Language Change Terminology

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  • Created by: Cally
  • Created on: 08-05-13 12:34

Register Drift

Words change from formal to slang.

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Derivation

Adding affixes (prefixes or suffixes) to an existing word.

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Compounding

Two words are stuck together in their entirety to make a new word.

e.g. dragonfly = dragon and fly

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Blending

Two words are moulded together to form a new word. Usually by sticking together the beginning of one word to the end of another.

E.g. brunch = breakfast and lunch.

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Clipping

Chopping a bit off the word. The clipped word then becomes the most used.

E.g. Influenza = Flu.

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Conversion

Changing a word class.

E.g. From a noun to a verb. Google = I googled it.

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Eponym

Maker lends their name to a product.

E.g. James Dyson created the Dyson vacuum cleaner.

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Acronyms

Taking the initial letters of words and making them into a combination, pronounceable as a new word.

 E.g. TARDIS - Time And Relative Dimension In Space.

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Initialisms

Saying the individual letters.

E.g. BBC

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Coinage

Usually formed from brand names which become part of the language.
Least common as completely new words are rare.

E.g. Aspirin

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Borrowing

Taking words from another language.

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Semantic change

Changes in meaning over time

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Polysemic

Meanings running alongside each other.

E.g. Gay= Happy and Homosexual

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Amelioration

Words becoming more positive

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Pejoration

Words become more negative

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Broadening

Meaning of a word becomes broader.

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Narrowing

Meanings of a word get narrower over time.

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Prescriptivism

Where it is believed Language Change is a negative thing. Set of rules needed to be enforced to ensure it is used properly.

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Descriptivism

Language change is a positive thing. Focuses on how and why changes occur.

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