Chapter 2 The Development of the English Vocabulary
I. The Indo-European Language Family
  1) Armenian
  2) Albanian Prussian 普鲁士语 Lithuanian 立陶宛语 Polish 波兰语
  3) Balto-Slavic Czech 捷克 Bulgarian 保加利亚语 Slovenian 斯洛文尼亚语 Russian 俄罗斯语
an Eastern set
Persian 波斯语 Bengali 孟加拉语
  4) Indo-Iranian Hindi 北印度语 Romany 吉普赛语 Scottish 苏格兰语 Irish 爱尔兰语
  1) Celtic Welsh 威尔士 Breton 布列塔尼语 Pictish 皮克特语 Portuguese 葡萄牙语 Spanish 西班牙语
  2)Italic French 法语 Italian 意大利语 Rumanian 罗马尼亚语
  3) Hellenic: Greek is the modern language derived from Hellenic English 英语 German 德语
  4) Germanic Dutch 荷兰语 Flemish 弗来芒语 Norwegian Icelandic Scandinavian languages Danish Swedish
  6) Tocharian
The Indo-European Language Family an Western Set
II. A Brief History of English Words English has a history of only 1,500 years, developing from a local language spoken by a small number of people on a small island about the middle of the fifth century. But now English is one of the most important languages in the world, spoken by more than 370 million people as a first language in the United Kingdom, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies and South Africa. And another 300 million people use English as a second language or official language, or as the medium of instruction in school and universities in those countries, English has a important position, it is estimated that the number of speakers with varying degrees of proficiency range between 800 million and 1 billion throughout the world. The English words that we use everyday are derived from a wide range of sources, mostly within the Indo-European family of language. The English vocabulary can generally divided into native words, borrowed words from other languages and hybrid words which we will discuss in the following. Celtic Native Elements The Angles-Saxons-Jutes Period
A History of English Words Latin Influences on Old English The Scandinavian Influence Middle English The Norman Conquest and French Loanwords The Early Modern English Period The Re-establishment of English Modern English
Borrowed Elements
Hybrid Words
  1. Native Elements (
  1) Celtic (Pre-English Period 450AD) The first people in England are the Celts. They were the native inhabitants of the Britain. The Celtic languages were once spoken across Europe, they were driven to the north-west fringe of Europe. At the time of Roman invasion, the indigenous languages of Britain were Celtic. Celtic was probably the first indo-European tongue
to be spoken in England. In the summer of 55 B.C. the Romans conqueror, Julius Caesar made Latin an official language of culture and government. The Celts in England had enjoyed the benefit of Roman government (55BC410AD), worshipped in Christian churches, and spoke a certain extent, at least, the Latin language by social elite. The Romans never penetrated far into the mountains of Wales and Scotland in the course of Romanization of the Island, so the Celtic survived, but the Celts had not their own written language. Now we could see some of the place names are from the Celtic, e.g. Thames River, London, Ben Nevis etc. And we could say that Latin spoken rather extensively for centuries before the coming of English. (
  2) The Angles-Saxons-Jutes Period (450AD-1100AD) As to its origin, the English language is as humble and obscure. It was brought by the German tribes-Jutes, Angles, and Saxons, who conquered the island in the 5th century (449AD), and became the founders of the English nation. The result was the known as Anglo-Saxon Period or Old English Period. Now in word “English”, the “Engl-” goes back to the Angles, the “-ish” means “belonging to”, so the language belonged to the “Angles-” the “Angle-ish” language. The English language of today is the language that resulted from the history of the dialects spoken by the three Germanic tribes, and the subsequent mixture of the three people. The vocabulary of Old English is almost purely Germanic. English is classified as a Germanic language to which German, Dutch, Flemish, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian also belong. It shares with these languages similar grammatical structure and many common words. About 20-30 percent of English vocabulary is the Angles-Saxons words. So the Angles-Saxons words are considered to be the native English words and the core of English vocabulary.
  2. Borrowed Elements (
  1) Latin Influences on Old English (579AD-1150AD) Latin influenced English through Celtic transmission and Chiristianizing of Britain. With the introduction of Christianity into Britain, the Latin influence was not only extensive, but thorough and marks the real beginning of the English habit of freely incorporating foreign elements into its vocabulary. And more than half of present words in common use are derived from Latin used in military and official class, cities and towns. By means of prefixes and suffixes, a single root is made to yield a variety of derivative and the range of these is greatly extended by the ease with which compound are formed. So the noun, the adjective, the definite article, the personal pronoun, the verb, and preposition express fundamental concepts, especially the ideas of scientific and learned character. It was more resourceful in utilizing its native material than Modern English, which has come to rely to a large extent on its facility in borrowing and assimilating elements from other language, e.g. church abbot/ bishop/ monk/ pope/ priest/ temple/ rule clothing and householdcap/ chest/ mat/ purple/ sack/ silk/ sock foodpear/ lobster/ cook animalselephant/ camel/ tiger
education and learningschool/ grammar/ meter/ master/ noon/ anthem/ angel/ verse/ gloss/ circle/ talent (
  2)The Scandinavian Influence (c.9-c.
  11) Scandinavia elements that entered into English language are such as would make their way into it through the give-and-take of everyday life. The earliest loans referred specifically to objects and concepts related to Danish culture, including for boats, for currency, for warriors and place-names. The number of Scandinavian words, according to “English Dialect Dictionary”, there are 1150 simple words were Danish element. Many words with “sc/sh-, sk-” are Scandinavian origin, e.g. Noun bank/ birth/ bull/ dirt/ down/ egg/ fellow/ gap/ guess/ kid/ leg/ skirt/ sister/ skin/ trust/ want/ window Adjectiveawkward/flat/ low/ odd/ rugged/ tight/ weak Verb call/ die/ get/ give/ lift/ raise/ take (
  3) Middle EnglishPeriod of Great Change (1100AD-1500AD) The change of this period affected English in both its grammar and vocabulary. Those in the vocabulary involved the loss of a large part of the Old English word-stock and the addition of thousands of words from French and Latin. (
  4) The Norman Conquest and French Loanwords (1066AD-1500AD) In 1066AD, Britain was conquered by Normans. Through the influence of Norman French, the Old English period gradually ended. The Norman conquerors spoke French, so French words were borrowed directly and observably, affected English vocabulary and spelling. English and French elements are mixed. French words were borrowed from a wide range of different areas: government, law, hunting, sport, social relationship, morals, fashion, cuisine, etc. Despite the many French loanwords, English remains English, the very heart of the vocabulary remained English. Middle English is characterized both by its greater French vocabulary and by the loss of inflections. However by the end of the Middle English period, only two of these inflections remained in use, “-es” for plural nouns and the past tense marker “-ed”. (
  5) The Early Modern English Period (1500AD- 1700AD) This is a period of loss inflections. We know that the influence of Latin and Greek in this period was great by social elite, but not used by the majority of the population. The great humanistic movement of Renaissance took place at the period and increased activity in almost every field; the printing press; the reading habit; the rapid spread of popular education; the increased commerce, transportation and rapid means of communicationbooks, magazines and newspapers; the growth of specialized knowledge and the emergence of various forms of self-consciousness about language; the reform of church etc. The social, commercial, technological, and intellectual force released in the Renaissance, had profound effects on the English. The result was a healthy desire for improvement of new words in various technical fields, where English was notable weak. The great number of new and strange words was borrowed from Latin, Greek, French, Italian, Spanish etc. e.g. ①from Latin and Greek: words relating technical, biological, legal and medical names and terminology, e.g.
educationact, animal, cherries, church, cup, describe, discuss, dish, disability, equal, exist, expect, graduate, piazza, street, wall, wine, violin… literature anthology, catastrophe, comedy, drama, emphasis, magic, myth, poet, rhythm, tactics, tragedy… philology and mathsbasis, geometry, category, ethics, thesis, theory, hypotenuse… biology, physics and chemist bulb, dynamo, organism, pneumatics, thermometer… medicine and sciencecancer, cleaner, diagnosis, neuralgia, phonograph, rheumatism, telephone, television… linguisticsantonym, dialect, euphemism, etymology, homonym, idiom, lexicology, metaphor, metonymy, polysemy… affixes auto-, bio-, geo-, tele-, photo-; -able, -ible, -al, -id, -ism, -ist, -ive, -ize, -oid, -logy, -ology, -ous, -tics… ② from French: French language altered the English vocabulary much in the governmental, administrative, law, army, navy, art, learning, medicine, fashion, meals and social life words. government and administrative wordsalliance, authority, court, crown, empire, governor, justice, judge, jury, liberty, majesty, minister, noble, office, peasant, prince, public, royal, slave, servant, state, tax, treaty… religion and ecclesiastical words charity, clergy, confession, creator, faith, mercy, miracle, mystery, passion, prayer, sacrifice, sermon, solemn, virtue… lawaccuse, arrest, complaint, decree, evidence, heir, proof, prison, property, sentence, summons… army and militaryarms, battle, captain, conquest, defense, enemy, guard, mail, peace, soldier, spy, victory… literaturecopy, grammar, logic, preface, prologue, prose, title, volume… clothesbutton, coat, collar, dress, embroidery, robe… foodappetite, biscuit, beef, feast, fruit, grape, lemon, olives, orange, peach, pork, plate, roast, mutton, sugar, supper, toast, taste… artfigure, painting, palace, music, sculpture, tone… science physician, patient, poison, pulse, remedy, surgeon… fashion and social lifeblanket, boots, chair, curtain, diamond, jewel, pearl, screen, train… (
  6) The Re-establishment of English Conditions were changed after 12
  00. It was succeeded by a conflict of interests and a growing feeling of antagonism that culminated in a long period of open hostility with France. “The Hundred Years’ War ” (1337-14
  53) between England and France was one of the causes to use English as the language of the country. English began to be used in the schools, in the law courts and writing, and become the standard English both speech and writing toward the end of the 14th century. Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-14
  00) vividly reflected the changes in his English words. And in the later part of the 15th century London Standard had been accepted as the Standard English and in the 16th century, the use of London English had become a
matter of precept as well as practice. By the end of 17th century, Britain grew commercially and acquired overseas colonies. English was taken to the American and India. With the rise of printing, English acquired a stable typographic identity. Shakespeare is the greatest writer in this period. It is noted that Shakespeare’s vocabulary of over 30,000 words. During 18th century, many foreign loans continued to enter the English vocabulary. (
  7) Modern English the Last Two Centuries (the 19th 20th centuries) Great political and social events influences affected the English language. The expansion of English vocabulary is amazingly rapid. The reasons are: the success of the British on the sea in the course of the Napoleonic Wars the war against Russia in Crimea the contest with princes in India great reform measures the establishment of the first cheap paper the improved means of travel and communication brought about by the railroad, the steamboat, the telegraph the growth of England’s larger colonies the rapid development of the United States the rapid development of modern science and technology political, economic and social changes Most of the new words have come into English by borrowings which have extended the vocabulary of the language and formed the cosmopolitan character of the English vocabulary. Thousands of new words are added, existing words acquire new meanings, and old words die out, e.g. medicineAIDS, aspirin, bacteriology, carbohydrates, cholesterol, metabolism, morphine… scienceatomic energy, black hole, DNA(deoxyribonucleic acid), relativity… automobile, film, broadcasting, computer cartoon,



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