Language Change and Nineteenth-Century Science : New Words, New Worlds book cover
1st Edition

Language Change and Nineteenth-Century Science
New Words, New Worlds

  • Available for pre-order on May 15, 2023. Item will ship after June 5, 2023
ISBN 9780367709839
June 5, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
272 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations

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USD $170.00

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Book Description

Have you ever looked at a word and thought: ‘I wonder where that came from’? You might well find the answer in this book which considers the origin and formation of some of the many thousands of new words that were coined in English during the nineteenth century in the broad field of ‘science’.

Changes in society are often accompanied by the need to find names for such changes which, in turn, have an impact on how the language develops as a result. The British Industrial Revolution ushered in a new era of language change, which led to many new coinages in the English language reflecting scientific knowledge as it developed. Many of these neologisms belong to specialist vocabulary, but others do not and it is these lay coinages which form the focus of this book and are located within their social, cultural and historical backgrounds.

Aimed at postgraduate students of the English language and all those interested in the history of the English language, this work explores new worlds and offers an original and fascinating etymological journey through nineteenth-century science in its broadest sense.

Table of Contents


Chapter One: What’s in a word? Exploring word histories

Chapter Two: Selected background to nineteenth-century Britain

Chapter Three: What’s in a name? Exploring scientific eponyms

Chapter Four: Focus on affixation

Chapter Five: The naming of diseases, conditions and medical developments in the 19th century

Chapter Six: Travelling the world and the naming of zoological specimens in the 1800s

Chapter Seven: Exploring the world of nineteenth-century botany

Chapter Eight: Palaeontology and geological time

Chapter Nine: The nineteenth-century pharmacy and new chemical terminology


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Catherine Watts worked in Higher Education for forty years and am a Senior Fellow/International Teaching Fellow (Higher Education Academy, UK), affiliated to the universities of: Heidelberg (Germany); Alcalá de Henares (Spain); Shanghai (China). Since 2013 they have written eight textbooks for language teaching/learning which reflect my research interests.