Between Coronationalism and Infodemic: Covid-19, New Words and New Connotations

  • Paola ATTOLINO, Dr University of Salerno, Italy
Keywords: Covid-19, lexicography, connotation, infodemic, pandemic


Significant social change brings with it significant linguistic change. The recent global emergency caused by Covid-19, which has remorselessly spread all over the world in a few months, has changed significantly our lives and, consequently, our language. What is extraordinary is the rapidity with which this alteration in language has happened, so much so that the Oxford English Dictionary broke its quarterly publication cycle to update its coverage in April 2020. The aim of this paper is to give an overview on how language use has changed over a few weeks in response to an extraordinary event such as the Coronavirus pandemic. On the one hand, taking as a starting point the OED update I will highlight the way technical terms have entered everyday language. On the other hand, I will observe to what extent common words and expressions have come to assume new connotative meanings.