INDO-EUROPEAN A family of languages
consisting of most of the languages of
as well as those of
, the Indian subcontinent, and other parts of
TEUTONIC Of or relating to the Germanic
languages or their speakers.
Sometimes called Germanic.
It antedates the earliest written records, eventually
came to be divided geographically into three groups of
languages: East, North, and West.
branch of Indo-European to which English belongs.
CELTIC A subfamily of the Indo-European
Family that is comprised of the Brittonic and the Goidelic
branches, that is no longer highly spoken in
. Celtic languages include Welsh, Breton, and Gaelic.
COGNATE WORDS and LANGUAGES Related
in origin; genetically related and descended from the same
ancestral linguistic root or language.
SANSKRIT The ancient
Indo-European language of
SIR WILLIAM JONES (1746-1794) British
colonialist and philologist who “discovered” the
relationship between the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit and
European languages like Latin, Greek, and German. Jones
attributed this linguistic relationship to an ancestor language
he called Indo-European.
OLD ENGLISH PERIOD (450-1066) Began with
the end of the Roman occupation of
and ends with the Norman Conquest. During this period the Angles
and the Saxon settled in
and the inflected Germanic language now called Old English
developed. The epic Beowulf is an example of Old English.
BEOWULF An eighth-century epic poem written in Old
MIDDLE ENGLISH PERIOD:(1066-1500) Began
with the battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest. Under the
influence of the French-speaking Normans Old English is
transformed into a new language called Middle English. Chaucer's
Canterbury Tales is written in Middle English.
MODERN ENGLISH PERIOD (1500-1900) Period of English as
spoken mainly in England from 1500 to the beginning of the 20th
century as spoken in England and reflecting changes in the
language based upon rapid intellectual, economic, scientific and
technical developments. Shakespeare's language is an
INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH PERIOD (1900 to the present) The
period of English used as an international language of
communication and reflecting changes in the language resulting
from British colonialism around the world.
GREAT During the reign of this
Anglo-Saxon king of
(871-899) the Anglo-Saxon
compiled and helped establish the
dialect as the
dominant form of English.
WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR The French-speaking
who defeated the
English-speaking Anglo-Saxon Harold at the Battle of Hastings
and became king of
in 1066 A.D.
CONQUEST In 1066 A.D.
the French-speaking Norman William the Conquerer defeated the
English-speaking Anglo-Saxon Harold at the Battle of Hastings
and became king of
. This event marks the
beginning of the transition from Old English to Middle English.
A pictoral narrative of the
Battle of Hastings (1066 A.D.) with Latin captions.
GOEFFREY CHAUCER (1340?-1400) English
poet and author of The Canterbury Tales (1387-1400), the
first major literary work in Middle English.
SIR WILLIAM CAXTON (1476-1490) His
career as a publisher arbitrarily marks the beginning of Modern
English. In order to publish Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
Caxton chose the East Midland dialect of English which became
the morphological standard for modern English.
ENGLISH DICTIONARY A
comprehensive historical dictionary of the English language,
first published between 1884 and 1928.
MORPHOLOGY The study of the structure and
form of words in language or a language, including inflection,
derivation, and the formation of compounds.
MORPHOLOGICAL CHANGE A change in the form
or spelling of a word.
PHONETICS The branch of
linguistics dealing with speech sounds and their production,
combination, description and representation by written symbols.
PHONETIC CHANGE A
change in the sound of a word.
SEMANTICS: n. used with a sing. or pl.
verb 1. Linguistics
The study or science of meaning in language forms. 2.
Logic The study of relationships between signs
and symbols and what they represent.
SEMANTIC CHANGE: A change in the meaning of
ETYMOLOGY The history of a word. Usually indicated in a dictionary entry
Indication in a dictionary about the part of speech of a word
and any irregular forms. E.g., sing v. sang, sung.
DEFINITION n. Abbr. def. 1. a. A
statement conveying fundamental character.
USAGE OR SPECIAL LABEL A tag usually before a
definition of a word that tells what context the word is used
such as slang, informal, colloquial, etc.
SYNONYM A word having the same or nearly
the same meaning as another word or other words in a language.
IDIOM OR IDIOMATIC USE An expression whose meaning
cannot be derived from the individual words in it. Ex: “to
turn over a new leaf” means "to begin anew, to make a
person who argues
that a dictionary should dictate what people should and should
not say or write, that a dictionary should determine how people
person who argues that a dictionary should not
attempt to dictate what people should and should not say or
write; rather, a dictionary should provide an account of the way
a word is actually used.
element which provides the essential meaning of the word. This
element can be nominal, adjectival or verbal in meaning.
DERIVATIVE: A word formed from another by
derivation, such as electricity from
element which is attached in front of a base and which adds a
directional, negative or intensive meaning to the word.
"INTENSIVE" PREFIXES An
element which attached in front of a base and which adds,
for emphasis, “very”
or “completely” to the meaning of the base
EUPHONY: Agreeable sound, especially in the
phonetic quality of words.
A form of phonetic
change in which certain sounds blend together into neighboring
sounds, to which they become identical or similar.
Example- prefix in- + possible becomes impossible. See
Ayers, pg. 35.
ACRONYM: word formed from the initial
letter or letters of other words- ex- MADD-Mothers Against
ABBREVIATION n. Abbr. abbr.
abbrev. The act or product of shortening.
BACK FORMATION the creation of a word from
another by taking away the prefix
of one or more sounds from the beginning of a word, as in
APHESIS: The loss of an initial, usually
unstressed vowel, as in cute from acute.
ANTONYM a word having meaning opposite of
that of another word (example: wet/dry)
CONNECTING VOWEL: a vowel has been inserted between the
bases in order to make the pronunciation easier. Generally -i-
between Latin bases and -o- between Greek bases. (See Ayers, pg
word consisting of two free morphemes or meaning units
that can stand alone, for example: mailbox, hallway, jellybean.
composed of elements from different languages. For example,
bicycle is a hybrid because BI- is Latin and CYCL- is Greek.
word element which is attached after the base, usually adds
meaning to the base, and determines the part of speech of the
ELISION: n. 1. a. Linguistics Omission of a final or initial
sound in pronunciation. b. Omission
of an unstressed vowel or syllable, as in scanning a verse. 2.
The act or an instance of omitting something.
n. 1. The
act or process of making or becoming dissimilar. 2.
Linguistics The process by which one of two
similar or identical sounds in a word becomes less like the
other, such as the l in
English marble (from
French marbre ).
FUNCTIONAL CHANGE One
type of semantic change in which a word’s part of speech
changes without any change in spelling.
A process whereby a word, without
change of form, that is, without the addition of suffixes, comes
to be used as a different part of speech.
E.g., “an iron sword”
and “to iron a shirt.”
DEGENERATION OF MEANING A
type of semantic change whereby a word which originally had a
good, or at least a neutral, meaning has come to indicate or
suggest something objectionable, low, or unpleasant;
HYPERBOLE (Greek: hyper- “excessive” + BOL-
“to throw/put”) Exaggeration, a path that leads to a process
called weakening, by which the overused word becomes less
forceful and vivid.
The practice of substituting a less direct phrase for a direct
The attempt to make unfamiliar words resemble
better-known words to which they are erroneously thought to be
The creation of one word from another by
the clipping off of a suffix.
BLEND A word produced by combining two words so that only a
part of each remains. Ex. Smog from smoke + fog.
LATINISM An idiom,
structure, or word derived from or suggestive of Latin.
word adopted from another language and completely or partially