Thursday, 14 March 2013

Lexical Changes

Words formed from existing words 

Affixing - most common source of new words - adding prefixes or suffixes to existing words to form new words - prefixes -micro (microwave) -multi (multimedia) inter- super- mega-

Suffix -ism now used to indicate prejudice as in ageism sizeism, -gate become a suffix denoting scandal 

Compounding - when words are combined to form a new larger word or expression - blackbird and laptop are compounds - compounds sometimes divided by a hyphen blue-eyed and can be seperate words head waiter happy hour

Blends - only parts of each word are joined together to form a new word - smog from smoke and fog - motel from motor and hotel - computer term bit from binary and digit

Conversion - word class of an existing word changes creating a new use for the word - noun to a verb, verb to a noun, adjective to verb

Abbreviation/clipping - new word formed by shortening an existing word in some way - ad from advertisement - bus from omnibus - burger from hamburger

Back formation - a word of one type - usually a noun - is shortened to form a word of another type - usually a verb - edit from editor - donate from donation - burgle from burgular

Acronyms - words formed from the initial letters of existing words - radar from radio detection and ranging - scuba from self contained under water breathing apparatus - computer language BASIC from beginners all purpose symbollic instruction code

Completely new words 

Coinage - creation of completely new words that are not derived from any other words - very few words enter language like this - normally they are derived from words that already exist

Words from names 

Eponyms - words derive from the names of people or places - sandwich is named after the fourth earl of sandwich - denim was a material originally imported 'denimes' from Nimes in France -

Other words are trade names - Hoover, yo-yo

Words from other languages 

Borrowing + loan words - when words are taken from other languages
Soprano - italian
prince - french
lager - german
alcohol - arabic-

English absorbed a number of words from the French, Latin and Greeks
Borrowing can occur when a new idea or product is introduced into English life - Russian word 'vodka' entered english this way

Certain borrowings can also reflect power and prestige that language has at a particular time
- political and economic power of the US and the influence of american culture reflect in an  increasingly number of Americanisms e.g. 'gofer', 'off limits', 'pants'

Losing words from the Lexicon -

Archaisms and obsolete words - words and phrases that are no longer used at all are known as being obsolete - archaisms are words that are rarely used but do still exist

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