Renæssanceforum 10 • 2016

Hans Helander
On Neologisms in Neo-Latin

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The subject of the paper is the gradual introduction of neologisms into various types of Neo-Latin literature and genres. Neologisms mirror, in a very distinct way, the progress of knowledge, the advancement of sciences and important cultural changes quite generally. Latin was actually the most important vehicle for the diffusion of all new knowledge, from the Early Renaissance up to the end of the eighteenth century. It was absolutely necessary to treat all the expanding knowledge in all areas in Latin. This role necessitated the introduction of neologisms on a large scale. The investigation will focus on three questions: 1. What were the basic conditions for coining Neo-Latin neologisms and which resources were available? 2. What demands were there for neologisms in various fields, from the Renaissance onwards? 3. What was the actual outcome in various genres and disciplines?