In praise of neologizing

Erin McKean, whose favorite word is erinaceous, and whose ALL YOUR TEXT ARE BELONG TO US Pop!Cast is not to be missed, has a brief message today about neologism. Even more briefly:

Give it a shot. Not all your new words will survive, but neither do all your new ideas!

As an unrepentant neologizer I completely agree. There are multiple benefits to word coinage. New vocabulary not only expands our repertoire of concepts, but is also easily tracked as it swirls through the infosphere.

I consider the tags we now routinely invent for conferences are an important class of neologism. For example, I proposed GRL2020 for the future-of-libraries summit I recently attended. Now I’m subscribed to an RSS feed that notifies me whenever any of a blended set of tagging services reports a new GRL2020-tagged item.

Our newfound ability to observe and measure the mutation of language is truly one of the wonders of the modern world.

4 Comments

  1. there’s a lot to be said for neologisms for SEO/branding.

    I was trying to find information on the dcubed tiddlywiki a few weeks ago… only two links about the subject in the top 20 SERPs.

  2. “Podfade” put me on the neologism map! Wikipedia matrons are staunch opponents of neologism, and they have deleted the numerous attempts from several people to include the word “podfade” in the official Wikipedia lexicon. Thank heavens for the UrbanDictionary. My next word is: “Unthinkability!” This is why I love the English language, and why I could never live in France.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Jon!

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