• Nina Manojlović


ad hoc concept, inference, blending, compounding, Relevance Theory


This paper aims to investigate the possible interpretations of the new expressions in the English language emerging during the COVID-19 pandemic. The current pandemic and the numerous subsequent profound changes in everyday life have proved to be a fertile ground for the creation of various expressions being increasingly used to describe these different social circumstances. The corpus of the study comprises more than 50 expressions that were collected using different internet tools and platforms. Blending and compounding seem to be the dominant processes for creating the recorded neologisms. Interpretation processes of the expressions with more than one meaning were examined within the framework of the Relevance theory. Since the aim of this paper is to examine the interpretation process of expressions that have specific morphological structure (blends and compounds). Since decomposition is an important step in the interpretation of these expressions, an additional goal is imposed – the analysis of morphological processes involved in their creation. The morphological transparency of neologisms (the level or degree of identifiability of the splinters and bases) is related to our ability to interpret them in the intended way. Furthermore, the interpretation is undoubtedly easier in an appropriate/available/specific context, but this study points to the possibility of the context being as important in the interpretation of compounds (more morphologically transparent) as it is with blends (less transparent). Namely, the neologisms analyzed in this paper comprise at least two concepts and in order to arrive at the intended meaning of an expression, the hearer needs to construct an ad hoc concept, and therefore access the encyclopedic entries of the concepts utilized in creating the neologism. Choosing the correct (intended) properties from the encyclopedic entry, now featuring in a newly created concept, is strongly influenced by the context. This could be one of the reasons for the fact that numerous novel expressions in the English language have more than one meaning (hence interpretation) attested by their recorded use.


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