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Att tävla i ordskapande: Ett sätt att modernisera ett standardspråks ordförråd
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Modern Languages.
2013 (Swedish)In: Kungl. Humanistiska Vetenskaps-Samfundet i Uppsala. Årsbok., ISSN 0349-0416, Vol. 2011, 99-114 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Since 1963 the general public in Estonia has participated in the modernisation of the general lexicon of the Estonian standard variety by sending proposals for neologisms to the printed press and commenting on proposals presented by others. The main forum for this is the cultural weekly Sirp ja Vasar (‘The Hammer and the Sickle’; now renamed Sirp ‘The Hammer’). These activities resulted in almost a thousand neologisms being introduced within the first fifteen years, several of which did develop a life in the general lexicon. In 1972 the neologising movement found a new manifestation: a word-making competition arranged in order to find Estonian equivalents of periphrastic moods of expression, compound words, and recent loanwords, often highly conspicuous. Up to the present, six such competitions have been organised: in 1972, 2002 (three competitions), 2010 and 2012. The mode of procedure of the word-making competitions in Estonia is straightforward: the organisers publish a list of words and expressions for which they invite the general public to create fitting Estonian equivalents, and a jury consisting of linguists and other professionals judges the proposals received and introduces the prize-winning words in the press. If the jury considers several proposals for the same concept fitting, all such proposals are awarded and published. This is done in the conviction that time and “natural selection” will decide the matter by sifting out unfit synonyms. Several dozens of words gained by word-making competitions are current in contemporary standard Estonian, e.g. kohuke ‘bar of sweetened quark glazed in chocolate’, pardel ‘electric razor’, püksikud ‘briefs’, taidlus ‘amateur performances’, lõimimine ‘integration’, rakkerühm ‘task force’, põuepommar ‘suicide bomber’, and kohalikud valimised ‘local government (or municipal) elections’. Similar undertakings have been organised also in other countries, e.g. Finland, Sweden, and Iceland, from which the Estonian ones differ in being carried out invariably as word-making competitions, and not as public voting between several candidates for new words coined by some language planning authority.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala, 2013. Vol. 2011, 99-114 p.
Keyword [en]
Estonian, lexicon, neologisms, word-making competitions
Keyword [sv]
estniska, ordförråd, nyord. nyordstävlingar
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Finno-Ugric Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-279744OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-279744DiVA: diva2:908823
Available from: 2016-03-03 Created: 2016-03-03 Last updated: 2016-03-03

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Raag, Raimo
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Department of Modern Languages
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