Keywords: semantic neologism, lexical neologism, blending, semantics, pandemics, COVID‑19


Studying language as a dynamic system is intrinsically linked to analyzing external factors that stimulate changes in the language. The leading role here is played by the relationship between language and society, with changes in the social texture resulting in neologisms. The analysis of recent publications and ‘Word of the Year’ collections suggests that English neologisms coined over the last two decades tend to belong to such thematic groups as Internet technologies and social communications, technical developments, political and economic conditions, and climate change challenges and responses. In 2020, the Oxford English Dictionary team found themselves unable to identify one single word of the year, and instead published a 38-page Words of an unprecedented year report. The paper under consideration seeks to analyze the semantics of frequently used COVID‑19 neologisms, as well as identify the thematic groups they belong to. Out of over 1,000 new lexical units and phrases coined in English in 2020, many are used to denote the coronavirus disease. Other units, based on their conceptual features, can fall into three main thematic groups. Group 1 contains names of new social networks, including those of professional groups (for example, critical workers, support bubble, childcare bubble, quarantine pod, covidiots, anti-maskers, etc.). Lexical units in thematic group 2 denote new forms of computer mediated communication (for example, Zoombie, Zoombombing, covideo parties, quarantini, etc.). Thematic group 3 is made up of units for new technologies and work modes (for example, WFH (working from home), workation, staycation, remote learning, remote working, etc.). The results above give us grounds to consider a focus on social links to be one of the leading 2020 tendencies of vocabulary expansion in Modern English. In line with this tendency, new vocabulary units are systematically coined to denote both interpersonal interactions and various types of social networks. Another tendency as viewed by the author is ample attention to implementing new work processes in a changed environment.


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How to Cite
Rudyk, I. M. (2021). 2020 VOCABULARY EXPANSION IN MODERN ENGLISH. New Philology, (83), 230-234. https://doi.org/10.26661/2414-1135-2021-83-33