Vocabulary of the German COVID-19 Pandemic Discourse

Introduction. The paper presents a synchronous snapshot in the development of the vocabulary of the German language during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study examines the sources and composition of neologisms, reveals specific features of current derivational processes and analyses the functional features of linguistic metaphor in the process of reflection on a new reality. Methodology and sources. The research is based on the theory of neology, cognitive word-formation and the theory of conceptual metaphor. The sources for the linguistic material collection are the online dictionary of pandemic neologisms, created at the Leibniz Institute for the German Language in Mannheim (Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache, IDS), news and journalistic texts in the German mass media placed in the Internet. Results and discussion. The semantic content of neologisms and loanwords, and their functioning have been identified. The analysis of the word-formation categorization of the pandemic reality showed the productivity of traditional word-formation models and frequent use of the terminological elements “Corona”, “Covid” in the process of formation of vocabulary in common use. The authors argue that newly appeared words are features of the German language. Conclusion. The article concludes that appearance of new and metaphorically rethought vocabulary is a way to adapt to the new reality and express an emotional attitude to it, as well as a way to overcome the fear of getting infected.

Authors: Nella A. Trofimova, Olga A. Orlova, Elena A. Pridorogina, Svetlana Yu. Novikova

Direction: Linguistics

Keywords: pandemic discourse, neology, word-formation, conceptual metaphor, linguistic culture, language game

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