The Use of Arabic Neologisms in Social Media Applications


This study examines the use of Arabic neologisms in social media applications. It depicts the nature and size of this transformation, and the types of word formation processes which contributed to this phenomenon. The data for this research are collected from two sources: (1) major social media platforms, namely Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, among others, and (2) the responses of 100 university (under-graduate and post-graduate) students to a limited set of questions in which they are asked to (1) list the most commonly used Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and social media-motived terms, especially those which have been adapted to and integrated into the Arabic language morpho-phonemic and syntactic system (spoken and/or written), (2) show how often they use those terms especially when an Arabic equivalent/counterpart is available, and (3) give reasons for why they use them. The study shows that use of neologisms is attributed to reasons of practicality and convenience, accuracy and relevance, trendiness and internationalization, in addition to lack of equivalence in the Arabic language system. Further, the following processes which mark the integration of neologisms into the Arabic language system are identified: loan blends, syntactic changes, morpho-syntactic changes, phonemic changes, abbreviations and clipping.


Hady J. Hamdan, Saleh Al-Salman


corpus, lexical semantics, neologisms, social media, word formation process