Cambridge Festival of Ideas - Trout pout and bucket list - is there a true meaning in novel word combinations?

28 October 2017, 13:00 - 17:00
Cambridge campus

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Language is constantly evolving. New ideas require new words, and one common way of creating new words is by recombining old ones. 

Recent additions to the Oxford English Dictionary include ‘trout pout’ (unnaturally swollen lips resulting from the injection of excessive collagen intended to enhance their appearance) and ‘bucket list’ (a list of things that a person hopes to do before they die). How do people invent such expressions - and how can we understand them? Do such new combinations even have a true meaning? Or does it depend where you see them? Or how you say them? Drop in to explore some of these questions in fun activities that will test your wizardry with word creation.

This activity will be run by Dr Martin Schäfer, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at Anglia Ruskin University, as part of our new EU-funded project, ‘Default meanings in compound interpretation’. The project investigates a central question in the field of linguistics, namely the extent to which people rely on inherent meanings of words in combination (lexical semantics), compared with the extent to which they infer meaning from context (pragmatics).

This event is part of Cambridge Festival of Ideas.

Event Details

28 October 2017, 13:00 - 17:00
Cambridge campus