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The Volume of the Vocabulary and its Problems.

All the words of the language make its vocabulary. In the process of vocabulary study a linguist faces many questions. The first question is the number of words constituting the vocabulary of Modern English. The exact number of words in Modern English can not be stated with any degree of certainty for some reasons. Counting vocabulary units, we face the following problems: boarder line between homonymy and polysemy; treatment clippings either as synonyms, or as variants of the same lexical unit, or as separate words; «nonce words» - words created for a given occasion only [ to brandy the guests ], and others.

But the most serious reason why it is difficult to state the exact number of words is the constant growth of the English vocabulary. Any language varies through times it is never stable. Some words become obsolete and die out, the other words appear due both to extra-linguistic ( social factors such as the progress of science and technology, the emergence of new concepts in different fields of human activity, disappearance of the actual objects the words denote, recent development in social history, etc.) and linguistic causes (word-formation and borrowing).So theways of enriching the Modern English vocabulary are: vocabulary extension and semantic extension. New vocabulary units may be a result of productive (patterned) ways of word-formation; non-patterned ways of word-creation, borrowing from other languages

Borrowing as a Linguistic Reason of Vocabulary Development.

Linguistic causes presuppose a tendency to bring the language system into a new balance in the process of its linguistic development. Borrowing, e.g., influences the synonymic relations between the words of the vocabulary. As a result of it the stylistic or semantic differentiation of native and borrowed words can take place [ land - country (OF) ]. The English language has been extensively borrowing new words from other languages for more than 900 years. First British borrowing was a result of foreign invasions: Scandinavian and Norman; then as the result of the development of foreign trade relations and cultural exchange with other countries. Americans borrowed words from the Native Americans and later from the immigrants from other countries. Some words undergo various changes in spelling, meaning, and / or usage as they are incorporated into the new language. The origin of words as well as the history and development of meaning and form is the subject of Etymology.

There are several interpretations of the terms native and borrowed (loan) words. Native words are wordsof Anglo-Saxon origin brought by Germanic tribes, words of unknown origin (big, path), words derived on the basis of the Anglo-Saxon stock., words existing in the English word-stock of the 7th century. Borrowed are words that came to the language from the synchronic and diachronic points of view: (wine, cheap, pound, alibi, memorandum, stratum). Sometimes it is difficult to draw a demarcation line between the source of borrowing and the origin of the borrowed word: table - Fr. source, Lat. origin; school - Lat. source, Greek origin; ink - Fr. source, origin unknown.

If we analyse the English vocabulary on the base of their origin, we’ll come to the conclusion that Native (Anglo-Saxon) words constitute 25-30% of the English vocabulary, its basic syncategorematic words and most important semantic groups: most of auxiliary and modal verbs (shall, will, should, must, can, may), pronouns (I, you, he, my, your, his), numerals, conjunctions (and, as, but, till); notional words: parts of body (head, hand, arm, back), kinship terms (mother, father, son, wife), natural phenomena (snow, rain, wibd, frost), planets (sun, moon, star), animals (horse, cow, sheep, cat), basic physical qualities (old, young, hot, heavy, light, dark, white, long), basic physical actions (do, make, go, come, see, hear, eat). Native words are highly polysemantic, derivationally active, they have rich combinability (exceptions are archaic words (lore, methinks, quoth); poetic (whilom, ere, welkin); historical terms (thane, yeoman), monosemantic words: ax, ash, dale. Words with limited word-building capacity: hound - to hound).

There are five major periods of borrowings into the English language though borrowing is less productive both than in OE and ME and than other means of enriching the vocabulary:
I. Germanic period – from Latin - butter, pound, chalk, etc

II. Old English Period (600-1100) – from Latin - apostle, emperor, city, few ordinary words, but thousands of place and river names - London, Carlisle, Devon, Dover, Cornwall, Thames, Avon.

III. Middle English Period (1100-1500) - Scandinavian (most of these first appeared in the written language in Middle English; but many were no doubt borrowed earlier, during the period of the Danelaw (9th-10th centuries) - anger, cake, egg, fellow, get, give, husband, kill, law, root, seat, skill, skin, skirt, sky, sly, take, they, them, their, ugly, want, window, wing; place name suffixes: -by, -thorpe, -gate); French - attorney, chancellor, country, court, crime, evidence, government, jail, judge, jury, noble, parliament, state, tax, chapter, clergy, prayer, preach, priest, religion, saint, baron, baroness; count, countess; duke, duchess; marquis, marquess; prince, princess; viscount, viscountess; noble, royal (contrast native words: king, queen, earl, lord, lady, knight, kingly, queenly) etc. a huge number of words in age, -ance/-ence, -ant/-ent, -ity, -ment, -tion, con-, de-, and pre-.)

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether a given word came from French or whether it was taken straight from Latin. Words for which this difficulty occurs are those in which there were no special sound and/or spelling changes of the sort that distinguished French from Latin.

IV. Early Modern English Period (1500-1650) - The effects of the renaissance begin to be seriously felt in England. We see the beginnings of a huge influx of Latin and Greek words, many of them learned words imported by scholars well versed in those languages. But many are borrowings from other languages, as words from European high culture begin to make their presence felt and the first words come in from the earliest period of colonial expansion. (Latin - anatomy, area, capsule, compensate; Greek(many of these via Latin) - anonymous, atmosphere, autograph, catastrophe, climax, comedy, critic, Greek bound morphemes: - ism, -ize; Arabic via Spanish - algebra, zenith, algorithm, almanac, azimuth, alchemy, admiral; Arabic via other Romance languages - amber, cipher, orange, saffron, sugar, zero)

V. Modern English (1650-present) – this is the period of major colonial expansion, industrial/technological revolution, and American immigration: French - ballet, faux pas, salon, saloon, bastion, brigade, battalion, cavalry, garage, niche, shock; Spanish - armada, alligator, mosquito, mustang, ranch; Italian - arsenal, balcony, broccoli, casino, motto, piano, opera, regatta, umbrella, violin; words from Italian American immigrants - cappuccino, espresso, mafioso, pasta, pizza, ravioli, spaghetti, zucchini; Dutch, Flemish - cruise, dock, freight, pump, reef, skipper, yacht, easel, landscape, sketch, brandy(wine), cookie, cranberry, gin; German - liverwurst, noodle, poodle, dachshund, (beer)stein, zeppelin, delicatessen, hamburger, Oktoberfest; Yiddish - bagel, Chanukkah (Hanukkah), chutzpah, matzoh, schnook; Scandinavian - ombudsman, ski; Russian - apparatchik, borscht, czar/tsar, glasnost, icon; Sanskrit - avatar, swastika, karma; Hindi - bandanna, shampoo, bungalow; Arabic - giraffe, harem; African languages - gorilla, jazz, zebra; American Indian languages - potato, toboggan, wigwam, plus thousands of place names, including Ottawa, Toronto, Saskatchewan and the names of more than half the states of the U.S., including Michigan, Texas, Nebraska, Illinois, Japanese - geisha, hara kiri, judo.

All borrowings can be divided into non-true borrowings - words made up of morphemes of Greek and Latin origin, e.g. cyclotron, telecommunication, telelecture, protein, penicillin, metalanguage, mataculture, paralinguistic, parapsychology, videotaperecorder, videocassette; true borrowings, e.g., Russian dacha, bolshevik, pogrom, step', babushka; loan-translations: Russian self-criticism.

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