Occasionalism is a spontaneous, and often unique, word-creation. In philosophy the doctrine of occasional causes is described. In this article the first meaning is considered: occasionalisms as linguistic occasional formations, which can be used as stylistic means. This is a new word, spontaneously formed by the speaker, to close a linguistic gap.

The term can be derived from the Latin occasio and translated with opportunity or occasion. As a result, the translation of the word shows us in an exemplary way what is the fundamental point: namely, a word formation which arises from the occasion. Let us look at an example.

Is the autocassion author already finished or do we still have to wait?
In the above example a new concept was created: an autocassionist. For example, this could be the person who is to write the article about the occasionalism. The creation of the word would be conceivable in an editorial session when the chief editor asks whether the author of the respective contribution is already finished with the letter or not yet.

It becomes clear that the term does not occur in the active vocabulary of the German language, but is formed spontaneously and in a unique way in order to close a linguistic gap. A gap, because there is no concept in German that precisely describes this fact.

Oh. Thomas always goes home quickly.
He is such a nourishing drink
In this example as well, a new concept was formed spontaneously. It should be clear to the interlocutor what the speaker would like to express with the utterance. Nevertheless, the word will be sought in vain in the Duden, since it disappears from the language after the one-time use.

Note: The occasionalism is therefore a word that closes a lexical gap in the respective situation in order to name a circumstance. Thus, at the moment of speaking, a complex fact can be forced into a concept which is understood in this context. Other terms for this word creation are ad hoc education and opportunity formation.

Neologism and occasionalism
Occasionalism is related to neologism, that is to say, a novelty of the word. However, the figures differ from each other in that a neologism creates the path into the language and, above all, the dictionaries.

If a new word has to be found for a thing or a thing, because this thing did not exist before, a new term is used either as planned (eg laptop), or the speakers themselves form a word for it (brunch – neologism Breakfast and lunch).

Such neologisms are, therefore, often occasionalisms at the moment of their existence, since they were spontaneously used by a speaker. However, neologisms establish themselves over time and migrate into the active vocabulary of a language. In contrast, occasionalisms disappear again, so they are only relevant in one-time use and thus are not listed in any dictionary.

Note: This clear separation is usually not carried out in the German language, which is why all literary creations are called neologism. In principle, however, this is wrong, although a distinction is rarely practical in practice, since the effect and function of both figures are basically nearly identical.


Effect and function of occasionalisms
It is difficult to attribute a clear effect or function to a rhetorical device. Then we run the risk of always reducing it and do not check whether it is true in this case as well. Nevertheless we would like to give some hints.

Overview: Meaning, Effect and Function of Occasionalism ‘
Occasionalism is the unique, and often spontaneous, word-creation. This usually includes a linguistic gap. This means that it refers to a situation which would otherwise not have its own name.
The whole is related to neologism, also a linguistic new creation. The difference, however, is that neologisms find their way into the language and especially into the dictionary. They thus become established in the language. Occasionalisms disappear, on the other hand, or are known to only a few, familiar speakers.
Occasionalisms are capable of expressing a complex, multi-layered fact in a single word which is intelligible at the moment of speaking.
As a result, they appear primarily in discussions, in propaganda or in the advertising language, since they can simplify a complex circumstance and reduce it to the essentials. Furthermore, such occasions may seem obvious.

Note for pupils: In German language, writing a poem analysis, and examining it, it is perfectly correct to name all the neologisms, for example in connection with onomatopoeia (loudspeaking). On the one hand, it simplifies the work; on the other hand, it is difficult to verify whether the word was new to the author at the time of writing or was established in the language community. It is also not important to distinguish between occasionalism and neologism, since the effect in the text is usually the same.

local_offerevent_note September 26, 2017

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