Research Outline

English Novels with Author-Created Words


Identify five English language novels where the author created their own words, or utilized English words in ways that had not been done previously (used them as slang). For each book found, provide some examples of the words and what they mean.

Early Findings

Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

  • The book tells the story of two castaways who altered the culture, government and religion of the island nation of San Lorenzo.
  • Vonnegut created a series of slang words based on real, English words. These words had supposedly been introduced to the islanders by the castaways, and then altered to fit into their own language.
  • One example is "karass" which came from the English word “class,” as in 'a class of people'. Vonnegut then builds off this baseword "karass" to create a second slang term "duprass: a karass consisting of exactly two people."