Title: Coining Nonce Words: Contrastive Research Based On A Novel

Vol. 9(2), 2021, pp. 7-29.


 Author: Svetlana Nedelcheva

About the author: Svetlana Nedelcheva is an Associate professor of English linguistics at Konstantin Preslavsky University of Shumen, Department of English Studies. She has published two monographs Cognitive Interpretation of the English Preposition ON and Space, Time and Human Experience: A Cognitive View on English and Bulgarian Prepositions, two course books English Morphology – Traditional and Cognitive Perspective and Essential English Syntax for University Students, and research articles in the field of cognitive linguistics, contrastive linguistics, translation studies and foreign language teaching. She has specialized in a number of universities, e.g., the University of Bangor, UK (Post-Doctoral Research Program) and Georgetown University, USA (as a Fulbright researcher). 



Citation (APA style): Nedelcheva, S. (2021). Coining nonce words: Contrastive research based on a novel. Studies in Linguistics, Culture, and FLT, 9(2), 7-29.


Abstract: Nonce words or occasionalisms are coined for a particular occasion and usually they are used just once. It is especially difficult when such newly created words have to be translated to another language. This article studies John Harding’s novel Florence & Giles and its Bulgarian translation (by Vladimir Molev). It is a sinister Gothic story told by the 12-year-old Florence living in an isolated New England mansion in 1891. She distorts words by transforming them into other parts of speech, e.g. nouns and adjectives are turned into verbs, nouns into adjectives, adverbs and prepositions into verbs, etc. At first, it could be annoying to the reader, however, once you get used to her narration, it is both fanciful and charming. This research studies the intensely concentrated nonce words in the text and their equivalents in Bulgarian from the point of view of their grammatical, word-formative and semantic characteristics. The contrastive method when applied to the parallel corpus shows some similarities and a lot of differences in the particular characteristics of nonce words due to the specifics of the two languages under discussion.

Key words: nonce words (occasionalisms), word-formation, grammatical features, parallel corpus, Florence & Giles


Anderson, J. M. (2006). The Linguistics encyclopedia (Ebook). Malmkjær, K. (Ed.). London: Routledge. 

Boyadzhieva, E. B. (2017). Name symbolism and the Bulgarian translations of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld characters. International Scientific and Practical Conference World science, Т. 2, N 8 (24), 16-31.

Eckler, A. R. (1971). Words, non-words, nonce words. Word Ways, 4(2)Article 17.

Gorchhanova, A. (2016). Osobennosti perevoda okkazionalizmov. Moskva, 34-123. 

Harding, J. (2010). Florence & Giles. London: HarperCollinsPublishers.

Holtvian, V., & Severynchuk, I. (2015). Nonce vocabulary items as untranslatables or translatables in Ukrainian – English media communication. Humanity, computers and communication (HCC’2015), 22-24 April 2015, Lviv, Ukraine.

Iglikova, R. (2013). The (In)translatability of wordplay and the loss of humorous effect in the Bulgarian translation of Terry Pratchett’s Soul Music. In Pancheva, E., Stamenov, Ch., Pipeva, M., & Niagolov, G. (Eds.), Peregrinations of the Text: Reading, Translation, Rewriting (pp. 356-363). Sofia University.

Lugovaya, Е. А. (2016). Proper names as author’s occasionalisms in J. R.R. Tolkien’s novel The lord of the rings. Vestnik stavropol’skogo gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskogo institute. Stavropol’: Stavropol’skiy gosudarstvennyy pedagogicheskiy institute, 294-300.

Nedelcheva, S. (2017). Translation strategies in TheLord of The Rings. Twelfth International Scientific Conference KNOWLEDGE WITHOUT BORDERS 31.3-2.4.2017, Vrnjacka Banja, Serbia.

Newmark, P. A. (1988a). Text book of translation. Prentice Hall International (UK) Ltd. 

Newmark, P. (1988b). Approaches to translation. Hertfordshire: Prentice Hall.

Newmark, P. (1991). About translation: Multilingual matters. Clevedon, Philadelphia, Adelaide: Multilingual Matters Ltd.

Nida, E. A. (1964). Towards a science of translation, with special reference to principles and procedures involved in Bible translating. Leiden: Brill.

Petrov, D. (2019). Occasionalism interpretation in speculative fiction as a problem based upon the J. R. R. Tolkien Lord of the rings, The two towers. Nauchnyy Al’manakh, 11-12 (61), 238-241.

Pope, M. (1985). A nonce-word in the Iliad. The Classical Quarterly, 35(01), 1-8. DOI: 10.1017/S000983880001449X

Romanyuk, M. (2019a). Phonetic occasionalisms in the works of J. Rowling. Modern Studies of Social Issues, 11(4-2), 98-101.

Romanyuk, M. (2019b). Occasional word formation according to non-standard models in the works of J. Rowling. Modern Studies of Social Issues, Т. 11, N 3-2, 44-48.

Savova, I. (2016). Occasionalisms in the text structure (an observation of a novel). Otgovornostta pred ezika, T. 4, 87-104.

Starikova, T. (2019). Methods of transferring spells in the novel of J. Rowling Harry Potter and the cursed child (in translation from English into Chinese). Filologicheskiy aspect, 7 (51), 96-103.

The Translation of English Neologisms. Terminology Coordination Unit [DGTRAD]. European Parliament, 22 June 2015.