Language change


What are borrowings?

  • Relates to all the words of the English language that have been 'borrowed' from other languages.
  • English is often referred to as a magpie languguage because it has borrowed so widely from other places in the same way a magpie is known for constructing a new from other sources.
  • Words have been borrowed from other languages in addition to the main ones:
    • German.
    • French.
    • Latin.
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What is morphological derivation?

  • Process of creating a new word out of an old word by adding, taking away etc. 
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What is a homonym?

  • Words that are spelt the same but have very different meanings. 
    • Could could call them semantically diverse. 
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What is a homophone?

  • Words of a different meaning that sound/are pronounced in an identical way. 
    • Higher/hire.
    • Would/wood.
    • There/their.
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What is polysemy?

  • The word given to an aspect of language where several of the words have more than one meaning. 
  • Polysemy grew considerably in the English language in the 1500 and 1600's. 
  • Polysemic language is likely to cause confusion. 
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What is morphology?

Morphology is the study of words. 

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What are the 2 types of morpheme?

1) Free morpheme. 

A small indivisible unit of language. These words exist on their own and do not have to be attached to another unit of language to make sense. 

  • Place. 
  • Scence.
  • Merge.

2) Bound morpheme. 

A small indivisble unit of language. These are not words but they can be attached to free morphemes to form a new word (neologism).

    • Mis. 
    • al 
    • ob. 
  • The bound morpheme can either be a prefix or a suffix.
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What are the 4 processes of lexical change?

  • Affixation is the process of adding a bound morpheme (either a prefix or a suffix) to a word.
    • For exmaple, email andchildish.
  • Backformation involves the removal of an affix to a word.
    • For example, editor becomes edit. 
  • Compound words are made when adding 2 free morphemes together. 
    • For example, fireworks and lifetime. 
  • Blended words are formed when 2 words have been merged into 1. 
    • For example, smog and internet. 
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What are semantics?

  • The meanings of words. 
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What are synonyms?

  • 2 words that have similar meanings. 
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What are the 4 processes of semantic change?

  • Narrowing is a semantic shift by which a words meaning becomes less general than before. 
    • For example, flood used to count for several types of water but now just refers to an excess of water.
  • Broadening is the change in the meaning of a word by expansion, so that the word is applicable in more contexts than it previously was and means more than it previously did.
    • The different interpretations of gay.
  • Pejoration is a change in the meaning of a word causing it to loose status.
    • 'Gay'.
  • Amelioration is a change in the meaning of a word that causes it to gain status.
    • 'Sick'. 
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What is a lexical gap?

Something that isn't covered by our lexis.

They can appear because factors such as generational change, advanaces in technology and cutltural chnage make a need for new words.

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What are the 8 causes of orthographic change?

1) Technology.

2) The great vowel shift.

3) Variation was tolerated.

4) Effort.

5) Middle English scribes.

6) Borrowing vocabulary.

7) Printers.

8) Wanting to emulate the Greeks.

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What is orphology?

  • The study of spelling.
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What is etymology?

  • Study of origin/history of words.
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What is phonology?

  • Study of sound of words/ pronunciation.
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What is standardisation?

  • The process of taking a variation of written English and using it as an accepted 'standard' or 'proper' use of language.
  • Whilst Standard English is in actual fact a variety of language it has been invested with a status over a period of time.
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What is a closed-word class?

  • A word class that theoretically cannot have any words added to them.
  • They are things like prepositions or pronouns.
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What is an open-word class?

  • Open-word classes can have new words (neologisms) added due to a new of factors (e.g. social, technological etc.).
  • Open-word classes are things such as nouns.
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What are lexical gaps?

  • A lexical gap exists when something exists for which there is no word for.
  • As new things are invented, new habits are formed, new discoveries are made and new concepts are imagined so a lexical gap is created.
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What is a eupthemism/dystphemism?

  • A eupthemism is a non-offensive wprd or a word chosen for its vagueness in order to avoid causing offense.
  • Conversly, a dystphemism is a word considered offensive.
  • Pinker argued that a word that is a eupthemism will eventually become a dysphemism (a word used with the intention of causing offence - so used mockingly or hurtfully).
  • This will mean that new eupthemisms must rise in their place if we are to avoid causing offence.
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What is polysemy/monosemy?

  • Polysemy is to do with a language where there are words that have more than one meaning.
  • Monosemy is to do with language that has word that only have a single meaning .
  • English is a good example of a polysemic language where lots of words have more than one meaning.
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