The women who created a new language - Deepstash

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Creating words

Creating words

In times past, when circumstances demanded new ways of expression, it was often female writers who invented new words.

The word 'frustrating' makes its first appearance in print in George Eliot's novel Middlemarch, when she describes "the hampering threadlike pressure of small social conditions, and their frustrating complexity."

Taking inspiration from George Eliot and Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and Dorothy Wordsworth, we can find some helpful principles for sculpting a vocabulary to describe the surreal realities in these tense and trying times.

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Get your ‘-ness’ on

The suffix '-ness' can transform a plain word into something stranger and affectingly abstract. For example, 'dark' is factual, whereas 'darkness' is more graphic and poetic.

Other words that already follow this form: the unvisitedness of our parents and grandparents. The unembracedness of our friends. The egglessness of our pantries.

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You are what you '-r'

To show the depths of your connection with a place or feeling, simply adding an 'r' or an 'er' to the end of a noun can show a new existential title.
Jane Austen christened a group of random gamblers around a casino table, all coming from the 'outside,' as 'outsiders.' In her novel Emma, she turned the word 'sympathy' into 'sympathizer,' the first recorded use of that word.

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Join the Hyphen Nation

Another way to give new life the word is to pull together words in new ways.

Charlotte Bronte was a genius of compelling compounds. We likely owe the origin of 'self-doubt' and 'Wild-West' to her, as well as 'spring-clean.'

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The Wisdom of '-isms'

The suffix '-ism' is the quickest way to transport a word into the realms of respectable doctrine, system, or movement.

The novelist George Eliot is credited with formulating the word 'meliorism' - the belief that the world's suffering is healable if we all work together to that end.

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