УДК: 811.111’374

Tkachuk-Miroshnychenko O. Ye., PhD
Institute of Journalism, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv


The article presents a first assessment of the word-stock of “coronaspeak”-2020 — a new language of the Covid-19 pandemic. The English vocabulary is subjected to constant change due to various extralinguistic factors. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the ‘explosion’ of new words. As of today, “coronaspeak” has over 1,000 words with more units appearing each day. The scale of the expansion is unprecedented, which requires reaction of the linguistic community. The article raises the issue of the classification of the “coronaspeak” word-stock. It argues that facilitated by media and social networks new words are changing their status of nonce words to neologisms, which makes the classification untimely and premature. The word-building analysis of 200 new words of “coronaspeak” allows to conclude that the creation of the new “coronavirus” word-stock applies the structural patterns specific for the English language. These various patterns include semantic change in denotation, derivation, compounding, blending, shortening, The analysis of the “coranaspeak” word-stock has demonstrated that the semantic changes in denotation, in particular the extension and the narrowing of a meaning, are scarce, and, hence, non-productive. Affixation, as a word-forming process, has proved semi-productive with the predominantly noun-forming suffixes. Among a limited number of shortenings we have observed final (apocope) and initial (apheresis) clippings, combined with affixation, by adding the suffix — y. Compounding and blending have proved to be highly productive. According to the part of speech classification, most “coronaspeak” compounds and blends are nouns. Of special interest are a group of “coronapuns”, which have demonstrated pragmatic potential.

Keywords: new lexical units, coronaspeak, neologism, word-building, derivation, blending, compounding, shortening.