Neologisms: a morphological analysis of social media discourse on the Zambian online media.

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Nkhata & Jimaima
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Multidisciplinary Journal of Language and Social Science Education
Drawing on lexical morphology, the study discursively interrogates the outcome lexical items of the social media discourses and self-asserting narratives. An attempt is made to discursively examine the interplay between technology and grammar. The point of departure is the interplay between technology and word formation processes in establishing whether these outcome lexical items can be placed within the known word formation processes aptly discussed in morphology or form their own Morphological categories. Although a lot of literature exists on social media discourse in general, little is known on the grammatical concerns arising from the transformative nature of technology on language. The study takes the view that, new words have been coined with time and social media neologisms should be seen as an outcome of the creativity of language as well as its productivity. The study problematizes lexical morphology in the broader context of media affordances in which creativity and self-asserting narratives drive and dominant the performativity of identity and communication on social media. The premise of the theoretical concerns is on three separate components: the Word Formation Rules, the filter and the mental lexicon. We take the view that, even though most social media users may not be fully informed about the word formation processes which morphologists put forth, the shared sociocultural knowledge with which these actors come to virtual spaces is sufficient to productively transform the virtual-scape linguistically. To this end, the study shows that, though some of the neologisms created on social media conform to Word Formation Rules, others are created by ‘pseudo’ word formation processes.
lexical morphology, pseudo word formation processes and social media discourse