How Words Are Born

3 TED Talks About the Creation of Words

In these three videos, you’ll be entertained and educated, as you listen to 3 renowned word experts who help create, adopt, describe, and sometimes, reject words in the English language.

John Koenig – Beautiful New Words to Describe Obscure Emotions

John Koenig, a poet and word connoisseur, sought to find words that describe an emotion. These he would use in his poetry. Finally, he created The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a website. And a YouTube Channel. In this compendium, he creates new words that define our emotions.

There are many words in languages, other than English, that English speaking people don’t have in their language. One such word is the word “Suadade” from Brazilian Portuguese. Saudade is described as, ‘a melancholic and nostalgic longing to revisit a place, or longing to see and be with someone who is close to you, but far away physically.’

Anne Curzan – What Makes A Word Real

Anne Curzan, a professor at the University of Michigan, discusses how new words are born. Who creates words? Why did a word get adopted, and another rejected. Anne has recently become a member of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel. She also co-hosts a podcast with Rina Miller, called “That’s What They Say”.
In this TED Talk she shows us some unusual words that are appearing, as well as some that we are now quite familiar with.

Erin McKean – Go Ahead! Make Up New Words

Erin McKean Is an American lexicographer from San Francisco. In this entertaining TED Talk, she reviews the 6 ways that words can be created. She is a founder of Reverb, which makes the online dictionary Wordnik, and is the author of seven books.