The Renaissance was a period of extensive cultural contacts between the major European states. Therefore, it was only natural that new words also entered the English vocabulary from other European languages. The most significant were French borrowings. This time they came from the Parisian dialect of French and are known as Parisian borrowings. Examples: routine, police, machine, ballet, matinee, scene, technique, bourgeois, etc. Italian also contributed a considerable number of words to English, e. g. piano, violin, opera, alarm, colonel.
The historical survey above shows the ways in which English vocabulary developed and of the major events through which it acquired its vast modern re-sources. Summary is shown in the table 1.
The second column of the table contains more groups, but it also implies a great quantity of words. Modern scholars estimate the percentage of borrowed words in the English vocabulary at 65-70 per cent which is an exceptionally high figure. It means that the native element doesn't prevail. This anomaly is explained by the country's eventful history and by its many international contacts.
Considering the high percentage of borrowed words, one would have to classify English as a language of international origin or, at least, a Romance one (as French and Latin words obviously prevail). But here another factor comes into play: the native element in English comprises a large number of high-frequency words like the articles, prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions, auxiliaries and, also, words denoting everyday objects and ideas (e. g. house, child, water, go, come, eat, good, bad, etc.).
Furthermore, the grammatical structure is essentially Germanic and it remains unaffected by foreign influence.
The Etymological Structure of English Vocabulary
The native element The borrowed element
1.Indo-European element I. Celtic (5th - 6th c.A.D.).
2.Germanic element II. Latin
1st group: 1st c.B.C.
2st group: 7th c.A.C.
3st group: the Renaissance period
3.English Proper element (no earlier than 5th c.A.D.) III. Scandinavian (8th - 11th c.A.D.)
1. Norman borrowings: 11th-13th c.A.D.
2. Parisian borrowings (Renaissance)
V. Greek (Renaissance)
VI. Italian (Renaissance and later)
VII. Spanish (Renaissance and later)
X. Russian and some other groups
The first column of the table consists of three groups, only the third being dated: the words of this group appeared in the English vocabulary in the 5th century or later, that is, after the Germanic tribes migrated to the British Isles. The tribal languages of the Angles, the Saxons, the Jutes, by the time of their migration, contained only words of Indo-European and Germanic roots plus a certain number of the earliest Latin borrowings.
By the Indo-European element are meant words of roots common to all (or most) languages of the Indo-European group. The words of this group denote elementary concepts without which no human communication would be possible. The following groups can be identified.
1. Family relations: father, mother, brother, son, daughter.
2. Parts of the human body: foot, nose, lip, heart.
3. Animals: cow, swine, goose.
4. Plants: tree, birch, corn.
5. Time of day: day, night.
6. Heavenly bodies: sun, moon, star.
7. Numerous adjectives: red, new, glad, sad.
8. The numerals from one to a hundred.
9. Pronouns - personal (except "they" which is a Scandinavian borrowing) and demonstrative.
10. Numerous verbs: be, stand, sit, eat, know.
The Germanic element represents words of roots common to all or most Germanic languages. Some of the main groups of Germanic words are the same as in the Indo-European element.
1. Parts of the human body: head, hand, arm, finger, bone.
2. Animals: bear, fox, calf.
3. Plants: oak, fir, grass.
4. Natural phenomena: rain, frost.
5. Seasons of the year: winter, spring, summer .
6. Landscape features: sea, land.
7. Human dwellings and furniture: house, room, bench.
8. Sea-going vessels: boat, ship.
9. Adjectives: green, blue, grey, white, small, thick, high, old, good.
10. Verbs: see, hear, speak, tell, say, answer, make, give, drink.
The English proper element is opposed to the first two groups. For not only it can be approximately dated, but these words have another distinctive feature: they are specifically English have no cognates in other languages whereas for Indo-European and Germanic words such cognates can always be found, as, for instance, for the following words of the Indo-European group.
Star: Germ. - Stern, Lat. - Stella, Gr. - aster.
Stand: Germ. - stehen, Lat. - stare, R. - стоять.
Here are some examples of English proper words: bird, boy, girl, lord, lady, woman, daisy, always.
STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS OF BORROWINGS
There are certain structural features which enable us to identify some words as borrowings and even to determine the source language. We have already estab-lished that the initial (sk) usually indicates Scandinavian origin. We can also recognize words of Latin and French origin by certain suffixes, prefixes or endings. Here are some typical and frequent structural elements of Latin and French borrowings:
Latin affixes of nouns:
The suffix (-ion): legion, opinion, etc.; the suffix (-tion): relation, temptation, etc.
Latin affixes of verbs:
The suffix (-ate): appreciate, create, congratulate, etc.; the suffix (-ute): attribute, distribute, etc.; the remnant suffix (-ct): act, collect, conduct, etc.; the prefix (dis-): disable, disagree, etc.
Latin affixes of adjectives:
The suffix (-able): detestable, curable, etc.; the suffix (-ate): accurate, graduate, etc.; the suffix (-ant): constant, important, etc.; the suffix (-ent): absent, evident, etc.; the suffix (-or): major, senior, etc.; the suffix(-al): final, maternal, etc.; the suffix (-ar): solar, familiar, etc.
French affixes of nouns:
The suffix (-ance): endurance, hindrance, etc.; the suffix (-ence): consequence, patience, etc.; the suffix (-ment): appointment, development, etc.; the suffix (-age): courage, marriage, village, etc.; the suffix (-ess): actress, adventuress, etc.
French affixes of verbs:
The prefix (en-): enable, enact, enslave, etc.
French affixes of adjectives:
The suffix (-ous): curious, dangerous, etc.
It's important to note that later formations derived from native roots borrowed Latin and French affixes (e.g. eatable, lovable).
WHY ARE WORDS BORROWED?
Sometimes it is done to fill a gap in vocabulary. When the Saxons borrowed Latin words for "butter", "plum", "beet", they did it because their own vocabularies lacked words for these new objects. For the same reason the words "potato" and "tomato" were borrowed by English from Spanish when these vegetables were first brought to England by the Spaniards.
But there is also a great number of words which are borrowed for other reasons. There may be a word (or even several words) which expresses some particular concept, so that there is no gap in the vocabulary and there does not seem to be any need for borrowing. However a word is borrowed because it supplies a new shade of meaning or a different emotional colouring though it represents the same concept. This type of borrowing enlarges groups of synonyms and provides to enrich the expressive resources of the vocabulary. That is how the Latin "cordial" was added to the native "friendly", the French "desire" to "wish", the Latin "admire" and the French "adore" to "like" and "love".
The historical circumstances stimulate the borrowing process. Each time two nations come into close contact.