new words 470x321 - New words of 2020

Do you know the words that appeared in the French dictionary this year? Discover a selection of these terms that have enriched the French language.

New words, a reflection of linguistic and cultural evolution

Each year, new words appear in the new edition of the French-language dictionaries Larousse and Robert. This linguistic phenomenon is inseparable from current society. Indeed, the evolution of our lexicon reflects the evolution of our world. The famous publishing houses Larousse and Robert have thus chosen to classify the words that appeared this year according to modern cultural themes:
- the new economy (example: coworking);
- multimedia (example: cyberbullying);
- the environment (example: dedialization);
- societal development (example: survivalism);
- health (example: bore-out);
- gastronomy (example: kefir).
So, if you want to discover French and / or French-speaking culture while enriching your lexical background, open the dictionary (even illustrated!) And read the definitions offered. Furthermore, reading the written press and listening to news on the radio will facilitate the acquisition of the meaning of these words thanks to the context. A good way to also develop your comprehension skills!

Words with diverse origins

Klouker, scroller, krav-maga, divulge… What do each of these words have in common? Yes, they are all from other languages ​​or dialects! Some have been francized (example: scroll-er), others have not (example: krav-maga). It's up to you to find which of these words is a loan from English… from Breton (regionalism)… from Hebrew… from Quebec! Globalization, human mobility and social networks contribute to an increasingly widespread use of borrowed vocabulary words.
However, if it is true that the loans are more and more diversified, the majority of French words are of Latin or Greek origin.

The formation of new words

Contrary to popular belief, all these new words are not necessarily neologisms. Thus, some of these terms newly entered in the dictionary have long existed in the French or French language. This is the case of the word “pen-pen”, much more poetic and above all more appropriate than the expression “literary negro” used until then.
Furthermore, when studying new words, it is interesting to take a closer look at the lexical creation processes used. Learned word, suitcase word, derived word, compound word, acronym, loan: the list goes on. Here are some examples of the 2020 vintage to illustrate:
- the name “zythologie” is a word known as scholar because it is composed of the Greek elements “zythos” (beer) and “logos” (study).
- the name “adulescence” is a word known as a suitcase because it was born from the fusion of the words “adult” and “adolescence”.
- the name “eco-pasture” is a derivative word because it is formed from the base “pasture” to which the prefix “eco” has been added.
- the name “lend-plume”, mentioned above, is a so-called compound word since it connects with a hyphen the verb “to lend” to the name “plume”.
- the word OVM is the acronym for “Living Modified Organism”.
- the name “slasheur” is a loan from the English language, francized with the suffix “-eur”.
Now it's your turn! Can you identify the lexical creation processes of the following four words: Infox / Spoiler / Bioplastic / Locavorism? Certain words have the characteristic of combining lexical creation processes: this is the case of the word “darknet”, both borrowed and and suitcase word.
In short, thanks to all these new words, French-language dictionaries offer the possibility of discovering the challenges and trends of the current world while playing with words. Indeed, it can be very fun to manipulate the different lexical creation processes in order to imagine other neologisms. Psychovore, astrocole, delfophobic, neophone, cocomaniac ... Can you define these different neologisms thanks to the Greek and / or Latin elements that compose them? If you can answer this question, without a shadow of a doubt, you have become a true lexicophile!