[Lingtyp] R: coronavirus and Zipf

Paolo Ramat paoram at unipv.it
Sat May 2 07:27:03 EDT 2020


Dear All,

the short form for coronavirus is Covid-19. As in Russian, Ital. corona means ‘crown’; therefore it is not used as clipping for the virus name;  and there have been jokes like the Russian on Prince Charles. 

 

Best wishes and take care, without Clorox injections as it has been suggested…

 

P.Rt.

 

Da: Lingtyp [mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org] Per conto di Natalia Levshina
Inviato: sabato 2 maggio 2020 12:47
A: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
Oggetto: [Lingtyp] coronavirus and Zipf

 

Dear colleagues,

 

I'm writing an informal blog post about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on language, with a focus on Zipf's correlation between frequency and word/expression length. For example, the clipping corona (from coronavirus) is becoming increasingly popular in English: https://public.oed.com/blog/corpus-analysis-of-the-language-of-covid-19/ 

I also have some data from Dutch, German, Russian and Polish. I'm wondering how other languages behave in that respect. In particular,

 

1) Is there a shorter form for coronavirus, like corona? Can it only refer to the virus, or also to the pandemic and the disease?

2) If there is such a form, is it used widely or occasionally (e.g. humorously/creatively/in quotes)? For example, in Russian koronavirus is the preferred form because korona means 'a crown'. There's an untranslatable Russian joke, Prince Charles finally got a crown (korona), but it was the wrong one.

3) Is there a popular everyday (i.e. non-astronomic) meaning of the word that corresponds to corona in that language (e.g. a crown, like in Russian)?

 

 

4) Also, are there any other abbreviations or substitutions (e.g. the use of a shorter formally unrelated word, like car instead of automobile) related to the pandemic you have observed? 

 

I promise to post a summary if I get enough interesting data.

 

Many thanks and stay corona(virus)-free!

 

Natalia Levshina

 

-- 

Natalia Levshina

Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Wundtlaan 1, 6525 XD Nijmegen

The Netherlands

 

 



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