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The women who created a new language

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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The women who created a new language

The women who created a new language

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20200507-the-women-who-created-a-new-language

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

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.

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.

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.

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.'

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.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Weak Words Used Often

Every word you use while working expresses something about your personal brand, your confidence, state of mind, authority and knowledge. The verbs that we put in sentences are key to our ima...

'Think'

We use "I think: often while at work, but it's a dysfunctional addition to a start of a sentence, that while ok to use occasionally in trivial situations, is to be avoided in meetings or one-on-ones. 

Try replacing it with "I'm confident".

'Need'

When we use "I need" at the start of a sentence it sounds like pleading rather than empowered. It makes us sound needy.

Swap "I need" with "Please" to sound polite and confident.

4 more ideas

A Good Sense Of Humor

A Good Sense Of Humor
  • Humor has many practical uses, like diffusing a difficult situation, masking one’s nervousness, coping with failure and softening the criticism doled out to someone. 
  • Humor works ...

The Perfect Formula Of Funny

According to philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, humor is derived from a sudden unmatching or unexpected outcome of an event, which had in our minds a specific expectation. This causes a mild ‘violation’ in our minds, which creates the humor.

Non-Words

In a series of experiments, it was found that the greater the ‘violation of the expected outcome’ the greater the humor feels. It also found that certain non-words, which are a combination of letter strings (like digifin, or artorts) but have no dictionary meaning, are the most consistent in their funniness rating.


Non-words with low entropy(the extent of them being unexpected) seem to offer more surprise, and therefore, get a higher humor rating.

Words Without Translation

Certain languages and cultures have words that are hard, or even impossible to translate, as a whole lot of stories and mythology have gone into the particular meaning of the word.

Transla...

Untranslatable Words

Some words remain a mystery, as human language cannot be simply demarcated and translated as is, by giving definitions to words.

Certain words add to the mystery and the beauty of languages and provide richer shades to communication.

Words Contain Cultures

Certain words contain the essence of the lifestyles, and the hardships endured in certain cultures. These words are relatable to those who themselves have experienced the same.