Size of Englishvocabulary 1) Old English – 50,000 to 60,000 words OE – homogeneous; 1/3 of the vocabulary has survived About 450 Latin loans (Amosova) Viking invasions added 2,000 2) Middle English – 100,000 – 125,000 English becomes heterogeneous (Norman French , English, Latin), hybrid of Germanic and Romance languages Norman French influence – about 10,000 words, 75 % are still in use (Baugh) Latin influence continues 3) Early Modern English – 200,000 – 250,000 English becomes a polycentric language ; polyglot, cosmopolitan language 4) Modern English – 500,000 words (OED) At present at least 1 billion lexical units Vocabulary of Shakespeare • 884,647 words of running text • 29,000 different words (incl. work, working, worked, which are counted here as separate words) • 21,000 words
Core and periphery Core
vocabulary – often
short (monosyllabic) words of Germanic and Old Norse origin = ie core
vocabulary of most frequent words, and vague fuzzy peripherial words.
Core meaning is the meaning which is at the centre of the
word.periphery – vague. Formal usage (often polysyllabic words) from Norman French (rank,
science, abstraction: Latin, and Greek . The
core vocabulary is predominantly Germanic (the, I, you, etc.) Only 4
of the topranked one hundred words in the Brown Corpus are of foreign origin.
of the first one hundred words in the Brown Corpus are monosyllabic,
and the remaining have two syllables (only, about, other , also, many even people) Origin of the ten 10000 most frequent words: • Old English 31.8 % • French 45 % • Latin 16.7 % • Other Germanic languages 4.2 % • Other languages 2.3 % Example of stratification heart core ME [origin unknown] (!) cardiacLME [Fr. cardiaque or L cardiacus adjs., f. Gk kardiakos, f. kardia] cordial ME [med.L cordialis, f. cor(d-) heart] They suggest that it is not clear where a word ceases to be part of the English language as there are different levels of technicality, foreignness, and so on. An item like heart is core and should be located in the centre of the diagram, whereas an item like cordial is probably more literary (more likely to be written than spoken), whereas an item like cardiac is more scientific (and perhaps more technical as well). If you refer to your heart as your ticker, you have chosen a more colloquial or slangy term .
Native and foreign element. Native vocabulary. 3 strata: Indo-European words names of close relatives, names of natural objects, parts of the body , numerals mother , father , night, foot, heart, bear (bore, born), see Germanic words friend , bridge, ship , life, heaven, glass, death, make v, meet v Old English words Bad, bird , woman , lady , daisy, gospel 23,000 – 24,000 items . Only about 3 % are of non-Germanic origin. Etymologically homogeneous. 65-85% of the Old English (OE) vocabulary has been lost
Latin borrowings From 43 AD to 410 AD Britain was a province of the Roman Empire. Celts in Britain when the Germanic tribes arrived were speakers of both Celtic and Latin. There may also have been contacts with the continent after the Germanic settlement of Britain. continental borrowings Latin (continental): cheap, pepper, street , mile, butter, cheese, wine, inch, ounce, pound, kitchen, plum, cup, dish, mint castrum ‘a Roman encampment or fortress’ Manchester, Gloucester, Leicester, Worcester, Doncaster, Chester colonia - Lincoln vicus ‘ village ’ - Greenwich, Harwich fossa ‘ditch’ - Fossbrook religious (6-7th centuries ) mass, monk, nun, bishop, abbot, minster, apostle, pope, altar, hymn, angel , devil literary (renaissance) democratic, juvenile, sophisticated, aberration, enthusiasm, pernicious, imaginary, allusion, anachronism, dexterity scientific (17th-18th centuries) nucleus , formula, vertebra, corpuscle, atomic,carnivorous, incubate, aqueous, molecule The plurals of nucleus, verterbra, corpus, etc. Latin abbreviations in English i.e. = id est that is to say viz = namely etc = et cetera Latin adjectives for English nouns nose – nasal sun – solar son – filial mother – maternal mouth – oral moon – lunar daughter – filial father – paternal stone – lithic
Greek borrowings The Greek language has contributed 50,000 words to the world. Christianity: New Testament in Greek. Catholic Church – Scclesiastical Latin. Examples : abbot, angel, apostle, bishop; school, cylinder, cycle, criterion, dialogue, cardiac, phonetic, gymnasium, marathon (pentathlon, biathlon), athlete, diagnosis, prognosis, analysis , epic , drama, poem , comedy, poetry, theatre, epilogue, prologue, metaphor.
Celtic borrowings Welsh: walnut, bannock a roundflat cake of oatmeal,bin, clan loch, sea, slogan Celtic personal names: Arthur ‘high, noble’ Donald ‘proud chief’ Mac ‘son of’ (Scottish) O’ ‘son of’ (Irish) O’Connor
Scandinavian borrowings 1,000 words, in some sources 2,000 closed class words: they, them , their Danelaw; take, call , cast, hit, thrive, want, raise , widow, husband , fellow, sky, skirt, ski, skin , skill, law, ill, odd, ugly, bread
French borrowings administration, law, culture, fashion , religion crown, court , power, authority, parliament, government, peace, battle, arms, enemy, armour, service, saint, miracle, clergy, sacrifice, chase , scent, falcon, quarry, forest , retrieve, colour , image , design, beauty, music, romance, costume, garment, apparel, dress , train, arch , tower, vault, column, transept. grades of aristocracy baron, count , countess, duke, duchess, page, marquise, prinke Normans ‘adopted’ king , queen, lord, lady leisure and pastimes cards, chess, the chase, conversation, dice, dance, leisure, recreation, tournament, sport culinary words methods of preparing food veal, beef, mutton, venison,pork, ham, roast, boil, fry Norman French (ei – veil, leisure) vs Central French (oi)