Etymological Analysis Of Modern English Vocabulary

555 words - 3 pages


ETYMOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF MODERN ENGLISH VOCABULARY The modern English vocabulary falls into two main sets: native words and borrowings. Native words belong to the original English word-stock and are known from the earliest Old English manuscripts. It is customary to subdivide native words into those of the Indo-European stock and those of the common Germanic origin. The former have cognates in the vocabularies of all or most Indo-European languages, whereas the latter have cognates only in Germanic languages, but not in Romance, Slavonic or other languages of the Indo-European family. Several linguists are inclined to the opinion that there exist specifically English words which have no cognates in other languages and constitute the English proper element of the vocabulary. The degree of assimilation depends upon the length of period during which the word has been used ...view middle of the document...

e. according to whether the word retains features of spelling, pronunciation, morphology or denotation (when the word denotes some specific realia) that are not English. The third group is not universally accepted, as it may be argued that words not changed at all cannot form part of the English vocabulary, because they occur in speech only, but do not enter the language. Completely assimilated loan words are found in all the layers of older borrowings. They may belong to the first layer of Latin borrowings, e. g. cheese, street, wall or wine. Among Scandinavian loan words we find such frequent nouns as husband, fellow, gate, root, wing; such verbs as call, die, take, want and adjectives like happy, ill, low, odd and wrong. Completely assimilated French words are extremely numerous and frequent: table, chair, face, figure, finish, matter etc. A considerable number of Latin words borrowed during the revival of learning are at present almost indistinguishable from the rest of the vocabulary (Eng. animal, article, Ukr. кума, праця, хлопець, казан, хліб, хворий, хватати). The number of completely assimilated loan words is many times greater than the number of partially assimilated ones. They follow all morphological, phonetical and orthographic standards. Being very frequent and stylistically neutral, they may occur as dominant words in synonymic groups. They take an active part in word-formation. Moreover, their morphological structure and


motivation remain transparent, so that they are morphologically analysable and therefore supply the English vocabulary not only with free forms but also with bound forms, as affixes are easily perceived and separated in series of loan words that contain them. Such are, for instance, the French suffxes -age, -ance and -mentr and the English modification of French -esse and -fier, which provide speech material to produce hybrids like shortage, goddess, hindrance, speechify, and endearment. The free forms, on the other hand, are readily combined with native affixes, e.g. pained, painful, painfully, painless, painlessness, all formed from pain

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