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Where do new words come from? - Marcel Danesi


39,237 Questions Answered

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There are over 170,000 words currently in use in the English language. Yet every year, about a thousand new words are added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Where do they come from, and how do they make it into our everyday lives? Marcel Danesi explains how new words enter a language.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Find the creation of new words fascinating? Click here to find out more. How new words are born is a great article on this topic.

Loanwords are those words borrowed from another language. Here is a site with some great examples found in the English language. What do the words smorgasbord, karaoke, and bikini all have in common? Check out 20th century loanwords from the British Library. Can you think of any others? How about bayonet, ballet, and chef, all from the French language.

Finding this idea of creating new words fun? Watch this TED Talk: Go ahead, make up new words! Who decides if a word is “real?” Watch this TED Talk: What makes a word “real?” and find out.  

What about combining two words into one? Watch this video from Oxford Dictionaries: What do you call a new word made by combining two other words?

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Marcel Danesi
  • Director Hector Herrera
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Producer Pazit Cahlon
  • Composer Adam Harendorf
  • Sound Designer Adam Harendorf
  • Associate Producer Jessica Ruby
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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