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Romance loans in English

This thesis is about the influence of the Romance languages on the English vernacular. Language change means linguistic evolution, which takes place over centuries. The English language from its beginnings up to the present day provides us with substantial evidence of change at all linguistic levels. One can say English is a Germanic language when considering its roots. But when regarding the actual state of the English language it can be seen that the Romance influence to which English has been exposed over the centuries is in evidence, and English can be considered as ‘highly Romanized’ language. Already in Middle English there can be found Romanesque traces in the language. The above excerpt of Dunbar’s “Mary’s Ballad” from the 16th century shows the enormous impact of Latin on the English language to that time. During the Renaissance Latin terms were used to make literary style more perfect. Especially, but not exclusively in literature, Latin has always played an important role in the development of the English language. However not only the Latin tongue helped English to expand enormously on a lexical level but Romance languages in general have always been influencing the development of the English language and are responsible for its continuous enrichment as far as the amount of the vocabulary is concerned. Old English counts approximately 23,000 words, whereas the English vocabulary during the Middle Ages has expanded up to 60,000 words. In comparison, Modern English contains a vocabulary of more than 500,000 words. This is an enormous expansion in English lexis over the centuries. Today English is one of the word richest languages.

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Nadine Waamelink Romance Loans in English ________________________________________________________________ 1 INTRODUCTION Language change means linguistic evolution, which takes place over centuries. The English language from its beginnings up to the present day provides us with substantial evidence of change at all linguistic levels. One can say English is a Germanic language when considering its roots. But when regarding the actual state of the English language it can be seen that the Romance influence to which English has been exposed over the centuries is in evidence, and English can be considered as ‘highly Romanized’ language. Already in Middle English there can be found Romanesque traces in the language. The above excerpt of Dunbar’s “Mary’s Ballad” from the 16 th century shows the enormous impact of Latin on the English language to that time. During the Renaissance Latin terms were used to make literary style more perfect. Especially, but not exclusively in literature, Latin has always played an important role in the development of the English language. However not only the Latin tongue helped English to expand enormously on a lexical level but Romance languages in general have always been influencing the development of the English language and are responsible for its continuous enrichment as far as the amount of the vocabulary is concerned. Old English counts approximately 23,000 words, whereas the English vocabulary during the Middle Ages has expanded up to 60,000 words. In comparison, Modern English contains a vocabulary of more than 500,000 words. This is an enormous expansion in English lexis over the centuries. Today English is one of the word richest languages. Although the growth of the English vocabulary is also explainable by regarding inner word-formation processes the process of ‘borrowing’ plays the most important role in the history of the language. Therefore, many words are loans which have been adopted from other languages (cf. Bähr (2001): 48). Besides the Scandinavian languages, which had also a great impact on English, Romance languages have constantly been donating vocabulary. The majority of the adopted words have been integrated and adopted so far that they can hardly be recognized any longer. Apart from literary use they are also utilized in colloquial discourse. But there are loans which are predominantly used in formal or literary English, for example for stylistic purposes or to express more abstract ideas, and others which have entered also every day language. Modern 1

Tesi di Laurea

Facoltà: Lingue e Letterature Straniere

Autore: Nadine Waamelink Contatta »

Composta da 71 pagine.

 

Questa tesi ha raggiunto 684 click dal 07/09/2007.

 

Consultata integralmente 4 volte.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.