English Lexicology - Page 2 - Forum
|Bakhtiyor||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:09 AM | Message # 16|
|Further examples of archaisms are: morn (for morning), eve (for evening), moon (for month), damsel (for girl), errant (for wandering, e. g. errant knights), etc. |
Sometimes, an archaic word may undergo a sudden revival. So, the formerly archaic kin (for relatives; one's family) is now current in American usage.
The terms "archaic" and "obsolete" are used more or less indis-criminately by some authors. Others make a distinction between them using the term "obsolete" for words which have completely gone out of use. The Random House Dictionary defines an obsolete word as one "no longer in use, esp. out of use for at least a century", whereas an archaism is referred to as "current in an earlier time but rare in present usage". 
It should be pointed out that the borderline between "obsolete" and "archaic" is vague and uncertain, and in many cases it is difficult to decide to which of the groups this or that word belongs.
There is a further term for words which are no longer in use: his-torisms. By this we mean words denoting objects and phenomena which are, things of the past and no longer exist.
Hundreds of thousands of words belong to special scientific, pro-fessional or trade terminological systems and are not used or even understood by people outside the particular speciality. Every field of modern activity has its specialised vocabulary. There is a special medical vocabulary, and similarly special terminologies for psychol-ogy, botany, music, linguistics, teaching methods and many others.
Term, as traditionally understood, is a word or a word-group which is specifically employed by a particular branch of science,
2. «Лексикология» 33
technology, trade or the arts to convey a concept peculiar to this par-ticular activity.
So, bilingual, interdental, labialization, palatalization, glottal stop, descending scale are terms of theoretical phonetics.
There are several controversial problems in the field of terminol-ogy. The first is the puzzling question of whether a term loses its ter-minological status when it comes into common usage. Today this is a frequent occurrence, as various elements of the media of communication (TV, radio, popular magazines, science fiction, etc.) ply people with scraps of knowledge from different scientific fields, technology and the arts. It is quite natural that under the circumstances numerous terms pass into general usage without losing connection with their specific fields.
There are linguists in whose opinion terms are only those words which have retained their exclusiveness and are not known or recog-nised outside their specific sphere. From this point of view, words associated with the medical sphere, such as unit ("доза лекарствен-ного препарата"), theatre ("операционная"), contact ("носитель инфекции") are no longer medical terms as they are in more or less common usage. The same is certainly true about names of diseases or medicines, with the exception of some rare or recent ones only known to medical men.
There is yet another point of view, according to which any termi-nological system is supposed to include all the words and word-groups conveying concept peculiar to a particular branch of knowledge, regardless of their exclusiveness. Modern research of various terminological systems has shown that there is no impenetra-ble wall between terminology and the general language system. To the contrary, terminologies seem to obey the same rules and laws as other vocabulary
|Bakhtiyor||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:10 AM | Message # 17|
|strata. Therefore, exchange between terminological systems and the "common" vocabulary is quite normal, and it would be wrong to re-gard a term as something "special" and standing apart. |
Two other controversial problems deal with polysemy and synon-ymy.
According to some linguists, an "ideal" term should be monose-mantic (i. e. it should have only one meaning). Polysemantic terms may lead to misunderstanding, and that is a serious shortcoming in professional communication. This requirement seems quite reasona-ble, yet facts of the language do not meet it. There are, in actual fact, numerous polysemantic terms. The linguistic term semantics may mean both the meaning of a word and the branch of lexicology studying meanings. In the terminology of painting, the term colour may denote hue ("цвет") and, at the same time, stuff used for colour-ing ("краска").
The same is true about synonymy in terminological systems. There are scholars who insist that terms should not have synonyms because, consequently, scientists and other specialists would name the same objects and phenomena in their field by different terms and would not be able to come to any agreement. This may be true. But, in fact, terms do possess synonyms. In painting, the same term colour has several synonyms in both its meanings: hue, shade, tint, tinge in the first meaning ("цвет") and paint, tint, dye in the second ("краска").
These words are stylistically neutral, and, in this respect, opposed to formal and informal words described above. Their stylistic neutral-ity makes it possible to use them in all kinds of situations, both for-mal and informal, in verbal and written communication.
Certain of the stylistically marked vocabulary strata are, in a way, exclusive: professional terminology is used mostly by representatives of the professions; dialects are regional; slang is favoured mostly by the young and the uneducated. Not so basic vocabulary. These words are used every day, everywhere and by everybody, regardless of profession, occupation, educational level, age group or geographical location. These are words without which no human communication would be possible as they denote objects and phenomena of everyday importance (e. g. house, bread, summer, winter, child, mother, green, difficult, to go, to stand, etc.).
The basic vocabulary is the central group of the vocabulary, its historical foundation and living core. That is why words of this stra-tum show a considerably greater stability in comparison with words of the other strata, especially informal.
Basic vocabulary words can be recognised not only by their sty-listic neutrality but, also, by entire lack of other connotations (i. e. attendant meanings). Their meanings are broad, general and directly convey the concept, without supplying any additional information.
For instance, the verb to walk means merely "to move from place to place on foot" whereas in the meanings of its synonyms to stride, to stroll, to trot, to stagger and others, some additional information is encoded as they each describe a different manner of walking, a different gait, tempo, purposefulness or lack of purpose and even length of paces (see Ch. 10). Thus, to walk, with its direct broad meaning, is a typical basic vocabulary word, and its synonyms, with their elaborate additional information encoded in their meanings, belong to the periphery of the vocabulary.
|Bakhtiyor||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:10 AM | Message # 18|
|The basic vocabulary and the stylistically marked strata of the vocabulary do not exist independently but are closely interrelated. Most stylistically marked words have their neutral counterparts in the basic vocabulary. (Terms are an exception in this respect.) On the other hand, colloquialisms may have their counterparts among learned words, most slang has counterparts both among colloquialisms and learned words. Archaisms, naturally, have their modern equivalents at least in some of the other groups. |
The table gives some examples of such synonyms belonging to different stylistic strata.
Basic vo-cabulary Informal Formal
begin start, get started commence
continue go on, get on proceed
end finish, be through, be over terminate
child, baby kid, brat, beam (dial.) infant, babe (poet.)
In teaching a foreign language, the basic vocabulary words com-prise the first and absolutely essential part of the students' functional and recognition vocabularies. They constitute the beginner's vocabu-lary. Yet, to restrict the student to the basic vocabulary would mean to deprive his speech of colour, expressive force and emotive shades, for, if basic vocabulary words are absolutely necessary, they also decidedly lack something: they are not at all the kind of words to tempt a writer or a poet. Actually, if the language had none other but basic vocabulary words, fiction would be hardly readable, and poetry simply non-existent.
The following table sums up the description of the stylistic strata of English vocabulary.
Stylistically-neutral words Stylistically-marked words
Basic vocabulary I. Colloquial words I. Learned words
A. literary, A. literary,
B. familiar, B. words of scientific prose,
C. low. C. officialese,
II. Slang words. D. modes of poetic dic-tion.
III. Dialect words. II. Archaic and obsolete words.
I. Consider your answers to the following.
1. Where are formal words used?
2. Are learned words used only in books? Which type of learned words, do you think, is especially suitable for verbal communication? Which is least suitable and even undesirable?
3. What are the principal characteristics of archaic words?
4. What are the controversial problems connected with profes-sional terminology?
5. Do you think that students of English should learn terms? If so, for which branch or branches of knowledge?
6. What is understood by the basic vocabulary?
7. Which classes of stylistically marked words, in your opinion, should be included in the students' functional and
|Bakhtiyor||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:10 AM | Message # 19|
|recognition vocabularies in 1) junior and 2) senior school vocabular-ies? |
II. a. The italicized words and word-groups in the following ex-tracts belong to formal style. Describe the stylistic peculiarities of each extract in general and say whether the italicized represents learned words, terms or archaisms. Look up unfamiliar words in the dictionary.
in re1 Miss Ernestina Freeman
We are instructed by Mr. Ernest Freeman, father of the above-mentioned Miss Ernestina Freeman, to request you to attend at these chambers at 3 o'clock this coming Friday. Your failure to attend will be regarded as an acknowledgement of our client's right to proceed."
(From The French Lieutenant's Woman by J. Fowles]
2. "I have, with esteemed advice ..." Mr. Aubrey
bowed briefly towards the sergeant, ... "... prepared an
admission of guilt. I should instruct you that
Mr. Freeman's decision not to proceed immediately is
most strictly contingent upon your client's signing, on
this occasion and in our presence, and witnessed by all
present, this document."
3. R o m e o ... So shows a snowy dove trooping with
As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows. The measure2 done, I'll watch her place of stand, And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand. Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.
1 Usually in modern correspondence you will find the form
re [ri:] without the in.
2 measure (here) — dance.
The Etymology of English Words.1
Are All English Words
As a matter of fact, they are — if we regard them in the light of present-day English. If, however, their origins are looked into, the picture may seem somewhat bewildering. A person who does not know English but knows French (Italian, Latin, Spanish) is certain to recognise a great number of familiar-looking words when skipping through an English book.
It is true that English vocabulary, which is one of the most exten-sive amongst the world's languages contains an immense number of words of foreign origin. Explanations for this should be sought in the history of the language which is closely connected with the history of the nation speaking the language. In order to have a better under-standing of the problem, it will be necessary to go through a brief survey of certain historical facts, relating to different epochs.
* * *
The first century В. С. Most of the territory now, known to us as Europe is occupied by the Roman Empire. Among the inhabitants of the continent are Germanic tribes, "barbarians" as the arrogant Ro-mans call them. Theirs is really a rather primitive stage of develop-ment, especially if compared with the high civilisation and refinement of Rome. They are primitive cattle-
By etymology of words is understood their origin.
|Bakhtiyor||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:11 AM | Message # 20|
|breeders and know almost nothing about land cultivation. Their tribal languages contain only Indo-European and Germanic elements. The latter fact is of some importance for the purposes of our survey. |
Now comes an event which brings an important change. After a number of wars between the Germanic tribes and the Romans these two opposing peoples come into peaceful contact. Trade is carried on, and the Germanic people gain knowledge of new and useful things. The first among them are new things to eat. It has been mentioned that Germanic cattle-breeding was on a primitive scale. Its only products known to the Germanic tribes were meat and milk. It is from the Romans that they learn how to make butter and cheese and, as there are naturally no words for these foodstuffs in their tribal languages, they are to use the Latin words to name them (Lat. butyrum, caseus). It is also to the Romans that the Germanic tribes owe the knowledge of some new fruits and vegetables of which they had no idea before, and the Latin names of these fruits and vegetables enter their vocabularies reflecting this new knowledge: cherry (Lat. cerasum), pear (Lat. pirum), plum (Lat. prunus), pea (Lat. pisum), beet (Lat. beta), pepper (Lat. piper). It is interesting to note that the word plant is also a Latin borrowing1 of this period (Lat. planta).
Here are some more examples of Latin borrowings of this period: cup (Lat. cuppa), kitchen (Lat. coquina), mill (Lat. molina), port (Lat. portus), wine (Lat. vinum).
The fact that all these borrowings occurred is in itself significant. It was certainly important that the Germanic tribal languages gained a considerable number of new words and were thus enriched. What was
1 By a borrowing or loan-word we mean a word which came into the vocabulary of one language from another and was assimilated by the new language. (For more about the assimilation of borrowings see Ch. 4.)
even more significant was that all these Latin words were destined to become the earliest group of borrowings in the future English lan-guage which was — much later — built on the basis of the Germanic tribal languages. Which brings us to another epoch, much closer to the English language as we know it, both in geographical and chrono-logical terms.
The fifth century A. D. Several of the Germanic tribes (the most numerous amongst them being the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes) migrated across the sea now known as the English Channel to the British Isles. There they were confronted by the Celts, the original inhabitants of the Isles. The Celts desperately defended their lands against the invaders, but they were no match for the military-minded Teutons and gradually yielded most of their territory. They retreated to the North and South-West (modern Scotland, Wales and Corn-wall). Through their numerous contacts with the defeated Celts, the conquerors got to know and assimilated a number of Celtic words (Mod. E. bald, down, glen, druid, bard, cradle). Especially numerous among the Celtic borrowings were place names, names of rivers, bills, etc. The Germanic tribes occupied the land, but the names of many parts and features of their territory remained Celtic. For instance, the names of the rivers Avon, Exe, Esk, Usk, Ux originate from Celtic words meaning "river" and "water".
Ironically, even the name of the English capital originates from Celtic Llyn + dun in which llyn is another Celtic word for "river" and dun stands for "a fortified hill", the meaning of the whole being "for-tress on the hill over the river".
Some Latin words entered the Anglo-Saxon languages through Celtic, among them such widely-used words as street (Lat. strata via) and wall (Lat. vallum).
|Bakhtiyor||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:12 AM | Message # 21|
|The seventh century A. D. This century was significant for the christianisation of England. Latin was the official language of the Christian church, and consequently the spread of Christianity was accompanied by a new period of Latin borrowings. These no longer came from spoken Latin as they did eight centuries earlier, but from church Latin. Also, these new Latin borrowings were very different in meaning from the earlier ones. They mostly indicated persons, ob-jects and ideas associated with church and religious rituals. E. g. priest (Lai. presbyter), bishop (Lai. episcopus), monk (Lat. mona-chus), nun (Lai. nonna), candle (Lai. candela). |
Additionally, in a class of their own were educational terms. It was quite natural that these were also Latin borrowings, for the first schools in England were church schools, and the first teachers priests and monks. So, the very word school is a Latin borrowing (Lat. scho-la, of Greek origin) and so are such words as scholar (Lai. scholar(-is) and magister (Lat. ma-gister).
From the end of the 8th c. to the middle of the 11th c. England underwent several Scandinavian invasions which inevitably left their trace on English vocabulary. Here are some examples of early Scan-dinavian borrowings: call, v., take, v., cast, v., die, v., law, п., hus-band, n. (< Sc. hus + bondi, i. e. "inhabitant of the house"), window n. (< Sc. vindauga, i. e. "the eye of the wind"), ill, adj., loose, adj., low, adj., weak, adj.
Some of the words of this group are easily recognisable as Scan-dinavian borrowings by the initial sk- combination. E. g. sky, skill, skin, ski, skirt.
Certain English words changed their meanings under the influence of Scandinavian words of the same root. So, the O. E. bread which meant "piece" acquired its modern meaning by association with the Scandinavian brand.
The О. Е. dream which meant "joy" assimilated the meaning of the Scandinavian draumr(cf. with the Germ. Traum "dream" and the R. дрёма).
1066. With the famous Battle of Hastings, when the English were defeated by the Normans under William the Conqueror, we come to the eventful epoch of the Norman Conquest. The epoch can well be called eventful not only in national, social, political and human terms, but also in linguistic terms. England became a bi-lingual country, and the impact on the English vocabulary made over this two-hundred-years period is immense: French words from the Norman dialect penetrated every aspect of social life. Here is a very brief list of examples of Norman French borrowings.
Administrative words: state, government, parliament, council, power.
Legal terms: court, judge, justice, crime, prison.
Military terms: army, war, soldier, officer, battle, enemy.
Educational terms: pupil, lesson, library, science, pen, pencil.
Everyday life was not unaffected by the powerful influence of French words. Numerous terms of everyday life were also borrowed from French in this period: e. g. table, plate, saucer, dinner, supper, river, autumn, uncle, etc.
The Renaissance Period. In England, as in all European countries, this period was marked by significant developments in science, art and culture and, also, by a revival of interest in the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome and their languages. Hence, there occurred a considerable number of Latin and Greek borrowings. In contrast to the earliest Latin borrowings (1st с. В. С.), the Renaissance ones were rarely concrete names. They were mostly abstract words (e. g. major, minor, filial,
|Bakhtiyor||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:12 AM | Message # 22|
|moderate, intelligent, permanent, to elect, to create). There were nat-urally numerous scientific and artistic terms (datum, status, phenom-enon, philosophy, method, music).1 The same is true of Greek Renais-sance borrowings (e. g. atom, cycle, ethics, esthete). |
The Renaissance was a period of extensive cultural contacts be-tween the major European states. Therefore, it was only natural that new words also entered the English vocabulary from other European languages. The most significant once more were French borrowings. This time they came from the Parisian dialect of French and are known as Parisian borrowings. Examples: regime, routine, police, machine, ballet, matinee, scene, technique, bourgeois, etc. (One should note that these words of French origin sound and "look" very different from their Norman predecessors. We shall return to this question later (see Ch. 4).)
Italian also contributed a considerable number of words to Eng-lish, e. g. piano, violin, opera, alarm, colonel.
* * *
There are certain structural features which enable us to identify some words as borrowings and even to determine the source lan-guage. We have already established that the initial sk usually indi-cates Scandinavian origin. You can also recognise words of Latin and French origin by certain suffixes, prefixes or endings. The two tables below will help you in this.
The historical survey above is far from complete. Its aim is just to give a very general idea of the ways in which English vocabulary developed and of the major events through which it acquired its vast modern resources.
1 Phenomenon, philosophy, method, music, etc. were borrowed in-to English from Latin and had earlier come into Latin from Greek.
I. Latin Affixes
Nouns The suffix -ion communion, legion, opinion, session, union, etc.
The suffix -tion relation, revolution, starva-tion, temptation, unification, etc.
The suffix -ate [eit] appreciate, create, con-gratulate, etc.
The suffix -ute [ju:t] attribute, contribute, consti-tute, distribute, etc.
The remnant suffix -ct act, conduct, collect, connect, etc.
The remnant suffix -d(e) applaud, divide, exclude, include, etc.
The prefix dis- disable, distract, disown, dis-agree, etc.
Adjectives The suffix -able detestable, curable, etc.
The suffix -ate [it] accurate, desperate, graduate, etc.
The suffix -ant arrogant, constant, important, etc.
The suffix -ent absent, convenient, decent, evident, etc.
The suffix -or major, minor, junior, senior, etc.
The suffix -al cordial, final, fraternal, ma-ternal, etc.
The suffix -ar lunar, solar, familiar, etc.
П. French Affixes
Nouns The suffix -ance arrogance, endurance, hindrance, etc.
The suffix -ence consequence, intelligence, patience, etc.
The suffix -ment appointment, development, experiment, etc.
The suffix -age courage, marriage, passage, village, etc.
The suffix -ess tigress, lioness, actress, adventuress, etc.
Adjectives The suffix -ous curious, dangerous, joyous, serious, etc.
Verbs The prefix en- enable, endear, enact, enfold, enslave, etc.
Notes. 1. The tables represent only the most typical and frequent structural elements of Latin and French borrowings.
2. Though all the affixes represented in the tables are
Latin or French borrowings, some of the examples given in
the third column are later formations derived from native
roots and borrowed affixes (e. g. eatable, lovable).
3. By remnant suffixes are meant the ones that are only
partially preserved in the structure of the word (e. g. Lat.
-ct < Lat. -ctus).
It seems advisable to sum up what has been said in a table.
|Bakhtiyor||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:12 AM | Message # 23|
|The Etymological Structure of English Vocabulary |
The native element1 The borrowed element
I. Indo-European element I. Celtic (5th — 6th c. A. D.)
II. Germanic element II. Latin 1st group: 1st с. В. С. 2nd group: 7th c. A. D. 3rd group: the Renaissance period
III. English Proper element (no earlier than 5th c. A. D.) III. Scandinavian (8th — 11th c. A. D.)
IV. French 1. Norman borrowings: 11th — 13th c. A. D. 2. Parisian borrowings (Renaissance) V. Greek (Renaissance) VI. Italian (Renais-sance and later) VII. Spanish (Re-naissance and later) VIII.German IX. Indian X. Russian And some other groups
The table requires some explanation. Firstly, it should be pointed out that not only does the second column contain more groups, but it also implies a greater quantity of words. Modern scholars estimate the percentage of borrowed words in the English vocabulary at 65—70 per cent which is an exceptionally high figure:
1 By the native element we mean words which were not borrowed from other languages but represent the original stock of this particu-lar language.
one would certainly expect the native element to prevail. This anomaly is explained by the country's eventful history and by its many international contacts.
On a straight vocabulary count, considering the high percentage of borrowed words, one would have to classify English as a language of international origin or, at least, a Romance one (as French and Latin words obviously prevail). But here another factor comes into play, the relative frequency of occurrence of words, and it is under this heading that the native Anglo-Saxon heritage comes into its own. The native element in English comprises a large number of high-frequency words like the articles, prepositions, pronouns, conjunc-tions, auxiliaries and, also, words denoting everyday objects and ide-as (e. g. house, child, water, go, come, eat, good, bad, etc.).
Furthermore, the grammatical structure is essentially Germanic having remained unaffected by foreign influence.
It is probably of some interest to mention that at various times purists have tried to purge the English language of foreign words, replacing them with Anglo-Saxon ones. One slogan created by these linguistic nationalists was: "Avoid Latin derivatives; use brief, terse Anglo-Saxon monosyllables". The irony is that the only Anglo-Saxon word in the entire slogan is "Anglo-Saxon". 
Now let us turn to the first column of the table representing the native element, the original stock of the English vocabulary. The col-umn consists of three groups, only the third being dated: the words of this group appeared in the English vocabulary in the 5th c. or later, that is, after the Germanic tribes migrated to the British Isles. As to the Indo-European and Germanic groups, they are so old that they cannot be dated. It was mentioned in the historical survey opening this chapter that the tribal languages of the Angles, the
|Bakhtiyor||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:12 AM | Message # 24|
|Saxons, the Jutes, by the time of their migration, contained only words of Indo-European and Germanic roots plus a certain number of the earliest Latin borrowings. |
By the Indo-European element are meant words of roots common to all or most languages of the Indo-European group. English words of this group denote elementary concepts without which no human communication would be possible. The following groups can be identified.1
I. Family relations: father, mother, brother, son,
II. Parts of the human body: foot (cf. R. пядь), nose, lip, heart.
III. Animals: cow, swine, goose.
IV. Plants: tree, birch (cf. R. береза), corn (cf.
V. Time of day: day, night. VI. Heavenly bodies: sun, moon, star. VII. Numerous adjectives: red (cf. Ukr. рудий, R. рыжий), new, glad (cf. R. гладкий), sad (cf. R. сыт).
VIII. The numerals from one to a hundred. IX. Pronouns — per-sonal (except they which is a
Scandinavian borrowing); demonstrative. X. Numerous verbs: be (cf. R. быть), stand (cf. R. стоять), sit (cf. R. сидеть), eat (cf. R. есть), know (cf. R. знать, знаю).
The Germanic element represents words of roots common to all or most Germanic languages. Some of the main groups of Germanic words are the same as in the Indo-European element.
I. Parts of the human body: head, hand, arm, finger, bone.
1 The classification and examples are taken from Ара-кип В. Д. Очерки по истории английского языка, с. 251.
II. Animals: bear, fox, calf.
III. Plants: oak, fir, grass.
IV. Natural phenomena: rain, frost.
V. Seasons of the year: winter, spring, summer.1 VI. Land-scape features: sea, land. VII. Human dwellings and furniture: house, room,
VIII. Sea-going vessels: boat, ship. IX. Adjectives: green, blue, grey, white, small,
thick, high, old, good.
X. Verbs: see, hear, speak, tell, say, answer, make, give, drink.
* * *
It has been mentioned that the English proper element is, in cer-tain respects, opposed to the first two groups. Not only can it be ap-proximately dated, but these words have another distinctive feature: they are specifically English having no cognates2 in other languages whereas for Indo-European and Germanic words such cognates can always be found, as, for instance, for the following words of the Indo-European group.
Star: Germ. Stern, Lat. Stella, Gr. aster.
Sad: Germ, satt, Lat. satis, R. сыт, Snscr. sd-.
Stand: Germ, stehen, Lat. stare, R. стоять, Snscr. stha-.
Here are some examples of English proper words. These words stand quite alone in the vocabulary system of Indo-European lan-guages: bird, boy, girl, lord, lady, woman, daisy, always.
Of course, one might remark that Russian vocabulary also has the words лорд, леди, бой (in the meaning
1 Autumn is a French borrowing.
2 Cognates — words of the same etymological root, of com
|Bakhtiyor||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:12 AM | Message # 25|
|of "native servant"). The explanation is simple: these words have been borrowed by Russian from English and therefore are not cog-nates of their English counterparts. |
It should be taken into consideration that the English proper ele-ment also contains all the later formations, that is, words which were made after the 5th century according to English word-building pat-terns (see Ch. 5, 6) both from native and borrowed morphemes. For instance, the adjective 'beautiful' built from the French borrowed root and the native suffix belongs to the English proper element. It is natural, that the quantity of such words is immense.
I. Consider your answers to the following.
1. How can you account for the fact that English vo
cabulary contains such an immense number of words of
2. What is the earliest group of English borrowings?
3. What Celtic borrowings are there in English?
4. Which words were introduced into English vocab
ulary during the period of Christianization?
5. What are the characteristic features of Scandina
6. When and under what circumstances did England
become a bi-lingual country? What imprint features
were left in English vocabulary by this period?
7. What are the characteristic features of words bor
rowed into English during the Renaissance?
8. What suffixes and prefixes can help you to recog
nize words of Latin and French origin?
9. What is meant by the native element of English
II. Subdivide all the following words of native origin into:
a) Indo-european, b) Germanic, c) English proper.
Daughter, woman, room, land, cow, moon, sea, red, spring, three, I, lady, always, goose, bear, fox, lord, tree, nose, birch, grey, old, glad, daisy, heart, hand, night, to eat, to see, to make.
III. Read the following jokes. Explain the etymology of the
italicized words. If necessary consult a dictionary.1
1. He dropped around to the girl's house and as he
ran up the steps he was confronted by her little brother.
"Hi,"said the brat.
"Is your sister expecting me?"
"How do you know that?"
"She's gone out."
2. A man was at a theatre. He was sitting behind two
women whose continuous chatter became more than he
could bear. Leaning forward, he tapped one of them on
"Pardon me, madam," he said, "but I can't hear." "You are not sup-posed to — this is a private conversation," she hit back.
3. Sonny: Father, what do they make asphalt
Father: That makes a thousand question you've asked today. Do give me a little peace. What do you think would happen if I had asked my father so many questions?
Sonny: You might have learnt how to answer some of mine.
1 Skeat W. A Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English Language. Oxford, 1961; Weckley E. An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English. V. I—II. No 4, 19.
|Bakhtiyor||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:13 AM | Message # 26|
|CHAPTER 4 |
The Etymology of English Words (continued)
Why Are Words Borrowed?
This question partially concerns the historical circumstances which stimulate the borrowing process. Each time two nations come into close contact, certain borrowings are a natural consequence. The nature of the contact may be different. It may be wars, invasions or conquests when foreign words are in effect imposed upon the reluc-tant conquered nation. There are also periods of peace when the pro-cess of borrowing is due to trade and international cultural relations.
These latter circumstances are certainly more favourable for stimulating the borrowing process, for during invasions and occupa-tions the natural psychological reaction of the oppressed nation is to reject and condemn the language of the oppressor. In this respect the linguistic heritage of the Norman Conquest seems exceptional, espe-cially if compared to the influence of the Mongol-Tartar Yoke on the Russian language. The Mongol-Tartar Yoke also represented a long period of cruel oppression, yet the imprint left by it on the Russian vocabulary is comparatively insignificant.
The difference in the consequences of these evidently similar his-torical events is usually explained by the divergence in the level of civilisation of the two conflicting nations. Russian civilisation and also the level of its language development at the time of the Mongol-Tartar invasion were superior to those of the invaders. That is why the Russian language successfully resisted
the influence of a less developed language system. On the other hand, the Norman culture of the 11th c. was certainly superior to that of the Saxons. The result was that an immense number of French words forced their way into English vocabulary. Yet, linguistically speaking, this seeming defeat turned into a victory. Instead of being smashed and broken by the powerful intrusion of the foreign element, the English language managed to preserve its essential structure and vastly enriched its expressive resources with the new borrowings.
But all this only serves to explain the conditions which encourage the borrowing process. The question of why words are borrowed by one language from another is still unanswered.
Sometimes it is done to fill a gap in vocabulary. When the Saxons borrowed Latin words for "butter", "plum", "beet", they did it because their own vocabularies lacked words for these new objects. For the same reason the words potato and tomato were borrowed by English from Spanish when these vegetables were first brought to England by the Spaniards.
But there is also a great number of words which are borrowed for other reasons. There may be a word (or even several words) which expresses some particular concept, so that there is no gap in the vo-cabulary and there does not seem to be any need for borrowing. Yet, one more word is borrowed which means almost the same, — almost, but not exactly. It is borrowed because it represents the same concept in some new aspect, supplies a new shade of meaning or a different emotional colouring (see Ch. 10). This type of borrowing enlarges groups of synonyms and greatly provides to enrich the expressive resources of the vocabulary. That is how the Latin cordial was added to the native friendly, the French desire to wish, the Latin admire and the French adore to like and love.
|Bakhtiyor||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:13 AM | Message # 27|
|Do Borrowed Words Change or Do They Remain the Same? |
The eminent scholar Maria Pei put the same question in a more colourful way: "Do words when they migrate from one language into another behave as people do under similar circumstances? Do they remain alien in appearance, or do they take out citizenship papers?" 
Most of them take the second way, that is, they adjust themselves to their new environment and get adapted to the norms of the recipient language. They undergo certain changes which gradually erase their foreign features, and, finally, they are assimilated. Sometimes the process of assimilation develops to the point when the foreign origin of a word is quite unrecognisable. It is difficult to believe now that such words as dinner, cat, take, cup are not English by origin. Others, though well assimilated, still bear traces of their foreign background. Distance and development, for instance, are identified as borrowings by their French suffixes, skin and sky by the Scandinavian initial sk, police and regime by the French stress on the last syllable.
Borrowed words are adjusted in the three main areas of the new language system: the phonetic, the grammatical and the semantic.
The lasting nature of phonetic adaptation is best shown by com-paring Norman French borrowings to later ones. The Norman bor-rowings have for a long time been fully adapted to the phonetic sys-tem of the English language: such words as table, plate, courage, chivalry bear no phonetic traces of their French origin. Some of the later (Parisian) borrowings, even the ones borrowed as early as the 15thc., still sound surprisingly French: regime, valise, matinee, cafe, ballet. In these cases phonetic adaptation is not completed.
The three stages of gradual phonetic assimilation of French bor-rowings can be illustrated by different phonetic variants of the word garage:
Grammatical adaptation consists in a complete change of the former paradigm of the borrowed word (i. e. system of the grammatical forms peculiar to it as a part of speech). If it is a noun, it is certain to adopt, sooner or later, a new system of declension; if it is a verb, it will be conjugated according to the rules of the recipient language. Yet, this is also a lasting process. The Russian noun пальто was borrowed from French early in the 19th c. and has not yet acquired the Russian system of declension. The same can be said about such English Renaissance borrowings as datum (pl. data), phenomenon (pl. phenomena), criterion (pl. criteria) whereas earlier Latin borrowings such as cup, plum, street, wall were fully adapted to the grammatical system of the language long ago.
By semantic adaptation is meant adjustment to the system of meanings of the vocabulary. It has been mentioned that borrowing is generally caused either by the necessity to fill a gap in the vocabulary or by a chance to add a synonym conveying an old concept in a new way. Yet, the process of borrowing is not always so purposeful, logi-cal and efficient as it might seem at first sight. Sometimes a word may be borrowed "blindly", so to speak, for no obvious reason, to find that it is not wanted because there is no gap in the vocabulary nor in the group of synonyms which it could conveniently fill. Quite a number of such "accidental" borrowings are very soon rejected by the vocabulary and forgotten. But there are others which manage to take root by the process of semantic adaptation. The adjective large, for instance, was borrowed from French in the meaning of "wide". It was not actually wanted, because it fully coincided with the English adjective wide without adding
|Bakhtiyor||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:13 AM | Message # 28|
|any new shades or aspects to its meaning. This could have led to its rejection. Yet, large managed, to establish itself very firmly in the English vocabulary by semantic adjustment. It entered another synonymic group with the general meaning of "big in size". At first it was applied to objects characterised by vast horizontal dimensions, thus retaining a trace of its former meaning, and now, though still bearing some features of that meaning, is successfully competing with big having approached it very closely, both in frequency and meaning. |
The adjective gay was borrowed from French in several meanings at once: "noble of birth", "bright, shining", "multi-coloured". Rather soon it shifted its ground developing the meaning "joyful, high-spirited" in which sense it became a synonym of the native merry and in some time left it far behind in frequency and range of meaning. This change was again caused by the process of semantic adjustment: there was no place in the vocabulary for the former meanings of gay, but the group with the general meaning of "high spirits" obviously lacked certain shades which were successfully supplied by gay.
The adjective nice was a French borrowing meaning "silly" at first. The English change of meaning seems to have arisen with the use of the word in expressions like a nice distinction, meaning first "a silly, hair-splitting distinction", then a precise one, ultimately an attractive one. But the original necessity for change was caused once more by the fact that the meaning of "foolish" was not wanted in the vocabulary and therefore nice was obliged to look for a gap in another semantic field.
It is often the case that a word is borrowed by several languages, and not just by one. Such words usually con-
vey concepts which are significant in the field of communication.
Many of them are of Latin and Greek origin. Most names of sci-ences are international, e. g. philosophy, mathematics, physics, chem-istry, biology, medicine, linguistics, lexicology. There are also nu-merous terms of art in this group: music, theatre, drama, tragedy, comedy, artist, primadonna.
It is quite natural that political terms frequently occur in the inter-national group of borrowings: politics, policy, revolution, progress, democracy, communism, anti-militarism.
20th c. scientific and technological advances brought a great number of new international words: atomic, antibiotic, radio, televi-sion, sputnik. The latter is a Russian borrowing, and it became an international word (meaning a man-made satellite) in 1961, immedi-ately after the first space flight by Yury Gagarin.
The English language also contributed a considerable number of international words to world languages. Among them the sports terms occupy a prominent position: football, volley-ball, baseball, hockey, cricket, rugby, tennis, golf, etc.
Fruits and foodstuffs imported from exotic countries often transport their names too and, being simultaneously imported to many countries, become international: coffee, cocoa, chocolate, coca-cola, banana, mango, avocado, grapefruit.
It is important to note that international words are mainly borrowings. The outward similarity of such words as the E. son, the Germ. Sohn and the R. сын should not lead one to the quite false conclusion that they are international words. They represent the Indo-Euroреаn group of the native element in each respective language and are cognates, i. e. words of the same etymological root, and not borrowings.
|Bakhtiyor||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:14 AM | Message # 29|
|Etymological Doublets |
The words shirt and skirt etymologically descend from the same root. Shirt is a native word, and skirt (as the initial sk suggests), is a Scandinavian borrowing. Their phonemic shape is different, and yet there is a certain resemblance which reflects their common origin. Their meanings are also different but easily associated: they both denote articles of clothing.
Such words as these two originating from the same etymological source, but differing in phonemic shape and in meaning are called etymological doublets.
They may enter the vocabulary by different routes. Some of these pairs, like shirt and skirt, consist of a native word and a borrowed word: shrew, n. (E.) — screw, n. (Sc.).
Others are represented by two borrowings from different lan-guages which are historically descended from the same root: senior (Lat.) — sir (Fr.), canal (Lat.) — channel (Fr.), captain (Lat.) — chieftan (Fr.).
Still others were borrowed from the same language twice, but in different periods: corpse [ko:ps] (Norm. Fr.) — corps [ko:] (Par. Fr.), travel (Norm. Fr.) — travail (Par. Fr.), cavalry (Norm. Fr.) — chivalry (Par. Fr.), gaol (Norm. Fr.) — jail (Par. Fr.).
Etymological triplets (i. e. groups of three words of common root) occur rarer, but here are at least two examples: hospital (Lat.) — hostel (Norm. Fr.) — hotel (Par. Fr.), to capture (Lat.) — to catch (Norm. Fr.) — to chase (Par. Fr.).
A doublet may also consist of a shortened word and the one from which it was derived (see Ch. 6 for a description of shortening as a type of word-building): history — story, fantasy — fancy, fanatic — fan, defence — fence, courtesy — curtsy, shadow — shade.
The term loan-word is equivalent to borrowing. By translation-loans we indicate borrowings of a special kind. They are not taken into the vocabulary of another language more or less in the same phonemic shape in which they have been functioning in their own language, but undergo the process of translation. It is quite obvious that it is only compound words (i. e. words of two or more stems) which can be subjected to such an operation, each stem being trans-lated separately: masterpiece (from Germ. Meisterstück), wonder child (from Germ. Wunderkind), first dancer (from Ital. prima-ballerina), collective farm (from R. колхоз), five-year plan (from R. пятилетка).
The Russian колхоз was borrowed twice, by way of translation-loan (collective farm) and by way of direct borrowing (kolkhoz).
The case is not unique. During the 2nd World War the German word Blitzkrieg was also borrowed into English in two different forms: the translation-loan lightning-war and the direct borrowings blitzkrieg and blitz.
and Stylistic Characteristics
of Words at All Interrelated?
Is it possible to establish regular associations between any of the groups of etymological classification (see p. 52) and the stylistic classification of English vocabulary (Ch. 2)? The answer must be in the affirmative.
It is quite natural to expect to find a considerable number of na-tive words in the basic vocabulary, if we remember that the latter comprises words denoting essential objects and phenomena. Yet, one should keep in mind that among basic vocabulary words there are also rather numerous Latin and French borrowings.
|Bakhtiyor||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:14 AM | Message # 30|
|In general, we should not be misled into thinking that all short common words are native, and that only three- and four-syllable words came from foreign sources. Words like very, air, hour, cry, oil, cat, pay, box, face, poor, dress are of foreign origin despite their na-tive appearance and common use. So it would be correct to state that, though native words prevail in the basic vocabulary, this stratum also comprises a considerable number of old borrowings which have become so fully adapted to the English language system that they are practically indistinguishable from the native stock. |
The centre of gravity of borrowed words in the stylistic classifica-tion is represented by two groups: learned words and terminology. In these strata the foreign element dominates the native. It also seems that the whole opposition of "formal versus informal" is based on the deeper underlying opposition of "borrowed versus native", as the in-formal strata, especially slang and dialect, abound in native words even though it is possible to quote numerous exceptions.
Comparing the expressive and stylistic value of the French and the English words in such synonymic pairs as to begin — to com-mence, to wish — to desire, happiness — felicity, O. Jespersen re-marks: "The French word is usually more formal, more refined, and has a less strong hold on the emotional side of life." 
The truth of this observation becomes even more obvious if we regard certain pairs within which a native word may be compared with its Latin synonym: mother ly — maternal, fatherly — paternal, childish — infan tile, daughterly — filial, etc. Motherly love seems much warmer than maternal feelings — which sounds dutiful but cold. The word childish is associated with all the wonder and vivid poetry of the earliest human age whereas infantile is quite dry. You may speak about
childish games and childish charm, but about infantile diseases, whereas infantile mind implies criticism.
It is interesting to note that a similar pair of words sunny — solar cannot even be regarded as synonyms though semantically they both pertain to the sun. Yet, if a fine day can be described as sunny, it certainly cannot be characterised by the word solar which is used in highly formal terminological senses (e. g. solar energy). The same is true about handy — manual, toothy (e. g. a toothy grin) — dental (term again), nosy (e. g. a nosy kind of person) — nasal (e. g. nasal sounds, voice)1.
I. Consider your answers to the following.
1. Which conditions stimulate the borrowing pro
2. Why are words borrowed?
3. What stages of assimilation do borrowings go
4. In what spheres of communication do international words fre-quently occur?
5. What do we understand by etymological doublets?
6. What are the characteristic features of translation-loans?
7. How are the etymological and stylistic characteristics of words interrelated?
II. Explain the etymology of the following words. Write them out in three columns: a) fully assimilated words; b) partially assimi-lated words; c) unassimilated words. Explain the reasons for your choice in each case.
Pen, hors d'oeuvre, ballet, beet, butter, skin, take, cup, police, dis-tance, monk, garage, phenomenon,
1 Also see Supplementary Material, p.p. 276.