a vocabulary that would correspond to the development of society. It determines the enormous importance of word formation in the general system of the language. Suffixation, according to the linguists, has the highest productivity in the formation of new words.

The formation of new words, the appearance of new meanings in them is associated with the constantly creative work of human consciousness, the relentless process of cognition which is determined by the practical and intellectual activity of a person


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Publication Date

30 April 2018

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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, translation, interpretation

Cite this article as:

Katermina, V. (2018). Neonominations Of A Person In English Discourse: Word-Formation Aspect. In I. V. Denisova (Ed.), Word, Utterance, Text: Cognitive, Pragmatic and Cultural Aspects, vol 39. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 62-67). Future Academy.