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Report on a new OED project: A study of the history of new words in the new OED


The study of the history of new words in theNewOED described in this paper was undertaken in 1986-87, and is based on the material then available. Since then, theNewOED has been finished, and PAT, the inquiry system developed at the University of Waterloo for the investigation of theNewOED data base, has been much altered and improved. Nevertheless, this report should prove useful in indicating the potentiality for analyzing the computerizedNewOED and some of the problems. This project is a study of the ways in which new words are created in English at various periods of time. A chronological dictionary 's created listing words introduced into the language over 50 year increments. These words are then classified by the processes used in forming them to show, in proportional terms, if certain processes are more common at some times than at others.

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H. M. Logan, Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, has written The Dialect of the Middle English “Life of St. Katherine” (Mouton, 1973), making use of the computer in a study of medieval dialectology. He has also written articles on computer stylistics and literary analysis inCHum, ALLC Journal, Language and Style, College Literature, and on the dictionary inDictionaries.

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Logan, H.M. Report on a new OED project: A study of the history of new words in the new OED. Comput Hum 23, 385–395 (1989).

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Key Words

  • borrowing
  • compounding
  • conversion
  • date
  • derivation
  • etymology
  • loanword
  • OED
  • PAT