by Linda Correli
Etymologically the vocabulary of the English language is far from being homogenous. It consists of two layers - the native stock of words and the borrowed stock of words. Numerically the borrowed stock of words is considerably larger than the native stock of words.
In fact native words comprise only 30% of the total number of words in the English vocabulary but the native words form the bulk of the most frequent words actually used in speech and writing. Besides, the native words have a wider range of lexical and grammatical valency, they are highly polysemantic and productive in forming word clusters and set expressions.
Borrowed words or loanwords are words taken from another language and modified according to the patterns of the receiving language.
In many cases a borrowed word especially one borrowed long ago is practically indistinguishable from a native word without a thorough etymological analysis. The number of the borrowings in the vocabulary of the language and the role played by them is determined by the historical development of the nation speaking the language.
The most effective way of borrowing is direct borrowing from another language as the result of the contacts with other nations. Though, a word may be also borrowed indirectly not from the source language but through another language.
When analyzing borrowed words one should distinguish between two terms - source of borrowing and origin of borrowing. The first term is applied to the language from which the word was immediately borrowed and the second - to the language to which the word may be ultimately traced. The closer the two interacting languages are in structure the easier it is for words of one language to penetrate into the other.
There are different approaches to classifying the borrowed stock of words
The borrowed stock of words may be classified according to the nature of the borrowing itself as borrowing proper, loans translation and semantic loans.
Loan translation or calque is a phrase borrowed from another language by literal word-for-word translation.
Semantic loan is the borrowing of the meaning for a word already existing in the English language.
Latin loans are classified into the subgroups.
The tendency of the English language to borrow extensively can be traced during the centuries. Thus, one can confidently claim that borrowing is one of the most productive sources of enrichment of the English vocabulary.
Linda Correli is a staff writer of www.CustomResearchPapers.us and an author of the popular online tutorial for students "What Teachers Want: Master the Art of Essay Writing in 10 Days", available at www.Go2Essay.com
Writing systems | Language and languages | Language learning | Pronunciation | Learning vocabulary | Language acquisition | Motivation and reasons to learn languages | Arabic | Basque | Celtic languages | Chinese | English | Esperanto | French | German | Greek | Hebrew | Indonesian | Italian | Japanese | Korean | Latin | Portuguese | Russian | Sign Languages | Spanish | Swedish | Other languages | Minority and endangered languages | Constructed languages (conlangs) | Reviews of language courses and books | Language learning apps | Teaching languages | Languages and careers | Being and becoming bilingual | Language and culture | Language development and disorders | Translation and interpreting | Multilingual websites, databases and coding | History | Travel | Food | Other topics | Spoof articles | How to submit an article
Why not share this page:
Learn languages for free on Duolingo
If you like this site and find it useful, you can support it by making a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or by contributing in other ways. Omniglot is how I make my living.
Note: all links on this site to Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.fr are affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you click on any of them and buy something. So by clicking on these links you can help to support this site.