2. External means of enriching vocabulary (Old English borrowings)
  3. Regional Varieties of the English Vocabulary
  5. Vocabulary of American English


The English vocabulary is in a state of constant development. Some words go to the periphery of the language system, some words come into life. We do not always introduce a new word as soon as a new thing (object) appears in our life. Sometimes a new word is simply coined to avoid monotony, to create an expressive synonym for a word already existing in the language.

25-30 years - during this period we regard a word as a new one. We can never say exactly how many words we have in the language because they appear every day. English like all languages has its resources to allow speakers to say literally anything they choose.

Our language does not cover equally well absolutely everything modern life presents us with and we are constantly adapting the English vocabulary to keep covering our experience.

The modern world is constantly presenting us with new things, relationships between things, and ways of thinking about life and we are constantly inventing new words.

Entirely new words are even more interesting, because here we see speakers of the language being considerably more creative. We have a lot of words like computer derived from the basic compute. We invent a basic word to televise from television and call this back-formation. Even newer are grungeand liaisefrom older grungyand liaison. Throughout history, people speaking English have created brand-new words. Now we have nimby, wimp, dork, geek, slomo.

Putting two familiar words together we receive compound words: coach-potato, snail-mail, sound-bite, push-poll. Sometimes a member of a compound word can be added practically without limit: -friendly, -free, -babble, -bashing.

A neologismis a newly coined word or phrase or a new meaning for an existing word or a word borrowed from another language.

In the process of the evolution of the vocabulary of the language there are 4 elementary stages of the nomination change.

1. The usage of the sign for the nomination of a new object.

2. The introduction of a new sign for the object which has its nomination in the language.

3. The introduction of a new sign for a new object (quality, process) of extra-linguistic reality.

4. The falling out of the sign when it is no longer up-to-date.

In the English language of the last decades units of the first two groups prevail - because the intense development of science and industry has called forth the invention and introduction of an immense number of new words and changed the meanings of old ones. Thus box has developed several new meanings: in BE it is a TV-set, in AE - a new ZSV (a portable tape-reorder). A TV-set in USA - the tube.

Each new word has its author - the originator. If the new word is approved of by society (receives its social approbation) it is lexicalized in the language system. The so-called purveyorsspread a new lexical unit among masses.

Neologisms are subdivided into:

phonological neologisms;

borrowed neologisms;

semantic neologisms;

syntactic neologisms;

morphological neologisms.

I. Phonological neologisms represent unique configurations of sounds; sometimes they are onomatopoeic coinages. These neologisms are marked by a strong degree of novelty:

zizz( ), sis-boomban,Am. ( ), zap(, ), to wheeAm.sl. (), yech[Jek] , ).

II. Borrowed neologisms are also characterized by a strong connotation of novelty. Their phonetic shape and lack of motivation as well as morphological segmentation speak of their "foreignness". Part of them belongs to xenisms (borrowed lexical units reflecting their specific extralinguistic character connected with native realia): gyro(GK.) - ' ; zazen(Jap.) - , -; Kung fu(Chin). - .

The number of translation-loans among neologisms is not great:

dialogue of the deaf(Dialogue des sourds);

gliding time(Gleitzeit);

photonovel (Sp. Foto novela).

III. Semantic neologisms are built through different types of semantic transfer (lexical units acquire new meanings without changing their form):

apple- A derogatory name for an American Indian who is part of or cooperates with the white establishment.

IV. Among morphological neologisms affixational units constitute 24% of all new words. During the last 25 years 103 suffixes participated in the formation of neologisms; some of them have never belonged to affixational nomenclature: -cade, -ectomy, -emia, -esque, -eteria, -fest, -iasis, -idase, -ification, -igenic, -metry, -mycin, -ol, -ola, -ology, -orina, -orinum .

We can also point out such frequent semi-affixes as: -athon, -gate, -gram, -oriented, -pedia, -wide.

A few Greek semi-prefixes are: agri-, acqua-, -cardio-, Euro-, hemi-, ortho-, porno-, sexo-, socio-, trans-, xeno-, tele-, dial-, flexi-.

Telebanking, telemarketing, teleshopping; Dial-a-bus, dial-a-meal;

Flexicover, flexinomics, flexiroof

-Y / Ie suffix retains its productivity in slang: N + y / ie N;

Groupie- -;

Preppie- ;

Tekky (techno-freak)- , .

Very often this suffix is combined with an acronym: Acronym + y / ie N:

Yuppie- Young and urban professional people;

Yumpie- Young upwardly mobile professional people;

Bluppie- Black urban professional people;

Among most productive semi-affixes are: -intensive, -wide, -friendly, -nomics, -speak: environment-friendly, profit-intensive.

We can also point out modification of several prefixes:

Anti-man, anti-world, anti-nucleus, anti-hero, anti-novel.

V. Compound neologisms constitute about 30% of the whole mass of new words. Such patterns are N + N N, Adj + N N of endocentric character prevail:

glue-sniffing, think-tank, cyberpunk(A genre of science fiction),

Conversionas a way of building new words is less productive amounting to 3%: to butterfly( ), to soft-dock( ), to acupuncture(˳ ), to summit( ).

Shorteningin the sphere of neology retains its productivity: detox

TOEFL- Teaching of English as a Foreign Language;

TESOL - Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages;

ASH- Action of Smoking and Health.

Contamination(Blending, Fusion) demonstrates economy of speech and efforts:

dancercise (Dance + exercise)

citringe(Citron + orange);

Similarity and Difference between a Set-Expression and a Word -- | -- Social Factors and Neologisms
© om.net.ua