• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Modes of Modern English Vocabulary Development

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Modes of Modern English Vocabulary Development

Modern English (1500-up to now) began with the establishment of printing in England. Considering the changes in vocabulary, we are in the late period of Modern English (1700-up to now).

Since the beginning of this century, particularly after the Second World War, new inventions and new scientific discoveries are made daily. New products of all kinds appear in shops. Social relationships and ways of living change rapidly. When people want to talk or write about all these new things, they need names for them and words to describe them. Therefore, new words have being invented or introduced every day to express new things and new changes in society. Gradually they have gained acceptance and become part of the English vocabulary.

In that case where do all these new words come from? How does modern vocabulary develop? Generally speaking, there are three channels through which modern English vocabulary develops. They are creation, semantic change and borrowing.

  • creation

Creation refers to the formation of new words by using the existing materials, namely roots, affixes and other elements. In modern times, this is the most important way of vocabulary expansion. There is a variety of means to produce words.

...read more.

Middle

 are directly converted from their noun compounds, while back-formed verb compounds are formed mainly by dropping the suffixes:-er, -ion, etc.. For example, mass-produce is from mass production, and ghost-write is from ghost-writer.

What we talked about so far is restricted to two-stem compounds. There are many compounds which contain more than two stems. In mass media we may often come across expressions like a middle-of-the-road politician, ahead-of-schedule general election.

  • semantic change

Broadly speaking, semantic change refers to the alteration of the meaning of existing words, as well as the addition of new meaning to established words. Many people consider that Shakespeare’s plays are particularly difficult to understand. Because many words used in his time had different senses from what they have now in contemporary dictionaries. Take Hamlet for example. “fond” designates “foolish” as in “I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records.” Examples like these are numerous.

Extension has played an important part in semantic change. Extension of meaning, also known as generalization, is a process in which a word achieves a more general meaning. A good example is the word thing. Thing

...read more.

Conclusion

hamburger and delicatessen.

Today borrowings are also assimilated to different degrees. Sometimes a borrowing is pronounced in a foreign way for a while, but it is usually soon treated according to sound system of English if it occurs frequently. Words such as garage, salon are not pronounced according to the phonological rules of the source language.

Finally, we should pay attention to an opposite process of development. For example, old words have been out of use. Let’s take the epic Beowulf for examples. There were more than 37 words used to express prince. Now most of them are no longer in use. This is because we do not have the same need for the words as our forefathers did in their time.

We probably all agree whenever new words are created or borrowed, or meaning of words are changed, it is in response to some need of man. As time passes, changes keep taking in society and our daily life, and new concepts、ideas and new things emerge continuously. Man has come to know more and more about the world around. All this is reflected in language and then promote the vocabulary development. Therefore, we can conclude that vocabulary development has never ceased since language came into being and will continue in the future.

Bibliography:

  1. Ronald Wardhaugh, 1977, Introduction to Linguistics, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Comparing length of words in newspapers section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Comparing length of words in newspapers essays

  1. Assesment of Reading Difficulties in Patient AM Following the Development of Vascular Dementia.

    It was proposed by Shallice and Warrington (1977) that the deficit resulting in attentional dyslexia exists between the stages of perceptual classification and semantic processing. (refers to the visual input lexicon and semantic system in the reading model appendix A). It was proposed that problems occur when attention must be distributed between two items. Shallice and Warrington (1977)

  2. From Renaissance to Modern Literature: Loss of Understanding; Creation of Anxiety

    To the writers of the Renaissance era, the letter "j" was considered to be a "long I" and was it was used at the end of a word whereas the letter "I" was known as a "short I" and was placed at the beginning of or in the middle of a word.

  1. AMBIGUITY IN LANGUAGE

    Most are subject to change over time. The denotation of "silly" today is not what it was in the 16th century. At that time the word meant "happy" or "innocent." Connotation: Connotation refers to the psychological or cultural aspects; the personal or emotional associations aroused by words.

  2. Introduction to English language.

    Three-part model of English Morphology Syntax Discourse morphemes v words phrases v clauses v sentences relationships between sentences in longer stretches of language * Morphology This is the study of the structure of words. The name comes from Greek morphos (=shape or form).

  1. Consumer responses to wine bottle back labels

    Attitudes to Back Labels Table 3 provides a summary of the overall findings concerning the participants' attitudes towards the content and use of back labels. This would suggest that among the sample questioned there was general support for the

  2. Compare a modern romantic comedy with a very old romantic comedy - Compare word ...

    If I then found the mean of the sample means, it would be equal to the population mean. Even if I only have one sample and I don not know whether the population is a normal distribution or not, I can still use the central limit theorem, providing * The

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work