Science fiction’s vital contribution to the life of English

From The Guardian:

Robot-hand-001 I have a new test for checking English literary health. I make no claims for its originality, efficacy, scientific rigour or infallibility. But here it is: the more neologisms or new uses for existing words a literary movement donates to the English language, the stronger it is.

Coleridge and friends had their new uses for “sublime”, new constructions like “unfathomable seas” and “organic form”, new uses for “romantic” (of course), and totally new words like “reliability” (surprisingly). The Lost Generation, even though they tried so hard to do nothing fancy, still had “rotten shames”, “lovely pieces” and thousands of new inflections to the words “hell” and “damn”. The Beat Generation had, well, “beat”, as well as a whole new vocabulary centred around dharma, jazz and smoking “tea”. Writers in the Enlightenment went one better by inventing the modern dictionary, as well as a whole lexicon relating to “reason” and “capital” to add to it. Meanwhile, the king of them all – the one-man literary movement and word machine that was William Shakespeare – is credited with more than 2,000 neologisms – among them hundreds of words we now take entirely for granted: “articulate”, “pedant”, “accommodation”, “addiction”, “dislocate”.

More here.