[Lingtyp] R: coronavirus and Zipf

Claire Bowern clairebowern at gmail.com
Sat May 2 18:22:55 EDT 2020


Around New Haven (Connecticut) I'm mostly hearing COVID, COVID-19, or
sometimes CV (and of course the 'rona from Australian facebook). These
generalizations about "English" need more qualification. There are also a
lot of circumlocutions (not exactly a protective euphemism but somewhat
reminiscent).
Claire

On Sat, May 2, 2020 at 8:48 AM Ernei Ribeiro <ernei8299 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear Natalia,
>
> In Brazilian Portuguese, the humorous form *coronga vírus* (or sometimes
> only *coronga*) is being used. Coronga is a species of fish, but I
> think that the word is unrelated to this. This form is used just because
> it sounds funny.
>
> Best,
> Ernei
>
> On Sat, May 2, 2020 at 8:27 PM Paolo Ramat <paoram at unipv.it> wrote:
>
>> 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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