Американский Научный Журнал TRANSPARENCY OF SOME NEWLY COINED CULTURAL ITEMS (33-36)

It is highlighted in the article the importance of different ways to coin metaphorically and structurally new lexical items. Some sources of innovation are given in the article including metaphorization, shift of meaning, human technology and some others. The peculiarities of neologisms are analyzed with the help of semantic and conceptual representation in intercultural discourse. The transparency of their meaning is verified within wide and different contexts. Скачать в формате PDF
American Scientific Journal № ( 40 ) / 2020 33

ФИЛОЛОГИЧЕСКИЕ НАУКИ

TRANSPARENCY OF SOME NEWLY COINED CULTURAL ITEMS

Alpatova Svetlana Denisovna
associate professor, department of linguistics and translation,
Griboedov Institute of International Law and Economics,
Moscow
Abstract . It is highlighted in the article the importance of different ways to coin metaphorically and
structurally new lexical items. Some sources of innovation are given in the article including metaphorization, shift
of meaning, human technology and some others . The peculiarities of neologisms are analyzed with the help of
semantic and conceptual re presentation in intercultural discourse. The transparency of their meaning is verified
within wide and different contexts.
Key words : ambiguity, concept , connotation, culture, emotive meaning , innovation , lexical items, metaphor ,
neologisms , pragmatics

Some challenges of innovation in Russian and
English might be of some interest to demonstrate how
new lexical units are coined as consequences of the
rela tionship between human s and technology [Warner ]:
A worm - originally means a long thin creature
wit h no bones, no legs that lives in soil; the new
meaning is related to the sphere of technology and
computers – a type of computer virus that can make
copies of itself and destroy information on computers
that are connected to each other.
The example given above proves the fact that
sometimes it is enough to compare the meaning of the
word with those that already exist in the language – a
metaphorical origin of linguistic innovation. In order to
understand such lexical units it is necessary to
investigate t heir systematicity as one comprehends
them in terms of existing rules. For that one can analyze
some metaphors to indicate the shift of meaning in
political discourse:
Consider e.g. worth the costs
The New York Times, on November 12, 1990, ran
a front -page story announcing that “a national debate
has begun as to whether the United States should go to
war in the Persian Gulf”. The T imes described the
debate as defined by the metaphorical seeing war in
terms of political objectives, and war may best serve
those objectives. The political ‘gains’ are to be weighed
against acceptable ‘costs’: When the costs of war
exceed the political ga ins , the war should cease.
The primary criterion by means of which the
newly formed metaphorical usage or meanings are
teste d is that it provides conditions which encourage the
appropriate evidence of the process of metaphorization.
The newly - formed meaning may be assigned to a
number of categories or groups so that each separate
item can be replaced with a major concept.
The concept “IT technology” is one of them . As it
comprises equally important lexical unit s such as
worm , or computer virus, one expects the existence of
some choice interculturally. Therefore, in Russian it is
likely to find the term virus rather than worm , though
in writing you can hardly come across with the latter.
Structurally such lexical items might be different .
Some of them are phraseological units which current
meanings of constituent words build up a certain
picture, but the actual meaning of the w hole creates an
entirely new image :
The lexical unit put me in coach [1] has nothing to
do with traveling by coach, but indicates what you say
to the coach when you are warming the bench, but you
want to go in so you can win the game. As is seen, its
tran sparency is revealed due to the lexeme coach and
from the whole context. And in the target language it is
presented literally as there is no corresponding idiom in
Russian .
Another word or abbreviation is KGB. The new
meaning of KGB would be especially in teresting to a
Russian language speaker to whom the word definitely
rings the bell in the meaning ‘the secret police of the
former USSR’. The new meaning of the word appeared
on the basis of abbreviation KB (kind bud); KGB could
mean kind good bud, but act ually means marijuana
with a high THC content.
As is wel l-known, culture and society are shaped
following the p attern of human nature. From
anthropological point of view, on the one hand, culture
is a product of individual humans, on the other - human
nat ure is created by culture and is determined by it.
Pragmatically it can be rendered like that: what the
purpose of a human’s activity is; what everything is
created for.
Consider t he word fragment . Originally it comes
from Latin ‘fragmentum’ which means ‘a fragment, a
remnant’. The verb ‘frag’ was first attested in 1970 as
the US military slang [5]:
1.Fragging is a macabre ritual … . to murder their
super iors …
[Saturday Review, January 8, 1972 ]
The change of meaning of the word happened due
to the development of computerization. It has been
extended and applied to the field of computer games. It
is now used both as a noun and a verb to kill someone’s
character in any fashion or with a fragmentati on
grenade.
As we can see emotive connotation associa ted
with the word frag brings the observer back to the
experience suggesting a direct mapping of similarities
between a bomb when it explodes and a fragmentation
grenade or exactly its “consequences” in the video
game. The importance of the relationship be tween the
two notions (bomb, grenade) cannot be overstressed,

34 American Scientific Journal № ( 40 ) / 2020
and is actually in direct correlation with the fact that the
source of information is outside the world which has to
be processed and made sense of .
The example given above proves the fact tha t
sometimes it is enough to compare the meaning of the
word with those that already exist in the language – a
metaphorical origin of linguistic innovation. As for
emotions th ey are also created by the metaphor and by
including the observer in the process w ho will be able
not only to indicate its direc tion and symmetry but also
identify the difference. Pert a rgues: “This is a very
important concept in information theory, because
including the observer in the equation admits a new
level of intelligence to the system. In the old metaphor,
we ignored the o bserver in an attempt to avoid any taint
of subjective interference in determining reality. In the
new metaphor, the observer plays an important role in
defining the reality, because it is the observer’s
partic ipation tha t makes the difference!” [Pert , p. 257 ].
As for the target language , the novelty of the
corresponding lexeme remains stable and intact there.
So does the transparency of its meaning in the computer
game.
Focusing attention on a human being a s a central
element of relationship between language and
culture [1] one can say what is important for a human
being to exist, to survive, and to social ize .The
connection between its integral parts and its pragmatic
essence is getting much more evident if we analyze the
foll owing example:
2.… business activities that involve the crossing
of natio nal boundaries, these include: import and export
of comm odities and manufactured goods ; investment of
capital in manufacturing, extractive, agricultural,
transporta tion and communications assets; supervision
of em ployees in different countries; investme nt in
international services …; transactions involving
copyrights, patents, trademarks and process te chnology
[Taggart, McDermott , p. 4]
Lexical items like business, i mport, export,
investment and others making the concept
‘international business ” belong to the “converged”
lexical entries by their essence as they serve to show
not only how different languages encode a particular
experience of the world but also what fos ters their
cultures to be level led. The words trade , capital
movem ent, direct investmen t coming up to the same
concept are considered to be attributes or various
properties experienced by human beings from different
cultures.
The pragmatic essence of the unit trade is precise.
As for its cultural component it can be also retrieved
from the mental map (concept) of its historical
background. The concept “trade” includes the idea of
getting profit from international business since the
earliest times: over 2,0 00 years B .C. from
Mesopotamia, Greece and Phoenicia and Italy (the
Roman Empire) to England, France, Holland, Spain
and Portugal. The dominance of the United Kingdom
and the United States in international capital movement
and investment portfolio of the m id-ninetee nth and
mid -twentieth centuries decreased and since the
twentieth century firms from Europe, and Asian
countries have become an important source of direct
fore ign investment [Taggart, McDermott, pp. 1-3]
3.All of First State’s investment teams include
people with ESG expertise and responsibilities … .
[The Financial Times, January,2011]
Transparency of the meaning of other lexemes is
due to their non -equivalence. Those items emerge as
there is no lexical unit in the target language to transla te
a culture specific referent. This is usually the case not
only with non -equivalent lexemes but also with idioms.
Some of them create cultural problems especially when
there is a great distance between cultures. The only
thing to be done is to find an ad equate strategy to
identify the unknown lexical item or to find, if possible,
its equivalent. The necessity of c onceptual metaphor
which can be viewed as the mechanism through which
non -meta phorical essence of som e idioms in different
languages is revealed is viewed from the following .
Based on some l exicographical items as well as on the
examples tak en from different sources, the idioms in
question should be evaluated by their importance and
their predominant posi tion in the language worldview.
It is disco vered what significant concepts are not shared
by the target side.
Come to Jesus . This is an emotional expression
(life changes), it has evoked to mean a serious
argument, one that better result in a change of actions
or else.
Da ladno . This is also a kind of expression in
Russian; its meaning depends on the context whether
you agree or disagree with your interlocutor.
3.He comes from Italy. Da ladno, we were born
and finis hed school together in Si beria.
This is because the nature of language is s uch that
words have ‘blurred edges’, their meanings are
negotiable and are only realized in specific contexts.
These are emotions that bring ‘life’ to the
experience of those who hear or receive some lexical
innovation. If the sound form of a neologism d oes exist
in the language it fosters people to identify and compare
its meaning with those familiar to them. Its improper
context gives rise to the ambiguity of the innovation
which in its turn req uires, first, its wider context and
then its conceptualizat ion.
E.g.: under the rose implies “not to be mentioned;
strictly between ourselves”. The concept includes not
only the custom of the Germans at a feast to suspend “a
rose from the ceiling as a reminder that whatever might
be said about people at the feast should not be repeated”
[Radford , p. 206] but also the legend, giving rise to the
custom that the rose was the flower of the Venus which
Cupid consecrated to Hippocrates, the God of Silence
and it became the emblem of silence [Radford, p. 206].
The set of p ragmatic rules which are g iven in the lexical
unit seems to be all embracing, interpersonal and
cultural as well. It proves the fact that being originated
from the sources of different cultures some lexemes
implicitly level off their peculiarities and ente r the word
stock of anothe r language (culture). It also brings into
being how language reflects an impact of one culture
over another.
E.g. baller . The meaning of the noun ‘baller’
registered in dictionaries is ‘a basketball player’. But no

American Scientific Journal № ( 40 ) / 2020 35

longer then s everal years ago it also u sed to be a
neologism, coined by clipping. The original form of the
word was ‘basketballer’, which simply meant ‘a
particularly talented basketball player’. For the sake of
convenience the word was probably shortened, and
later it s meaning was shifted and appeared to be applied
to a wider variety of talented people.
Thus the context of the ‘baller’ and, the words
‘real’ and ‘c hemistry’ in particular, helps the reader to
understand that in the sentence: ‘He is a real baller
when it comes to chemistry’ the b aller implies
something different. This is quite understandable since
the perceiver experiences a change when something
new appears on his emotional and mental horizon, and
he subsequently goes from a state of unawareness
(ambigui ty) to awareness, relating the neologism to
what seems to be interpreted first of all emotionally
(slang, jargons, nonce words) and then sensibly. To
quote W.Warner, it looks absolutely the same as we try
to use the twentieth -century innovative terms
‘inte rface’, ‘network’,etc. in another context:
“My use of the terms in an eighteenth -century
historical context will open me to various charges: that
I am using anachronistic jargon; engaging in an over -
loose expansion of terms that have a rigorous but
restri ctive sense in contemporar y computing, and
finally, developing an overly abstract formalization of
specific Enlightment era communication
practices” [Warner,17]
As for ambiguity it produces different effects on
the communicator. On the one hand, it might be
misleading, especially when old meaning ‘coexists’
with the new meaning and the latter not only doubles
his attention but also lures him to look into the context,
and helps to relate the new word to a specific field. On
the other hand, it enriches his p erception, and shows
wheth er he has enough knowledge and linguistic
awareness to understand the true sense of a new word
or expression. Neologisms may also belong to
something less comprehensive, therefore their origin
cannot be processed without a wide co ntext or without
consulting special dictionaries.
Consider the following examples: a frog hair
(money spent on election campaign) and a walking
corpse (a looser). This kind of neologisms leads us to
argue that innovation does not always evoke or invoke
an immediate expe rience of the world, but reinvents
imagination by breaking down intuitions and giving it
a new order. That kind of “reconciliation" of the
contraries (a ‘frog’ and ‘hair’, on the one side, and
‘walking’ and ‘corpse’, on the other) produces some
images inde pendently and making the observer through
the displacement of one opposition by another express
a new idea, which is not as it is, at first, the property of
the external world until it enters the word -stock of the
language. Moreover, in dif ferent languages they may
correspond to different ideas, images.
The exact translation of the unit a walking corpse
into Russian is kh odjatchy trup, khodyatchaya ten’ . As
it is shown, they do not correspond to each other. In
Russian it does not mean ‘a po litical or any o ther
looser’ but ‘a very sick or thin person’. [1] Although, it
is important to see that in both languages the units are
emotionally colored, and their difference lies in the
experience.
The observation of this kind enhances sensitivity
to language and its use rs and can give insights into such
issues as national stereotypes and cultural identity. It is
a well -known fact that different cultures put different
emphasis on values and their worldviews are diverse in
many respects.
Therefore , one must be cautious while trying to
define the origin of new borr owings or non -equivalent
items like perezagruzka (resetting ): Hillary Clinton –
Sergei Lavrov). It means that no one simultaneous
existence of the same neologism in different languages
(Rus sia n, American , English ) will be postulated as a
necessary condition for the fusion of some cultures.
They would rather be explained by similarity of their
political conditions, customs, traditions, i.e. by identity
of some separate elements of culture.
E.g . the Russian innovation prostavljatjsya (to
give money for a drink to celebrate something) does not
completely correspond to the English one to pay your
footing (to give entry money for being allowed to put
your foot in the premises occupied by fellow -
cra ftsmen). The difference lies in different customs,
traditions (cultures). You can hardly imagine the
Russians going Dutch when they invite their guests to
their festivity. In dealing with these cases one can
operate on the assumption that native speake rs
(observers) are aware of their basic cultural
peculiarities which cannot be changed because of the
appearance of something new in their language. If
source and target cultures diverge, communicators have
to decide depending on the function of interpreta tion if
the cultural reference or implication can be left as it is
or has to be explained, changed or replaced by a target
culture equivalent. [2]
As for non -equivalence, this phenomenon proves
that language is only a rich source of foreign culture
informa tion . The task is to evaluate its role in the
lexicon. The semantic and emotional ‘weight’ of the
non -equivalent neologisms signals that they are
predominant in the world view at that moment.
The non -equivalent unit feng shui indicates that
Chinese geomancy h as become very popular in the
world today because of most people’s ambition to live
in harmony with nature.
The same concerns the neologisms liquidity,
derivatives, default connected with finance. Various
claims have been made to the effect that for the s ake of
convenience and to be more precise, it is more
preferable to preserve these words intact in different
languages than translate them. But when it comes to
education or teaching they have to be explained or
translate d by means of periphrasis or with t he help of
dictionaries.
4. Banks were particularly il l prepared for the
abrupt change in global liquidity conditions that took
place last year … .[ The FinancialTimes, January, 20,
2009]
As for narcoterrorism it is coined of two separate
words narcoti c (illegal drugs that affect the mind in a
harmful way) and terrorism (the use of violence such as
bombing, shooting or kidnapping to obtain political

36 American Scientific Journal № ( 40 ) / 2020
demands). Therefore narcoterrorism is associate d with
a violent crime carried out as a by -product of the illicit
manufacture trafficking, or sale of drugs, especially
against any individual or institution attempting to
enforce anti -drug laws [5].
This neologism has entered the word -stock of
different l anguages , because of the assumption that this
crime has sp read all over the world and only joint
measures might help to cure nations of the vice.
Being emotional by its essence the new word
narcoterrorism is characterized by negative
connotation that doub les its emotive effect. This is just
one of the reasons wh y this neologism appeared as non -
equivalent in many languages. Its emotional coloring
expresses the situation while its meaning interprets the
situation.
To begin with it is necessary to mention s ome
methods which are based on the theories uncovering
som e systematic character of a linguistic unit.
E.g.: under the rose implies “not to be
mentioned; strictly between ourselves”. The concept
includes not only the custom of the Germans at a feast
to suspend “a rose from the ceiling as a reminder that
whateve r might be said about people at the feast s hould
not be repeated” but also the legend, giving rise to the
custom that the rose was the flower of the Venus which
Cupid consecrated to Hippocrates, the God of Silence
and it became the emblem of silence [Radfo rd,p. 206].
The set of pragmatic rules which are given in the lexic al
unit seems to be all embracing, interpersonal and
cultural as well. It proves the fact that being originated
from the sources of different cultures some lexemes
implicitly level off their peculiarities and enter the word
stock of another language (cultu re). It also brings into
being how language reflects an impact of one culture
over another.
It is possible to say that concepts appear to be
accompanied by various properties or attributes
experienced by human beings. Lexical units which
designate such c oncepts have a very clear pragmatic
component while those that imply some relation to the
life of society, its history are in most cases culturally
specified .
Thus, a s has been stated above , some words
appear first of all due to “human technology” through
emotions when people “confer upon technology a
merely instrumental role by understanding … face to
face communication” [Warner, p. 2].These are
emotions that bring ‘life’ to the experience of tho se who
hear or receive some lexical innovation. If the sound
form of a new word does exist in the language it fosters
communicators to identify and compare its meaning
with those familiar to them. Its improper context gives
rise to the ambiguity of t he inn ovation which in its turn
requires, first, its wider context and then its
conceptualization. It is acknowledged that extra
linguistic reality knows only imperceptible gradations.
Language is what creates distinctions within a reality
that has no boun daries , each in its own way.
Nevertheles s, there exists some ambiguity, requirement
of wider context and then conceptualization.
Ambiguity produces different effects on the
communicator. On the one hand, it might be
misleading, especially when old meaning ‘coexi sts’
with the new meaning . On the other hand, it enriches
his perception, and shows whether he has enough
knowledge and linguistic awareness to understand the
true sense of a new word or expression. The
observation of this kind enhances sensi tivity t o
lang uage and its use rs and can give insights into such
issues as national stereotypes and cultural identity,
revealed by different sort of correlation: pragmatic,
cultural or even emphatic.

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