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Lecture IV


 The Latin element in the English vocabulary;
 The Greek element in the English vocabulary;
 The French element in the English vocabulary;
 Borrowings from other languages (Italian,
Spanish; German; Dutch; Arabic; Russia etc.).
What is the origin of the
following words?

Street; Machine;
Curriculum; Tenor;
Physics; Zigzag;
Democracy; Apricot;
Justice; Tundra.
The Latin element in the English

Loan words from Latin are very numerous in
English and are generally divided into three
groups or periods:
1. Words borrowed before the English came to
Britain and just after their coming to Britain;
2. Words borrowed when the English became
3. Words borrowed at the time of the
Loan words from Latin of the
earliest period

reflect the economical and cultural relations between
the Romans and Germanic tribes on the continent;
are mostly short words learned in a purely oral
manner: wine (L. vinum), pepper (L. piper), cheese
(L. caseus), street (L. strata) etc.;
include geographical names ending in “–chester”
(Manchester, Lancaster);
After 449, they are mostly connected with the
remains of Roman constructions in Britain (port,
street, camp).
Loan words from Latin of
the second period

are connected with the introduction of
Christianity into Britain in 597;
are related to church: angel, candle, priest, saint,
devil, etc.
were borrowed in English due to the culture and
education brought by Roman priests: names of
different materials, clothes, plants, animals etc.
E.g. chalk (L. calcem), oil (L. oleum), cup (L.
cuppa), plant (L. planta).
The words borrowed from Latin at the
time of the Renaissance

 were adopted through writing;
 are mostly abstract or scientific words;
 can be recognized by morphological elements (e.g.
verbs with the suffix –ate, as in separate, translate;
verbs with the suffix –ute, as in constitute, execute;
adjectives with the suffix –ant, -ent, as in evident,
patient, triumphant);
Numerous Latin words (scientific terms) were borrowed
in the 17th and the 18th centuries: curriculum, vacuum,
sanatorium etc. They have become international.
The Greek element in the
English vocabulary (I)

 There are very few Greek words borrowed by the English
directly from Greek in the Old period. E.g. church (Gr.
 A large number of Greek words came into English through
Latin and French (fancy, idea, etc.);
 During the Renaissance, some Greek words were directly
borrowed from Greek (lexicon, myth, sympathy) and also
indirectly borrowed through Latin (drama, gymnastics) and
French (astronomy, theatre).
 Modern scientific and technical terms of Greek origin are
nearly all of international currency (bacteriology, physics,
 Greek borrowings were more or less latinized in form.
The Greek element in the
English vocabulary (II)

Many proper names are of Greek origin (George,
Eugene, Helen, Peter, Nicholas);
In linguistics come the next loan words: antonym,
dialect, lexicology, stylistics, metaphor,
metonymy, etc.;
Numerous English compounds are coined from
such Greek roots as: autos – self, chroma – colour,
phone – voice (autograph, chromatology,
phonograph, etc.).
The French element in the
English vocabulary (I)

There are two strata of loan words from French in the
English vocabulary:

Words from French Words from French

borrowed during borrowed after 16th
several centuries after century
the Norman conquest in
The French element in the
English vocabulary (II)

First period
 The words borrowed from French naturally reflected the life
of the ruling classes. They were names of new notions,
which the English learned from their Norman conquerors;
 They were connected with the state and administration (to
govern, state, country, power, nation , etc.); with feudal
relations (feudal, prince, baron, servant , etc.);
 Almost all the words connected with the life and tastes of
the aristocracy, fashions, cooking articles of luxury, different
amusements are of French origin (honour, noble, dinner,
boil, roast, pleasure, luxury, etc.)
The French element in the
English vocabulary (III)

 military terms such as: army, battle, defense, victory, soldier,
enemy, etc.
 law terms: judge, justice, crime, fraud, etc.
 words connected with religion: religion, pray, vice, etc.
 many terms connected with science and art: literature, art, science,
colour, architecture, paint, volume, chapter, etc.
 numerous words related to trade: merchant, money, purchase,
value, etc.
 the names of a lot of abstract notions: despair, imagination, spirit,
instance, cause, etc.
 words that name the most usual notions as autumn, river, to use,
to cry, etc.
The French element in the
English vocabulary (IV)

 Many loan words from French remained in the literary and
scientific language and never became colloquial;
 In some cases it is seen how the words used by the
common people remained English, and those used by the
upper classes were of French origin (e.g. the names of
domestic animals are English, but their flesh is called by
French words: cow-beef, sheep-mouton, swine-porc);
 English words borrowed in this period have been fully
 The French language influenced the English word-building
The French element in the
English vocabulary (V)

Second period
 words borrowed in the 16th-17th centuries and later are of
different character;
 these words are of not from the Norman dialect of French,
but from the Parisian dialect;
 they were borrowed from French as a result of political and
cultural relations between the two countries;
 examples: fiancée, unique, marine, toilet, hotel,
illumination, bourgeois, etc.
 A large number of loan words of the second period have
not been fully assimilated (machine, buffet, etc.).
Borrowings from other languages.
Borrowings from Italian

 words connected with art: concert, opera, piano, solo,
duet, etc.
 military terms borrowed mostly through French in the
16th and 17th centuries: cavalry, alarm, colonel, corporal,
 words connected with different spheres of life, often
specific to Italy: macaroni, umbrella, artisan, autostrada,
A lot of words borrowed from Italian have become
Borrowings from other languages.
Borrowings from Spanish

The English borrowed Spanish words mostly in
the 16th century when Spain was a powerful
state, and also in the 17th-19th centuries.
Examples: cigar, guitar, tango, cafeteria, etc.
Many words of American Indians came into
English through Spanish: tomato, potato, maize,
chocolate, etc.
Borrowings from other languages.
Borrowings from German

Most of the borrowed words are terms connected
with those branches of science and techniques
which were highly developed in Germany.
Some of non technological load words from
German are iceberg, zigzag, plunder.
Borrowings from other languages.
Borrowings from Dutch

about 200 words;
nautical terms: deck, yacht, skipper, etc.
art terms: easle, landscape, sketch, etc.
other words: wagon, slim, boss, luck, etc.
Borrowings from other languages.
Borrowings from Arabic

Reflect the economic and cultural relations
between Europe and the East;
The whole number of Arabic words borrowed in
the English language is about 170;
Most Arabic words were borrowed by the
English through other languages;
 Examples: caliph, assassin, sultan, magazine,
apricot, alcohol, zero, etc.
Borrowings from other languages.
Borrowings from India

Most loan words from the languages of India
came into English in the 16th century and
continued borrowing in the following centuries;
Examples: khaki, jungle, sugar, orange, shampoo,
Borrowings from other languages.
Borrowings from Russian

One of the earliest words borrowed from Russian
into English is the word sable;
In the 16th century, the English borrowed some
Russian words as vodka, samovar, steppe,
tundra, tsar.
Loan words from Russian borrowed in the Soviet
Union: labour day, shock work, etc.
The latest loan word from Russian is sputnik.