Linguistics and Literature Studies Vol. 9(1), pp. 36 - 47
DOI: 10.13189/lls.2021.090105
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Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) Effects on Language Use: An Analysis of Neologisms

Jefwa Mweri *
Department of Kiswahili, Kenya Sign Language Research project (KSLRP), University of Nairobi, Kenya


The corona virus disease has impacted virtually everybody in the world today by introducing various changes leading to what has come to be known as the new normal. This paper gives COVID-19 a new perspective from the medical one that is always examined. It analyses how the English language has been able to adapt to the changes that COVID -19 has occasioned. Because it is dynamic, language changes to accommodate new happenings in society for example introducing or coining completely new words into their vocabulary through word formation processes such as blending and acronymy or through old words acquiring new meaning (semantic shift) or old words gaining currency due to an emerging and trending situation. These word formation processes are examples of neologisms. This paper therefore is an analysis of language of social crisis and it examines neologisms in the wake of COVID-19 by shading some light on how some of the words and phrases being used in what we will call corona vocabulary came into existence or how they are used in the context of a catastrophic event that COVID-19 is. Through a descriptive qualitative method of analysis, we obtain and analyze information on what we consider a trending issue of global concern – COVID-19. Data were collected from different sources about language use in the realities of the pandemic. The words and phrases were obtained from social media, daily newspapers and other writings that revolved around the issue of COVID-19. Similarly, we draw from various theoretical approaches to neologisms discussed by Rets and others. We also account for the changes in language use that have been occasioned by COVID-19 by using MAK Halliday functional theory that posits that language changes are occasioned by the needs of its users.

COVID-19, Language, Change, Neologism

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Jefwa Mweri , "Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) Effects on Language Use: An Analysis of Neologisms," Linguistics and Literature Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 36 - 47, 2021. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2021.090105.

(b). APA Format:
Jefwa Mweri (2021). Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) Effects on Language Use: An Analysis of Neologisms. Linguistics and Literature Studies, 9(1), 36 - 47. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2021.090105.