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1. Chronological division in the history of English.
1. pre-written or pre-historical – period, which may be termed Early Old English
 lasts from the 5th to the end of the 7th c.
 It is the stage of tribal dialects of the West Germanic invaders (Angles, Saxons, Jutes
and Frisians).
 The tribal dialects were used for oral communication; there was no written form of
 The English of this period has been reconstructed from the written evidence of other Old
Germanic languages, especially Gothic, and from later OE written records.
 It was the period of transition from PG to Written OE
 The period of sound changes
 The arrival of St. Augustine in 597 and the introduction of Christianity into Saxon
England brought more Latin words into the English language.
 The most famous is a heroic epic poem called "Beowulf". It is the oldest known English
poem and it is notable for its length - 3,183 lines. Experts say "Beowulf" was written in
Britain more than one thousand years ago. The name of the person who wrote it is
2. Written OE
 extends from the 8th c. till the end of the 11th century.
 The tribal dialects gradually changed into local or regional dialects
 OE was a typical Old Germanic language with a purely Germanic vocabulary, and few
foreign borrowings; As far as grammar is concerned, OE was an inflected or "synthetic"
language with a well-developed system of morphological categories, especially in the
noun and adjective.
The dialects were a medium of oral communication
 West Saxon dialect had the supremacy
3. Early Middle English
 starts after 1066, the year of the Norman Conquest, and covers the 12th, 13th and half of
the 14th c.
 It was the stage of the greatest dialectal divergence caused by the feudal system and by
foreign influences – Scandinavian and French.
 the official language in England was French, or rather its variety called Anglo-French or
Anglo-Norman; it was also the dominant language of literature( a gap in English literacy
tradition in 12 c.)
Towards the end of the period their literary prestige grew, as English began to displace
French in the sphere of writing, as well as in many other spheres.
Early ME was a time of great changes at all the levels of the language, especially in lexis and
grammar. English absorbed two layers of lexical borrowings: the Scandinavian element (NorthEast) and the French element (the South-East).Numerous phonetic and grammatical changes
took place in this period. Grammatical alterations were so drastic that by the end of the period
they had transformed English from a highly inflected language into a mainly analytical one.
Therefore, H. Sweet called Middle English the period of “leveled endings”.
4. Late or Classical Middle English
 from the later 14th c. till the end of the 15th century – embraces the age of Chaucer,
 It was the time of the restoration of English to the position of the state and literary
language and the time of literary flourishing.
 The main dialect used in writing and literature was the mixed dialect of London.
 The written forms developed and improved
 The growth of English vocabulary
 The phonetic and grammatical structure had undergone fundamental changes. Most of the
inflections in the nominal system – in nouns, adjectives, pronouns – had fallen together.
H. Sweet called Middle English the period of “levelled endings”.
5. Early New English
 lasted from the introduction of printing and embraced age of Shakespeare. This period
started in 1475 and ended in 1660.
 The first printed book in English was published by William Caxton in 1475.
 This period is a sort of transition between two literary epochs - the age of Chaucer and
the age of Shakespeare (also known as the Literary Renaissance)
 In this period the country became economically and politically unified; the changes in the
political and social structure, the progress of culture, education, and literature led to
linguistic unity. Thus, the national English language was developed.
 Early New English was a period of great changes at all levels, especially lexical and
phonetic: The the growth of the vocabulary, the vowel system was greatly
transformed,The loss of most inflectional endings in the 15th c. justifies the definition
“period of lost endings” given by H. Sweet to the NE period
6. “the age of normalization and correctness”( neo-classical age)
 lasts from the mid-17th c. to the end of the 18th c
 The norms of literary language were fixed as rules( received standarts) Numerous
dictionaries and grammar-books were published and spread through education and
 The 18th c. is called the period of “fixing the pronunciation”. The great vowel shift was
over and pronunciation was stabilized
 Word usage and grammatical constructions were also stabilized.
 The formation of new verbal grammatical categories was completed.
 Syntactical structures were perfected and standardized.
 during this period the English language extended its area far beyond the borders of the
British Isles, first of all to North Americ
7. Late New English or Modern English
 19th and 20th c
 The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is
vocabulary. Late Modern English has many more words, arising from two principal
factors: firstly, the Industrial Revolution and technology created a need for new words;
secondly, the British Empire at its height covered one quarter of the earth's surface, and
the English language adopted foreign words from many countries.
 By the 19th c. English had acquired all the properties of a national language.
The classical language of literature was strictly distinguished from the local dialects.
The dialects were used only in oral communication.
The “best” form of English, the Received Standard, was spread
Some geographical varieties of English are now recognized as independent variants of
the language.
In the 19th and 20th c. the English vocabulary has grown due to the rapid progress of
technology, science, trade and culture.
an English speaker of the 21st century uses a form of language different from that used
by the characters of Dickens or Thackeray one hundred and eighty years ago.
It was the final stage of development, or as a cross-section representing Present-day
There have been certain linguistic changes in phonetics and grammar: some
pronunciations and forms have become old-fashioned, while other forms have been
accepted as common usage.
2. Evolution of the nominal parts of speech from OE to NE.
When speaking about the nominal parts of speech, that is noun, adjective, pronoun and numeral,
we should say that the tendency of their development was simplification. It means that the
paradigms of these parts of speech were simplified. They lost some of the categories and those
which remained consist of fewer members.
The Noun had the following categories in OE:
Number – Singular and Plural
Case – Nominative (Nom), Genitive (Gen), Dative (Dat), Accusative (Acc).
Gender – Masculine (M), Feminine (F), Neuter (N):
o In OE the nouns started to grouped into genders according to the suffix:
 -þu (F) – e.g. lenζþu (length);
 -ere (M) – e.g. fiscere (fisher).
Old English nouns are divided as either strong or weak.
OE was a synthetic language. In building grammatical forms OE employed grammatical endings,
sound interchanges in the root, grammatical prefixes and suppletive forms.
The parts of speech in OE were the following: the noun, the adjective, the pronoun, the
numeral (nominal parts of speech), the verb, the adverb, the preposition, the conjunction, and the
Grammatical categories are usually subdivided into nominal categories, found in nominal
parts of speech, and verbal categories, found chiefly in the finite verb. There were 5 nominal
categories in OE: number, case, gender, degrees of comparison and the category of
The most remarkable feature of OE nouns was their system of declensions, the general number
of which exceeded twenty-five. The system of noun declensions was a sort of morphological
classification based on a number of distinctions: the stem-suffix, the gender of nouns, the
phonetic structure of the word, phonetic changes in the final syllables. According to the
traditional view, there were two main declensions – strong and weak – differing in the final
sound of the stem. The strong declension, or vowel declension, included nouns with vocalic
stems (ending in [-a-, -o-, -u-, -i-:]) and the weak, or consonant, declension included nouns with
[-n-], [-r-] and [-s-] stems. In rare cases the new form was constructed by adding the ending
directly to the root (root-stem declension). There were also minor types.
There are only two grammatical categories in the declension of nouns against three in Old
English: number and case, the category of gender having been lost at the beginning of the Middle
English period.
There are two number forms in Middle English: singular and plural.
The number of cases in Middle English is reduced as compared to Old English. There are only
two cases in Middle English: Common and Genitive, the Old English Nominative, Accusative
and Dative case having fused into one case – the Common case at the beginning of Middle
In Old English we could speak of many types of consonant and vowel declensions, the a-, -n, and
root-stem being principal among them. In Middle English we observe only these three
declensions: a-stem, n-stem, root-stem. In New English we do not find different declensions, as
the overwhelming majority of nouns is declined in accordance with the original a-stem
declension masculine, the endings of the plural form –es and the Possessive –s being traced to
the endings of the original a-stem declension masculine
Thus, in ME the distinction between the OE strong and weak declension was lost. Only two
numerous groups of nouns existed in ME, distinguished mainly by their plural forms: 1) the
former a-declension which had absorved the lesser types, 2) the n-declension, which consisted of
former feminine nouns (the weak declension).
All modern irregular noun forms can be subdivided into several groups according to their origin:
1. nouns going back to the original a-stem declension, neuter gender, which had no ending in the
nominative and accusative plural even in Old English, such as: sheep – sheep (OE scēap – scēap)
2. some nouns of the n-stem declension preserving their plural form, such as: ox – oxen (OE oxa
– oxan)
c) the original s-stem declension word child – children (OE cild – cildru)
d) remnants of the original root-stem declension, such as: foot – feet (OE fōt – fēt)
5.“foreign plurals” – words borrowed in early New English from Latin. These words borrowed
were borrowed by learned people from scientific books who alone used them, trying to preserve
their original form and not attempting to adapt them to their native language. Among such words
are: Datum – data, automaton – automata, axis – axes, etc.
The adjective in OE could change for number, gender and case. Like nouns, adjectives had three
genders and two numbers. The category of case in adjectives differed from that of nouns: in
addition to the four cases(Nom, Genet, Dative,Acc) of nouns they had one more case, Instr.
Adjectives can be declined either strong/weak.
The vowel declension comprised 4 principle paradigms: a-stem, o-stem, u-stem, i-stem The
consonants decl-n comprised nouns with the stem originally ending in –n, -r, - s and some other
Most OE adjectives distinguished between three degrees of comparison: positive, comparative
and superlative. The regular means used to form the comparative and the superlative from the
positive were the suffixes –ra and –est/-ost.
In the course of the ME period the adjective underwent greater simplifying changes than any
other part of speech. It lost all its grammatical categories with the exception of the degrees of
By the end of the OE period the agreement of the adjective with the noun had become looser and
in the course of Early ME it was practically lost.
The first category to disappear was gender, which ceased to be distinguished by the adjective in
the 11 c.
The number of cases shown in the adjective paradigm was reduced: the Instr. case had fused with
the Dat. by the end of OE; distinction of other cases in Early ME was unsteady, as many variant
forms of different cases, which arose in Early ME, coincided. In the 13th c. case could be shown
only by some variable adjective endings in the
strong declension (but not by the weak forms); towards the end of the century all case
distinctions were lost.
The strong and weak forms of adjectives were often confused in Early ME texts. The use of a
strong form after a demonstrative pronoun was not uncommon, though according to the existing
rules, this position belonged to the weak form.
In the 14th c. the difference between the strong and weak form is sometimes shown in the
singular with the help of the ending –e.
Number was certainly the most stable nominal category in all the periods. In the 14th c. plural
forms were sometimes contrasted to the singular forms with the help of the ending -e in the
strong declension. In the 13th and particularly 14th c. there appeared a new plural ending -s.
The degrees of comparison are the only set of forms which the adjective has preserved through
all historical periods. However, the means employed to build up the forms of the degrees of
comparison have considerably altered. It should be noted, however, that out of three principal
means of forming degrees of comparison that existed in old English: suffixation, vowel
interchange and suppletive forms, there remained as a productive means only one: suffixation,
the rest of the means seen only in isolated forms. In ME the fourth way of making degrees of
comparison appeared – by means of using more and most in the comparative and superlative
degrees: interesting – more interesting – most interesting.
Thus, the most important innovation in the adjective system in the ME period was the growth of
analytical forms of the degrees of comparison.
In ME, when the phrases with ME more and most became more and more common, they were
used with all kinds of adjectives, regardless of the number of syllables and were even preferred
with mono- and disyllabic words.
OE pronouns fell roughly under the same main classes as modern pro-nouns; personal,
demonstrative, interrogative and indefinite. OE personal pronouns had three persons, three
numbers in the 1st and 2nd p. (two numbers — in the 3rd) and three genders in the 3rd p. In OE,
while nouns consistently distinguished between four cases, personal pronouns began to lose
some of their case distinctions: the forms of the Dat. case of the pronouns of the 1st and 2nd p.
were frequently used instead of the Acc.
There were two demonstrative pronouns in OE: the prototype of NE that, which distinguished
three genders in the sg and had one form for all the genders in the pl. and the prototype of this
with the same subdivisions: They were declined like adjectives according to a five-case system:
Nom., Gen., Dat., Acc, and Instr. (the latter having a special form)
Demonstrative pronouns are of special importance for a student of OE for they were frequently
used as noun determiners and through agreement with the noun, indicated its number, gender and
Interrogative pronouns —had a four-case paradigm (NE who, what). The Instr. case of hwæt was
used as a separate interrogative word hwӯ (NE why). Some interrogative pronouns were used as
adjective pronouns, e. g. hwelc, hwæper.
Indefinite pronouns were a numerous class embracing several simple pronouns and a large
number of compounds: ān and its derivative ǣniʒ (NE me, any);
The four-case system that existed in OE gave way to a two-case system. The genitive case as a
form of a personal pronoun disappeared and merged with the possessive pronouns, retaining only
its ability to express possessive meaning in the function of an attribute. The dative and
accusative cases merged in one objective case.
As a grammatical phenomenon gender disappeared already in Middle English, the pronouns he
and she referring only to animate notions and it – to inanimate.
The three number system that existed in Early Old English (singular, dual, plural) was
substituted by a two number system already in Late Old English
The new fem. pronoun, Late ME she, is believed to have developed from the OE demonstrative
pronoun of the fem. gender – sēo (OE sē, sēo, þæt, NE that).
In the course of ME another important lexical replacement took place: the OE pronoun of the 3rd
p. pl. hīe was replaced by the Scand. loan-word they [ ei].
Demonstrative pronouns were adjective-pronouns; like other adjectives, in OE they agreed with
the noun in case, number and gender and had a well-developed morphological paradigm. The OE
forms of the demonstrative pronoun (or definite article) sē, sēo were changed into þe, þēo on the
analogy of the forms derived from the root þ-. In Early ME forms like and þe, þēo, þat
functioned both as demonstrative pronoun and as article.
The other classes of OE pronouns were subjected to the same simplifying changes as all nominal
parts of speech.
The OE interrogative pronouns hwā, hwæt > who, what have three cases in ME:
Nom. Gen. Obj. The form of the OE Instr. case hwy developed into an adverb why ‘why’.
Most indefinite pronouns of the OE period simplified their morphological structure and some
pronouns fell out of use. For instance, man died out as an indefinite pronoun; Eventually new
types of compound indefinite pronouns came into use – with the component -thing, -body, -one,
etc; in NE they developed a two-case paradigm like nouns: the Comm. and the Poss. or Gen.
case: anybody – anybody's.
Reflexive pronouns appeared as a result of combining the form of the objective case of personal
pronouns with the form self
The first elements of the category of the article appeared already in Old English, when the
meaning of the demonstrative pronoun was weakened, and it approach the status of an article in
such phrases as:
Sē mann (the mann), sēo sǽ (the sea), þæt lond (the land)
However, we may not speak of any category if it is not represented by an opposition of at least
two units. Such opposition arose only in Middle English, when the indefinite article an appeared.
The form of the definite article the can be traced back to the old English demonstrative
pronoun sē (that, masculine, singular), which in the course of history came to be used on
analogy with the forms of the same pronoun having the initial consonant [θ]and began to be used
with all nouns, irrespective of their gender or number.
The indefinite article developed from the Old English numeral ān. In Middle English ān split
into two words: the definite pronoun an, losing a separate stress and undergoing reduction of its
vowel, and the numeral one, remaining stressed as only other notional word. Later the indefinite
pronoun an grew into the indefinite article a/an, and together with the definite article the formed
a new grammatical category – the category of determination, or the category of article.
Numerals from 1 to 3 were declined. Numerals from 4 to 19 were usually invariable, if used as
attributes to a noun, but they were declined if used without a noun. Numerals denoting tens had
their Gen. in –es or in –a, -ra, their Dat. in –um.
1 – ān (was declined as a strong adjective)
2 – twe3en (M), tū, twā (N), twā (F)
3 – þrīe, þrī, þrý (M), þrīo, þrēo (N), þrīo, þrēo (F).
4 – fēower
5 – fīf
6 – siex, six, syx
7 – seofon, siofon, syofn
8 – eahta
9 – ni3on
10 – tīen, týn, tēn
11 – endlefan
12 – twelf
Numerals from 13 to 19 were derived from compounding of the first 9 numerals and the
numeral tīen (týn, tēn) - 10, e.g. fiftīen – 15.
Numbers consisting of tens (from 20 to 60) were composed by the proper numeral (from 2 to 6)
and suffix –ti(3), e.g. twenti3 - 20. From 70 to 100 the names of the numerals had such part
as hund – 100, e.g. hundsiofonti3 – 70. Numerals from 100 to 900 had this part as their last
component: tū hund – 200. 1000 was called þūsend. Numbers consisting of tens and units were
denoted in the following way: twā and twenti3 – 22.
Numbers ān – 1, twē3en – 2 and þrīe – 3 had the special ordinals: forma, fyresta; ōþer, æfterra;
þridda, þirda. The rest of the ordinal numerals were composed by adding –þa to the root ending
in the vowel or voiced consonant and by –ta to the root ending in voiceless consonant,
e.g. twelfta – 12-й, seofoþa – 7- й (-n before –þa was lost).
3. Development of the national literary English language.
The formation of the national literary English language covers the Early NE period (c.1475—
1660). There were at least two major external factors which favoured the rise of the national
language and the literary standards: the unification of the country and the progress of culture.
Other historical events, such as increased foreign contacts, affected the language in a less general
way: they influenced the growth of the vocabulary.
Introduction of Printing
The invention of printing had the most immediate effect on the development of the language, its
written form in particular. "Artificial writing", as printing was then called, was invented in
Germany in 1438 (by Johann Gutenberg); the first printer of English books was William Caxton.
Written Standard
Its growth and recognition as the correct or "prestige" form of the language of writing had been
brought about by the factors: the economic and political unification of the country, the progress
of culture and education, the flourishing of literature.
Early New English (15th – beginning of the 18th century) – the establishment of the literary
norm. The language that was used in England at that time is reflected in the famous translation of
the Bible called the King James Bible (published in 1611). Although the language of the Bible is
Early Modern English, the author tried to use a more solemn and grand style and more archaic
A great influence was also connected with the magazine by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele
called The Spectator (1711 – 1714), the authors of which discussed various questions of the
language, including its syntax and the use of words.
Growth of the Spoken Standard. The Written Standard had probably been fixed and
recognised by the beginning of the 17th c. The next stage in the growth of the national literary
language was the development of the Spoken Standard. The dating of this event appears to be
more problematic. It seems obvious that in the 18th c. the speech of educated people differed
from that of common, uneducated people — in pronunciation, in the choice of words and in
grammatical construction. The number of educated people was growing and their way of
speaking was regarded as correct.
Thus by the end of the 18th c. the formation of the national literary English language may be
regarded as completed, for now it possessed both a Written and a Spoken Standard.
The formation of the national literary English language covers the Early NE period (c. 1475—
There were at least two major external factors which favoured the rise of the national language
and the literary standards: the unification of the country and the progress of culture.
The term "national" language embraces allthe varieties ofthe language used by thenation
including dialects; the ''national literary language"applies only to recognized standard forms of
the language, both written and spoken.
The end of the Middle English period and the beginning of New English is marked by the
following events in the life of the English people:
1) The end of the war between the White and the Red Rose (1485) and the establishment of an
absolute monarchy on the British soil with Henry Tudor as the first absolute monarch – the
political expression of the English nation.
The War of the Roses (1455 – 1485) was the most important event of the 15th century which
marked the decay of feudalism and the birth of a new social order. It signified the rise of an
absolute monarchy in England and a political centralisation, and consequently a linguistic
centralisation leading to a predominance of the national language over local dialects.
2) The introduction of printing (1477) by William Caxton (1422— 1490).
Printing was invented in Germany by Johann Gutenberg in 1438. It quickly spread to other
countries and England was among them. The first English printing office was founded in 1476
by William Caxton.The appearance of a considerable number of printed books contributed to the
normalisation of spelling and grammar forms fostering the choice of a single variant over others.
Caxton, a native of Kent, acquired the London dialect and made a conscious choice from among
competing variants.
Since that time – the end of the 15th century the English language began its development as the
language of the English nation, whereas up to that time, beginning with the Germanic conquest
of Britain in the 5th century and up to the 15thcentury, the English language was no more than a
conglomerate of dialects, first tribal and then local. Indeed, a notable feature of the Middle
English period is the dialectical variety that finds expression in the written documents. It was
only late in the 14thcentury that the London dialect, itself a mixture of the southern and southeastern dialects, began to emerge as the dominant type.
In New English there emerged one nation and one national language. But the English literary
norm was formed only at the end of the 17th century, when the first scientific English
dictionaries and the first scientific English grammar appeared. In the 17th and 18th centuries there
appeared a great number of grammar books whose authors tried to stabilise the use of the
The grammars and dictionaries of the 18th c. succeeded in formulating the rules of usage, partly
from observation but largely from the "doctrine of correctness", and laid them down as norms to
be taught as patterns of correct English. Codification of norms of usage by means of conscious
effort on the part of man helped in standardising the language and in fixing its written and
spoken standards.
The next stage in the growth of the national literary language was the development of the
Spoken Standard. The dating of this event appears to be problematic.
Naturally, we possess no direct evidence of the existence of oral norms, since all evidence comes
from written sources. Nevertheless, valuable information has been found in private letters as
compared to more official papers, in the speech of various characters in 17th and 18th c. drama,
and in direct references to different types of oral speech made by contemporaries.
It seems obvious that in the 18th c. the speech of educated people differed from that of common,
uneducated people — in pronunciation, in the choice of words and in grammatical construction.
The number of educated people was growing and their way of speaking was regarded as correct.
Compositions on language gave diverse recommendations aimed at improving the forms of
written and oral discourse. Some authors advised people to model their speech on Latin patterns;
others banned borrowing mannerisms and vulgar pronunciation. These recommendations could
only be made if their authors were — or considered themselves to be — in a position to
distinguish between different forms of speech and label them as “good” or “bad”. Indirectly they
testify to the existence of recognised norms of educated spoken English.
The earliest feasible date for the emergence of the Spoken Standard suggested by historians
is the late 17th c. Some authorities refer it to the end of the normalisation period, that is
about a hundred years later — the end of the 18th c.The latter date seems to be more realistic,
as by that time current usage had been subjected to conscious regulation and had become more
uniform. The rules formulated in the prescriptive grammars and dictionaries must have had their
effect not only on the written but also on the spoken forms of the language.
The concept of Spoken Standard does not imply absolute uniformity of speech throughout the
speech community — a uniformity which, in fact, can never be achieved; it merely implies a
more or less uniform type of speech used by educated people and taught as “correct English” at
schools and universities. The spoken forms of the language, even when standardised, were never
as stable and fixed as the Written Standard. Oral speech changed under the influence of sub-
standard forms of the language, more easily than the written forms. Many new features coming
from professional jargons, lower social dialects or local dialects first entered the Spoken
Standard, and through its medium passed into the language of writing. The Written Standard, in
its turn, tended to restrict the colloquial innovations labelling them as vulgar and incorrect and
was enriched by elements coming from various functional and literary styles, e.g. poetry,
scientific style, official documents. Between all these conflicting tendencies the national literary
language, both in its written and spoken forms, continued to change during the entire New
English period.
The geographical and social origins of the Spoken Standard were in the main the same as those
of the Written Standard some two-hundred years before: the tongue of London and the
Universities, which in the turbulent 17th c. — the age of the English Revolution, further
economic progress and geographical expansion — had assimilated many new features from a
variety of sources. Intermixture of people belonging to different social groups was reflected in
speech, though the rate of changes was slowed down when the norms of usage had been fixed.
The nourishing of literature enriched the language and at the same time had a stabilising effect
on linguistic change.
Thus by the end of the 18th c. the formation of the national literary English language may
be regarded as completed, for now it possessed both a Written and a Spoken Standard.
4. Evolution of the sound system in ME and NE.
Sound changes, particularly vowel changes, took place in Eng¬lish at every period of history.
The development of vowels in Early OE consisted of the modifica¬tion of separate vowels, and
also of the modification of entire sets of vowels. It should be borne in mind that the mechanism
of all phonetic changes strictly conforms with the general pattern (see § 26). The change begins
with growing variation in pronunciation, which manifests itself in the appearance of numerous
allophones: after the stage of increased variation, some allophones prevail over the others and a
replacement lakes place. It may result in the splitting of phonemes and their numer¬ical growth,
which fills in the "empty boxes" of the system or introduces new distinctive features. It may also
lead to the merging of old pho¬nemes, as their new prevailing allophones can fall together. Most
fre¬quently the change will involve both types of replacement, splitting and merging, so that we
have to deal both with the rise of new phonemes and with the redistribution of new allophones
among the existing pho¬nemes. For the sake of brevity, the description of most changes below is
restricted to the initial and final stages.
The sound changes are grouped into two main stages: Early ME changes, which show the
transition from Written OE to Late ME — the age of literary flourishing or “the age of Chaucer”
— and Early NE changes, which show the transition from ME to later NE — the language of
the 18th and 19th c.
The Great vowel shift was a series of consistent changes of long vowels accounting for many
features of the ME vowel system and also of the modern spelling system. During this period all
the long vowels became closer or were diphthongised. Some of the vowels occupied the place of
the next vowel; [e:] > [i:], [o:] > [u:], while the latter changed to [au].
The regular qualitative changes of all the long vowels between the 14th and the 17th centuries are
known in the history of the English language as the Great vowel shift.
In ME a great change affected the entire system of vowel phonemes. OE had both short and long
vowel phonemes, which were absolutely independent and could occur in any phonetic
environment. In the 10th-12th c. quantity of vowels becomes dependent on their environment: in
some phonetic environment only short vowels can appear, while in other – only long due to a
number of changes:
shortening: Long vowels occurring before two consonants are shortened; though they remain
long before “lengthening” consonant groups “ld, nd, md” and before clusters belonging to the
following syllable. They are also shortened before one consonant in some three-syllable words:
lengthening: Short vowels were lengthened in open syllables and affected short vowels “a, e, o”.
The vowels “i, u” remained unaffected though sometimes were also lengthened in open syllables,
“i” became “ē”, “u” – “ō”:
monophthongization of OE diphthongs: All OE diphthongs became monophthongs in ME:
rise of new diphthongs: New diphthongs arise in ME different from the OE ones and originated
from groups consisting of a vowel and either a palatal or velar fricative:
leveling of unstressed vowels: All unstressed vowels were weakened and reduced to a neutral
vowel which was denoted by the letter “e”:
Vowels in the unstressed position already reduced in Middle English to the vowel of the [a] type
are dropped in New English if they are found in the endings of words. The vowel in the endings
is sometimes preserved — mainly for phonetic reason:
wanted, dresses — without the intermediate vowel it would be very difficult to pronounce the
endings of such words.
Among many cases of quantitative changes of vowels in New English one should pay particular
attention to the lengthening of the vowel, when it was followed by the consonant [r]. Short
vow¬els followed by the consonant [r] became long after the disap¬pearance of the given
consonant at the end of the word or before another consonant. When the consonant [r] stood after
the vowels [e], [i], [u], the resulting vowel was different from the initial vowel not only in
quantity but also in quality.
The regular qualitative changes of all the long vowels between the 14th and the 17th centuries
are known in the history of the English language as the Great vowel shift. The Great Vowel
Shift. Due to this change the vowels became more narrow and more front.
Two short monophthongs changed their quality in NE (17th c.), the monophthong [a] becoming
[æ] and the monophthong [u] becoming [˄]
Changes of two diphthongs: [ai] > [ei], [au] > [o:].
Lengthening of vowels before [r] – due to the vocalization of consonants.
In the history of the English language the consonants were far more stable than the vowels. A
large number of consonants have remained unchanged since the OE period.
One of the most important consonant changes in the history of English was the appearance of
fricative consonant [∫] and affricates [t∫] and [dз], lacking in the OE period.
During the ME period the consonants lost their quantitative distinctions, as the long or double
consonants disappeared. The number of consonant phonemes was reduced and one of their
principal phonemic distinctive feature – opposition through quantity – was lost.
Some consonant clusters were simplified. One of the consonants, usually the first, was dropped.
E.g. kn> n, gn >n, hw> w.
Appearance of a new consonant in the system of English phonemes — [Ʒ] and the development
of the consonants [d3] and [tʃ] from palatal consonants.
Thus Middle English [sj], [zj], [tj], [dj] gave in New English the sounds [ʃ], [Ʒ], [tʃ], [dƷ].
Certain consonants disappeared at the end of the word or before another consonant, the most
important change of the kind affecting the consonant [r]
The fricative consonants [s], [Ɵ] and [f] were voiced after unstressed vowels or in words having
no sentence stress — the so-called "Verner's Law in New English"
5. The role of the foreign element at different stages of the English language development.
Native Old English words can be subdivided into a number of etymological layers from different
historical periods. The three main layers in the native OE words are:
a) common Indo-European words; names of some natural phenomena, plants and animals,
agricultural terms, names of parts of the human body, terms of kinship,
b) common Germanic words - connected with nature, with the sea and everyday life.
c) specifically OE words- layer of native words which do not occur in other Germanic or nonGermanic languages.
Although borrowed words constituted only a small portion of the OE vocabulary — all in all
about six hundred words. OE borrowings come from two sources: Celtic and Latin.
Abundant borrowing from Celtic is to be found only in place-names.
The role of the Latin language in Medieval Britain is clearly manifest; it was determined by such
historical events as the Roman occupation of Britain, the influence of the Roman civilisation and
the introduction of Christianity.
Early OE borrowings from Latin indicate the new things and con¬cepts which the Teutons had
learnt from the Romans; as seen from the examples below they pertain to war, trade, agriculture,
building and home life.
Units of measurement and containers were adopted with their Lat¬in names
Christianity in the late 6th c. and lasted to the end of OE.
Numerous Latin words which found their way into the English lan¬guage during these five
hundred years clearly fall into two main groups:
(1) words pertaining to religion, (2) words connected with learning. The rest are miscellaneous
words denoting various objects and concepts which the English learned from Latin books and
from closer acquaint¬ance with Roman culture.
The Latin impact on the OE vocabulary was not restricted to borrowing of words. There were
also other aspects of influence. The most important of them is the appearance of the so-called
"translation-loans" ─ words and phrases created on the pattern of Latin words as their literal
As mentioned before, the presence of the Scandinavians in the English population is indicated by
a large number of place-names in the northern and eastern areas
The fusion of the English and of the Scandinavian settlers progressed rapidly; in many districts
people became bilingual, which was an easy accomplishment since many of the commonest
words in the two OG languages were very much alike.
The total number of Scandinavian borrowings in English is estimated at about 900 words; about
700 of them belong to Standard English.
It is difficult to define the semantic spheres of Scandinavian borrowings: they mostly pertain to
everyday life and do not differ from native words. Only the earliest loan-words deal with
military and legal matters and reflect the relations of the people during the Danish raids and
Danish rule.
Vocabulary changes due to Scandinavian influence proceeded in different ways: a Scandinavian
word could enter the language as an innovation, without replacing any other lexical item;
sometimes the Scandinavian parallel modified the meaning of the native word without being
Since both languages, O Scand and OE, were closely related, Scandinavian words were very
much like native words. Therefore, assimilation of loan-words was easy. The only criteria that
can be applied are some phonetic features of borrowed words: the consonant cluster [sk] is a
frequent mark of Scandinavian loan-words, [sk] does not occur in native words, as OE [sk] had
been palatalised and modified to [∫]:
The effect of these successive and overlapping waves was seen first and foremost in a large
number of lexical borrowings in ME. At the initial stages of penetration French words were
restricted to some varieties of English: the speech of the aristocracy at the king’s court; the
speech of the middle class, who came into contact both with the rulers and with the ruled; the
speech of educated people and the population of South-Eastern towns. On the whole, prior to the
13th c. no more than one thousand words entered the English language, whereas by 1400 their
number had risen to 10,000 (75% of them are still in common use).
To this day nearly all the words relating to the government and administration of the country are
French by origin
the feudal system and words indicating titles and ranks of the nobility:
The host of military terms
A still greater number of words belong to the domain of law and jurisdiction,
A large number of French words pertain to the Church and religion,
From the loan-words referring to house, furniture and architecture
Some words are connected with art:
Another group includes names of garments:
Many French loan-words belong to the domain of entertainment,
We can also single out words relating to different aspects of the life of the upper classes and of
the town life: forms of address); names of some meals and dishes.
The extraordinary surge of interest in the classics in the age of the Renaissance opened the gates
to a new wave of borrowings from Latin and — to a lesser extent — from Greek
Some borrowings have a more specialised meaning and belong to scientific terminology
distinct semantic group of Greek loan-words pertains to theatre, literature and rhetoric
The vast body of international terms continued to grow in the 18th— 19th c. A new impetus for
their creation was given by the great technical progress of the 20th c, which is reflected in
hundreds of newly coined terms or Latin and Greek words applied in new meanings,
The foreign influence on the English vocabulary in the age of the Renaissance and in the
succeeding centuries was not restricted to Latin and Greek. The influx of French words
continued and reached new peaks in the late 15th and in the late 17th c.
French borrowings of the later periods mainly pertain to diplomatic relations, social life, art and
Next to French, Latin and Scandinavian, English owes the greatest number of foreign words to
Italian, though many of them, like Latin loan-words, entered the English language through
French. A few early borrowings pertain to commercial and military affairs while the vast
majority of words are related to art, music and literature, which is a natural consequence of the
fact that Italy was the birthplace of the Renaissance movement and of the revival of interest in
Borrowings from Spanish came as a result of contacts with Spain in the military, commercial and
political fields, due to the rivalry of England and Spain in foreign trade and colonial expansion.
Dutch made abundant contribution to English, particularly in the 15th and 16th c, when
commercial relations between England and the Netherlands were at their peak. Dutch artisans
came to England to practise their trade, and sell their goods.
Loan-words from German reflect the scientific and cultural achievements of Germany at
different dates of the New period. Mineralogical terms are connected with the employment of
German specialists in the English mining industry,
The advance of philosophy in the 18th and 19th c. accounts for philosophical terms
The earliest Russian loan-words entered the English language as far back as the 16th c, when the
English trade company (the Moskovy Company) established the first trade relations with Russia.
English borrowings adopted from the 16th till the 19th c. indicate articles of trade and specific
features of life in Russia, observed by the English:
The loan-words adopted after 1917 reflect the new social relations and political institutions in the
In the recent decades many technical terms came from Russian, indicating the achievements in
different branches of science
6. The English consonants and vowels as units of the phonological system. Their
articulatory transitions in speech.
The branch of phonetics that studies the way in which the air is set in motion, the movements of
the speech organs and the coordination of these movements in the production of single sounds
and trains of sounds is called articulatory phonetics. Articulatory phonetics is concerned with the
way speech sounds are produced by the organs of speech, in other words the mechanisms of
speech production.
There are two major classes of sounds traditionally distinguished in any language - consonants
and vowels. The opposition "vowels vs. consonants" is a linguistic universal. The distinction is
based mainly on auditory effect. Consonants are known to have voice and noise combined, while
vowels are sounds consisting of voice only. From the articulatory point of view the difference is
due to the work of speech organs. In case of vowels no obstruction is made, so on the perception
level their integral characteristic is tone, not noise.
Russian phoneticians classify consonants according to the following principles: i) degree of
noise; ii) place of articulation; iii) manner of articulation; iv) position of the soft palate; v)
force of articulation.
Another point of view is shared by a group of Russian phoneticians. They suggest that the first
and basic principle of classification should be the degree of noise. Such consideration leads to
dividing English consonants into two general kinds: a) noise consonants; b) sonorants.
The term "degree of noise" belongs to auditory level of analysis. But there is an intrinsic
connection between articulatory and auditory aspects of describing speech sounds. In this case
the term of auditory aspect defines the characteristic more adequately.
There are no sonorants in the classifications suggested by British and American scholars. Daniel
Jones and Henry A. Gleason, for example, give separate groups of nasals [m, n, η], the lateral [1]
and semi-vowels, or glides [w, r, j (y)]. Bernard Bloch and George Trager besides nasals and
lateral give trilled [r]. According to Russian phoneticians sonorants are considered to be
consonants from articulatory, acoustic and phonological point of view.
(II) The place of articulation. This principle of consonant classification is rather universal. The
only difference is that V.A. Vassilyev, G.P. Torsuev, O.I. Dikushina, A.C. Gimson give more
detailed and precise enumerations of active organs of speech than H.A. Gleason, B. Bloch, G.
Trager and others. There is, however, controversy about terming the active organs of speech.
Thus, Russian phoneticians divide the tongue into the following parts: (1) front with the tip, (2)
middle, and (3) back. Following L.V. Shcherba's terminology the front part of the tongue is
subdivided into: (a) apical, (b) dorsal, (c) cacuminal and (d) retroflexed according to the position
of the tip and the blade of the tongue in relation to the teeth ridge. А.С. Gimson's terms differ
from those used by Russian phoneticians: apical is equivalent to forelingual; frontal is equivalent
to mediolingual; dorsum is the whole upper area of the tongue. H.A. Gleason's terms in respect
to the bulk of the tongue are: apex - the part of the tongue that lies at rest opposite the alveoli;
front - the part of the tongue that lies at rest opposite the fore part of the palate; back, or dorsum the part of the tongue that lies at rest opposite the velum or the back part of the palate.
(III) A.L. Trakhterov, G.P. Torsyev, V.A. Vassilyev and other Russian scholars consider the
principle of classification according to the manner of articulation to be one of the most important
and classify consonants very accurately, logically and thoroughly. They suggest a classification
from the point of view of the closure. It may be: (1) complete closure, then occlusive (stop or
plosive) consonants are produced; (2) incomplete closure, then constrictive consonants are
produced; (3) the combination of the two closures, then occlusive- constrictive consonants, or
affricates, are produced; (4) intermittent closure, then rolled, or trilled consonants are produced.
(IV) According to the position of the soft palate all consonants are subdivided into oral and
nasal. When the soft palate is raised oral consonants are produced; when the soft palate is
lowered nasal consonants are produced.
(V) According to the force of articulation consonants may be fortis and lenis. This
characteristic is connected with the work of the vocal cords: voiceless consonants are strong and
voiced are weak.
C. are classified according to the main principles:
To the type of obstruction
Occlusive – produce with the complete obstruction to the air stream they may be noise (plosives)
[p, b, t, k, g] and affricates and sonorants [m, n, ŋ]
Constructive – produced with an incomplete obstruction and may be noise or fricatives [v, f, s, z,
h, g] and sonorant median [w,, r, j] and lateral one [l]. In pronunciation of which the air passage
is rather wide, the air passing through the mouth doesn’t produce audible friction and tone
prevails over noise.
To the manner of production the noise
Plosives – the organs of speech form a complete obstruction, which is than quickly released with
plosion [p, b, t, d, k, g]
Affricates – the speech organs forms a complete obstruction, which is than released so slowly,
that considerable friction accursed at the point of articulation [ch, dz]
Fricatives - the speech organs forms a incomplete obstruction and the air passes producing
audible friction [b, f, ð, Ө, s, z, h, g]
Sonorance: 1)occlusive the speech organs forms a complete obstruction, which is not released.
The soft palate is lowed and the air escapes through the nasal cavity [m, n, ŋ]
2) constrictive: a) median – the air escapes without audible friction over the central part of the
tongue the sides of the tongue being raised [w, r, j]
b) lateral – the tongue is pressed against the alveolar ridge or the teeth and the sides of the tongue
are lowed, leaving the air passage open between tem [l].
To the active organs of speech
Labial – 1) bilabial - articulated by the 2 lips [p,b]
2) labial-dental – articulated with the low lip, against the upper teeth [v,f]
Lingual – 1) fore lingual – articulated by the blade of the tip or by the tip against the upper teeth
or alveolar ridge: a) apical [ð, Ө, t, d, l, n, s, z] b) cacuminal [r]
2) medium lingual –articulated with the front of the tongue against the hard palate [j]
3) back lingual – articulated by the front of the tongue against the soft palate. [k, g, ŋ]
Glottal – produced in the glottis [h]
To the point of articulation
To the work of the vocal cords
To the force of articulation
Relatively strong (forties)
Relatively weak (lenis)
English voiced care lenis, English voiceless are forties
The first who tried to describe and classify vowels irrespective of the mother tongue was Daniel
Johnes. He worked out a system of 8 cardinal vowels. This system is an international standard
which presents a set of artificial vowels and which contains all the vowel types existing in
different languages of the world. In reference to this system the vowel sounds of any real
language of the world may be described and classified and sometimes this system is called the
vocalic Esperanto.
close i u
half-close e o
half-open ə ɔ
open a ɑ
The tongue can move horizontally and vertically and according to these movements Daniel
Johnes represented his 8 cardinal vowels. The system of cardinal vowels has a great theoretical
value and it is used as a basis for classification of vowels in different languages.
Russian phoneticians suggest classifying vowels according to the following principle: 1) position
of the lips; 2) position of the tongue; 3) degree of tenseness; 4) length; 5) stability of articulation.
1) position of the lips. According to this principle vowels are classified into rounded [ɔ, ɔ:, u,
u:]and unrounded.
2) Position of the tongue. The bulk of the tongue conditions the production of different vowels
most of all its horizontal and vertical movement forms vowels of a particular language.
According to the horizontal movement English vowels are classified into the following groups:
1) front vowels [i:, e, æ], nucleus of the diphthongs[eɪ, ɑɪ, ɛə]; 2) front retracted [ɪ], nucleus of
the diphthong [ɪə]; 3) mixed vowels [ə, ə:], the term mixed is used by the Russian phoneticians
because in the production of this group of vowels the tongue is raised towards the junctions
between the soft and hard palates. British phoneticians call these vowels central, because the
central part of the tongue is raised highest in their pronunciation; 4) back advanced [u,ɔ, ʌ], the
nucleus of the diphthongs [əʊ, ʊə]; 5) back vowels , [u:,ɔ:,ɑ], diphthongs [ɔɪ, ɛə].
According to the vertical movement of the tongue English vowels have been traditionally
subdivided into 3 groups: 1) high (close) vowels [ɪ,i:,u,u:]; 2) mid-vowels [e,ə,ə:,a], nucleus of
[əu,ɛə]; 3) low (open) vowels [ʌ, ɔ, ɔ:, ɑ:], nucleus [aɪ, au].
3) The degree of muscular tension. Classified into tense and lax.All long vowels are tense,
short vowels are lax.
4) Length of vowels. English vowels are historically subdivided into long and short. Vowels
length depends on a number of linguistic factors. Firstly, position of the vowel in a word [si: si:d – si:t] - [si: - si· – si]. For the voiceless consonants the length of a long vowel is the shortest.
Word accent. In the stressed syllable the vowel has the maximum length. 'forecast [ɔ:], fore'cast
[ ɔ·,ɑ:]. The number of syllables in a word, e.g. verse, university. In a mono-syllabic word the
vowel is longer, than in a poly-syllabic one. The character of the syllabic structure. In the words
with open types of syllable vowels are longer than in words with closed types.
Articulatory transitions of vowel and cons phonemes.
In the process of speech, that is in the process of transition from the articulatory work of one
sound to the articulatory work of the neighbouring one, sounds are modified. These
modifications can be conditioned:
a) by the complementary distribution of phonemes, e. g. the fully back /u:/ becomes backadvanced under the influence of the preceding mediolingual sonorant /j/ in the words tune,
nude. In the word keen /k/ is not so back as its principal variant, it is advanced under (be
influence of the fully front /i;/ which follows it:
b) by the contextual variations in which phonemes may occur at the junction of words, e. g. the
alveolar phoneme /n/ in the combination in the is assimilated to the dental variant under the
influence of /ð/ which follows it;
c) by the style of speech: official or rapid colloquial. E. g. hot muffins
may turn into
Assimilation is a modification of a consonant under the influence of a neighbouring consonant.
When a consonant is modified under the influence of an adjacent vowel or vice versa this
phenomenon is called adaptation or accommodation, e. g. tune, keen, lea, cool.
When one of the neighbouring sounds is not realized in rapid or careless speech this process is
called elision, e. g. a box of matches may be pronounced without [v].
Assimilation which occurs in everyday speech in the present-day pronunciation is called living.
Assimilation which took place at an earlier stage in the history of the language is called
Assimilation can be:
1progressive, when the first of the two sounds affected by assimilation makes the second sound
similar to itself, e. g. in desks the sounds /k/ make the plural inflection s similar to the voiceless
2regressive, when the second of the two sounds affected by assimilation makes the first sound
similar to itself, e. g. in the combination at the the alveolar /t/ becomes dental, assimilated to the
interdental / ð / which follows it;
3double, when the two adjacent sounds influence each other, e.g. twice /t/ is rounded under the
influence of /w/ and /w/ is partly devoiced under (he influence of the voiceless /t/.
When the two neighbouring sounds arc affected by assimilation, it may influence: 1) the work of
the vocal cords; 2) the active organ of speech; 3) the manner of noise production; 4) both: the
place of articulation and the manner of noise production.
l)Assimilation affecting the work of the vocal cords is observed when one of the two adjacent
соседний consonants; becomes voiced under the influence of the neighbouring voiced
consonant, or voiceless — under the influence of the neighbouring voiceless consonant.
In the process of speech the sonorants /m, n, 1, r; j, w/ are partly devoiced before a vowel,
preceded by the voiceless consonant phonemes /s, p, t, k/, e. g. plate, slowly, twice, ay. This
assimilation is not observed in the most careful styles of speech.
2) The manner of noise production is affected by assimilation in cases of a) lateral plosion and b)
loss of plosion or incomplete plosion. The lateral plosion takes place, when a plosive is followed
by /1/. In this case the closure for the plosive is not released till the off-glide for the second
[l]. Incomplete plosion takes place in the clusters a) of two similar plosives like /pp,pb, tt, td, kk,
kg/, or b) of two plosives with different points of articulation like:/kt/,/dg/, /db/, /tb/. So there is
only one explosion for the two plosives.
+3) Assimilation affects the place of articulation and the manner of noise production when the
plosive, alveolar /tl is followed by the post-alveolar /r/. For example, in the
word trip alveolar 1t1 becomes post-alveolar and has a fricative release.
7. The system of phonological oppositions in English.
Minimal pairs are useful for establishing the phonemes of the language. Thus, a phoneme can
only perform its distinctive function if it is opposed to another phoneme in the same position.
Such an opposition is called phonological. Let us consider the classification of phonological
oppositions worked out by N.S. Trubetskoy. It is based on the number of distinctive articulatory
features underlying the opposition.
1. If the opposition is based on a single difference in the articulation of two speech sounds, it is a
single phonological opposition, e.g. [p] – [t], as in [pen]-[ten]; bilabial vs. forelingual, all the
other features are the same.
2. If the sounds in distinctive opposition have two differences in their articulation, the opposition
is double one, or a sum of two single oppositions, e.g. [p] – [d], as in [pen] – [den], 1) bilabial vs.
forelingual 2) voiceless – fortis vs. voiced – lenis.
3. If there are three articulatory differences, the opposition is triple one, or a sum of three single
oppositions, e.g. [p] – [ð], as in [p‡] – [ ð‡]: 1) bilabial vs. forelingual, 2) occlusive vs.
constrictive, 3) voiceless – fortis vs. voiced – lenis.
Classificatory principles of English vowel and consonant phonemes provide the basis for
establishing the distinctive oppositions.
Distinctive oppositions of English
Classificatory principles and
subclasses of phonemes
1. Work of the vocal cords: voiced [b, d, g, v, z, ð,3, d3, l, m,
n, j, w, r, ŋ]; - voiceless [p, t, k, f,
s, θ, ∫, t∫, h].
Types of oppositions
voiced – voiceless The
English consonants [l, m, n, j,
w, r, ŋ, h] do not enter this
gum – come dear –
tear bat – pat jin –
chin thy – thigh
2. Position of the soft palate: nasal [m, n, ŋ]; - oral (all the rest).
3. Active organ of speech and the
place of articulation: a) labial: bilabial [p, b, w, m]; - labio-dental
[f, v]; b) lingual: - forelingual [ð,
θ, t, d, s, z, n, l, ∫, 3, d3, t∫]; mediolingual [j]; - backlingual [k,
g, ŋ]; c) glottal [h].
4. Manner of the production of
noise: a) occlusive: - plosive [p, t,
k, b, d, g] - sonorant [m, n, ŋ]; b)
constrictive: - fricative [s, f, z, ð, θ,
∫, v,3, h]; - sonorant [w, r, j, l]; c)
occlusive-constrictive (affricates)
[t∫, d3].
Distinctive oppositions of English
Classificatory principles and
subclasses of phonemes
1. Position of the lips: - rounded
[o, o:, u, u:]; - unrounded (all the
2. Stability of articulation: monophthongs [i, i:, u, u:, o, o:, e,
ə, Λ, α:, æ, з:]; - diphthongs [ai, oi,
ei, au, əu, εə, uə, iə].
3. Degree of tenseness, character
of the end and length: - tense, free
and long [i:, u:, o:, α:, з:]; - lax,
checked and short [i, u, o, æ, e, ə,
4. Position of the tongue: a)
horizontal: - front [i:, e, æ]; - frontretracted [i]; - central [з:, ə, Λ]; back-advanced [u, α:]; - back [o,
o:, u:]; b) vertical: – high: - narrow
[i:, u:]; - broad [i, u]; – mid: narrow [ə]; - broad [e, o:, з:]; –
low: - narrow [Λ]; - broad [æ, α:,
oral – nasal
labial – lingual lingual –
glottal labial – glottal bilabial –
labio-dental forelingual –
mediolingual forelingual –
backlingual mediolingual –
pit – pin seek – seen
sick – sing
pain – cane this –
hiss foam – home
wear – fair jet – yet
thing – king yes –
occlusive – constrictive
affricate – constrictive affricate
– occlusive occlusive: plosive –
sonorant constrictive: fricative
– sonorant
bat – that fair –
chair chin – pin pine –
mine same – lame
Types of oppositions
rounded – unrounded
monophthong – diphthong
tense lax free — checked
long short
front – central back – central
front – back front – frontretracted back – backadvanced high – mid low –
mid high – low high narrow –
high broad mid narrow – mid
broad low narrow – low broad
pot – pat
bit – bait but – bite
debt – doubt bird –
peel – pill
cab – curb pull –
pearl read – rod bet –
bit card – cord week
– work lack – lurk big
– bag pool – pull
foreword – forward
bad – bard
8. Phoneme and allophone. Types of allophones.
First of all, the phoneme is a minimal abstract linguistic unit realized in speech in the form of
speech sounds opposable to other phonemes of the same language to distinguish the meaning of
morphemes and words (L.V. Shcherba).
Oral realization of the phoneme called allophone. For example let, talk, try, stay,
This aspect is reflected in this part of the definition: “realized in speech in the form of
speech sounds”. In other words, each phoneme is realized as a set of predictable speech sounds,
which are called allophones.
Allophones of the same phoneme generally meet the following requirements:
1. they possess similar articulatory features, but at the same time they may show
considerable phonetic differences;
2. they never occur in the same phonetic context
3. they can’t be opposed to one another, they are not able to differentiate the meaning.
The difference between allophones is the result of the influence of the neighbouring
sounds, or the phonetic context. We distinguish two types of allophones; principal and
subsidiary. The allophones which don’t undergo any changes in the chain of speech are called
principal. They are closest to the sound pronounced in isolation. In the articulation of
subsidiary allophones we observe predictable changes under the influence of the phonetic
The actually pronounced sound that we hear reflects phonostylistic, regional, occasional
and individual peculiarities, it is called the phone.
The behavior of allophones in phonetic context, their ability to occur in certain definite positions
– distribution.
There are 3 types of distribution:
1. constrastive/parallel/overlapping – in this position these types of distribution are
typical: [n] – [ŋ]
2. complementary – allophones of one and the same phoneme. Never in the same position:
[k] – [k] (aspirated – non-aspirated).
3. free variation – allophones of one and the same phoneme that allocate in the same
position. They aren’t able to differentiate the meaning: Good night with glottal stop and
without it.
Functions of phoneme:
1. constituetive – phoneme constitutes words, word combinations etc. Phonemes have no
meaning of their own, linguistically important for in the material form of their allophones
they serve as a building material for words and morphemes;
2. distinctive – phonemes help to distinguish the meanings of words, morphemes;
3. identificatory (recognitive) – phoneme makes up gr-l forms of words, sentences, so the
right use of allophones.
Some phonologists single out delimiting function.
The function of phonemes is to distinguish the meaning of morphemes and words. So the
phoneme is an abstract linguistic unit, it is an abstraction from actual speech sounds, that is
allophonic modifications.
9. General characteristics of MnE structure.
The English language is said to be more analytical than synthetical or “mainly” analytical. The
choice of word-order is seldom relevant gram. in Russian, it is only relevant stylistically.
Modern English has comparatively few gram. inflexions it is characterized by a certain
“scarcily” or “poverty” of inflexions and in a great number of cases by the absence of synthetic
forms of word-changing. There are two different ways of inflexion: synthetic (affixation,
morphophonemic alternation, supplexion) and analytical.
The word order plays a very important role in expressing gram. relations in an English sentence.
It is fixed to a greater degree than in inflected language.
The rigid word order and scarcity of inflexion result in a very peculiar English sentence
structure: it tends to be completed. Hence, the use of a special set of words employed as
structural substitutes (prop-words) for a certain part of speech: the noun substitutes (one, that),
the verb substitutes (do, to), the adverb and adjective substitutes (so).
Practically any word or a group of words preceding the head-word is automatically felt to be
attributive, i.e. it becomes its attribute, its premodifier (films festivals).
The tendency towards heavy premodification, i.e. the use of complex group premodifiers, i.e.
spreading in English (round-the-clock service).
To revoid the repetition of the head word in a phrase, we use a substitute word. Thus preserving
a usual structure and completeness of an English sentence (She is a teacher and a good one).
Possessing such a poorly developed system of word changing, Modern English widely uses
function words for connecting words and phrases and for expressing various grammatical
meanings of words and their syntactic functions in the sentence.
Function words include prepositions, conjunctions, articles. Their role in expressing syntactical
relations in Modern English can hardly be overestimated, without function words the English
language wouldn’t simply work. The status of function words is to a certain extent contradictory:
being words by the form, by their function they belong to the grammatical structure.
Though the number of function words is very limited, they enjoy the high frequency of
occurrence, especially the article “the”, the conjunction “and” and the preposition “of”.
Among the distinctive features characterizing Modern English we should also point out the
existence of the so-called secondary or potential predication, resulting in rapid spread and
wide use of predicate complexes or constructions, which are directly related to certain types of
subordinate clauses.
The predicative complex, including a nominal and a verbal components, is not self-dependent in
a predicative sense. It normally exists only as a part of a sentence, which is built up by means of
a primary predicative constructions that has a finite verb as its backbone.
Some foreign linguists, mainly those, who shared the reactionary theory of the supremacy of one
language over another tried to make people believe that such phenomena as “heavy
premodification” or “secondary predication” directly reflected racial and political supremacy of
the English nation. O. Jespersen, being a Dane himself and a prominent anglicist, was an ardent
admirer of the English language. In his book “Growth and Structure of the English Language” he
wrote: “Although such combinations as the last mentioned are only found in more or less jocular
style, they show the possibilities of the language, and some expressions of a similar order belong
permanently to the language…Such things – and they might be easily multiplied – are
inconceivable in such a language as French, where everything is condemned that does not
conform to a definite set of rules laid down by grammarians. The French language is like the stiff
French garden of Louis XIV, while the English language is like an English park, which is laid
out seemingly without any definite plan (order), and in which you are allowed to walk
everywhere according to your own fancy without having to fear a stern keeper enforcing
rigorous regulations. The English language would not have been what it is if the English had not
been for centuries great respecters of the liberties of each individual and if everybody had not
been free to strike out new paths for himself”.
10. The English noun, its semantic and grammatical peculiarities.
The noun is the central lexical unit of language. It is the main nominative unit of speech. As any
other part of speech, the noun can be characterised by three criteria: semantic (the meaning),
morphological (the form and grammatical catrgories) and syntactical (functions, distribution).
The noun denotes substance or thingness. It is considered to be the main nominative part of the
speech. Nouns name things, living creatures, qualities, places, materials, states, abstract notions.
The noun has the power by way of nomination, to isolate different properties of substances and
present them as corresponding self-depended substances. Practically any part of speech can be
Semantic features of the noun. The noun possesses the grammatical meaning of thingness,
substantiality. According to different principles of classification nouns fall into several
According to the type of nomination they may be proper and common;
According to the form of existence they may be animate and inanimate. Animate nouns in
their turn fall into human and non-human.
According to their quantitative structure nouns can be countable and uncountable.
This set of subclasses cannot be put together into one table because of the different principles of
Semantically nouns fall into proper and common. Common nouns are subdivided into count and
non-count. The former are inflected for number where the latter are not. Further distinction is
into concrete, abstract and material.
Concrete nouns fall into three subclasses:
1. Nouns denoting animate beings (living beings) – persons and animals.
2. Nouns denoting inanimate objects.
3. Collective nouns denoting a group of persons. These may be further subdivided into:
a) collective nouns proper denoting both a group consisting of separate individuals
and at the same time considered as a single body.
e.g. The family were on friendly but guarded terms.
Our family is neither large nor small.
b) nouns of multitude which are always associated with the idea of plurality, they
denote a group of separate individuals: police, clergy, cattle, etc.
e.g. The police here are efficient.
According to their morphological composition nouns can be divided into simple, derived,
Simple nouns consist of only one root-morpheme: dog, chair, room, roof, tree, etc.
Derived nouns are composed of one root-morpheme and one or more derivational morphemes
(prefixes or suffixes). The main noun-forming suffixes are those building up abstract nouns and
those building up concrete, personal nouns.
The categorial functional properties of the noun are determined by its semantic properties. The
most characteristic substantive functions of the noun are those of the subject and the object.
Other syntactic functions – attributive, adverbial, predicative – are not immediately characteristic
of the substantive quality of the noun. It is to be noted that, while performing these nonsubstantive functions, the noun essentially differs from other parts of speech used in similar
sentence positions. This may be clearly shown by transformations shifting the noun from various
non-subject syntactic positions into subject syntactic positions of the same general semantic
value, which is impossible with other parts of speech.
Besides countability, nouns can be described by four other important grammatical
characteristics: gender, number, person, and case. These grammatical characteristics are
reflected in the choice of pronouns, the choice of number endings on the noun (singular or
plural), and the choice of subject-verb agreement endings when the noun is a subject.
Gender plays a relatively minor part in the grammar of English by comparison with its role in
many other languages. There is no gender concord, and the reference of the pronouns he, she, it
is very largely determined by what is sometimes referred to as ‘natural’ gender for English, it
depends upon the classification of persons and objects as male, female or inanimate. Thus, the
recognition of gender as a grammatical category is logically independent of any particular
semantic association.
Case expresses the relation of a word to another word in the word-group or sentence (my sister’s
coat). The category of case correlates with the objective category of possession. The case
category in English is realized through the opposition: The Common Case: The Possessive Case
(sister – sister’s). However, in modern linguistics the term “genitive case” is used instead of the
“possessive case” because the meanings rendered by the “`s” sign are not only those of
possession. The scope of meanings rendered by the Genitive Case is the following:
Possessive Genitive : Mary’s father – Mary has a father,
Subjective Genitive: The doctor’s arrival – The doctor has arrived,
Objective Genitive : The man’s release – The man was released,
Adverbial Genitive : Two hour’s work – X worked for two hours,
Equation Genitive : a mile’s distance – the distance is a mile,
Genitive of destination: children’s books – books for children,
Mixed Group: yesterday’s paper.
The grammatical category of number is the linguistic representation of the objective category
of quantity. The number category is realized through the opposition of two form-classes: the
plural form :: the singular form. The category of number in English is restricted in its realization
because of the dependent implicit grammatical meaning of countableness/uncountableness. The
number category is realized only within subclass of countable nouns.
11. The English verb, its semantic and grammatical properties.
The general categorial meaning of the verb is “action”, “process”, presented dynamically, i.e.
developing in time. This general meaning is characteristic of all the verbs, including those that
denote states, forms of existence, types of attitude, evaluations, etc., rather than actions.
Grammatically the verb is the most complex part of speech. This is due to the central role it
performs in the expression of the predicative functions of the sentence, i.e. the functions
establishing the connection between the situation (situational event) named in the utterance and
reality. The complexity of the verb is inherent not only in the intricate structure of its
grammatical categories, but also in its various subclass divi-sions, as well as in its falling into
two sets of forms profoundly different from each other: the finite set and the non-finite set.
Semantically verbs are divided into notional and semi-notional verbs. The majority of English
verbs are notional, i.e. possessing full lexical meaning. Connected with it is their isolability, i.e.
the ability to make a sentence alone: Come! Read it! Semi-notional and functional verbs have
very general “faded” lexical meanings as in be, have, become, seem, can, may, must, etc. or
structural meaning as with do, shall, will, where the meaning of “action” is almost obliterated.
Semi-notional and functional verbs are hardly isolatable. Their combinability is usually bilateral
as they serve to connect words in speech. They are comparatively few in number but they are of
very frequent occurrence and include such groups as:
- auxiliaries
- link-verbs (copulas)
- modal verbs
- semi-notionalverbid introducer verbs (M.Y. Blokh’s classification)
Auxiliary verbs constitute grammatical elements of the categorial forms of the verb: be, have, do,
shall, will. They serve to build up analytical forms in the conjugation of the English verb.
Some grammarians treat link-verbs as altogether devoid of all lexical meaning (meaningful
content). If it were so there would be no difference between: He is old. He becomes old. A linkverb is followed by a predicative or in other words it introduces the nominal part of the predicate
which is commonly expressed by a noun, an adjective, or a phrase of a similar semanticogrammatical character. The linking function in the purest form is, perhaps, expressed by the verb
“be” – a pure link-verb. All the other link-verbs express some specification of this general
predicative – linking semantics. They can be subdivided into 2 groups of verbs:
- those expressing perceptions (seem, appear, look, feel, taste)
- those expressing non-perceptional or “factual” link-verb connection (become, get, grow, remain,
In modern English an ever greater number of notional verbs are used with a linking function, so
that they may be called notional links:
Modal verbs are characterized:
1) by their peculiar modal meanings; the meaning of “action, process” common to all
verbs is scarcely felt, being suppressed by the modal meanings: ability, permission,
doubt, supposition, necessity, etc. to perform an action denoted by a notional verb;
2) by their peculiar combinability, which is also bilateral like that of link-verbs, but
unlike link-verbs which can attach different parts of speech, modal verbs are followed
only by infinitives;
3) by their syntactic function; having no non-finite forms, they are used only as
Semi-notional verbid introducer verbs are distributed among the verbal sets: seem, happen, turn
out, try, manage, fail, begin, continue, stop.
The predicator verbs should be strictly distinguished from their grammatical homonyms in the
subclasses of notional verbs:
From the point of view of their outward structure verbs are characterized by specific forms of
word-building as well as by the formal features expressing the corresponding grammatical
The verb stems may be simple, sound (stress) – replacive, expanded, composite and phrasal (M.Y.
Blokh’s classification).
The original simple verb stems are not numerous: to go, to take, to read, etc. But conversion (zerosuffixation or hypostasis) as a means of word-building in English especially of the noun →verb
type greatly enlarges the simple stem set of verbs: to cloud (N→V), to house (N→V).
The sound-replacive type of word-building and the stress-replacive type of derivation are
unproductive: food – to feed, blood – to bleed, import – to import, contact – to contact, etc.
The typical suffixes expanding the stem of the verbs are: to cultivate, to broaden, to clarify, to
normalize, etc. The verb-deriving prefixes of the inter-class type are: to befriend, to belittle, to
embed, etc. Some other characteristic verbal prefixes are: to remake, to undergo, to overestimate,
to misunderstand, to undo, etc.
The composite (compound) verb stems correspond to the composite non-verb stems from which
they are etymologically derived. Here belong the compounds of the conversion type: to blackmail,
to broadcast, to whitewash.
The phrasal verb stems occupy an intermediary position between analytical forms of the verb and
syntactic word combinations. Among such stems 2 specific constructions should be mentioned.
The first is a combination of the head-verb have, give, take and occasionally some others with a
noun; the combination has as its equivalent an ordinary verb: to have a smoke – to smoke, to give
a smile – to smile, to take a stroll – to stroll, etc.
The second is a combination of a head-verb with a verbal postposition. Some grammarians call
them “verb-adverb combinations”. They have also been called “separable verbs”, “multi-word
(poly-word) verbs”, “compound verbs”, “merged verbs”.
Their peculiar features are as follows: a) they function as single parts of speech; b) their 2 parts
may be separated from each other by intervening elements. Such verbs, though often colloquial,
add an idiomatic power to the language and enable it to express various subtle distinctions of
thought and meaning: bring up, come in, get over, make out, make up, etc. It is to be noted that
they are more picturesque and forcible than their neutral counterparts:
The number of phrasal verbs in the language has grown remarkably especially in the XX century,
and constitute one of the most distinctive features of English.
The grammatical categories which find formal expression in the outward structure of the verb
are closely connected with the division of all the verbs into finite and non-finite forms.
The grammatical nature of the finite forms may be characterized by the following seven
oppositions with reference to:
a) Person
(1st person ::3rd person)
I read :: He reads
b) Number
(Singular :: Plural)
c) Time
(Non-Past :: Past
Non-Future :: Future)
d) Mood
(Indicative :: Subjunctive
Non-Imperative :: Imperative)
e) The Aspective Character of the verb
(Continuous :: Non-Continuous)
f) Voice distinctions
(Active :: Passive)
She reads :: They read
She was :: They were
I write :: I wrote
I write :: I shall write
If he knows it now :: If he knew it now
She was dancing for half an hour :: She
danced gracefully
We invited him :: He was invited
I asked :: I was asked
g) Time correlation (Order, Phase)
I am writing :: I have written
(Non-Perfect :: Perfect)
When I came :: He had already got up
Out of the above mentioned categories 3 are found not only in the finites but in the non-finites as
well: Voice, Aspect, Phase.
Combinability of the verb is closely connected with its lexico-grammatical (categorical) meaning.
Denoting an action the verb is naturally associated 1) with nouns and noun – equivalents: either
the doer of the action or the recipient of the action, 2) with adverbs and their equivalents qualifying
an action. The most typical function of the finite verb in the sentence is the predicate. The nonfinite forms have other functions but they can perform the function of secondary predicates in
secondary predications:
12. Non-finite forms of the English verb, and their use in predicative complexes.
On the upper level of classification the finite forms are opposed to the non-finites: the
Participle, the Infinitive and the Gerund. This grammatical opposition is based on the notion
"finitude" which was introduced by Barbara Strang in her book "Modern English Structure"
The opposition between the finite and the non-finite forms of the verb creates a special
grammatical category. The differential feature of the opposition is constituted by the expression
of verbal time and mood, i.e. the ability of a finite verb to express the time-mood categorial
meaning underlies its finite predicate function (it is the strong member). The non-finite forms of
the verb have no immediate means of expressing time-mood categorial meaning and thus present
a weak member of the opposition. It's possible to say that the opposition between the finite verbs
and the non-finite verbs is based on the expression of the function of full predication and semipredication.
The non-finites are the forms of the verb intermediary in many of their lexico-grammatical
features between the verb and the non-processual parts of speech (the noun, the adjective).
They combine verbal and nominal (or adjectival) features. The mixed features of these forms are
revealed in the principal spheres of the part-of-speech classification, i.e. in their meaning,
structural marking, combinability, syntactic functions.
Their categorial (lexico-grammatical) meaning is of dual nature. The verbal meaning of action
(process) is presented as some kind of substance (Gerund, Infinitive) or quality (Participle). The
nominal features can be best traced in their syntactic functions. Thus, for instance, in accordance
with its adjectival nature the Participle can be used in the function of an attribute, both in
preposition and postposition, a predicative and adverbial modifiers. The infinitive and the
Gerund, in their turn, may be used in all the syntactic positions which are typical of a noun, i.e.
as subject, object, predicate, attribute (mostly in postposition).
The non-finites are formed by special morphemic elements which do not express either
grammatical time or mood (the most specific verb categories): -ing (Gerund and Participle I), (e)d, -(e)n (Participle II) and to (Infinitive). Unlike the finite forms which possess 7grammatical
categories the non-finite forms have only 3 grammatical categories – Aspect, Voice, Time
There's also duality in their combinability. They form combinations with adverbs, nouns,
pronouns (denoting objects or circumstances of actions) and thus perform verbal functions in the
sentence. On the other hand, they can be combined with finite verbs like nouns or adverbs, thus
performing non-verbal functions in the sentence. As has been stated above, their syntactic
functions are quite different from those of the finite verbs. They are very rarely used as
predicates )except secondary ones) but they are employed for almost any other function in the
The non-finites unable to express the predicative meanings of time and mood still express the socalled secondary or potential predication, forming syntactic complexes directly related to certain
types of subordinate clauses.
The complex is not self-dependent in a predicative sense. It normally exists only as a part of a
sentence which is built up by means of primary predicative constructions that have a finite verb
as their backbone.
The system of the non-finites in English is represented by 3categorial forms: the Infinitive, the ing form (Participle I and the Gerund), Participle II.
The Infinitive has 2 variants marked and unmarked. The marked Infinitive is an analytical
form, characterized by the morpheme to + Inf. , i.e. it is a combination of a special formal
word, the marker of the Infinitive to, with the base (stem) of a verb having a zero ending. The
unmarked Infinitive, contrariwise, is a bare infinitive, i.e. the one having a zero ending
Inf. .
As stated by L. S. Barkhudarov, the difference between the marked Infinitive and the unmarked
Infinitive is syntactical (functional) rather than morphological: the unmarked form of the
Infinitive is combined with modal verbs.
These forms are the two variants of one and the same categorical form. The difference between
them depends on the syntactical construction in which the Infinitive occurs, there being a regular
parallelism in their usage.
The –ing form is characterized by the morpheme -ing , which is represented by the only
allomorph the suffix i
. Traditional grammar distinguishes between two different sets of
homonymous forms with the suffix -ing
Participle I (Present Simple) and the Gerund. As
there is no external difference between the two sets the question may arise whether there is
enough reason to say that there are two sets of forms or there is only one set of forms ( the –ing
form) which in different contexts acquire different shades of meaning and perform different
syntactic functions. This view was put forward by Dutch scholar E. Kruisinga.
Using the term Participle I and the Gerund one should bear in mind that they are but 2 types of
the syntactical functioning of one and the same form.
Note: Apart from the inflexional morpheme ‘’-ing’’ there are 2 more homonymous derivational
(word forming) morphemes that of a noun and that of an adjective:
the reading of the bill
the comings and goings in the house
an interesting man.
Participle II is characterized by the morpheme {-en} represented by a greater number of
allomorphs than the morphemes of the Infinitive and the -ing form. Most productive are the three
phonologically conditioned allomorphs /d/, /t/, /id/. Others are the suffix (-en), e.g. taken,
fallen; simply in , e.g. known; a zero morph, e.g. put, set; etc.
As the Participle has only one form, it does not possess any of the grammatical categories of the
Infinitives and the —ing form. The grammatical meaning of the Participle is closely connected
with the lexical character of the verb. The participle is, in the main, formed from transitive verbs
and has passive meaning.
e.g. It was a question put down by one of the correspondents.
The number of participles formed from intransitive verbs is very limited. They have active
meaning and usually denote an action preceding that of the predicative verb.
e.g. The house was made of unpainted plank, gone grey now.
One of the most striking peculiarities of Modem English structure is the existence of the socalled “complex parts” in the sentence. Complex parts of the sentence are often expressed by
specific syntactic structures which are traditionally called “Predicative Complexes” in English
Grammar. A predicative complex comprises a nominal and a verbal components, which
function as one syntactic whole, as a complex part of the sentence. The relations between the
nominal and the verbal components in a predicative complex are similar to those between the
subject and the predicate in a sentence: the nominal component denotes the doer of the action
and the verbal component denotes the action itself. These relations are also known as secondary
predication. The difference between the subject and the predicate of the sentence, on the one
hand, and the nominal and the verbal components of the predicative complex, on the other hand,
lies in the form. In contrast to the morphologically agreed subject and predicate, the nominal and
the verbal components of a complex do not agree in person and number. It should be also
stressed that the nominal element of the complex is always different from the subject of the
sentence. Each non-finite form of the verb can form a predicative complex, thus, we distinguish
Infinitive, Participial and Gerundial Complexes.
The Infinitive builds up the following complexes:
 the Subjective-with-the Infinitive Construction
 the Objective-with-the Infinitive Construction
 the For-to-Infinitive Construction
The Subjective-with-the Infinitive Construction consists of a noun in the common case or a
personal pronoun in the nominative case and an infinitive. As is shown by the name of this
predicative construction, its parts are the subject of the sentence and the Infinitive, which stand
in predicate relation to each other. Such sentences can be transformed into complex ones with
the indefinite-personal subject in the principal clause:
The peculiarity of this complex is that the subject of the sentence coincides with the nominal
component of the complex itself. It is mostly used after verbs in the Passive form and after
certain verbs (happen, chance, appear, turn out, prove, seem) in the active form and performs the
function of the Complex Subject
Sentences with this construction are usually translated into Russian by means of an impersonal
principal clause and a subordinate one.
The Objective-with-the Infinitive Construction consists of a noun (or a noun- pronoun) in the
common case or a personal pronoun in the objective case and an infinitive. It functions as a
Complex Object and is used after a wide range of verbs, taking both a direct and an indirect nonrecipient object.
This construction is usually translated into Russian by means of a subordinate clause:
The For-to-Infinitive Construction is expressed by a noun in the common case or a personal
pronoun in the objective case and an infinitive with the particle to. It is introduced by the
preposition for. The construction may function as different parts of the sentence:
 subject
 predicative
 object
 attribute
 adverbial modifier of purpose.
 adverbial modifier of consequence
Participle builds up the following complexes:
 the Subjective Participial Construction
 the Objective Participial Construction
 the Absolute Nominative Construction
The Subjective Participial Construction consists of a noun in the common case or a personal
pronoun in the nominative case serving as the subject of the sentence and a participle. The
subject of the sentence and the Participle stand in predicate relation to each other.
e.g. The children were left playing on the floor.
The car was last seen parked at the hotel.
He was heard singing aloud.
This construction is parallel to the Subjective Infinitive Construction.
The Objective Participial Construction consists of a noun in the common case or a pronoun in
the objective case and participle, forming a syntactical complex, the two main components of
which are in predicative relationship. In comparison with the Infinitive in this function Participle
I shows more clearly the durative character of the action. The construction functions as a
complex object.
The Absolute Nominative Construction consists of a noun in the common case or a pronoun in
the nominative case and Participle I or Participle II. The nominal and the verbal components
make a syntactical complex functioning as a detached adverbial modifier. The position of the
construction varies: it can either open the sentence or close it. The Absolute Nominative
Participial Construction is generally used as an adverbial modifier of reason or attendant
circumstances, although sometimes it is an adverbial of time. Occasionally, especially with the
verbs to permit and to fail, it is an adverbial of condition.
This construction is often used with the preposition “with”:
I can't write with you standing there.
He went into the house, with a curious sadness pressing upon him.
She stand with her arms folded, staring thoughtfully.
The Gerund builds up the following complex:
 The Gerundial Construction
The Gerundial Construction is a predicative complex in which the nominal part is generally
expressed by a noun in the possessive case or a possessive pronoun. Sometimes, however, the
nominal component may be a noun in the common case or a personal pronoun in the objective
case (it is called a half-gerundial construction). The construction may function as different parts
of the sentence:
 subject e.g. Your doing nothing won’t help anybody.
 predicative e.g. The only way out will be his taking the job.
 object e.g. She liked his worrying about his wife.
 attribute e.g He had a sudden idea of going to the South in winter.
 adverbial modifier of time, attendant circumstances or concession. e.g. After his being
away for some time the crisis came.
13. Etymological survey of the English vocabulary.
Etymology is the branch of linguistics that studies the origin of words. From the point of view of
etymology, English vocabulary can be divided into 2 parts: 70% of borrowings in English
language, 30% of native words.
A native word is a word which belongs to the original English stock, besides, this word is found
in Old English. Native words are words brought by Anglo-Saxons from the continent and have
cognates from other European languages but cannot be traced to any particular language.
The importance of native words in the English vocabulary is often overlooked because of a
multitude of foreign words in Modern English
Native words in the English vocabulary are very often simple in their structure, but serve as a
basis for word-formation.
The peculiar feature of native words in the language is their stability. They live for centuries. But
in the course of time a certain number of Old English words have fallen out of the vocabulary.
Words of native origin are divide into 3 groups: IE, common Germanic, English proper element.
IE: auxilaries, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions, natural phenomena,animals family relations;
parts of human body; numerous verbs: stand, sit; numerals.
common Germanic include words which have parallels in such languages as german, French, etc.
3 groups” common nouns: room; Common Adj:, common V: learn
English element proper.: bird, boy, girl, woman, lord, always, call, daisy.
The three main layers in the native words are:
a) common Indo-European words; names of some natural phenomena, plants and animals,
agricultural terms, names of parts of the human body, terms of kinship,
b) common Germanic words - connected with nature, with the sea and everyday life.
c) specifically OE words- layer of native words which do not occur in other Germanic or nonGermanic languages.
The history of words throws light on the history of the speaking community and its contacts with
other people.
A loan word, borrowed word or borrowing is a word taken over from another language and
modified in phonetic shape, spelling, paradigm or meaning according to the standards of the
English language.
70% of the English vocabulary consists of borrowings due to specific conditions of the English
language development. The role played by borrowings is conditioned by direct and indirect
linguistic contacts, the English language system absorbed and remodeled the majority of
borrowings to its own standards but in spite of the changes they have undergone we can
recognize them and trace their origin.
The English language happened to come in long and close contact with several other languages,
mainly Latin, French and Old Norse (Scandinavian). The great influx of borrowings from these
sources can be accounted for by a number of historical causes. Due to the great influence of the
Roman civilization Latin was for a long time used in England as the language of learning and
religion. Old Norse was the language of the conquerors who were on the same level of social and
cultural development and who merged rather easily with the local population in the 9th, 10th and
the first half of 11th century. French, (to be more exact its Norman dialect) was the language of
the other conquerors who brought with them a lot of new notions of a higher social systemdeveloped feudalism, it was the language of upper classes, of official documents and school
instruction from the middle of the 11th century to the end of the 14th century. The borrowings
from French refer to various fields of social-political, scientific and cultural life. Also a large
portion of borrowings is scientific and technical terms.
Yet more than half of the vocabulary of English is of Latin origin, implanted either directly
during the four centuries or indirectly by eclectic borrowings in later epochs from Mn French,
Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Through the centuries it has borrowed so profusely from all
other languages on earth and has assimilated words so successfully that today only professional
scholars are aware of the national origins of many words in daily use. Here are some examples:
From Italian: balcony, brigade, colonel, piano, umbrella.
From Persian: check, chess, divan, lemon, lilac, shawl.
From Greek: acrobat, Bible, catastrophe, idiot, tactics.
From Spanish: alligator, canyon, sherry, rodeo.
Arabic : admiral, alcohol, algebra, camel, coffee, harem, lemon, massage;
Turkish : Altai, ataman;
Portuguese : breeze, caramel, cobra;
Norwegian : bag, kidnap, slalom;
Italian : bronze, dome, mascara, concert, opera, piano;
Dutch : boom, boss, cookie, easel, landscape;
Russian : babushka, balalayka, samovar, sputnik, duma, banya.
Latin borrowings: they are divided into 3 periods:
1) 5 century, words are connected with trade (pound, inch, kitchen, wall, port);
2) The time of Christianity, words are connected with religion (Latin words: alter, cross, dean;
Greek words: church, angel, devil, anthem);
3) Time of renaissance, words were borrowed after great vowel shift (17 century) (item, superior,
zoology, memorandum, vice versa, AM, PM).
French: the largest group of borrowings is French borrowings. Most of them came into English
during the Norman Conquest. Normans belong to the race of scand. origin but during their
residence in Normandy they had given up the native language and adopted the French dialect.
During 3 centuries after the Norman Conquest French was the language of the court, of the
nobility. There are following semantic groups of French borrowings:
1) words relating to government (administer, empire, state); 2) ~military affairs (army, war,
battle); 3) ~jurisprudence (advocate, petition, sentence); 4) ~fashion (luxury, coat, collar);
5)~jewelry (topaz, pearl); 6)~ food and cooking (lunch, cuisine, menu); 7)~literature and music
(pirouette, ballet).
Italian: cultural and trade relations between England and Italy in the epoch of renaissance
brought in many Italian words:
1) musical terms: concert, solo, opera, piano, trio; 2) political terms: manifesto; 3) geological
terms: volcano, lava.
Among the 20th century Italian borrowings, we can mention: incognito, fiasco, and graffiti.
Spanish: a large number of such words was penetrated in English vocabulary in 1588 when
Phillip 2 sent a fleet of armed ships against England (armada, ambuscade); trade terms: cargo,
embargo; names of dances and musical instruments: tango, rumba, guitar; names of vegetables
and fruits: tomato, tobacco, banana, ananas.
Scandinavian: By the end of the Old English period English underwent a strong influence of
Scandinavian due to the Scandinavian conquest of the British Isles. As a result of this conquest
there are about 700 borrowings from Scandinavian into English (pronouns: they, them, their;
verbs: to call, to want, to die; adj: flat, ill, happy; noun: cake, egg, knife, window. German: in
the period of Second World War such words were borrowed as: luftwaffe (возд. авиация);
bundeswehr (вооруженные силы ФРГ). After the Second World War the following words were
borrowed: Volkswagen, berufsverbot (запрет на профессию (в ФРГ)), and some other words
(cobalt, wolfram, iceberg, rucksack). Dutch: Holland and England have had constant
interrelations for many centuries and more then 2000 Dutch words were borrowed into English.
Many of them are nautical terms and were mainly borrowed in the 14th century, such as: skipper,
pump, keel, dock; and some words from everyday life: luck, brandy, and boss. Russian: Among
early Russian borrowings there are mainly words connected with trade relations, such as: rubble,
kopeck, sterlet, vodka, and words relating to nature: taiga, tundra, steppe. After the October
revolution many new words appeared in Russia, connected with the new political system, new
culture, and many of them were borrowed into English: collectivization, udarnik, Komsomol and
also translation loans: five-year plan, collective farm. One more group of Russian borrowings is
connected with perestroika, suck as: glasnost, nomenclature, and apparatchik.
14. Homonymy in English: sources of homonymy; classification of English homonyms.
Homonyms are words which are identical in sound and spelling, or, at least, in one of these
aspects, but different in their meaning.(bank, n. -a shore, an institution for receiving money; ball,
n.- a sphere; a large dancing party)In the process of communication they lead sometimes to
confusion and misunderstanding. Yet it is this very characteristic which makes them one of the
most important sources of popular humour.
Homonyms are words different in meaning but identical in sound or spelling, or both in sound
and spelling.
The term “homonymy” is derived from Greek homos – “similar” and onoma – “name”, and thus
expresses the sameness of name combined with the difference in meaning.
E.g.: bank, n. – a shore; bank, n. – an institution for receiving, lending, exchanging money. Ball,
n. – a sphere, any spherical body; ball, n. – a large dancing party.
Smirnitsky classified homonyms into 2 classes: I. full, II. partial
Full lexical homonyms are words which represent the same category of parts of speech and have
the same paradigm. match-a game, match- a short piece of wood.
Partial homonyms:
A. Simple lexico-grammatical partial homonyms are words which belong to the same category
of parts of speech.(to) found-found ( find)
B.Complex lexico-grammatical partial homonyms are words of different categories of parts of
speech.rose-rose, maid-made, left-left, bean-been, one-won
C.Partial lexical homonyms are words of the same category of parts of speech which are
identical only in their corresponding forms.to lie (lay, lain), v. to lie (lied, lied), v.to hang (hung,
hung), v.to hang (hanged, hanged), v.to can (canned, canned) (I) can (could)
1) phonetic changes-historical development of words(knight-night),
2) borrowing-a borrowed word may dublicate in form(rite-to write-right. rite here is a Latin
3)conversion (comb-to comb)
4)shortening(fan-from fanatic, fan-an implement to make a current of air)
5)sound imitation (bang звук расческа)
There are several classifications of homonyms. One of them is based on the type of meaning and
according to it homonyms may be classified into lexical, lexico-grammatical and grammatical.
Lexical homonyms belong to one and the same part of speech and the grammatical meanings of
all their forms are identical, but they are different in their lexical meaning. E.g., ball1 – a round
object used in games, ball2 – a gathering of people for dancing; Ukrainian: 6paк — spoilage
and 6paк — marriage, ключ, — source, spring, fountain and ключ — key.
Lexico-grammatical homonyms differ both in lexical and grammatical meanings, they belong
to different parts of speech. E.g., bear1 – animal, bear2 – to carry; seal1 – a sea animal, seal2 – to
close tightly, Ukrainian: ніс (на обличчі) - ніс (минулий час від нести).
Grammatical homonyms differ in grammatical meaning only. It is the homonymy of different
word-forms of one and the same word. E.g., stopped1 – the Past Indefinite, stopped2 – Participle
II. Ukrainian: відносно — prp., відносно — adverb; точно— c j., точно— adverb. The
following examples are highly illustrative:
provided – Participle II from provide, provided – коли, з умовою;
regarding – Participle I from regard, regarding – відносно;
owing – Participle I from owe, owing (to) – навпаки;
just — adverb, just — particle of emphatic precision.
The second classification is based not only on the meaning, but all the three aspects (sound-form,
graphic form and meaning) are taken into account. Here we distinguish homonyms proper,
homophones and homographs.
Homonyms proper (perfect) are words identical both in sound-form and in graphic form but
different in meaning. (back-back,pit дыра-косточка)
The important point is that homonyms are distinct words: not different meanings within one
Homophones are words identical in sound-form but different both in spelling and meaning.
E.g., son (син) — sun (сонце), pair (пара) — pear (груша),
Homographs are words identical in spelling but different both in their sound-form and in
meaning. E.g., tear /tiə/, /tεə/, lead /li:d/, /led/, wind /wind/, /waind/, bow (поклін)
— bow (лук), row (ряд) — row (шум, ґвалт)
15. The problem of semantic change in English: its causes, nature and results
To understand the development of word meaning it is necessary to investigate the causes of semantic
change, to find out the nature of various changes of meaning and to describe the results.
The Causes of Semantic Change.
Word-meaning is liable to change in the course of historical development. The
word fond diachronically meant foolish, glad had the meaning of bright, shining. There are two main
causes accounting for the change of meaning. They are extra-linguisticand linguistic. The extralinguistic causes are mainly determined by the social nature of the language, by the appearance of
new notions and things. The influence of various life changes is illustrated as follows: the
word car goes back to Latin carrus which meant a four-wheeled wagon but now that other means of
transport are used it denotes a motor-car, a railway carriage (USA), antenna meant tendrils of insects.
Some changes of meaning are due to purely linguistic causes - factors acting within the language
system. The commonest linguistic causes are differentiation (discrimination) of synonyms; ellipsis;
linguistic analysis.
Semantic change due to the discrimination of synonyms is a process which is often observed when
English and French or Latin synonyms come into coalition. The word land in OE meant both solid part
of earth’s surface and the territory of a nation. Then the word country was borrowed from Old French
and the meaning of the word land was altered and the territory of a nation came to be denoted by the
borrowed word country.
A vivid example of ellipsis is the verb to starve. In Old English steorfan had the meaning to die and was
used in collocation with the word hunger. But in the 16th century the word itself acquired the
meaning to die of hunger. Similar changes may be seen in Modern English when the meaning of one
word is transferred to another because they habitually occur together in speech.
Linguistic analysis shows that if one of the members of a synonymic set acquires a new meaning, other
members of the synonymic set change their meanings too, e.g., after the verb to catch had acquired
the meaning of «to understand», its synonyms to grasp, to get came into usage with the same
The Nature of Semantic Change.
The process of development of a new meaning or a change of meaning is traditionally
termed transference as in any case of semantic change the word is transferred from one referent onto
another. In any language there are some associations involved in semantic changes between the old
meaning and the new known as either metaphor (transference based on resembles or
similarity) or metonymy(transference based on contiguity).
Metaphor can be described as a semanticprocess of associating two referents one of which in some
way resembles the other. Metaphor is based on the perception of similarities, so when an analogy is
obvious, it should give rise to a metaphorical meaning (the hand of the clock, the foot of the hill, the
leg of the table; warm (cold) voice). There are two kinds of metaphor. The first is poetic
metaphor ormetaphor as a literary device that doesn’t impart the word with a new meaning outside
the given context (an army of shoes). Linguistic metaphor imparts the word with the new meaning
registered by dictionaries (the white of the eye).
Metaphors may be based on different types of similarity:
* similarity of shape (a head of cabbage, a tongue of a bell, an eye of a needle);
* similarity of function (the head of the army, the head of the school);
* similarity of position (the foot of a page, arms and the mouth of a river);
* similarity of out-word appearance (to saw the air (жестикулировать), egg (бомба), claret).
There are other types of similarity, too.
As we can see from the examples mentioned words most liable to adopt metaphoric meaning are
words denoting parts of a human body. Such metaphors are called anthropometaphic metaphors.
Another group of words liable to adopt metaphoric meaning is presented by words denoting animals
or fruits. Such metaphors are often used to describe people (a fox [a cunning person], a goose [a silly
person], a cow [if a person is awkward or boring], [an older woman can be called] a hen; a peach [a
beautiful woman], a lemon [an ugly girl]). One more group of words comprises transitions of proper
names into common ones (an Apollo, a Cicero, a Don Juan, a Venus).
A contemporary English linguist M. McCarthy offers his division of metaphors
into conventional and creative. Metaphor, as a device for creating and extending meaning, is very
important in the study of vocabulary. Two writers on the subject, G. Lakoff and M. Johnson argue that
metaphor is all-pervasive in language, and that whole cognitive domains can be the subject of
metaphor. E.g., if we take the metaphor argument is war, English offers a range of conventional
metaphors to verbalize features of argument [He made a vicious attack on my position. She
won’t retreat from her position. They bombarded me with objections. I came under fire from all
directions]. We can equally use metaphors of animal behavior and animal noises to describe people’s
postures, human speech, attitudes in argument [He snapped at her. «I won’t have it», he barked. I fell
prey to his persuasiveness.] Temperature is used as metaphors for degrees of friendliness, a person
may be cold or cool towards another, or may be considered to have a warm personality. McCarthy
insists on treating conventional metaphors as other multi-word (phraseological) units. Creative
metaphors are those constructed by speakers themselves, their tolerance limits are crucial, and shift
from context to context [The government has microwaved, rather than cooked up, its new economic
policy. He simply toothached all our proposals.]
Metonymy may be described as the semantic process of associating two referents one of which
makes part of the other. The transfer may be conditioned by spatial (the House - dwelling and
members of the House of Parliament; bench - a place to sit and judges; the chair - a piece of furniture
and a teaching staff), symbolic (the crown - monarchy, from the cradle to the grave - from birth till
death),and other connections.Speaking about metonymy we can see that common names may be
derived from proper [people’s names, geographical ones] (diesel, vat, ohm, ampere; twig; china;
raglan, mackintosh)
The Results of Semantic Change.
The results of semantic change can be observed in the changes in the denotational meaning of the
word or in the changes of its connotational component.
Semantic changes in the denotational component may bring about the extension (application of the
word to a wider range of referents -camp was used to denote only the place where troops are lodged
in tents, now temporary quarters)or the restriction (restriction of the type or range of referents
denoted by the word - hound denoted a dog of any breed now only a dog used in the chase) of
meaning. The change in connotational component may result in the pejorative (acquisition by the
word of some derogatory emotive charge) or ameliorative (the improvement of the connotational
component of meaning - minister denoted a servant and now a civil servant of higher rank)
development of meaning.
16. Semantic similarity and polarity of words within the lexical system of Modern English.
The traditional initial category of words that can be singled out on the basis of proximity is synonyms.
The degree of proximity varies from semantic equivalence to partial semantic similarity. The classes of
full synonyms are very rare and limited mainly two terms.
The greatest degree of similarity is found in those words that are identical in their denotational aspect
of meaning and differ in connotational one (e.g. father- dad; imitate – monkey). Such synonyms are
called stylistic synonyms. However, in the major of cases the change in the connotational aspect of
meaning affects in some way the denotational aspect. These synonyms of the kind are
called ideographic synonyms (e.g. clever – bright, smell – odor). Differ in their denotational aspect
ideographic synonyms (kill-murder, power – strength, etc.) – these synonyms are most common.
It is obvious that synonyms cannot be completely interchangeable in all contexts. Synonyms are words
different in their sound-form but similar in their denotational aspect of meaning and interchangeable at
least in some contexts.
Each synonymic group comprises a dominant element. This synonymic dominant is general term which
has no additional connotation (e.g. famous, celebrated, distinguished; leave, depart, quit, retire, clear
Syntactic dominants have high frequency of usage, vast combinability and lack connotation.
The semantic relations of opposition are the basis for grouping antonyms. The term "antonym" is of
Greek origin and means “opposite name”. It is used to describe words different in some form and
characterised by different types of semantic contrast of denotational meaning and interchangeability at
least in some contexts.
Structurally, all antonyms can be subdivided into absolute (having different roots) and derivational (of
the same root), (e.g. "right"- "wrong"; "to arrive"- "to leave" are absolute antonyms; but "to fit" - "to
unfit" are derivational).
Semantically, all antonyms can be divided in at least 3 groups:
a) Contradictories. They express contradictory notions which are mutually opposed and deny each
other. Their relations can be described by the formula "A versus NOT A": alive vs. dead (not alive);
patient vs. impatient (not patient). Contradictories may be polar or relative (to hate- to love [not to love
doesn't mean "hate"]).
b) Contraries are also mutually opposed, but they admit some possibility between themselves because
they are gradable (e.g. cold – hot, warm; hot – cold, cool). This group also includes words opposed by
the presence of such components of meaning as SEX and AGE (man -woman; man - boy etc.).
c) Incompatibles. The relations between them are not of contradiction but of exclusion. They exclude
possibilities of other words from the same semantic set (e.g. "red"- doesn't mean that it is opposed to
white it means all other colors; the same is true to such words as "morning", "day", "night" etc.).
There is another type of opposition which is formed with reversive antonyms. They imply the
denotation of the same referent, but viewed from different points (e.g. to buy – to sell, to give – to
receive, to cause – to suffer)
A polysemantic word may have as many antonyms as it has meanings. But not all words and meanings
have antonyms!!! (e.g. "a table"- it's difficult to find an antonym, "a book").
Relations of antonymy are limited to a certain context + they serve to differentiate meanings of a
polysemantic word (e.g. slice of bread - "thick" vs. "thin" BUT: person - "fat" vs. "thin").
Semantic classific of words.Semantic similarity or polarity of words mb observed in the similarity of
their denotational or connotational mean. Similarity or polarity of the denotational component of lex
mean is to be found in lex groups of synonyms & antonyms. Synonymy & antonymy are usually felt to be
correlative notions: firstly b/c the criterion of synonymy is semantic similarity which is in exact
opposition to the criterion of antonymy – semantic polarity. Secondly, b/c synonymy & antonymy seem
to overlap in a number of cases (daddy-parent denotational mean is similar but their styl reference is
Synonyms, classific. Synonyms are words different in sound-form but similar in their denotational
meaning. Synonymous relationship is observed only btw similar denotational means of phonemically
different words. Similarity of denotaional mean of all members of the synonymic set is combined with a
certain difference in the mean of each other. In Engl there are a lot of syn b/c there are many
borrowings. After a word is borrowed it undergoes desynonymization, b/c absolute syn are unnecessary
for a lang. The only existing classification of syn was established by Vinogradov: ideographic(words
conveying the same concept but differing in shades of mean), stylistic(differing in st
characteristics), absolute(coinciding in all their shades of mean and in all their st characteristics). Total
syn are vary rare(scarlet fever-scarlatina;motherland-fatherland;noun-substantative); ideographic
syn bear the same idea but not identical in their referential content (happen-occure-befallchance); dialectal (queue-line,autumn-fall,lift-elevator); contextual syn – words with different mean can
become syn in certain context (clever-bright-brainy-intelligent); stylistic syn belong to different styles
(child-neutral,infant-elevated,kid-colloquial); terminological syn (concept-notion, borrowing- loanword).
Criteria and sources of synonyms.Recently attempts have been made to introduce into definition of
synonymy the criterion of interchangeability in linguistic context. It is argued that for the linguistic
similarity of meaning implies that the words are synonymous if either of them can occur in the same
context. A more acceptable definition of synonyms seems to be the following: synonyms are words
different in their sound form, but similar in their denotational meaning or meanings and
interchangeable at least at some context.
One of the sources is borrowing. Synonymy has its characteristic PATTERNS IN EACH LANGUAGE. ITS
words borrowed from Fr and learned words of Greco- Latin origin. There are also words that came from
the dialects, in the last 100 years from American English ( radio AM- wireless BR). Synonyms are also
created by means of all word-forming processes productive In the language ( assimilation and
dissimilation). Many words are now marked as archaic or obsolete which have dropped out of the
language in the competition of synonyms, others survived with a meaning more or less different from
the original one. This process is called synonymic differentiation and is so current that is regarded as an
inherent law of language development.
+Antonyms. Classification. Antonyms are words belonging to the same part of speech, identical in style,
expressing contrary or contradictory notions. Mb class into 2 groups: absolute or root antonyms (lateearly) and derivational ant (to please- to displease). Absolute antonyms have different roots and
derivational ant have the same roots but different afiixes. Antonyms are formed with the help of such
suffixes: un, dis, non, ful, less. Absolute and derivational antonyms also differ in semantics. Derivational
antonyms express contradictory notions, one of them excludes the other (active- inactive). Absolute
express contrary notions. Like synonyms, perfect and complete antonyms are rare. Interchangeability is
typical of antonyms as well. In a context where one member of the antonymous pair can be used, it is
interchangeable with the other member. It is also observed that in certain antonymic pair one of the
members has a more generalized or abstract denotational meaning and in some contexts cannot be
replaced by the other members of the antonymic pair.
17. Major or minor ways of word-formation in Modern English
According to Смирницкий word-formation is a system of derivative types of words and the process of
creating new words from the material available in the language after certain structural and semantic
patterns. The main two types are: word-derivation and word-composition (compounding).
The basic ways of forming words in word-derivation are affixation and conversion (the formation of a
new word by bringing a stem of this word into a different formal paradigm, e.g. a fall from to fall).
There exist other types: semantic word-building (homonymy, polysemy), sound and stress
interchange (e.g. blood – bleed; increase), acronymy (e.g. NATO), blending (e.g. smog = smoke + fog)
and shortening of words (e.g. lab, maths). But they are different in principle from derivation and
compound because they show the result but not the process.
W-b is one of the main ways of enriching vocabulary. Word formation is the process of creating
new words from the material available in the language after certain structural and semantic
formulas and patterns. Semantic change is not the type of w-b as it does not lead to the
introduction of a new word into the vocabulary. The appearance of homonyms is not a means of
creating new words either. There are 4 main ways of w-b in modern English: affixation,
composition, conversion, abbreviation.
Affixation– is the creation of a word by modifying its root with an affix. It is a very productive
type of word formation. In conformity with the division or derivational affixes into suffixes and
prefixes affixation is subdivided into suffixation and prefixation. In modern English suffixation is
characteristic of noun and adjective formation. Prefixation is typical of verb formation.
Etymological classification:
1. Native:
Noun-forming (er, ness, ing, dom, hood, ship)
Adjective-forming (ful, less,y,ish,ly,en,some)
Verb-forming (en)
Adverb-forming (ly)
2. Borrowed affixes: tion, ate, able, ent, ment, age
Affixes can also be classified into producrive and non-productive type. By productive affixation
we mean those, which take part in deriving new words in the particular period of language
Suffixation. The main function of suffixes in modern English is to form one part of speech from
another, the secondary function is to change the lexical meaning of the same part of speech
(“educate” is a verb, “educate” is a noun, “music” is a noun, “musicdom” is also a noun). There
are different classifications of suffixes: part-of-speech classification, semantic classification,
lexico-grammatical classification, classification according to the origin of suffixes, according to
their productivity.
Classification of suffixes:
Part-of-speech classification. Suffixes which can form different parts of speech:
Noun-forming suffixes: -er (criticizer), -dom (officialdom), -ism (ageism)
Adjective-forming: -able (breathable), -less (sympthomless), -ous (prestigious)
Verb-forming suffixes: ize (computerize), -ify (micrify)
Adverbforming: -ly (singly), -ward (tableward)
Numeral-forming: -teen, -ty
Semantic classification.Suffixes changing the lexical meaning of the stem can be subdivided
into groups, e.g. noun-forming suffixas can denote:
The agent of the action: -er, -est, -ent :experimenter, taxist, srudent
Nationality: ian, -ese, -ish: Russina, Japanese, English
Collectivity: dom, -ry, -ship, ati: moviedom, peasantry, readership, literati
Diminutiveness: -ie, -let, -ling, ette: horsie, booklet, gooseling, kitchenette
Equality: -ness, -ity : copelessness, answerability
Lexico-grammatical character of the stem.Suffixes which can be added to certain groups of
stems are subdivided into:
1. Suffixes added to verbal stems : er(commuter), ing (suffering), able (flyable), ment
(involvement), ation
2. Suffixes added to noun stems: less, ful, ism, ster, nik, ish
3. Suffixes added to adjective stems: en, ly, ish, ness.
Origin of suffixes.
Native Germanic):er, ful, less, ly
Romance: tion, ment, able, eer
Greek: ist, ism, ize
Russian: nik
1. Productive: er, ize, ly, ness
2. Semi-productive: eer, ette, ward
3. Non-productive: ard (drunkard), th(length)
Prefixationis the formation of words by means of adding a prefix to the stem. In English it is
characteristic for forming verbs. Prefixes are more independent than suffixes. Prefixes can be
classified according to the nature of words in which they are used: prefixes used in notional
words and prefixes used in functional words. Prefixes used in notional words are proper prefixes
which are bound morphemes, e.g. un- (unhappy). Prefixes used in functional words are semibound morphemes because they are met in the languages as words, e.g. over- (overhead). The
main function of prefixes in English is to change the lexical meaning of the same part of speech.
But the recent research showed that about 25 prefixes in modern English from one part of
speech from another (interfamily, postcollege). Prefixes can be classified according to different
principles (semantic classification, origin of prefixes).
Semantic classification.
1. Prefixes of negative meaning: in (invaluable), non (nonformals), un (unfree)
2. Prefixes denoting repetition or reversal actions: de (decolonize), re (revegetation), dis
3. Prefixes denoting time, space, degree relations: inter, hyper, es, pre, over.
Origin of prefixes
1. Native (Germanic): un, over, under
2. Romance: in, de, ex, re
3. Greek: sym, hyper
Compositionis the way of w-b when a word is formed by joining two or more stems to form one
word. The structural unity of a compound word depends upon: 1) the unity of stress, 2) solid or
hyphenated spelling, 3) semantic unity, 4) unity of morphological and syntactical functioning.
These are characteristic features of compound words in all languages. For English compounds
some of these factors are not very reliable. As a rule English compounds have one uniting
stress (usually on the first component) e.g. hard-cover, best seller. We can also have a double
stress in an English compound, with the main stress on the first component and with a
secondary stress on the second component, e.g. blood-vessel. The third pattern of stresses is
two level stress, e.g. snow-white. The third pattern is easily mixed up with word-groups unless
they have solid or hyphenated spelling. Spelling in English compounds is not very reliable as
well, because they can have different spelling even in the same text, e.g. war-ship, blood-vessel
can be spelt solidly and with a break. All the more so that there has appeared in modern English
a special type of compound words which are called block compounds, they have one uniting
stress but are spelt with a break, e.g. air piracy, penguin suit.
The semantic unity of a compound word is often very strong. In such cases we have idiomatic
compounds where the meaning of the whole is not a sum of meanings of its components, e.g.
ghostwrite, brain-drain. In nonidiomatic compounds semantic unity is not strong, e.g. airbus,
English compounds have the unity of morphological and syntactical functioning. They are used
in a sentence as one part of it and only one component changes grammatically.
According to the parts of speech:
Noun: baby-moon, globe-trotter
Adjectives: power-happy, free-for-all
Verbs: honeymoon
Adverbs: headfirst
Prepositions: within
6. Numerals: 55
According to the way components are joined together:
1. Neutral, which are formed by joining together 2 stems without any joining morpheme:
2. Morphological where components are joined by a linking element: handicraft, sportsman
3. Syntactical, where the components are joined by means of form-word stems: here-andnow, do-or-die.
According to their structure
1. Compound words proper which consist of 2 stems: jobhunt, go-go, tip-top
2. Derivational compounds, where besides stems we have affixes: ear-minded,
3. Compound words consisting of 3 or more stems:eggshell-thin, singer-songwriter
4. Compoundshortened words: motocross, intervision.
According to the relations between the components:
1. Subordinative compounds where one of the components is the semantic and the
structural centre and the second component is subordinative.
2. Coordinative compounds where both components are semantically independent. Here
belong such compounds when one person/object has 2 functions: woman-doctor, and
words formed by means of reduplication fifty-fifty, no-no, and compounds formed with
the help of rhythmic stems criss-cross.
According to the order of the components compounds:
1. Compounds with direct order: kill-joy
2. Compounds with indirect order: rope-ripe.
Conversionis a characteristic feature of the English w-b system. It is also called affixless
derivation or zero-suffixation. The term “conversion” first appeared in the book by Henry Sweet
“New English Grammar” in 1891. Conversion is treated differently by different scientists, e.g.
Smirntitsky treats conversion as a morphological way of forming words when one part of speech
is formed from another part of speech by changing its paradigm, e.g. to form the verb “to dial”
from the noun “dial” we change the paradigm of the noun for the paradigm of a regular verb.
Conversion is the main way of forming verbs in modern English.
Abbreviation. In the process of communication words and word-groups can be shortened. The
causes of shortening can be linguistic and extra-linguistic. By extralinguistic causes changes in
the life of people are meant. In modern English many new abbreviations, acronyms, initials,
blends are formed because the tempo of life is increasing and it becomes necessary to give
more and more information in the shortest possible time. There are also linguistic causes of
abbreviating words and word-groups, such as the demand of rhythm, which is satisfied in
English by monosyllabic words. When borrowings from other languages are assimilated in
English they are shortened. Here we have modification of form on the basis of analogy, e.g.
Latin borrowing “fanaticus” is shortened to “fan” on the analogy with native words: man, pan,
tan, etc.
There are two main types of shortenings: graphical and lexical.
There are also secondary ways of w-b: sound interchange, stress interchange, sound imitation,
blends and back formation.
Blending - formation that combines 2 words and include the letters or sounds they have in
common as a connecting element (neutopia, bionic, smog)
Back-formationdenotes the derivation of new words by subtracing a real or supposed affix from
existing words through misinterpretation of their structure. (beggar from burglar, to butle from
butler, to baby-sit from babysitter).
+Sound and stress interchange may be defined as an opposition in which word or words forms
are differentiated due to an alternation in the phonemic composition of the root ( speak-speech,
life-live, food-feed).
18. English phraseology: structural and semantic peculiarities of phraseological units; different
approaches to their classification.
The term "phraseological unit" was introduced by Soviet linguist (Виноградов) and it's generally
accepted in this country. It is aimed at avoiding ambiguity with other terms, which are generated by
different approaches, are partially motivated and non-motivated.
The first classification of phraseological units was advanced for the Russian language by a famous
Russian linguist Виноградов. According to the degree of idiomaticity phraseological units can be
classified into three big groups: phraseological collocations (сочетания), phraseological unities
(единства) and phraseological fusions (сращения).
Phraseological collocations are not motivated but contain one component used in its direct meaning,
while the other is used metaphorically (e.g. to break the news, to attain success).
Phraseological unities are completely motivated as their meaning is transparent though it is transferred
(e.g. to shoe one’s teeth, the last drop, to bend the knee).
Phraseological fusions are completely non-motivated and stable (e.g. a mare’s nest (путаница,
неразбериха; nonsense), tit-for-tat – revenge, white elephant – expensive but useless).
But this classification doesn’t take into account the structural characteristic, besides it is rather
Prof. Смирнитский treats phraseological units as word’s equivalents and groups them into: (a) onesummit units => they have one meaningful component (to be tied, to make out); (b) multi-summit units
=> have two or more meaningful components (black art, to fish in troubled waters).
Within each of these groups he classifies phraseological units according to the part of speech of the
summit constituent. He also distinguishes proper phraseological units or units with non-figurative
meaning and idioms that have transferred meaning based on metaphor (e.g. to fall in love; to wash
one’s dirty linen in public).
This classification was criticized as inconsistent, because it contradicts the principle of idiomaticity
advanced by the linguist himself. The inclusion of phrasal verbs into phraseology wasn't supported by
any convincing argument.
Prof. Амазова worked out the so-called contextual approach. She believes that if 3 word groups make
up a variable context. Phraseological units make up the so-called fixed context and they are subdivided
into phrases and idioms.
The main features of A.V.Koonin’s approach to phraseology
Phraseology is regarded as a self-contained branch of linguistics and not as a part of lexicology.
His classification is based on the combined structural-semantic principle and also considers the level of
stability of phraseological units.
Кунин subdivides set-expressions into: phraseological units or idioms(e.g. red tape, mare's nest, etc.),
semi-idioms and phraseomatic units(e.g. win a victory, launch a campaign, etc.).
Phraseological units are structurally separable language units with completely or partially transferred
meanings (e.g. to kill two birds with one stone, to be in a brown stubby – to be in low spirits). Semiidioms have both literal and transferred meanings. The first meaning is usually terminological or
professional and the second one is transferred (e.g. to lay down one’s arms). Phraseomatic units have
literal or phraseomatically bound meanings (e.g. to pay attention to smth; safe and sound).
Кунин assumes that all types of set expressions are characterized by the following aspects of
stability: stability of usage (not created in speech and are reproduced ready-made); lexical
stability (components are irreplaceable (e.g. red tape, mare's nest) or partly irreplaceable within the
limits of lexical meaning, (e.g. to dance to smb tune/pipe; a skeleton in the cupboard/closet; to be in
deep water/waters)); semantic complexity (despite all occasional changes the meaning is
preserved); syntactic fixity.
Idioms and semi-idioms are much more complex in structure than phraseological units. They have a
broad stylistic range and they admit of more complex occasional changes.
An integral part of this approach is a method of phraseological identification which helps to single out
set expressions in Modern English.
PUs are defined as non-motivated word-grous that cannot be freely made up in speech but are
reproduced as ready-made units. The essential features of PUs are stability of the lexical components &
lack of motivation.
Vinogradov’s thematic classification (based on the principle of semantic cohesion btw the components
of the PU):
1) phraseological combinations have partially changed meaning. They are motivated & contain 1
component used in its direct meaning (bossom friends);
2) phraseological unities have completely changed meaning. They are motivated. The metaphor on
which the shift of meaning is based is clear (to play the 1st fiddle);
3) phraseological fusions have completely changed meaning. They are non-motivated, specific for every
l-ge & don’t lend themselves to literal translation (to dance attendance).
Arnold’s structural principle of classification is based on the ability to perform the same syntactic
functions as words: 1) verbal: to see how the land lies; 2) substantive (functioning like nouns): skeleton
in the cupboard; 3) adjectival: safe & sound; 4) adverbial: once in a blue moon; 5) interjectional: bless
my soul; 6) set expressions (functioning like prepositions): on the ground.
Classification by Smirnitskiy combines the structural & semantic principles. PUs are grouped according
to the number & semantic significance of their constituent parts: 1)one-summit units which have 1
meaningful constituent (to give up); 2)two-summit or multisummit which have 2 or more (common
Koonin’s structural-semantic principle according to the function in communication: 1)nominative (the
root of the trouble); 2) nominative-communicative (to break the ice); 3) interjectional (a pretty kettle of
fish); 4) communicative which are represented by proverbs & sayings.
Koonin’s classification according to the way of formation:
+1) primary ways are those when a unit is formed on the basis of a free word group: a) by means of
transferring the meaning of terminological word group (to link up – познайомитися); b) free word
groups formed by transforming the meaning (granny farm – дім пристарілих); c) alliteration (a sad sack
– нещасний випадок); d) by using archaisms (in brown study – невеселі думки); e) by means of
distorting a word group (odds & ends); f) by using a sentence in a different sphere of life (that cat won’t
jump); g) using an unreal image (to have green fingers); h) using expressions of writers or politicians in
everyday life (the wind of change).
2) secondary ways are those when a PU is formed on the basis of another PU & the are: conversion,
changing the grammar form, analogy, contrast, shortening of proverbs & sayings, borrowing of PUs from
another l-ges.
19. Lexical stylistic devices in MnE.
A stylistic device may be defined as a pattern according to which the peculiarities of the
language may be materialized.
Lexical stylistic devices reveal (раскрывают) the following patterns:
Interplay of different types of lex. meaning;
Intensification (усиление) of characteristic traits of the phenomena described;
Intentional (намеренно) mixing of word of different stylistic aspects.
Metaphor is transfer of the name of the object to another object on the basis of similarity,
likeness of 2 objects. Metaphor has no formal limitations: it can be a word, a phrase, any part of
the sentence or a whole, even a part of the text or a whole text (Алиса в стране чудес).
A metaphor can exist only with in a context. The metaphor brings to the surface, the reader to
have a new fresh look at the object. The chief function is to create images.
E.g. England has 2 eyes: Oxford & Cambridge.
Stylistic metaphors can be classified semantically and structurally.
Semantically: In genuine metaphor the clash of two meanings results in to something
Imedgenery. genuine metaphor to be found in poetry and emotive prose. In tricked metaphor it
s vaguely (едва заметно) felt. Ex/ a leg of the chair, a ray of hope. tricked metaphor used in
newspaper articles.
Structurally metaphors can be classified as simple (realized in one word and creating one
image) and sustained (развернутая) (realized in a number of a logically connected words
Metaphor may be based on similarity (сходство):
Appearance or farm – nut – орех, голова.
Temperature – boiling hot – кипяток, вспыльчивый характер.
Similarity of color – violet – фиолетовый, фиалка.
Similarity of function of use – hand – рука, стрелка часов.
The names of animals – ass – осёл, упрямый, глупый.
Metonymy –it’s a semantic process of associating 2 objects, one of which makes part of the
other or is closely connected with it. It is a deliberate use of words in 2 lexical meanings
(dictionary and context). Metonymy is a transference of meaning based on contiguity.
The metonymy based on the types of possible association^\:
1. part for the whole (a flit of fifty sails).
2. a symbol for a thing symbolized (skinheads).
3. the container instead of the thing contained (the hall applauded).
4. the material for the thing made of (glasses).
5. the author for his work.
6. the instrument for the agent of the action performed (his pen knows no compromise).
Metonymy is expressed by nouns.
Irony is based on interplay of 2 logical meanings: dictionary & contextual which stand in
opposition to each other. Irony doesn’t exist outside the context.
E.g.: She turned with the sweet smile of an alligator.
Irony must not be confused with humour. They have much in common. The effect of irony in
such cases is created by a number of statesmnts or by whole ot the text. This type of irony is
sustained irony.
Epithet expresses a characteristic of an object existing or imaginary. It’s basic feature is
emotiveness & subjectivity: the characteristic attached to the object to qualify it is always
chosen by the speaker himself.
Thus epithet is based on interplay(взаимосвязи) of logical & emotive meaning. The later is born
in context & prevails over the logical meaning. Logical attributes (which are not stylistic
devices) are objective and non-evaluative.
E.g.: a pretty young girl – logical attribute, a care and radiant maiden - epithet.
Epithets can be classified semantically (cold-blooded murder) and structurally (a lip sticky
Richard the Lion Heart.
Oxymoron is a variety of epithet. It is also an attributive or an adverbial word joined with an
antonymic word in one combination.
E.g.: crowded loneliness, An ugly beauty, To shout silently.
Antonomasia it is lexical stylistic devices based on the interaction of logical and nominal
meanings of the same words. In antonomasia a proper name is used instead of common noun
or vice a versa (наоборот).
The specific type of antonomasia is so called speaking name - Miss Simplicity – сама
Antonomasia is created mainly by nouns more seldom by attributive combinations or phrases.
Zeugma is a combination of one verb with 2 nouns with different semantic meanings.
the semantic relation being on the one hand literal & on the other – metaphorical. Zeugma is a
figure of speech, using a verb or adj. with 2 nouns, to one of which it is strictly applicable, while
the word appropriate to the other is not used.
E. g.: & the boys took their places & their books.
With wiping eyes & hearts.
Pun is a figure, which consists in a humorous use of words identical in sound, but different in
meaning or the use of different meanings of the same word.
E.g.: Have you been seen any spirit? Or taken any?
Did you hit a woman with a child? – No, I hit her with a stick.
Hyperbole is a SD in which emphasis is active through deliberate exaggeration; the feelings &
emotions of the speaker are so concentrated that the resorts in his speech to intensifying the
quantitative or the qualitative aspect of the object. (e.g. My love should grow faster that
Hyperbole is one of the most expressive means of our everyday speech.
It may be the final effect of another SD: metaphor, simile, irony like as: (e.g. he had the tread of
an elephant (metaphor). The man was like the Rock of Gibraltar (simile)). (e.g. She was all
angles &-bones).
Hyperbole can be expressed by all notional parts of speech. There are words which are used in
the stylistic devices more often than others. They are such pronounce as all, every, everybody
and so on (She was both angler and bones). Also numerical nouns and adverbs of time: a
million, a thousand, ever, never.
Hyperbole is used at exaggerating of quantity or quality when it is directly the opposite way,
when the size, shape, demotions, characteristic features of an object are not overrated but
underrated we deal with understatement or meiosis.
e.g. This woman of a pocket size (understatement).
I was scared to death when I came into the room (H).
She was a sparrow of a woman.
20. Syntactical stylistic devices
SSDs deal with the syntactical arrangement of the utterance, which creates the emphasis of the
letter irrespective of the lexical meanings of the employed units.
SSD dealing with the length&structure of the sentence:
1. Patens of Inversion is based on the violation of traditional word-order of the sentence, only
giving it an additional logical impact or emotional coloring.
Complete – displacement of the predicate;
Partial – displacement of the secondary members.
2. Rhetorical question is based on the statement expressed in the interrogative form.
SSD dealing with the completeness of the sentence:
1. Ellipsis is a deliberate omission of at least one member of a sentence (different
I went to London, she – to NY.
2. Break the narration (aposiopesis) - (incomplete representation) the sudden intonational
breaking off in speech, without completing a thought
- is a stopping short for rhetorical effect (treat, hesitation etc).
Just come home or I’ll.
3. Apokoinu is the omission of the pronominal (adverbial) which create a blend of the
main&subordinate clauses. It is asyndeton connection of 2 clauses where one word has 2
syntactical functions.
He was the man (that) killed that deer.
SSD dealing with the arrangement of the sentence:
1. Parallelism – the similarity of the syntactical structure of successive phrases, clauses or
Partial p. is the p. of the structure of some parts of sensitive sentence or clause.
Complete p. represents identity of structure throughout the correspondent sentences.
Reversed p. (chiasmus) is the repetition of syntactical pattern with a reversed word-order.
2. Repetition (word, word-combination, phrase) – a reiteration of the same word or phrases
with the view of expressiveness.
Anaphora (a…, a…).
Epiphora (…a, …a).
Simple (one and the same member of phrase without any strong regularity).
Framing (the beginning of the sentence is repeated at the end).
Catch (anadiplosis: …a, a…).
Chain (several catch r.)
Successive (is a stream of closely following each other repeated units).
3. Detachment is separating a secondary part of a sentence with aims of emphasizing it; it
singles out with the help of punctuation.
4. Parenthesis is an explanatory of qualifying sentence, phrase or word which is inserted in
longer passage without being grammatically connected with it, marked off by brackets, dashes.
5. Suspense – device to produce a state of uncertainty, usually with anxiety or expection
- is a deliberate postponement of the completing of the sentence.
SSD dealing with different types of connection:
1. Asyndeton: connection without any formal sign; the deliberate avoidance of conjunctions.
- (“bounding together”) the deliberate avoidance of conjunctions.
2. Polysyndeton: repetition of conjunctions in close connection.
3. Attachment: is a deliberate separation of the second part of the utterance from the first one
by a full-stop. The second part appears as an afterthought.