Lifetree, Margaret Jean (1967)
A study of neologisms found in 'Le Monde' in 1955.
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A close study of every article in every number of the newspaper Le Monde which appeared in 1955 yielded 5,000 neologisms, that is words which are either completely new in the French language, or which, by their appearance in the newspaper, are emerging into the general language from the jargon or other limited area of the language to which they were earlier restricted. The words were compared with later dictionaries, and also with related studies.A method of classification based on the use of punch-cards was evolved to contain the words. It was found that the mode of formation was an important aspect of the neologisms, so these were studied under the headings of the modes of formation observed. Variation was found in the types of neologisms falling under the different headings, with respect to whether their formation was deliberate or unconscious, and to the usefulness and the durability of the words. Words formed by the use of suffixes tend to be deliberate and useful: those formed by the use of prefixes vary, A continuous progression was observed between formation by prefix, and the formation of compound words, with some link to formations by suffix.Different types of compound were found, varying in usefulness and in consciousness of formation. The validity of some compound forms as words was questioned, as these have some of the characteristics of syntactic groups rather than of words. Series of compounds were found to be sometimes more interestingThan individual formations. Relatively few creations by semantic change were found, but a large proportion of those found were useful and durable forms. Borrowings were found from many languages, the number from each language varying with closeness or importance to France of the people speaking it. A smaller proportion of borrowings was found than other studies led one to expect. Caiques followed a pattern similar to that of borrowings, and different types of caique were found. The findings were summed up in conclusion.
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Institution: University of London, Royal Holloway College (United Kingdom).