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Diachrony of Semantic Conversives in English - Дипломна робота


Pre-English *['stobo:] 'heated room' (compare German Stube, formerly 'heated room,' now 'living-room') > stove
6) Hyperbole:
The transition from stronger to weaker meaning:
Pre-French *ex-tonare 'to strike with thunder' > French etonner 'to astonish' (from Old French, English borrowed astound, astonish)
7) Litotes:
The transition from weaker to strongermeaning:
Pre-English *['kwalljan] 'to torment' (so still German qualen) > Old English cwellan 'to kill'
8) Degeneration:
Old English cnafa 'boy, servant' > knave
9) Elevation:
Old English cniht 'boy, servant' (compare German Knecht 'servant') > knight.
Collections of examples arranged in classes like these are useful in showing us what changes are likely to occur. The meanings 'jaw,' 'cheek,' and 'chin,' which we found in the cognates of our word chin, are found to fluctuate in other cases -such as that of cheek from 'jaw' (Old English meaning) to the present meaning; jaw, from French joue 'cheek,' has changed in the opposite direction. Latin maxilla 'jaw' has shifted to 'cheek' in most modern dialects, as in Italian mascella [ma'sella] 'cheek.' We suspect that the word chin may have meant 'jaw' before it meant 'cheek' and 'chin.' In this case we have the confirmation of a few Old High German glosses which translate Latin molae and maxillae (plural forms in the sense 'jaw' or 'jaws') by the plural kinne. Old English ['weor?an] 'to become' and its cognates in the other Germanic languages (such as German werden) agree in form with Sanskrit ['vartate:] 'he turns,' Latin verto 'I turn,' Old Bulgarian [vrte:ti] 'to turn,' Lithuanian [ver'cu] 'I turn'. We accept this etymology because the Sanskrit word has a marginal meaning 'to become,' and because English turn shows a parallel development, as in turn sow, turn traitor.
2.2. Etymology and Cultural Traces Implied by Semantic Changes.
Viewed on this plane, a change of meaning may imply a connection between practical things and thereby throw light on the life of older times. English fee is the modern form of the paradigm of Old English feoh, which meant 'live-stock, cattle, property, money.' Among the Germanic cognates, only Gothic faihu ['fehu] means 'property'; all the others, such as German Vieh [fi:] or Swedish fa: [fe:], have meanings like '(head of) cattle, (head of) live-stock.' The same is true of the cognates in the other Indo-European languages, such as Sanskrit ['pacu] or Latin pecu; but Latin has the derived words pecunia 'money' and peculium 'savings, property.' This confirms our belief that live-stock served in ancient times as a medium of exchange.
English hose corresponds formally to Dutch hoos [ho:s], German Hose ['ho:ze], but these words, usually in plural form, mean not 'stockings' but 'trousers.' The Scandinavian forms, such as Old Norse hosa, mean 'stocking' or 'legging.' An ancient form, presumably West Germanic, came into Latin in the early centuries of our era, doubtless through the mediation of Roman soldiers, for the Romance languages have a type *hosa (as, Italian uosa ['wosa]) in the sense 'legging.' We conclude that in old Germanic our word meant a covering for the leg, either including the foot or ending at the ankle. Round his waist a man wore another garment, the breeches (Old English broc). The English and Scandinavian terminology indicates no change, but the German development seems to indicate that on the Continent the hose were later joined at the top into a trouser-like garment.
In this way, a semantically peculiar etymology and cultural traces may confirm each other. The German word Wand [vant] denotes the wall of a room, but not a thick masonry wall; the latter is Mauer ['mawer], a loan from Latin. The German word sounds like a derivative of the verb to wind, German winden (past tense wand), but etymologists were at loss as to the connection of these meanings, until Meringer showed that the derivative noun must have applied at first to wattled walls, which were made of twisted withes covered with mud. In the same way, Primitive Germanic *['wajjuz] 'wall,' in Gothic waddjus, Old Norse veggr, Old English wag, is now taken to have originated as a derivative of a verb that meant 'wind, twist.' We have seen that scholars try, by a combination of semantic and archaeologic data, to throw light on prehistoric conditions, such as those of the Primitive Indo-European parent community.
Just as formal features may arise from highly specific and variable factors, so the meaning of a form may be due to situations that we cannot reconstruct and can know only if historical tradition is kind to us. The German Kaiser ['kajzer] 'emperor' and the Russian [tsar] are offshoots, by borrowing, of the Latin caesar ['kajsar], which was generalized from the name of a par-ticular Roman, Gaius Julius Caesar. This name is said to be a derivative of the verb caedo 'I cut'; the man to whom it was first given was born by the aid of the surgical operation which, on account of this same tradition, is called the caesarian operation. Aside from this tradition, if we had not the historical knowledge about Caesar and the Roman Empire, we could not guess that the word for 'emperor' had begun as a family-name. The now obsolescent verb burke 'suppress' (as, to burke opposition) was derived from the name of one Burke, a murderer in Edinburgh who smothered his victims. The word pander comes from the name of Pandarus; in Chaucer's version of the ancient story of Troilus and Cressida, Pandarus acts as a go-between. Buncombe comes from the name of a county in North Carolina, thanks to the antics of a congressman. Tawdry comes from St. Audrey; at St. Audrey's fair one bought tawdry lace. Terms like landau and sedan come from the original place of manufacture. The word dollar is borrowed ultimately from German Taler, short for Joa-chimstaler, derived from Joachimstal ('Joachim's Dale'), a place in Bohemia where silver was minted in the sixteenth century. The Roman mint was in the temple of Juno Moneta 'Juno the Warner'; hence the Romans used the word moneta both for 'mint' and for 'coin, money.' English mint is a pre-English borrowing from this Latin word, and English money is a medieval borrowing from the Old French continuation of the Latin word.
The surface study of semantic change indicates that refined and abstract meanings largely grow out of more concrete meanings. Meanings of the type 'respond accurately to (things or speech)' develop again and again from meanings like 'be near to' or 'get hold of.' Thus, understand, as we saw, seems to have meant 'stand close to' or 'stand among.' German verstehen [fer'ste:en] 'understand' seems to have meant 'stand round' or 'stand before'; the Old English equivalent forstandan appears both for 'understand' and for 'protect, defend.'
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