Systemic relations in the English vocabulary. Groups of words in the lexicon. Neologisms, archaisms and international words.

Archaisms are words which are no longer used in everyday speech, which have been ousted by their synonyms. Archaisms remain in the language, but they are used as stylistic devices to express solemnity.

Most of these words are lexical archaisms and they are stylistic synonyms of words which ousted them from the neutral style. Some of them are: steed /horse/, slay /kill/, behold /see/, perchance /perhaps/, woe /sorrow/ etc.

Sometimes a lexical archaism begins a new life, getting a new meaning, then the old meaning becomes a semantic archaism, e.g. fair in the meaning beautiful is a semantic archaism, but in the meaning blond it belongs to the neutral style.

Sometimes the root of the word remains and the affix is changed, then the old affix is considered to be a morphemic archaism, e.g. beautious /ous was substituted by ful/, bepaint / be was dropped/, darksome /some was dropped/, oft / en was added/. etc.


At the present moment English is developing very swiftly and there is so called neology blowup. R. Berchfield who worked at compiling a four-volume supplement to NED says that averagely 800 neologisms appear every year in Modern English. It has also become a language-giver recently, especially with the development of computerization.

New words, as a rule, appear in speech of an individual person who wants to express his idea in some original way. This person is called originater. New lexical units are primarily used by university teachers, newspaper reporters, by those who are connected with mass media.

Neologisms can develop in three main ways: a lexical unit existing in the language can change its meaning to denote a new object or phenomenon. In such cases we have semantic neologisms, e.g. the word umbrella developed the meanings: , . A new lexical unit can develop in the language to denote an object or phenomenon which already has some lexical unit to denote it. In such cases we have transnomination, e.g. the word slum was first substituted by the word ghetto then by the word-group inner town. A new lexical unit can be introduced to denote a new object or phenomenon. In this case we have a proper neologism, many of them are cases of new terminology.

Here we can point out several semantic groups when we analize the group of neologisms connected with computerization, and here we can mention words used:

a) to denote different types of computers, e.g. PC, super-computer, multi-user, neurocomputer / analogue of a human brain/;

b) to denote parts of computers, e.g. hardware, software, monitor, screen, data, vapourware / experimental samples of computers for exhibition, not for production/;

c) to denote computer languages, e.g. BASIC, Algol FORTRAN etc;

d) to denote notions connected with work on computers, e.g. computerman, computerization, computerize, to troubleshoot, to blitz out / to ruin data in a computers memory/.

There are also different types of activities performed with the help of computers, many of them are formed with the help of the morpheme tele, e.g. to telework, to telecommute / to work at home having a computer which is connected with the enterprise for which one works/. There are also such words as telebanking, telemarketing, teleshopping / when you can perform different operations with the help of your computer without leaving your home, all operations are registered by the computer at your bank/, videobank /computerized telephone which registers all information which is received in your absence/.

In the sphere of lingusitics we have such neologisms as: machine translation, interlingual / an artificial language for machine translation into several languages / and many others.

In the sphere of biometrics we have computerized machines which can recognize characteristic features of people seeking entrance : finger-print scanner / finger prints/, biometric eye-scanner / blood-vessel arrangements in eyes/, voice verification /voice patterns/. These are types of biometric locks. Here we can also mention computerized cards with the help of which we can open the door without a key.

In the sphere of medicine computors are also used and we have the following neologisms: telemonitory unit / a telemonitory system for treating patience at a distance/.

With the development of social activities neologisms appeared as well, e.g. youthquake - , pussy-footer - , , Euromarket, Eurodollar, Europarliament, Europol etc.

In the modern English society there is a tendency to social stratification, as a result there are neologisms in this sphere as well, e.g. belonger - , . To this group we can also refer abbreviations of the type yuppie /young urban professional people/, such as: muppie, gruppie, rumpie, bluppie etc. People belonging to the lowest layer of the society are called survivers, a little bit more prosperous are called sustainers, and those who try to prosper in life and imitate those, they want to belong to, are called emulaters. Those who have prospered but are not belongers are called achievers. All these layers of socety are called VAL /Value and Lifestyles/ .

The rich belong also to jet set that is those who can afford to travel by jet planes all over the world enjoying their life. Sometimes they are called jet plane travellers.

During Margaret Thatchers rule the abbreviation PLU appeared which means People like us by which snobbistic circles of society call themselves. Nowadays /since 1989/ PLU was substituted by one of us.

There are a lot of immigrants now in UK , in connection with which neologisms partial and non-partial were formed / /.

The word-group welfare mother was formed to denote a non-working single mother living on benefit.

In connection with criminalization of towns in UK volantary groups of assisting the police were formed where dwellers of the neighbourhood are joined. These groups are called neighbourhood watch, home watch. Criminals wear stocking masks not to be recognized.

The higher society has neologisms in their speech, such as : dial-a-meal, dial-a-taxi.

In the language of teen-agers there are such words as : Drugs! /OK/, sweat / /, task /home composition /, brunch etc.

With the development of professional jargons a lot of words ending in speak appeared in English, e.g. artspeak, sportspeak, medspeak, education-speak, video-speak, cable-speak etc.

There are different semantic groups of neologisms belonging to everyday life:

a) food e.g. starter/ instead of hors doevres/, macrobiotics / raw vegetables, crude rice/ , longlife milk, clingfilm, microwave stove, consumer electronics, fridge-freezer, hamburgers /beef-, cheese-, fish-, veg- /.

b) clothing, e.g. catsuit /one-piece clinging suit/, slimster , string / miniscule bikini/, hipster / trousers or skirt with the belt on hips/, completenik / a long sweater for trousers/, sweatnik /a long jacket/, pants-skirt, bloomers / ladys sports trousers/.

c) footwear e.g. winklepickers /shoes with long pointed toes/, thongs /open sandals/, backsters /beech sandals with thick soles/.

d) bags, e.g. bumbag /a small bag worn on the waist/, sling bag /a bag with a long belt/, maitre / a small bag for cosmetics/.

There are also such words as : dangledolly / a dolly-talisman dangling in the car before the windscreen/, boot-sale /selling from the boot of the car/, touch-tone /a telephone with press-button/.

Neologisms can be also classified according to the ways they are formed. They are subdivided into : phonological neologisms, borrowings, semantic neologisms and syntactical neologisms. Syntactical neologisms are divided into morphological /word-building/ and phraseological /forming word-groups/.

Phonological neologisms are formed by combining unique combinations of sounds, they are called artificial, e.g. rah-rah /a short skirt which is worn by girls during parades/, yeck /yuck which are interjections to express repulsion produced the adjective yucky/ yecky. These are strong neologisms.

Strong neologisms include also phonetic borrowings, such as perestroika /Russian/, solidarnosc /Polish/, Berufsverbot / German /, dolce vita /Italian/ etc.

Morphological and syntactical neologisms are usually built on patterns existing in the language, therefore they do not belong to the group of strong neologisms.

Among morphological neologisms there are a lot of compound words of different types, such as free-fall- appeared in 1987 with the stock market crash in October 1987 /on the analogy with free-fall of parachutists, which is the period between jumping and opening the chute/. Here also belong: call-and-recall - , bioastronomy -search for life on other planets, rat-out - betrayal in danger , zero-zero (double zero) - ban of longer and shorter range weapon, x-rated /about films terribly vulgar and cruel/, Ameringlish /American English/, tycoonography - a biography of a business tycoon.

There are also abbreviations of different types, such as resto, teen /teenager/, dinky /dual income no kids yet/, ARC /AIDS-related condition, infection with AIDS/, HIV / human immuno-deficiency virus/.

Quite a number of neologisms appear on the analogy with lexical units existing in the language, e.g. snowmobile /automobile/, danceaholic /alcoholic/, airtel /hotel/, cheeseburger /hamburger/, autocade / cavalcade/.

There are many neologisms formed by means of affixation, such as: decompress, to disimprove, overhoused, educationalist, slimster, folknik etc. Phraseological neologisms can be subdivided into phraseological units with transferred meanings, e.g. to buy into/ to become involved/, fudge and dudge /avoidance of definite decisions/, and set non-idiomatic expressions, e.g. electronic virus, Rubics cube, retail park, acid rain , boot trade etc.

International Words

It is often the case that a word is borrowed by several languages, and not just by one. Such words usually con vey concepts which are significant in the field of communication.

Many of them are of Latin and Greek origin. Most names of sciences are international, e. g. philosophy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, linguistics, lexicology. There are also numerous terms of art in this group: music, theatre, drama, tragedy, comedy, artist, primadonna.

It is quite natural that political terms frequently occur in the international group of borrowings: politics, policy, revolution, progress, democracy, communism, anti-militarism.

20th c. scientific and technological advances brought a great number of new international words: atomic, antibiotic, radio, television, sputnik. The latter is a Russian borrowing, and it became an international word (meaning a man-made satellite) in 1961, immediately after the first space flight by Yury Gagarin.

The English language also contributed a considerable number of international words to world languages. Among them the sports terms occupy a prominent position: football, volley-ball, baseball, hockey, cricket, rugby, tennis, golf, etc.

Fruits and foodstuffs imported from exotic countries often transport their names too and, being simultaneously imported to many countries, become international: coffee, cocoa, chocolate, coca-cola, banana, mango, avocado, grapefruit.

It is important to note that international words are mainly borrowings. The outward similarity of such words as the E. son, the Germ. Sohn and the R. should not lead one to the quite false conclusion that they are international words. They represent the Indo-Euron group of the native element in each respective language and are cognates, i. e. words of the same etymological root, and not borrowings.



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