International Words

Degrees of assimilation.

According to the degree of assimilation borrowings are classified into the following groups.


1. Completely assimilated borrowings which underwent all types of assimilation.


2. Partially assimilated borrowings which lack one of the types of assimilation:

a) words not assimilated semantically (denote objects of the country from which they came);

b) words not assimilated grammatically (e.g.: nouns from Latin, which keep their original plural forms);

c) words not assimilated phonetically;

d) words not assimilated graphically.


3. Barbarisms which are completely non-assimilated borrowings, used by English people in the original, though they have corresponding words and expressions in English.




It is often the case that a word is borrowed by several languages, and not just by one. Such words usually convey concepts which are significant in 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. cuh should not lead one to the quite false conclusion that they are international words. They represent the Indo-European group of the native element in each respective language and are cognates, i.e. words of the same etymological root, and not borrowings.



  2. Analyze the meanings of the italicized words. Identify the result of the changes of the connotational aspect of lexical meaning in the given words.
  3. Archaic, obsolete and historic words
  4. Combine the following words into sentences.
  5. Compare the meanings of the given words. Define what semantic features are shared by all the members of the group and what semantic properties distinguish them from each other.
  6. Divergences in the semantic structure of words
  7. Free Word-Groups Versus Phraseological Units Versus Words
  8. Identify the period of borrowing of the French, Greek, Russian and German words given in task 6.
  9. International Marketing Research on the Web
  10. Interrelation of Etymological and Stylistic Characteristics of Words.
  11. Look at this form of a music collection. Label the data types with words from B opposite.

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