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  • Writer's pictureKatie Welch, Ph.D.

Neologisms & New Beginnings

Updated: Jun 3, 2019


edupreneur (n.) an entrepreneur who works within the education sector



In linguistics, we have a term for newly coined words – neologisms. As part of The Language of Now college course that I teach, we spend one of our class sessions learning how new words enter the English language. What we discover is that most words are not truly "new". Instead, most neologisms are born out of already existing words and are just combined, shortened, or melded together in a new way or perhaps stay the same but take on a new meaning. Think about words such as catfish, YOLO, adorbs, selfie, and the like. They are all derivatives of other words. If you browse through the annual Word of the Year (#woty) nominations for the American Dialect Society, you'll find that there really is nothing new under the sun.

In my class, we also talk about how words tell the story of the English language itself. Edupreneur would be one such word a blend of the already-existing words education (borrowed from Latin in the mid-16th century) and entrepreneur (borrowed from French in the early 19th century), and then merged together by some yet-to-be-named but clever wordsmith in the early 21st century. It's woven with the fibers of Middle English but yet too niche for any dictionary to yet legitimize its existence with an entry.

New Beginnings

Edupreneur is not only a fun new word that has popped up in the English language in the last decade or so but is also a new world that I am entering as of June 1, 2o19. After 7+ years training #futureteachers at UNT-Dallas, I am stepping away from the four walls of the classroom and into the big, bright world of educational consulting. This will be the first time in more than 15 years that I do not have "students" in the traditional sense of the word, and that's a strange feeling given that, by my best estimates, I have taught well over a thousand souls. (And who knows how many those have gone on to teach?)

As of today, I am launching Welch Education, an educational consulting company that offers services in the arenas of linguistics, language acquisition, and learning. In the true spirit of the neologism edupreneur, I will be taking something already in existence my professional history up to this point and transforming it into something new. Welch Education will be a blending of my Ph.D. in linguistics, my extensive dossier of teaching in both K-12 and Higher Education contexts, my love of curriculum design and innovative pedagogy, and the over-a-decade of experience I have in owning a small publishing company. I will offer services in the areas of professional development, curriculum design, event coordination, and thought partnering.

As of today, I am launching Welch Education, an educational consulting company that offers services in the arenas of linguistics, language acquisition, and learning.

One of the aspects of Welch Education I am most excited about is #Linguistics4Teachers, which will provide linguistics-related resources to K-16 teachers. Throughout my professional life, I have stood at the intersection of Linguistics and Education and in the process have found that each field has so much to offer the other. In Texas, where I am based, so much of our K-12 public school curriculum draws heavily on linguistic principles, and I am committed to creating quality teaching materials in the four domains where linguistics knowledge is essential: grammar, literacy, ESL, and multicultural education.

The "4" in Linguistics4Teachers represents the four domains of grammar, literacy, ESL, and multicultural education.

In the #linguistics4teachers spirit, I'm offering an inquiry-based etymology assignment that I created to explore the history of the neologism boojie, which like edupreneur has a storied history.

The assignment is a scavenger hunt that introduces students to many online etymological resources, from Google Trends to the Urban Dictionary to the Oxford English Dictionary. The resource builds key 21st century skills such as information literacy and data triangulation, while also serving as an opportunity to practice writing skills in summarizing and synthesizing. Plus, it's just plain fun to pretend that you're a lexicographer searching for clues about the history of a seemingly-new-yet-old word! My students have loved it, and I hope yours do too.

If you have a second, drop me a comment letting me know the other types of linguistics resources you hope will become available on the Welch Education blog. I will be posting regularly with other ideas and freebies and would love your input!

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Howat Labrum
Howat Labrum

Combining linguistics, language acquisition, and learning is also what I have come to aim for in the last few years as I tweet on Twitter and upload videos to YouTube. On Twitter I have just found your infographic called "The Four Domains of English Language Development". Your visual is a very good example of a 2x2 matrix, and that is what triggered my interest in your blog. For the last few years I have been collecting and tweeting examples of such matrices because they not only convey appealing content but act as a bridge to my English tensemaps (my neologism, not a misspelling). My active voice tensemap and passive voice tensemap are based upon the 2x2 matrix which rel…

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