JoLIE 14:1/2021


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Mario Brdar

University of Osijek, Croatia

Rita Brdar-Szabó

ELTE, Budapest, Hungary

Tanja Gradečak

University of Osijek, Croatia






The new normal of the Covid-19 time has unleashed a tremendous amount of playfulness and creativity, making it easier to cope with the pandemic. Not surprisingly, they manifest themselves linguistically, too. In addition to activating the usual conceptual metaphors and metonymies the pandemic brought a number of vocabulary items that are neologisms (or coroneologisms, as they are called by Roig-Marín, 2021), i.e. new words (in most cases realised formally as compounds, lexical blends, clippings), or quite common ones but used in a new way, making them more polysemous. As for their structure, they could be single words, morphologically simple or complex, or multi-word units. Strictly speaking, many of the words we consider to be neologisms are not genuine neologisms. This is not because novel-looking items are actually recycled from already existing words in ways that may make them look more or less similar to their origins, but simply because these words were coined and used before the coronavirus crisis. In other words, they qualify as pseudo-neologisms. The fact that they are felt to be novel is due to the so-called recency illusion or fallacy. Strengthened by the belief that we live in “unprecedented times”, we expect that unprecedented events naturally call for unprecedented words. The picture is, however, more complex and the phenomenon of pseudo-neology needs to be situated in the complex context of the interplay of a number of vector-like factors, such as intertextuality, culturonomic dynamicity, the phenomenon of the recency fallacy accompanied by the frequency fallacy or illusion, and the influence of various types of media and social networks on linguistic processes, especially their repetitive character.


Keywords: Neologism; Recency fallacy; Pseudo-neologism.





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How to cite this article: Brdar, M., Brdar-Szabó, R., & Gradečak, T. (2021). Not all that glitters is new: Oroneologisms and the receny fallacy. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 14(1), 21-44. doi:  



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[1] The first two authors were financed by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN), the Spanish State Research Agency (AEI), and the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER) of the European Union project no. FFI2017-82730-P (Description and explanation of figuration in and across languages: the development of a cross-linguistic analytical database) and project no. PGC2018-101214-B-I00 (Researching conceptual metonymy in selected areas of grammar, discourse and sign language with the aid of the University of Córdoba Metonymy Database) (METGRADISL&BASE). This article has also been fully supported by the internal research grant UNIOS-ZUP 2018-77 Figurative language in health communication by the University of Osijek.