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June 2021 - Year 23 - Issue 3

ISSN 1755-9715

Neologisms in the Modern Online Discourse 2020

Sofya Kulchikenova is a students at Astrakhan State University, Kazakhstan. Email:


The article describes such neologisms in Russian, English and Kazakh languages like coronavirus, covid-19, lockdown, pandemic etc. The neologisms appeared on the Internet, television and mass media and enter our everyday life. Due to the break of COVID-19 in 2020 the number of new words associated with COVID in the online environment has significantly increased and most of people are familiar with them now. The phenomenon of COVID-19 and related development of new reality brought a massive and demonstrative example of online discourse change in the modern world.

2020 will be remembered by many of us as the year of COVID-2019. Mass media, television, Internet indicate daily statistics of mass disease around the world. The linguists focus on such neologisms as covid, coronavirus, lockdown, new expressions such as the situation with the spread of coronavirus, repeated lockdowns, remedies against covid. The purpose of this work is neologisms in modern online discourse on the relevant topic “covid-19”, and a comparison of the most frequently used words in 3 languages ​​(Russian, Kazakh, English) is presented in the table below.

The most frequently used words during the Covid-2019 pandemic

(data is taken from Google search as of December 6, 2020)





коронавирус (294 000 000)


coronavirus (2 720 000 000)

ковид (87 300 000)


covid (5 810 000 000)

локдаун (563 000 000)


lockdown (486 000 000)

пандемия (37 600 000)


pandemia (371 000 000)

карантин (80 200 000)


quarantine (303 000 000)

вирус (39 600 000)


virus (1 490 000 000)

санитайзер (846 000)


sanitizer (189 000 000)

маска (88 200 000)

бетперде (183 000)

mask (1 480 000 000)

социальное дистанцирование (2 120 000)

әлеуметтік қашықтық (553 000)

social distancing (474 000 000)

самоизоляция (7 720 000)

өзін-өзі оқшаулау (67 400)

self-isolation (319 000 000)

ограничительные меры (14 400 000)

шектеу шаралары

(416 000)

restrictive measures (57 000 000)

антиковид (484 000)


anticovid (45 900 000)

санитарный режим (30 100 000)

санитарлық режим (218 000)

sanitary regime (11 700 000)

вакцинация от коронавируса (87 700 000)

коронавирусқа қарсы вакциналау (5 460)

coronavirus vaccination (614 000 000)

вторая волна коронавируса (69 000 000)

коронавирустың екінші толқыны (131 000)

coronavirus second wave (201 000 000)

новая вспышка коронавируса (15 800 000)

коронавирустың жаңадан өршуі (3 440)

new coronavirus outbreak (232 000 000)

желтая зона (11 100 000)

сары аймақ (386 000)

yellow zone (1 830 000 000)

блокпосты (772 000)

блок-бекеттер (97 100)

road blocks (409 000 000)

дистанционное обучение детей (29 800 000)

балаларды қашықтықтан оқыту (489 000)

distance learning for children (549 000 000)

господдержка (2 380 000)

мемлекеттік қолдау (5 450 000)

state support (4 830 000 000)

As it can be seen from the table above, the words “ковид, коронавирус, карантин, пандемия, вирус, антиковид, локдаун, санитайзер” are written and read in the same way in both Russian and Kazakh. It should be noted that these words are also clearly perceived in English covid, coronavirus, lockdowns, pandemia, sanitizer, anticovid. In the context of the pandemic, new words such as covidiots, coronaskeptics, covid dissidents, maskedness, infodemia, koronarka are rarely used in speech.

Covidiots are people who ignore the warning of doctors and sanitation standards, or vice versa, those who in a panic, buy toilet paper and buckwheat for several years in advance.

Coronasceptics are people who believe that there is no pandemic.

Covid dissidents (corona dissidents, coronavirus dissidents) are a group of people who either do not believe in the existence of a new virus or believe that the problem is actually small, but inflated by the media and politicians.

Maskmadness is a massive behavioral reaction of people to a new dangerous virus.

Infodemia is how the spread of disinformation through social networks about the pandemic is now called.

Coronarka or corona - short versions of "coronavirus" [ / uroki-russkogo. 19.08.2020].

A neologism (/niːˈɒlədʒɪzəm/; from Greek νέο- néo-, "new" and λόγος lógos, "speech, utterance") is a relatively recent or isolated term, word, or phrase that may be in the process of entering common use, but that has not yet been fully accepted into mainstream language.[ Anderson, James M. (2006). Malmkjær, Kirsten (ed.). The Linguistics encyclopedia (Ebook ed.). London: Routledge. p. 601.]. Neologisms are divided into general linguistic (lexical and semantic) and individually stylistic (individual author's) ones. Lexical neologisms appear in the language with the emergence of new realities in society (coronavirus, lockdowns, covid, pandemic, etc.)

Each time has its own neologisms due to the circumstances, situation or new phenomenon. From a recent address by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan K. Z. Tokayev to the citizens of the country:

“The situation with the spread of coronavirus in many countries is alarming. The most serious measures are being taken everywhere, including repeated lockdowns. I call on Kazakhstanis to follow the recommendations of the Ministry of Health to follow to quarantine measures” [].

Further from the President’s speech:

 “The government takes actions on the basis of the business and economy interests. The experience of dealing with the first wave of the pandemic was taken into account. Akims (governors) are instructed to make decisions depending on the epidemiological situation. But a lot depends on the vigilance of the citizens themselves. "

A lot of many young people today smile when hear: “Thank  you for staying at home”, “Please stay at home”, “Keep a distance”, “Wear gloves”, “Wear masks”, “The virus walks around the country” and “Remote work for a pandemic period",  transmitted via television and the Internet, as well as information banners, popular expressions during the pandemic have become:

  • Keep a distance of 1.5-2 meters as much as possible,
  • Wear a mask in public areas,
  • Wash your hands more often,                                                                                                     
  • Please use sanitizers,                                                                                                           
  • Do not enter without masks,                                                                                                        
  • It is forbidden to visit bars and restaurants after 10 pm,
  • Take care of your health,                                                                                                       
  • Together we will save this world.

Thus, such  words as coronavirus, covid, lockdowns, covidiots, covid dissidents, maskmadness, infodemia, and coronarka that appeared during the pandemic are neologisms in English, Russian and Kazakh languages, and as can be seen from the table, the most frequently used and relevant words in the internet discourse  2020 are coronavirus, covid, lockdowns, pandemic, quarantine, self-isolation, mask, virus, social distance, etc.


References  19.08.2020


Please check the English Language Update for Teachers (C1-C2) course at Pilgrims website.

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