Abbreviations in social media communication

Accounting for neology and lexicographic treatment


  • Raquel Amaro NOVA University of Lisbon
  • Maria Leonor Reis NOVA University of Lisbon



abbreviations, neologisms, social media communication, slang, lexicographic treatment


Abbreviations form a large part of current social media communication, where messages are conditioned by time and space, allowing for fast communication in a limited space. Many abbreviations do not have an impact on language data, since they are just an alternative form of their corresponding non-abbreviated expression. However, they are a productive source of neologisms. This article presents an analysis of the trendy abbreviations used in social media by Portuguese youth and the associated neology phenomena. The lexicographic treatment of these abbreviations in the context of planning a dictionary designed to help people cope with these new trends is discussed, with a particular emphasis on neologisms. In considering the target audience and the main focus of users’ needs and profiles in modern lexicography, the decisions presented cover general options for data selection, and for the definition and design of the microstructure and macrostructure of the dictionary.

Author Biographies

  • Raquel Amaro, NOVA University of Lisbon

    Raquel Amaro does her research in the Lexicology, Lexicography and Terminology group of the Linguistics Research Centre of NOVA University Lisbon (CLUNL) where she integrates the Board of Directors since 2017. She participated in many projects in Corpus Linguistics, Computational Lexical Semantics, Lexicography and Language Technologies, from which we highlight the Reference Corpus of Contemporary Portuguese, WordNet.PT in the Centre of Linguistics of the University of Lisbon, or the Humanities Going Digital [2020-2-CZ01-KA226-HE-094363], in CLUNL. Currently, she is the coordinator of the HORIZON Europe project iRead4Skills – Intelligent Reading Improvement System for Fundamental and Transversal Skills Development [101094837]. She teaches Computational Linguistics, Lexicology and Lexicography and Specialized Corpus courses of the graduation, MA and PhD programs at Universidade NOVA.

  • Maria Leonor Reis, NOVA University of Lisbon

    Maria Leonor Reis graduated in Languages, Literatures, and Cultures with specialization in Portuguese and English, and is currently a master’s student in Language Sciences and a junior member of the Lexicology, Lexicography and Terminology group of the Linguistics Research Centre of NOVA University Lisbon (CLUNL). Within the project Humanities Going Digital, she developed work on the perception of societal and moral trends related to sex abuse in the press through linguistic data analysis. Currently, she is part of the team of the European project iRead4Skills – Intelligent Reading Improvement System for Fundamental and Transversal Skills Development.


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How to Cite

Amaro, R., & Reis, M. L. (2023). Abbreviations in social media communication: Accounting for neology and lexicographic treatment. Lexicography, 10(2), 173-193.