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Etymological Doublets

The words shirt and skirt etymologically descend from the same root. Shirt is a native word, and skirt (as the initial sk suggests) is a Scandinavian borrowing. Their phonemic shape is different, and yet there is a certain resemblance which reflects their common origin. Their meanings are also different but easily associated: they both denote articles of clothing.

Such words as these two 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, like shirt and skirt, consist of a native word and a borrowed word: shrew, n. (E.) — screw, n. (Sc.).

Others are represented by two borrowings from dif­ferent languages which are historically descended from the same root: senior (Lat.) sir (Fr.), canal (Lat.) channel (Fr.), captain (Lat.) chieftan (Fr.).

Still others were borrowed from the same language twice, but in different periods: corpse [ko:ps] (Norm. Fr.) — corps [ko:] (Par. Fr.), travel (Norm. Fr.) — travail (Par. Fr.), cavalry (Norm. Fr.) — chivalry (Par. Fr.), gaol (Norm. Fr.) — jail (Par. Fr.).

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.).

A doublet may also consist of a shortened word and the one from which it was derived (see Ch. 6 for a de­scription of shortening as a type of word-building): history — story, fantasy — fancy, fanatic — fan, defence — fence, courtesy — curtsy, shadow — shade.



The term loan-wordis equivalent to borrowing. 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) which can be subjected to such an operation, each stem being translated separately: masterpiece (from Germ. Meisterstűck), wonder child (from Germ. Wunderkind), first dancer (from Ital. prima-ballerina), collective farm (from R. колхоз), five-year plan (from R. пятилетка). There are cases when a word is borrowed twice, by way of translation-loan and by way of direct borrowing. During the 2nd World War the German word Blitzkrieg was also borrowed into English in two different forms: the translation-loan lightning-war and the direct borrowings blitzkrieg and blitz.

Modern English vocabulary is divided into:

1) Words of literary stylistic layer are the words of Standard English, and words of non-literary stylistic layer are the words of sub-standard English.

There are also stylistically neutral words. The neutral layer includes the most vital part of the vocabulary. The whole of vocabulary nucleus belong here. Etymologically the words of this layer are mostly native and long ago assimilated borrowings.

E.g.: Latin: ass, wall, rule French: pleasure, army, age, village, judge.

Words of this layer are often synonymic dominants, that is the most general words in groups of synonyms, easily replacing other members of the group.

Words that are stylistically neutral can enter several groups of synonyms because they are often polysemantic and because their meaning is more general.

Words of literary stylistic layer are in their turn divided into:

Literary colloquial. are words denoting everyday concepts. They constitute

the core of the vocabulary. E.g.: see, come, write, go etc.

Literary bookishwords are mostly polymorphic and polysyllabic. Their range of application is narrow and their frequency value is low. They are mostly monosemantic, though sometimes they have figurative meaning. to expire – 1) to end membership 2) to die (fig.)

1)Termsare subdivided into:

Popular termsof special spheres of human knowledge, known to the public at large. angina,

Special terms, used within one profession. E.g.: morpheme, phoneme, synonym, allomorph.

2)Poetical words (poeticisms) words used only in poetry. Many of them are archaic or obsolete. E.g.: villain, thee, thy, foe, luve (love).

Poetical words are sometimes literary neologisms, created by poets. They are called nonce-words. E.g.: allnighter - гульвіса boyo - хлопчина rhymester – віршомаз.

3)Barbarisms– words, which are borrowed without any change.

E.g.: ciao, tête-à-tête, vis-à-vis, krieg, salaam aleicum, bon mot, beau monde, haute couture.

4)Archaisms.– words which can be found in a dictionary, but they are gone. They remain only as historical terms. They have a synonym in Modern English. Their frequency value is low.

E.g.: garth - двір glave - меч standish - чорнильниця affright - лякати

assoil - прощати repent - жаліти palmer - пілігрим henchman – поміщик.

5)Literary neologisms– words and expressions used for new phenomena, objects, processes, new concepts that appear in the course of language development. They are new meanings of existing words, new names of old concepts.

They are divided into:

1) neologisms representing new meanings of long used words.

E.g.: shuttle, liquidate, gadget (побутовий прилад), mouse, driver, site.

2) representing new names of long used concepts.

E.g.: goggle-box (TV-set), boss (master), Teddy-boy (dandy).

3) compound words created from existing native elements. E.g.: space rocket, space shuttle, space walk, cable television, sky dive, web-design, electronic mail, screensaver.

4) words created through affixation. E.g.: televiewer, escapism, vitaminize, evacuee, rocketry.

5) phraseological word combinations. e.g.: frequency modulation, sit down strike.

6) words borrowed without any considerable change in sound or meaning. E.g.: sputnik,.

7) translation loans. E.g.: wall newspaper, chamber gown, collective farm.

8) words created from classical elements (Latin or greek). E.g.: isotope, positron, telegenic

9)combinations of etymologically and structurally heterogeneous elements. rhesus-factor,mini-c

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