Al-Balqa Applied University, Jordan, Department: Department of English Language and Literature
Ajloun National University, Jordan, Department of English Language and Literature
This study investigates the morphological behavior of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) in terms of developing neologisms related to the new requirements imposed by the outbreak of COVID-19. The data of the study was collected from the news reports of Al-Mamlakah TV, as being the most viewed channel in Jordan during the COVID-19 crisis. The findings of the study revealed that a majority of the collected neologisms were nouns, which provided further support to the theory of onomasiology (Štekauer, 1998). Compounding, borrowing (loan-translation, Arabicization, and hybridization), and semantic extension formed the major word-formation processes for creating such neologisms. Compounds fell into three categories depending on their internal structures: N+Adj, N+N, and more elaborate complex compounds. The first two types were discussed in terms of their headedness and internal syntactic structure with a special reference to the cross-linguistic criteria that were used to identify such compound constructs, whereas the analysis advanced for the third type was inspired by Carstairs-McCarthy (2017). The data analysis revealed interesting aspects in the morphology of COVID-19 neologisms, most noticeably, the higher productivity of (N+N) compounds than (N+Adj) compounds, which goes against the putative assumption that the latter is much commoner in Arabic, identifying new compound types in MSA, namely, N+A metaphoric compounds and N+N hybridized compounds, and the possibility of having newly created three-member complex compounds (i.e., compounds within compounds).