Лекция № 10
Main historic events influenced the English language
Questions: 1. General characteristics.
2. Native Element in Modern English.
5. Etymological doublets.
1. General characteristics.
West Germanic invaders from Jutland and southern Denmark: the Angles (whose name is the source of the words England and English), Saxons, and Jutes, began populating the British Isles in the fifth and sixth centuries AD. They spoke a mutually intelligible language, similar to modern Frisian--the language of northeastern region of the Netherlands--that is called Old English. Four major dialects of Old English emerged, Northumbrian in the north of England, Mercian in the Midlands, West Saxon in the south and west, and Kentish in the Southeast.
These invaders pushed the original, Celtic-speaking inhabitants out of what is now England into Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, and Ireland, leaving behind a few Celtic words. These Celtic languages survive today in Gaelic languages of Scotland and Ireland and in Welsh. Cornish, unfortunately, is now a dead language. (The last native Cornish speaker, Dolly Pentreath, died in 1777 in the town of Mousehole, Cornwall.) Also influencing English at this time were the Vikings. Norse invasions, beginning around 850, brought many North Germanic words into the language, particularly in the north of England. Some examples are dream, which had meant 'joy' until the Vikings imparted its current meaning on it from the Scandinavian cognate draumr, and skirt, which continues to live alongside its native English cognate shirt.
The majority of words in modern English come from foreign, not Old English roots. In fact, only about one sixth of the known Old English words have descendants surviving today. But this is deceptive; Old English is much more important than these statistics would indicate. About half of the most commonly used words in modern English have Old English roots. Words like be, water, and strong, for example, derive from Old English roots.
Germanic origins. The most important shaping force on Old English was its Germanic heritage in vocabulary, sentence structure and grammar that it shared with its sister languages in continental Europe. Some of these features were specific to the West Germanic language family to which Old English belongs, while some other features were inherited from the Proto-Germanic language from which all Germanic languages are believed to have been derived.
Though many of these links with the other Germanic languages have since been obscured by later linguistic influences, particularly Norman French, many remain even in modern English. Compare modern English 'Good day' with the Old English Gōdne dæg, modern Dutch Goedendag, or modern German Guten Tag. Today the European language most similar to Old English is Frisian, a language spoken by several hundred thousand people in the northern Netherlands and northern Germany.
Like other West Germanic languages of the period, Old English was fully inflected with five grammatical cases, which had dual plural forms for referring to groups of two objects, in addition to the usual singular and plural forms. It also assigned gender to all nouns, even to those that describe inanimate objects: for example, sēo sunne (theSun) feminine, while se mōna (the Moon)masculine.
Old English, whose best known surviving example is the poem Beowulf, lasted until about 1100. This last date is rather arbitrary, but most scholars choose it because it is shortly after the most important event in the development of the English language, the Norman Conquest.
The Norman Conquest and Middle English (1100-1500). William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy, invaded and conquered England and the Anglo-Saxons in 1066 AD. (The Bayeux Tapestry, details of which form the navigation buttons on this site, is perhaps the most famous graphical depiction of the Norman Conquest.) The new overlords spoke a dialect of Old French known as Anglo-Norman. The Normans were also of Germanic stock ("Norman" comes from "Norseman") and Anglo-Norman was a French dialect that had considerable Germanic influences in addition to the basic Latin roots.
Prior to the Norman Conquest, Latin had been only a minor influence on the English language, mainly through vestiges of the Roman occupation and from the conversion of Britain to Christianity in the seventh century (ecclesiastical terms such as priest, vicar, and mass came into the language this way), but now there was a wholesale infusion of Romance (Anglo-Norman) words.
The influence of the Normans can be illustrated by looking at two words, beef and cow. ^ , commonly eaten by the aristocracy, derives from the Anglo-Norman, while the Anglo-Saxon commoners, who tended the cattle, retained the Germanic cow. Many legal terms, such as indict, jury, and verdict have Anglo-Norman roots because the Normans ran the courts. This split, where words commonly used by the aristocracy have Romantic roots and words frequently used by the Anglo-Saxon commoners have Germanic roots, can be seen in many instances.
Sometimes French words replaced Old English words; crime replaced firen and uncle replaced eam. Other times, French and Old English components combined to form a new word, as the French gentle and the Germanic man formed gentleman. Other times, two different words with roughly the same meaning survive into modern English. Thus we have the Germanic doom and the French judgment, or wish and desire.
It is useful to compare various versions of a familiar text to see the differences between Old, Middle, and Modern English. Take for instance this Old English (c.1000) sample:
si þin nama gehalgod tobecume þin rice gewurþe þin willa on eorðan swa swa on heofonum
urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us to dæg
and forgyf us ure gyltas swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum
and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele soþlice.
Rendered in Middle English (Wyclif, 1384), the same text is recognizable to the modern eye:
þi reume or kyngdom come to be. Be þi wille don in herþe as it is dounin heuene.
yeue to us today oure eche dayes bred.
And foryeue to us oure dettis þat is oure synnys as we foryeuen to oure dettouris þat is to men þat han synned in us.
Finally, in Early Modern English (King James Version, 1611) the same text is completely intelligible:
Our father which art in heauen, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heauen.
And forgiue us our debts as we forgiue our debters.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliuer us from euill. Amen.
In 1204 AD, King John lost the province of Normandy to the King of France. This began a process where the Norman nobles of England became increasingly estranged from their French cousins. England became the chief concern of the nobility, rather than their estates in France, and consequently the nobility adopted a modified English as their native tongue. About 150 years later, the Black Death (1349-50) killed about one third of the English population. The laboring and merchant classes grew in economic and social importance, and along with them English increased in importance compared to Anglo-Norman.
This mixture of the two languages came to be known as Middle English. The most famous example of Middle English is Chaucer's ^ . Unlike Old English, Middle English can be read, albeit with difficulty, by modern English-speaking people.
By 1362, the linguistic division between the nobility and the commoners was largely over. In that year, the Statute of Pleading was adopted, which made English the language of the courts and it began to be used in Parliament.
The Middle English period came to a close around 1500 AD with the rise of Modern English.
The next wave of innovation in English came with the Renaissance. The revival of classical scholarship brought many classical Latin and Greek words into the Language. These borrowings were deliberate and many bemoaned the adoption of these "inkhorn" terms, but many survive to this day. Shakespeare's character Holofernes in Loves Labor Lost is a satire of an overenthusiastic schoolmaster who is too fond of Latinisms.
Many students having difficulty understanding Shakespeare would be surprised to learn that he wrote in modern English. But, as can be seen in the earlier example of the Lord's Prayer, Elizabethan English has much more in common with our language today than it does with the language of Chaucer. Many familiar words and phrases were coined or first recorded by Shakespeare, some 2,000 words and countless catch-phrases are his. Newcomers to Shakespeare are often shocked at the number of cliches contained in his plays, until they realize that he coined them and they became cliches afterwards. "One fell swoop," "vanish into thin air," and "flesh and blood" are all Shakespeare's. Words he bequeathed to the language include "critical," "leapfrog," "majestic," "dwindle," and "pedant."
Two other major factors influenced the language and served to separate Middle and Modern English. The first was the Great Vowel Shift. This was a change in pronunciation that began around 1400. While modern English speakers can read Chaucer with some difficulty, Chaucer's pronunciation would have been completely unintelligible to the modern ear. Shakespeare, on the other hand, would be accented, but understandable. Long vowel sounds began to be made higher in the mouth and the letter "e" at the end of words became silent. Chaucer's Lyf (pronounced "leef") became the modern life. In Middle English name was pronounced "nam-a," five was pronounced "feef," and down was pronounced "doon." In linguistic terms, the shift was rather sudden, the major changes occurring within a century. The shift is still not over, however, vowel sounds are still shortening although the change has become considerably more gradual.
The last major factor in the development of Modern English was the advent of the printing press. William Caxton brought the printing press to England in 1476. Books became cheaper and as a result, literacy became more common. Publishing for the masses became a profitable enterprise, and works in English, as opposed to Latin, became more common. Finally, the printing press brought standardization to English. The dialect of London, where most publishing houses were located, became the standard. Spelling and grammar became fixed, and the first English dictionary was published in 1604.
Late-Modern English (1800-Present). The principal distinction between early- and late-modern English is vocabulary. Pronunciation, grammar, and spelling are largely the same, but Late-Modern English has many more words. These words are the result of two historical factors. The first is the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the technological society. This necessitated new words for things and ideas that had not previously existed. The second was the British Empire. At its height, Britain ruled one quarter of the earth's surface, and English adopted many foreign words and made them its own.
The industrial and scientific revolutions created a need for neologisms to describe the new creations and discoveries. For this, English relied heavily on Latin and Greek. Words like oxygen, protein, nuclear, and vaccine did not exist in the classical languages, but they were created from Latin and Greek roots. Such neologisms were not exclusively created from classical roots though, English roots were used for such terms as horsepower, airplane, and typewriter.
This burst of neologisms continues today, perhaps most visible in the field of electronics and computers. Byte, cyber-, bios, hard-drive, and microchip are good examples.
Also, the rise of the British Empire and the growth of global trade served not only to introduce English to the world, but to introduce words into English. Hindi, and the other languages of the Indian subcontinent, provided many words, such as pundit, shampoo, pajamas, and juggernaut. Virtually every language on Earth has contributed to the development of English, from Finnish (sauna) and Japanese (tycoon) to the vast contributions of French and Latin.
The British Empire was a maritime empire, and the influence of nautical terms on the English language has been great. Words and phrases like three sheets to the wind and scuttlebutt have their origins onboard ships.
Finally, the 20th century saw two world wars, and the military influence on the language during the latter half of this century has been great. Before the Great War, military service for English-speaking persons was rare; both Britain and the United States maintained small, volunteer militaries. Military slang existed, but with the exception of nautical terms, rarely influenced standard English. During the mid-20th century, however, virtually all British and American men served in the military. Military slang entered the language like never before. Blockbuster, nose dive, camouflage, radar, roadblock, spearhead, and landing strip are all military terms that made their way into standard English.
A large percentage of the educated and literate population were competent in Latin, which was then the lingua franca of Europe. It is sometimes possible to give approximate dates for the entry of individual Latin words into Old English based on which patterns of linguistic change they have undergone. There were at least three notable periods of Latin influence. The first occurred before the ancestral Saxons left continental Europe for England. The second began when the Anglo-Saxons were converted to Christianity and Latin-speaking priests became widespread. However, the largest single transfer of Latin-based words occurred following the Norman Invasion of 1066, after which an enormous number of Norman French words entered the language. Most of these Oil language words were themselves derived ultimately from classical Latin, although a notable stock of Norse words were introduced, or re-introduced in Norman form. The Norman Conquest approximately marks the end of Old English and the advent of Middle English.
The language was further altered by the transition away from the runic alphabet (also known as futhork) to the Latin alphabet, which was also a significant factor in the developmental pressures brought to bear on the language. Old English words were spelt as they were pronounced; the silent letters of Modern English therefore did not often exist in Old English. For example, the 'hard-c' sound in cniht, the Old English equivalent of 'knight' was pronounced. Another side-effect of spelling words phonetically was that spelling was extremely variable – the spelling of a word would reflect differences in the phonetics of the writer's regional dialect and also idiosyncratic spelling choices which varied from author to author and even from work to work by the same author. Thus, for example, the word "and" could be spelt either and or ond.
Therefore, Old English spelling can be regarded as even more jumbled than modern English spelling, although it can at least claim to reflect some existing pronunciation, while modern English in many cases cannot. Most students of Old English in the present day learn the language using normalised versions and are only introduced to variant spellings after they have mastered the basics of the language.
This is the approximate extent of Old Norse and related languages in the early 10th century. The red area is the distribution of the dialect Old West Norse; the orange area is the spread of the dialect Old East Norse. The pink area is Ols Gutnish and the green area is the extent of the other Germanic languages with which Old Norse still retained some mutual intelligibility.
The second major source of loanwords to Old English were the Scandinavian words introduced during the Viking raids of the 9th and 10th. In addition to a great many place names, these consist mainly of items of basic vocabulary, and words concerned with particular administrative aspects of the Danelaw (that is, the area of land under Viking control, which included extensive holdings all along the eastern coast of England and Scotland). The Vikings spoke Old Norse, a language related to Old English in that they both derive from the same ancestral Proto-Germanic language. It is very common for the intermixing of speakers of different dialects, such as occurs during times of political unrest, to result in a mixed language, and one theory holds that exactly such a mixture of Old Norse and Old English helped accelerate the decline of case endings in Old English. Apparent confirmation of this is the fact that simplification of the case endings occurred earliest in the North and latest in the Southwest, the area farthest away from Viking influence. Regardless of the truth of this theory, the influence of Old Norse on the English language has been profound: responsible for such basic vocabulary items as sky and the modern pronoun they.
The number of Celtic loanwords is of a remarkably lower order than either Latin or Scandinavian. Only twelve loanwords have been identified as being entirely secure. Out of all the known and suspected Celtic loanwords, most are names of geographical features, and especially rivers.
It is true that English vocabulary, which is one of the most extensive among 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.
The first century B. C. Most of the territory now known to us as Europe was occupied by the Roman Empire. Among the inhabitants of the Europe are Germanic tribes. Their stage of development was rather primitive, especially if compared with the high civilization of Rome. They are primitive cattle-breeders and know almost nothing about land cultivation. Their tribal languages contain only Indo-European and Germanic elements. Due to Roman invasion Germanic tribes had to come into contact with Romans. Romans built roads, bridges, military camps. 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 had 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 entered their vocabularies: “cherry” (Lat. “cerasum”), “pear” (Lat. “pirum”), “plum” (Lat. “prunus”), “pea” (Lat. “pisum”), “beet” (Lat. “beta”), “pepper” (Lat. “piper”).
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 Germanic tribal languages gained a considerable number of new words and were thus enriched.
Latin words became the earliest group of borrowings in the future English language which was - much later - built on the basis of the Germanic tribal languages.
The fifth century A.D. Several of the Germanic tribes (the most numerous among them were the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes) migrated across the sea 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 nevertheless gradually yielded most of their territory. They retreated to the North and South-West (modern Scotland, Wales and Cornwall). Through numerous contacts with the defeated Celts, the conquerors borrowed a number of Celtic words (bald, down, glen, bard, cradle). Especially numerous among the Celtic borrowings were place names, names of rivers, hills, etc. The Germanic tribes occupied the land, but the names of many parts 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 is "fortress 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).
The seventh century A.D. This century was significant for the christianization 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 borrowings 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, objects and ideas associated with church and religious rituals: e. g. priest (Lat. presbyter), bishop (Lat. episcopus), monk (Lat. monachus), nun (Lat. nonna), candle (Lat. candela).
It was quite natural that educational terms 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. schola, of Greek origin) and so are such words as “scholar” (Lat. Scholar) and “magister” (Lat. magister).
From the end of the 8th century to the middle of the 11th century England underwent several Scandinavian invasions. Here are some examples of early Scandinavian borrowings: call (v.), take (v.), cast (v.), die (v.), law (n.), husband (n.), window (n.), ill (adj.), loose, (adj.), low (adj.), weak (adj.). Some of Scandinavian borrowings are easily recognizable 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 old English “bread” which meant "piece" acquired its modern meaning by association with the Scandinavian “braud”. The old English “dream” which meant "joy" assimilated the meaning of the Scandinavian “draumr’’.
With the famous Battle of Hastings, when the English were defeated by the Normans under William the Conqueror, began the eventful epoch of the Norman Conquest. The Norman culture of the 11th century was certainly superior to that of the Saxons. The result was that English vocabulary acquired a great number of French words. But 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. England became a bilingual 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.
Terms of everyday life: table, plate, 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 civilizations 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 century B.C.), the Renaissance ones were rarely concrete names. They were mostly abstract words (e. g. major, minor, moderate, intelligent, permanent, to elect, to create). There were numerous scientific and artistic terms (e.g. datum, status, phenomenon, philosophy, method, music). Quite a number of words were borrowed into English from Latin and had earlier come into Latin from Greek.
The Renaissance was a period of extensive cultural contacts between the major European states. Therefore, it was only natural that new words also entered the English vocabulary from other European languages. The most significant were French borrowings. This time they came from the Parisian dialect of French and are known as Parisian borrowings. Examples: routine, police, machine, ballet, matinee, scene, technique, bourgeois, etc. Italian also contributed a considerable number of words to English, e. g. piano, violin, opera, alarm, colonel.
The historical survey above shows the ways in which English vocabulary developed and of the major events through which it acquired its vast modern resources. Summary is shown in the table 1.
The second column of the table contains more groups, but it also implies a
great 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. It means that the native element doesn’t prevail. This anomaly is explained by the country's eventful history and by its many international contacts.
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 native element in English comprises a large number of high-frequency words like the articles, prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions, auxiliaries and, also, words denoting everyday objects and ideas (e. g. house, child, water, go, come, eat, good, bad, etc.). Furthermore, the grammatical structure is essentially Germanic and it remains unaffected by foreign influence.
The Etymological Structure of English Vocabulary
|The native element |The borrowed element
|1.Indo-European element |I. Celtic (5th – 6th c. A.D.).
|2.Germanic element |II. Latin
| | 1st group: 1st c. B.C.
| | 2 st group: 7th c. A.C.
| | 3 st group: the Renaissance period |
|3.English Proper element (no |III. Scandinavian (8th – 11th c. A.D.) |earlier than 5th c. A.D.)
| |IV. French
| | 1. Norman borrowings: 11th–13th
| |c. A.D
| | 2. Parisian borrowings (Renaissance)
| |V. Greek (Renaissance)
| |VI. Italian (Renaissance and later)
| |VII. Spanish (Renaissance and later)
| |VIII. German
| |IX. Indian
| |X. Russian and some other groups
The first column of the table consists of three groups, only the third being dated: the words of this group appeared in the English vocabulary in the 5th century or later, that is, after the Germanic tribes migrated to the British Isles. The tribal languages of the Angles, the 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. The words of this group denote elementary concepts without which no human communication would be possible.
The following groups can be identified.
1. Family relations: father, mother, brother, son, daughter.
2. Parts of the human body: foot, nose, lip, heart.
3. Animals: cow, swine, goose.
4. Plants: tree, birch, corn.
5. Time of day: day, night.
6. Heavenly bodies: sun, moon, star.
7. Numerous adjectives: red, new, glad, sad.
8. The numerals from one to a hundred.
9. Pronouns - personal (except “they” which is a Scandinavian borrowing) and demonstrative.
10. Numerous verbs: be, stand, sit, eat, know.
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.
1. Parts of the human body: head, hand, arm, finger, bone.
2. Animals: bear, fox, calf.
3. Plants: oak, fir, grass.
4. Natural phenomena: rain, frost.
5. Seasons of the year: winter, spring, summer.
6. Landscape features: sea, land.
7. Human dwellings and furniture: house, room, bench.
8. Sea-going vessels: boat, ship.
9. Adjectives: green, blue, grey, white, small, thick, high, old, good.
10. Verbs: see, hear, speak, tell, say, answer, make, give, drink.
The English proper element is opposed to the first two groups. For not only it can be approximately dated, but these words have another distinctive feature: they are specifically English have no cognates 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. Stand: Germ. – stehen, Lat. - stare, R. – стоять.
Here are some examples of English proper words: bird, boy, girl, lord, lady, woman, daisy, always.
Structural elements of borrowings
There are certain structural features which enable us to identify some words as borrowings and even to determine the source language. We have already established that the initial (sk) usually indicates Scandinavian origin. We can also recognize words of Latin and French origin by certain suffixes, prefixes or endings. Here are some typical and frequent structural elements of Latin and French borrowings:
Latin affixes of nouns:
The suffix (-ion): legion, opinion, etc.; the suffix (-tion): relation, temptation, etc.
Latin affixes of verbs:
The suffix (-ate): appreciate, create, congratulate, etc.; the suffix (-ute): attribute, distribute, etc.; the remnant suffix (-ct): act, collect, conduct, etc.; the prefix (dis-): disable, disagree, etc.
Latin affixes of adjectives:
The suffix (-able): detestable, curable, etc.; the suffix (-ate): accurate, graduate, etc.; the suffix (-ant): constant, important, etc.; the suffix (-ent): absent, evident, etc.; the suffix (-or): major, senior, etc.; the suffix (-al): final, maternal, etc.; the suffix (-ar): solar, familiar, etc.
French affixes of nouns:
The suffix (-ance): endurance, hindrance, etc.; the suffix (-ence): consequence, patience, etc.; the suffix (-ment): appointment, development, etc.; the suffix (-age): courage, marriage, village, etc.; the suffix (-ess): actress, adventuress, etc.
French affixes of verbs:
The prefix (en-): enable, enact, enslave, etc.
French affixes of adjectives:
The suffix (-ous): curious, dangerous, etc.
It’s important to note that later formations derived from native roots borrowed Latin and French affixes (e.g. eatable, lovable).
Why Are Words Borrowed?
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 vocabulary and there does not seem to be any need for borrowing. However a word is borrowed because it supplies a new shade of meaning or a different emotional colouring though it represents the same concept. This type of borrowing enlarges groups of synonyms and 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”.
The historical circumstances stimulate the borrowing process. Each time two nations come into close contact. The nature of the contact may be different. It may be wars, invasions or conquests when foreign words are imposed upon the conquered nation. There are also periods of peace when the process of borrowing is due to trade and international cultural relations.
Do Borrowed Words Change or do They Remain the Same?
When words migrate from one language into another 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 unrecognizable. 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 comparing Norman French borrowings to later (Parisian) ones. The Norman borrowings have for a long time been fully adapted to the phonetic system 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 15th century, still sound surprisingly French: “regime”, “valise”, “matinee”, “cafe”, “ballet”.
In these cases phonetic adaptation is not completed.
Grammatical adaptation consists in a complete change of the former paradigm of the borrowed word. 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 century 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. Sometimes a word may be borrowed "blindly" for no obvious reason: they are not wanted because there is no gap in the vocabulary nor in the group of synonyms which it could fill. Quite a number of such "accidental" borrowings are very soon rejected by the vocabulary and forgotten. But some “blindly” borrowed words managed to establish itself due to 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 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”. Still bearing some features of its former meaning it is successfully competing with “big” having approached it very closely, both in frequency and meaning.
It is often the case that a word is borrowed by several languages, not just by one. Such words usually convey concepts which are significant in the field of communication. Many of them are of Latin and Greek origin. Most names of sciences are international (e. g. philosophy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, linguistics, lexicology). There are also numerous terms of art in this group: music, theatre, drama, tragedy, comedy, artist, primadonna, etc.; and the sports terms: football, volley-ball, baseball, hockey, cricket, rugby, tennis, golf, etc. It is quite natural that political terms frequently occur in the international group of borrowings: politics, policy, revolution, progress, democracy, communism, anti-militarism. 20th century scientific and technological advances brought a great number of new international words: atomic, antibiotic, radio, television, sputnik (a Russian borrowing). Fruits and foodstuffs imported from exotic countries often transport their names too and become international: coffee, cocoa, chocolate, banana, mango, avocado, grapefruit.
The similarity of such words as the English “son”, the German “Sohn” and the Russian “сын” should not lead one to the quite false conclusion that they are international words. They represent the Indo-European group of the native element in each respective language and are cognates, i. e. words of the same etymological root, and not borrowings.
CLASSIFICATION OF BORROWINGS ACCORDING TO THE LANGUAGE FROM WHICH THEY WERE BORROWED ROMANIC BORROWINGS Latin borrowings. Among words of Romanic origin borrowed from Latin during the period when the British Isles were a part of the Roman Empire, there are such words as: street, port, wall etc. Many Latin and Greek words came into English during the Adoption of Christianity in the 6-th century. At this time the Latin alphabet was borrowed which ousted the Runic alphabet. These borrowings are usually called classical borrowings. Here belong Latin words: alter, cross, dean, and Greek words: church, angel, devil, anthem. Latin and Greek borrowings appeared in English during the Middle English period due to the Great Revival of Learning. These are mostly scientific words because Latin was the language of science at the time. These words were not used as frequently as the words of the Old English period, therefore some of them were partly assimilated grammatically, e.g. formula- formulae. Here also belong such words as: memorandum, minimum, maximum, veto etc. Classical borrowings continue to appear in Modern English as well. Mostly they are words formed with the help of Latin and Greek morphemes. There are quite a lot of them in medicine (appendicitis, aspirin), in chemistry(acid, valency, alkali), in technique (engine, antenna, biplane, airdrome),in politics (socialism, militarism), names of sciences (zoology, physics) .In philology most of terms are of Greek origin (homonym, archaism, lexicography). French borrowings The influence of French on the English spelling. The largest group of borrowings are French borrowings. Most of them came into English during the Norman conquest. French influenced not only the vocabulary of English but also its spelling, because documents were written by French scribes as the local population was mainly illiterate, and the ruling class was French. Runic letters remaining in English after the Latin alphabet was borrowed were substituted by Latin letters and combinations of letters, e.g. 'v' was introduced for the voiced consonant /v/ instead of'f' in the intervocalic position /lufian - love/, the digraph 'ch' was introduced to denote the sound /ch/ instead of the letter 'c' / chest/before front vowels where it had been palatalized, the digraph 'sh' was introduced instead of the combination 'sc' to denote the sound /sh/ /ship/,the digraph 'th' was introduced instead of the Runic letters '0' and ' ' /this, thing/, the letter 'y' was introduced instead of the Runic letter'3' to denote the sound /j/ /yet/, the digraph 'qu' substituted the combination 'cw' to denote the combination of sounds /kw/ /queen/, the digraph 'ou' was introduced to denote the sound /u:/ /house/ (The sound/u:/ was later on diphthongized and is pronounced /au/ in native words and fully assimilated borrowings). As it was difficult for French scribes to copy English texts they substituted the letter 'u' before 'v', 'm', 'n' and the digraph 'th' by the letter 'o' to escape the combination of many vertical lines /'sunu' - 'son', luvu' - 'love'/. Borrowing of French words. There are the following semantic groups of French borrowings: a) words relating to government : administer, empire, state, government; b) words relating to military affairs: army, war, banner, soldier, battle; c) words relating to jury: advocate, petition, inquest, sentence, barrister; d) words relating to fashion: luxury, coat, collar, lace, pleat, embroidery; e) words relating to jewelry: topaz, emerald, ruby, pearl ; f) words relating to food and cooking: lunch, dinner, appetite, to roast, to stew. Words were borrowed from French into English after 1650, mainly through French literature, but they were not as numerous and many of them are not completely assimilated. There are the following semantic groups of these borrowings: a) words relating to literature and music: belle-lettres, conservatorie, brochure, nuance, piruette, vaudeville; b) words relating to military affairs: corps, echelon, fuselage, manouvre; c) words relating to buildings and furniture: entresol, chateau, bureau; d) words relating to food and cooking: ragout, cuisine. Italian borrowings. Cultural and trade relations between Italy and England brought manyItalian words into English. The earliest Italian borrowing came into English in the 14-th century, it was the word 'bank' /from the Italian 'banko' - 'bench'/. Italian money-lenders and money-changers sat in the streets on benches. When they suffered losses they turned over their benches, it was called 'banco rotta' from which the English word 'bankrupt' originated. In the 17-th century some geological terms were borrowed :volcano, granite, bronze, lava. At the same time some political terms were borrowed: manifesto, bulletin. But mostly Italian is famous by its influence in music and in all Indo-European languages musical terms were borrowed from Italian : alto, baritone, basso, tenor, falsetto, solo, duet, trio, quartet, quintet, opera, operette, libretto, piano, violin. Among the 20-th century Italian borrowings we can mention : gazette, incognitto, autostrada, fiasco, fascist, diletante, grotesque, graffito etc. Spanish borrowings. Spanish borrowings came into English mainly through its American variant. There are the following semantic groups of them: a) trade terms: cargo, embargo; b) names of dances and musical instruments: tango, rumba, habanera, guitar; c) names of vegetables and fruit: tomato, potato, tobbaco, cocoa, banana, ananas, apricot etc. GERMANIC BORROWINGS English belongs to the Germanic group of languages and there are borrowings from Scandinavian, German and Holland languages, though their number is much less than borrowings from Romanic languages. Scandinavian borrowings. By the end of the Old English period English underwent a strong influence of Scandinavian due to the Scandinavian conquest of the British Isles. Scandinavians belonged to the same group of peoples as Englishmen and their languages had much in common. As the result of this conquest there are about 700 borrowings from Scandinavian into English. Scandinavians and Englishmen had the same way of life, their cultural level was the same, they had much in common in their literature therefore there were many words in these languages which were almost identical, e.g. ON OE Modern E syster sweoster sister fiscr fisc fish felagi felawe fellow However there were also many words in the two languages which were different, and some of them were borrowed into English , such nouns as: bull, cake, egg, kid, knife, skirt, window etc, such adjectives as: flat, ill, happy, low, odd, ugly, wrong, such verbs as : call, die, guess, get, give, scream and many others. Even some pronouns and connective words were borrowed which happens very seldom, such as : same, both, till, fro, though, and pronominal forms with 'th': they, them, their. Scandinavian influenced the development of phrasal verbs which did not exist in Old English, at the same time some prefixed verbs came out ofusage, e.g. ofniman, beniman. Phrasal verbs are now highly productive in English /take off, give in etc/. German borrowings. There are some 800 words borrowed from German into English. Some of them have classical roots, e.g. in some geological terms, such as: cobalt, bismuth, zink, quarts, gneiss, wolfram. There were also words denoting objects used in everyday life which were borrowed from German: iceberg, lobby, rucksack, Kindergarten etc. In the period of the Second World War the following words were borrowed: Volkssturm, Luftwaffe, SS-man, Bundeswehr, gestapo, gas chamber and manyothers. After the Second World War the following words were borrowed: Berufsverbot, Volkswagen etc. Holland borrowings. Holland and England have constant interrelations for many centuries and more than 2000 Holland borrowings were borrowed into English. Most of them are nautical terms and were mainly borrowed in the 14-th century, such as: freight, skipper, pump, keel, dock, reef, deck, leak and many others. Besides two main groups of borrowings (Romanic and Germanic) there are also borrowings from a lot of other languages. We shall speak about Russian borrowings, borrowings from the language which belongs to Slavonic languages. Russian borrowings. There were constant contacts between England and Russia and they borrowed words from one language into the other. Among early Russian borrowings there are mainly words connected with trade relations, such as: rouble, copeck, pood, sterlet, vodka, sable, and also words relating to nature, such as: taiga, tundra, steppe etc. There is also a large group of Russian borrowings which came into English through Rushian literature of the 19-th century, such as : Narodnik, moujik, duma, zemstvo, volost, ukase etc, and also words which were formedin Russian with Latin roots, such as: nihilist, intelligenzia, Decembristetc. After the Great October Revolution many new words appeared in Russian connected with the new political system, new culture, and many of them wereborrowed into English, such as: collectivization. udarnik, Komsomol etc. and also translation loans, such as: shock worker, collective farm, five-year plan etc. One more group of Russian borrowings is connected with perestroika, such as: glasnost, nomenklatura, apparatchik etc.
The words 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 consist of a native word and a borrowed word: “shrew”, n. (E.) – “screw”, n. (Sc.). Others are represented by two borrowings from different languages: “canal” (Lat.) - “channel” (Fr.), “captain” (Lat.) — “chieftain” (Fr.). Still others were borrowed from the same language twice, but in different periods: “travel” (Norm. Fr.) - “travail" (Par. Fr.), “cavalry” (Norm. Fr.) - “chivalry” (Par. Fr.), “gaol” (Norm. Fr.) - “jail” (Par. Fr.).
A doublet may also consist of a shortened word and the one from which it was derived: “history” - “story”, “fantasy” - “fancy”, “defence” - “fence”, “shadow” - “shade”.
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.).
Sometimes a word is borrowed twice from the same language. As there sult, we have two different words with different spellings and meanings but historically they come back to one and the same word. Such words are called etymological doublets. In English there are some groups of them: Latino-French doublets. Latin English from Latin English from French uncia inchounce moneta mint money camera camera chamber Franco-French doublets doublets borrowed from different dialects of French. Norman Paris canal channel captain chieftain catch chaise Scandinavian-English doublets Scandinavian English skirt shirt scabby shabby There are also etymological doublets which were borrowed from the same language during different historical periods, such as French doublets: gentile - любезный, благородный, etymological doublets are: gentle - мягкий, вежливый and genteel - благородный. From the French word gallant etymological doublets are: 'gallant - храбрый and ga'llant - галантный, внимательный. Sometimes etymological doublets are the result of borrowing different grammatical forms of the same word, e.g. the Comparative degree of Latin'super' was 'superior' which was borrowed into English with the meaning 'high in some quality or rank'. The Superlative degree (Latin 'supremus')in English 'supreme' with the meaning 'outstanding', 'prominent'. So 'superior' and 'supreme' are etymological doublets.
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). Each stem was translated separately: “masterpiece” (from Germ. “Meisterstuck”), “wonder child” (from Germ. “Wunderkind”), ”first dancer” (from Ital. “prima-ballerina”).
Are Etymological and Stylistic Characteristics of Words Interrelated?
The answer must be affirmative. Among learned words and terminology 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 informal style, especially slang and dialect, abounds in native words even though it is possible to quote numerous exceptions.
In point of comparing the expressive and stylistic value of the French and the English words the French ones are usually more formal, more refined, and less emotional. “to begin” – “to commence”, “to wish” — “to desire”, “happiness" — “felicity”.
English words are much warmer than their Latin synonyms, they don’t sound cold and dry: “motherly” — “maternal”, “fatherly” — “paternal”, “childish” - “infantile", “daughterly” — “filial”, etc.
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