SOCIAL MEDIA NEOLOGISMS: A MORPHO- SEMANTIC ANALYSIS
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1.1 Background to the Study
Using internet and telecom technology has had a significant impact on how we communicate, helping to create the emergence of a completely new subculture known as internet culture. According to linguist David Crystal, the internet will have the biggest influence on the English language in the 21st century.
Social networking sites (SNSs) such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube have drawn millions of English-speaking users who interact and communicate via the internet, using both computers and mobile devices. This has considerably increased the English vocabulary. ‘Apple’ and ‘Blackberry’ are no longer just fruits anymore and medical term ‘tablets’ now belongs to the social media register too. Lower-case letters are becoming more popular, the symbol “@” is thriving, the full stop has been redefined as the “dot,” and prefixes like “e-,” “techno,” “tele,” and “cyber” have revitalized entire trends.
Read Also: THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS ON STANDARD ENGLISH USAGE
Well-known words’ definitions have drastically changed (e.g., surf, add, friend, like, follow, spam, post, share, web), while the English language’s vocabulary has grown to include entirely new words.
As a result, the main goal of this research is to examine these neologisms in the Modern English lexicon and identify the key developments in their formation and meaning.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The lexical system of modern English as it is represented in the social media has been neglected as a field of study. Many English speakers are unaware of what social media neologisms mean. Against this background, this study is guided by the following questions:
- What word-classes and word-formation processes are inherent in the creation of these neologisms?
- What do the neologisms mean?
- Which word-formation process is most common in the creation of social media neologisms?
- Which word-class is the most common among the neologisms?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study are as follows:
- To delineate the social media neologisms to reveal their meanings, word-classes and formation
- To foreground the word-formation process and word-class of each of the social media neologisms
- To distinguish the most common word-class and word-formation process among social media neologism.
1.4 Scope of the Study
There are a plethora of words in use among speakers of English, but this study will focus on neologisms only. Among neologisms, it will maintain within its scope only the new words that stem from social media, concentrating its analysis on their formation, word-classes and meanings.
1.5 Research Limitations
The study focused on social media neologisms only; therefore the findings cannot be generalised. The words examined are only those coined through the use of social networking tools. If the scope of study had included all computer-mediated neologisms, it may have led to different data and findings.
Being a multi-disciplinary study encompassing the internet, social networking and language development, it could not be carried out within the framework of one linguistic theory. The theory of Computer-Mediated Communications was adopted for the aspect of internet and social media use; an onomasiological theory accounted for the aspect of word-formation of the neologisms, while the theory of lexical semantics was adopted to account for the meanings of the neologisms.
1.6 Definition of Key Terms
Social Media: Social media refer to Internet- and telecommunications-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. It is a typical blend of technology and social interaction for the co-creation of social value. It is a term used to refer to a category of networks that is based on user participation and user-generated content and includes social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, or My Space, social bookmarking sites like Del.icio.us, social news sites like Digg or Simpy, and other sites that are centred on social networking.
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