Language Change Terms

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DescriptionTermExample
Two words combined to form a new word Laptop; Blackbird
Words remaining in use but changing meaning
New word formed by shortening an existing word Advert from Advertisement
Creation of a new word not derived from any other word
When sounds disappear from words No longer pronounce the b in 'Thumb' or 'Tomb'
Parts of usually two words joined together Smog; Motel
A word (usually a noun) shortened to form a word of another type (usually a verb)Edit from Editor
Mild or inoffensive way of describing something distasteful or unpleasant 'Friendly Fire' or 'Cashflow problem'
When meaning of a word becomes less favourable 'Impertinent' once meant irrelevant, now means rude
Words taken from other languages Soprano (Italian) Lager (German) Alcohol (Arabic)
When the meaning of a word broadens Dog was a particualr breed, but now includes all breeds
Adding prefixes or suffixes 'Micro'Wave; Sex'ism'
A word’s meaning changed based on an analogy or likeness between things Crane becuase it looks like a bird
Words such as chit-chat; clip-clop; criss-cross
The movement towards a stable language culminating in Dr. Johnson’s dictionary in 1755
People who disapprove of uses of language that break ‘correct’ language rules
When a word becomes more specific in meaning Meat originally denoted food in general not just animal flesh
When we change language to make it more consistent
Particular brand associated with particular product Hoover for all vacuum cleaners
DescriptionTermExample
Words losing semantic potency Astound from meaning 'strike with thunder' to meaning 'strongly suprised'
People who do not lable particular uses of language ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ but seek to describe as accuarately as possible how language is used
Shortening an existing word Laboratory > Lab
Modern drive to replace words and expressions that are considered offensive or demeaning to disadvantaged or minority groups'Mixed-race', replacing 'half-caste'
Words gaining stronger semantic potency Kill from meaning 'to torment' to its current meaning
The addition of new words to our vocabulary or old words falling out of use
Words deriving from names of people/places Not really a technical term, just say what you see
Obsolete words or phrases Enow (enough)
Dramatic and important example of sound change between 1400-1600
General term for a new word
Words losing some of their original force over time 'Soon' now means in the near future, but used to mean immediately
Changes in pronunciation of words
Words formed from initial letters of existing words NATO
Change in word class To Contest (verb) > A Contest (noun)
When a words meaning changes into something more pleasant or positive 'Pretty' once meant sly or cunning, now means attractive
When the pronunciation of a phoneme is affected by the phoneme that is next to it 'Sandwich' pronounced 'Samwich' 'n' changes to 'm' as 'w' makes an 'm' sound easier to pronounce
Phrases formed from previously existing words 'In the doghouse', 'Over the moon'
When two words have similar meaning and one has to adapt or disappear Camelopard v Giraffe

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Created Jun 17, 2011ReportNominate
Tags:description, example, term