Lexical Change

Revison cards about lexical change processes.


  • Completely new words which have entered the lexicon
  • Are not derived in any way from other words.
  • There aren't many of them!
  • E.g. googol, phising, Tumblr.
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Loan words

  • Words borrowed from other languages and cultures.
  • Can occur due to invasion or a new product from another country, for example.
  • Large amounts from French, Latin and Greek.
  • E.g. prince (French), lager (German), alcohol (Arabic), paella (Spanish), vodka (Russian)
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  • Words or expressions that have come from America.
  • (Does not include American spellings.)
  • Examples. off of, gotten,
  • Have to be in common usage in England to count.
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Affixing - Prefixes

  • Adding a prefix to an existing word to create a new one.
  • Examples: multimedia, multinational, international, internet, pre-, pro-
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Affixing - Suffixes

  • The same process, just on the ends of words.
  • Examples: -ment, -tive, -tion, -ly, -ing
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  • New words created by combing two whole words.
  • Can be written as one word, hyphenated or spaced.
  • Examples: blackbird, laptop, blue-eyed, head boy, facebook, headline, happy hour, head waiter
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  • Similar to compounds, but created by combing parts of words to create a new one.
  • Examples: smog (smoke-fog), motel (motor-hotel), guyliner (guy-eyeliner), Brangelina (Brad-Angelina)
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  • Words used more frequently in their abbreviated form than in their full form.
  • Examples: flu (influenza), cig (cigarrette), the net (the internet)
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  • Where an acronym is used regularly in the lexicon as a word which is understood as a whole, not by the sum of its parts.
  • Can include text speak
  • Examples: RADAR, LOL, etc
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