Professionalisms and dialect words

Professionalisms, as the term itself signifies, are the words used in a definite trade, profession or calling by people connected by common interests both at work and at home. They commonly designate some working process or implement of labour. They are used to nameanew already-existing concepts, tools or instruments, and have the typical properties of a special code. Outside the special professional environment these words cannot be understood by the native speakers or irrelevant for them. Professionalisms generally remain in circulation within a definite community, as they are linked to a common occupation and common social interests. The semantic structure of professionalism is often dimmed by the image on which the meaning of the professionalism is based, particularly when the features of the object in question reflect the process of the work, metaphorically or metonymically. But contrary to jargon professionalisms do not aim at secrecy. They fulfil a socially useful function in communication, facilitating a quick and adequate grasp of the message.

Here are some professionalisms used in different trades: tin-fish (submarine); block-buster (a bomb especially designed to destroy blocks of big buildings); piper (a specialist who decorates pastry with the use of a cream-pipe); a midder case (a midwifery case); outer (a knockout blow), , , , .

Professionalisms are used in emotive prose to depict the natural speech of a character. The skilful use of a professional word will show not only the occupation of a character, but also education, breeding, environment and sometimes even his psychology.

Good examples of professionalisms as used by a man-of-letters can be found in Dreiser's Financier. The following passage is an illustration:


Frank soon picked up all the technicalities of the situation. A "bull", he learned, was one who bought in anticipation of a higher price to come; and if he was "loaded" up with a "line" of stocks he was said to be "long". He sold to "realize" his profit, or if his margins were exhausted he was "wiped out". A "bear" was one who sold stocks which most frequently he did not have, in anticipation of a lower price at which he could buy and satisfy his previous sales. He was "short" when he had sold what he did not own, and he was "covered" when he bought to satisfy his sales and to realize his profits or to protect himself against further loss in the case prices advanced instead of declining. He was in a "corner" when he found that he could not buy in order to make good the stock he had borrowed for delivery and the return of which had been demanded. He was then obliged to s-settle practically at a price fixed by those to whom he and other "shorts" had sold.

As is seen, each financial professionalism is explained by the author and the words themselves are in inverted commas to stress their peculiar idiomatic sense and also to indicate that the words do not belong to the Standard English vocabulary in the meanings they are used.


Dialectal words are those which in the process of integration of the national language remained beyond its literary boundaries, and their use is generally confined to a definite locality. Dialectal words are not homogeneous subgroupfrom the stylistic point of view. It consists of neutral elements used to denote different objects, processes or realia of everyday life and emotional and expressive elements.

There is sometimes a difficulty in distinguishing dialectal words from colloquial words. Some dialectal words have become universally accepted as recognized units of colloquial language. To these words in English, for example, belong lass, meaning 'a girl or a beloved girl' and the corresponding lad, 'a boy or a young man', from the Scottish and the northern dialect, daft meaning 'of unsound mind, silly'; fash also Scottish, with the meaning of 'trouble, cares'. Still they have not lost their dialectal associations and therefore are used in literary English with the above-mentioned stylistic function of characterization.

Among the Ukrainian dialectal words originated from different parts of the country the words , , , , , , , , , , , etc. should be mentioned.

The primary function of dialectal words in belles lettres style is to supply the local colour and to characterize the personalities through their speech.



  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 Words
  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.
  12. O.E. Dialects

: 1916

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Slang, jargonisms, vernacular and vulgarisms | Stylistically coloured words and context

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