Covid-19 Neologisms and their Social Use: An Analysis from the Perspective of Linguistic Relativism

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Maryah Khalfan
Huma Batool
Wasima Shehzad

Abstract

This study aims to explore neologisms related to Covid-19 through the lens of the language-mind relationship, in terms of linguistic relativity. From a list of 25 Covid-19 neologisms collected from online dictionaries and Twitter.com, eight scientific and pop culture neologisms were selected to assess the motive of creation by exploring their first recorded use. Subsequently, the usage of Covid-19 neologisms in social media discourse was contextually analysed using the SFL framework of field, tenor, and mode to investigate whether it was illustrative of language influence over perception, or vice versa. A cyclic relationship was observed, in which perception prompted the creation of neologisms, whereas language influence on perception was evident in their usage in discourse.

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