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Early New English Vocabulary

The modern English state of things is characterized more by English influence on the other than by the reverse.

Whereas words of foreign origin enriched the English vocabulary to a great extent, the inner factors – that is, various ways of word building were also very actively used. New words appeared in the language built by all traditional word building processes – derivation, compounding, semantic word building and a new, specifically English way of marking new words arose – zero-derivation, or conversion.

Derivation can be observed in all parts of speech. The most productive suffixes of the period were:

Noun-suffixes:

-er – trader, banker, manager… (later the former suffix – our acquired the form –er or or.

The range of meanings of this suffix was extended, and it came to be used to denote not only the doer of the action but also things:

Boiler, duster, steamer…

In noun-formation we find old suffixes that may be added to native as well as borrowed stems:

-ing - farming, belonging, stocking…

Very active is the native suffix -ness – consciousness, happiness…

The morpheme –man – spokesman, postman, sportsman, showman…

Adjective suffixes of that were used at the times were of native as well as borrowed. The native suffixes are:

-y healthy, wavy

-ful beautiful, delightful, trustful, grateful…

Negative prefixes un- and mis- - the first equivalent to “not”, and the second meaning “ill, mistaken, wrong”, and prefix dis-: unbecoming, unfortunate, misplace, misreckon, dislike, distrust, disallow…

The prefixes out-, over- and under- known in the language form the oldest times give a great number of new coinages: outbrave, outbreak, outlast, overawe, overbear, underage, underpraise…

The suffix – al: trial, approval, denial, proposal…

-age – may be used in either combination: luggage, mileage, storage…

Suffix –able/-ible came inot the English language in ME as a part of a great number of French adjectives (amiable, measurable, honorable): arguable, capable, deniable

Latin and Greek prefixes re- trans- post- pre- super- sub- counter –anti are productive: rewrite, transact, postposition, prejudge, superman, subhead…

 

Compounding was always a productive way of making new words in Germanic languages in general and English in particular: handkerchief, lighthouse, daybook, heartbroken, good-natured, short-lived…

some words were formed from more than two stems, they are called syntactic compounds: forget-me-not…

as international communication becomes more active new words derived from proper names, often of foreign origin appear in the language: calico (Calcutta) short for Calico cloth; ghetto a section of a city in which all Jews were required to live; sandwich…

 

conversion as a New Phenomenon in Early New English word-formation

Zero-derivation, or conversion is a specifically English way of word building which arose in the language due to the loss of endings. Like any other inflected language OE had a distinctive suffix of the infinitive –an/-ian, and denominal and deajectival verbs were made by suffixation:



Rest – restan

Ende – endian

In ME, with the leveling of endings, these pairs were love – loven, rest – resten, end – enden. Finally the endings were lost, and the noun and the verb coincided in form love n. – love v…. / formation verbs from nouns, nouns from verb, verbs from adjectives: drive, clean, laugh, place, pity, hurt… ( a new part of speech is made without any derivational morpheme).

 


Date: 2016-03-03; view: 2991


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