Lexicology of the English Language


catalog, program,

e) the replacement of ce by se in words of Romanic origin, e.g. defense, offense,

d) delition of unpronounced endings in native words, e.g. tho, thro.

Differences in pronunciation

In American English we have r-coloured fully articulated vowels, in the combinations: ar, er, ir, or, ur, our etc. In BE the sound / / corresponds to the AE /^/, e.g. not. In BE before fricatives and combinations with fricatives a is pronounced as /a:/, in AE it is pronounced / / e.g. class, dance, answer, fast etc.

There are some differences in the position of the stress:


add`ress adress la`boratory `laboratory

re`cess `recess re`search `research

in`quiry `inquiry ex`cess `excess

Some words in BE and AE have different pronunciation, e.g.


/`fju:tail/ /`fju:t l/ /`dousail / /dos l/

/kla:k/ /kl rk/ /`fig / /figyer/

/ `le3 / / li:3 r/ /lef`ten nt/ /lu:tenant/

/ nai / /ni: r/ /shedju:l/ /skedyu:l/

But these differences in pronunciation do not prevent Englishmen and American from communicating with each other easily and cannot serve as a proof that British and American are different languages.

Words can be classified according to the period of their life in the language. The number of new words in a language is always larger than the number of words which come out of active usage. Accordingly we can have archaisms, that is words which have come out of active usage, and neologisms, that is words which have recently appeared in the language.


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:

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