Communication has always been an important aspect of our lives. This process can be divided in several parts, necessary in this process: texts are made of paragraphs, paragraphs are made of sentences, and sentences are made of words. However, what many people don’t know is how words are coined. This may sound unimportant but it is essential to understand languages as we know them.

First of all, it is important to specify that we are going to focus in neologisms, words coined to name a term which has been recently arised. Scientific and technical language, for example, oftenly requires the creation of this type of words because of new discoveries or inventions in those fields. Neologisms can be coined by composition or derivation, being borrowed from other languages or just by pure invention.

Composition and derivation is a process used to coin words that consists in the creation of new words by using old ones (called root words) and adding suffixes and prefixes to create them. Another way of coining new words is just by taking them from other languages such as the word kindergarten which has been taken from german. Lastly, we can coin words from nowhere, just from our imagination. However, what many people don’t know is that this is extremely exceptional and less than 1% of english words have been coined in this way.

For example, the word ‘Google’ comes from the misspelling of the word googol, word coined by Milton Sirotta, nephew of the popular mathematician Kasner, which terms a number (one followed by one hundred zeros). Another popular word is ‘Amazon’, which comes from Greek mythology, a race of woman warriors who were really brave. And, lastly there is the word ‘Skype’, which it’s basically a mix between ‘sky’ and ‘peer-to-peer’ (a type of computer network where all members act as users and servers at the same time).


Alberto Sánchez Pérez  y Gonzalo Santos Peinó (1stA BTO)