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The Influence of Modern American Popular Culture on the English Vocabulary
Bojan Kašuba, 2016, master's thesis

Abstract: American popular culture is a complex unity of different social, political, economic and religious aspects. It is wrought in duality. Some consider it a low form, while others think of it as high art. It is often described as trash, nothing but a means to produce and consume products. Yet, many people of different social, cultural, political, racial and religious backgrounds create, produce and distribute popular content, in turn making American popular culture diverse, rich and colourful. The thesis presents some of the most important events in American popular culture and also enumerates and describes TV series, films, songs, music artists and other celebrities that have impacted American popular culture and the American way of life. Furthermore, the thesis deals with morphology, primarily word-formation. Basic linguistic terms such as morphemes, words, lexemes and affixes are explained. A detailed examination of word-formation processes is provided in order to better understand how new words are created. Additionally, a brief comparison between first language vocabulary acquisition and foreign language vocabulary acquisition is presented. The empirical section describes and analyses words which have been created or popularized in American popular culture in the last 25 years. TV series, films, songs, print and electronic media, politics, fashion, social networking websites and other forms of popular culture are examined to find new coinages. Such coinages are called neologisms. The words are analysed and compared according to their etymology, syntax, word-formation processes and meaning. A detailed examination of new words and their word-formation processes is provided in order to find out which word-formation processes are among the most productive in the 21st century. The main aim of this thesis is to provide a closer look at American popular culture and its influence on the English vocabulary, i.e. to better understand how culture can affect language and vice versa. Additionally, the thesis provides an overview of American popular culture, morphology and non-Standard English vocabulary and serves as a basis for further research of American popular culture, English morphology and vocabulary.
Keywords: sociolinguistics, American popular culture, word-formation, neologisms, print and electronic media
Published: 11.08.2016; Views: 661; Downloads: 66
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