Lexical innovations in social discourse
Oksana Gagarina – Maria Goncharova – Marina Mikhaylova
The article studies an important social project "Word of the Year", which originated in Germany in 1971, and has been held regularly since 1977. The relevance of this study is due to the growing interest in sociolinguistics and the increasing influence of socio-political changes on the enrichment of the composition of the language. An attempt is made to analyze social discourse of recent years based on the words selected by the German Language Society and Oxford Languages as Word of the Year in 2015-2020. The criteria for selecting the words of the year are discussed. A comparative analysis of the social discourse of Germany and Great Britain was carried out and the most relevant topics reflecting the mood of society were selected, as well as the manifestation of these moods in lexical innovations. The main thematic word clusters are given, similarities and differences of German and British social discourse are discussed. Specific attention is paid to the analysis of lexical innovations reflecting the most sensitive topics of the year gone by, which has determined the social and political discourse. A comparative analysis of the innovations of German and English dictionaries showed that the most common topics for the two language communities were politics, ecology, and legal issues. The most significant topic of 2020 was the coronavirus pandemic, which was reflected in the appearance of lexical innovations nominating a new reality. A hypothesis was also put forward about which lexical units could take a firm place in the language, and which appeared only occasionally.
Key words: word of the Year, social discourse, common topics, Corona Pandemic, climate crisis, environment