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Vocabulary, development of vocabulary, terms: center-periphe

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Michal Opěla

on 1 December 2013

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Transcript of Vocabulary, development of vocabulary, terms: center-periphe

Vocabulary, development of vocabulary, terms: center-periphery, semantic fields
Vocabulary
• Represents all the words in a particular language or all the words that a person knows/uses
• The estimate of the vocabulary of English is 600 000 units
• Estimated
active vocabulary
(words that we use in written and spoken communication) of a language user is 5 000 words
• Estimated
passive vocabulary
(words that we know but don’t use) of an adult language user is 25 000 – 30 000 words. Educated individuals know around 60 000 words.
Development of vocabulary
Vocabulary is constantly changing =
open system
The vocabulary develops by:
absorbing new words
created from its own resources
adopted as loanwords from other languages
giving a new, additional meaning to the existing lexical forms
With arrival of the new meaning the old meaning disappear or the old and new meaning coexist
Development of vocabulary
Some words were ousted as a result of the influence of borrowings
Scandinavian words
take
and
die
replaced Old English
niman
and
swedan

French words
river
and
army
replaced OE
ea
,
here
Words may drop out as a result of the disappearance of the object they denote
OE
wunden-stefna
= a curved-stemmed ship
Development of vocabulary
Words can become dated and are used in narrow, specialized fields
e.g. in poetry
billow
=wave
steed
=horse
foe
= enemy
The number of new words that appear in the language is greater than those that drop out or become dated
Center-periphery
the members of the
center
are words showing stability (unchanging in meaning and form), with high frequency, capable of productivity, belonging to a neutral style
the members of the
periphery
are:
1. The dying out words
archaisms-
old words/phrases that are no longer used
aye = yes
hither = to this place
puissant = powerful; mighty
dated expressions

schoolmaster replaced by teacher
2. New-born words
neologisms
- a new word or expression or a new meaning of a word
Science and technology
X-ray
radar
laser
google
(searching on internet)
Science fiction

hyperspace-
very quick means of traveling in space,1934
phaser-
type of an energy weapon,1966
Politics

Islamophobia-
prejudice against, hatred towards, or fear of Muslims, 1991
Corporatocracy-
economic and political system controlled by corporations, 2001
Popular culture
Brangelina-
supercouple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie


Semantic fields
coined and widely promoted by J. Trier who pointed out that the significance of each unit is determined by its members- the mutually defining words
Semantic fields are sets of semantically related words, closely connected sectors of vocabulary (related groups of words), each characterized by a common concept and belonging to the same word class, e.g. words
blue, red, yellow, black
= semantic field of colours
Semantic fields
The members of particular semantic field are not necessarily synonymous. Their inclusion may be based on oppositeness, hierarchy etc. All of them are joined together by the common semantic component –
common denominator of meaning
(concept of colours, fruit, kinship etc.)
The members of a field are semantically interdependent -> each element helps to delimit and determine the meaning of its neighbour and is semantically delimited and determined by it
Semantic fields
Each language community has its own system of classification (its own structure of semantic fields). Fields differ from language to language, because of the gaps in the systems of individual languages e.g. Czech
bratranec, sestřenice
x English
cousin
2. New-born words
nonce-words
- a word occurring, invented, or used just for a particular occasion
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-
song from Disney musical film Marry Poppins (1964), it means: "something to say when you have nothing to say"
Runcible-
adjective, invented by Edward Lear, the meaning is unknown
3. Emotional words
4. Idiosyncratic words

with an isolated structure
- when few other words have the same combination of phonemes
Center-periphery
Center-periphery
Center-periphery
Vocabulary is a set of interconnected phenomena that affect each other.
There is a lack of balance in the system:
elements of center and periphery compete with one another
there are 2 opposing forces:
1) forces leading to integration and uniformity, e.g. the efforts to bring words from periphery to the center
2) forces leading to diversification -> producing finer distinctions in meaning and cutting off morphological links (morphological link between
late
and
last
and between
near
and
next
has been lost)
some changes are due to the changes in the extra-linguistic reality (e.g. disappearance of some terms due to technological process)
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