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Society always drops, creates and re-uses words. But how does that happen? When do we get to decide what word to use, dump, or create, and in what method does that occur? Does someone invent a new word and it spreads, or is there something else going on behind the linguistic scene?

For example, imagine someone invents the word "advertisal". They add it to their mental vocabulary and use it in regular conversations. How do the people who hear this strange new word adapt to it and begin using it in themselves?

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  • I'm far from qualified to answer this question, but here are some thoughts. A lot of neologisms are created during discourse on some socially relevant topic. The topic may be quite new, and thus the language may lack words to effectively communicate ideas about the topic. So, the influential intellectuals that speak about that topic can create useful words during this discourse, and due to the topic's relevancy, those words are likely to catch on. Then, people draw analogies and the words may start to pop up in other contexts. Eventually, you may end up with some pretty ubiquitous words.
    – A. Kvåle
    Nov 26 '21 at 17:25
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    Think about how new words related to the covid pandemic were created, like doomscrolling. Nov 30 '21 at 4:02

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