Kolesnikova A.O. The influence of the borrowings from contemporary languages on the dfevelopment of new English

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Колеснікова Аліна Олександрівна – студентка Педагогічного інституту Київського університету імені Бориса Грінченка, напрям підготовки «Початкова освіта», кафедра іноземних мов і методик їх навчання Київського університету імені Бориса Грінченка

Як випливає із заголовку, у статті розглянуто вплив сучасних мов на розвиток словника англійської мови, головним чином, нової англійської мови. Автор описує основні мови, які сприяли збагаченню словника у період Ренесансу і наступні віки.

Ключові слова: сучасні мови, основні джерела, мови, що сприяли збагаченню, сприяння, запозичення, запозичені слова, імпортувати, контакти у військовій, комерційній і політичній сферах, вплив, розвиток, словниковий склад, становлення.

Как исходит из заглавия, в статье рассмотрено влияние современных языков на развитие словаря английского языка, главным образом, в период нового английского языка. Автор описывает основные языки, которые способствовали обогащению словаря в период от Ренессанса и в последующие века.

Ключевые слова: современные слова, основные источники, языки, которые способствовали обогащению, заимствования, заимствованные слова, импортировать, контакты в военной, коммерческой и политической сферах, влияние, развитие, словарный запас, становление.

As the title implies the article dwells upon the contemporary languages influence on the development of the English vocabulary, mainly of New English. The author describes the main contributors to the vocabulary in the age of the Renaissance and in the succeeding centuries.

Key words: contemporary languages, main sources, contributors, contribution, borrowings, loan-words, import, contacts in military, commercial and political fields, influence, development, word-stock, establishment.


Problem setting

The history of the English language is of considerable interest to all students of English, since the English language of today reflects many centuries of development. Any student of English is well aware of the difficulties of phonetic, lexical and grammar peculiarities of the establishment of English, and the phenomenon of the evolution of the English language as well. Therefore it is necessary to provide the students with a knowledge of all the things mentioned above to make students able to overcome every of the difficulties in the process of learning English.

Last scientific researches and publications analysis

The concern of many scientists is not only the English borrowed words grammatical structure, their phonetic norms, change of meanings, but when, where from, what language and why they were borrowed into the English vocabulary. One of the famous Russian linguists of the 19th century A. Potrebnya ascertained «Borrowing words mean to take them in order to have a possibility to contribute the treasury of the human being culture; it’s more than to receive». Such approach relating to the problem of borrowings helps revealing conformities the development of the word-stock of the language depends on, explains the occurring phenomena inside of it, defines their reasons, and shows the connection of the history with single words, the history of the language and the history of its people.

Tetyana Rastorgueva’s research concerning the problem of borrowings in the English language we have being investigating is of great importance. The scientist gives thorough analysis, comments on the characteristics of the borrowings from contemporary languages in New English.

We should pay attention to T. Rastorguyeva’s investigations relating to the influence of the borrowings from contemporary languages on the word-stock of the English language in New English period.

In Nataliya Rayevska’s scientific works we observe the phenomenon of the assimilation of the words in the English word-stock borrowed from contemporary languages in New English in the age of Renaissance and in the succeeding centuries. In the process of the prolonged history of the formation and development the English language borrowed a number of foreign words from different languages. It gives reasons to a plenty of scientists to state that the English language has lost its originality. But we think that the problem demands more detailed investigation.

Formulation of the article’s purpose

In our scientific research we try to give comments on the English language of New English in the age of the Renaissance and in the succeeding centuries; reveal the peculiarities and the influence of the borrowings from contemporary languages in New English period; give examples of the borrowings from contemporary languages; show their distinctive and articulatory features; explain peculiarities of phonetics, grammar and lexical meanings in order to help students overcome difficulties concerning borrowed words in the English vocabulary in the process of learning English.

The statement of basic material of investigation

According to the estimates made by modern philologists, in the course of thousand years – from Old English (OE) to modern times – the English vocabulary has multiplied tenfold.

Among the changes in the English vocabulary we can distinguish losses of words or their meanings, replacement and additions.

Like many other lexical changes losses were connected with events in external history, e.g.: OE Daneʒeld, the tax paid to the Scandinavians, was not collected after the collapse of the Danish Empire. Thus it survived only as a historical term.

Most of the OE words were replaced by other words of the same or similar meanings. Thus OE clipian came to be replaced by Middle English (ME) callen, and New English (NE) call.

Additions to the English vocabulary embrace a large number of vocabulary changes. The sum total of this type of change far offsets the process of obsolescence and decay. Among additions we can find pure innovations, that is entirely new words which do not take place of any other items but were created to name new things, new ideas and new qualities, e.g.: ME citee ‘town with a cathedral’, duke, duchess, prynce – new ranks and titles; NE bourgeois, potato, nylon.

From the 12th to the 19th century there were a lot of borrowings from Scandinavian, French, Latin and Greek. E.g.: Scandinavian byr – village, French chieftain – captain, Latin – anonymous, Greek – drama, etc.

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 period mainly pertain to diplomatic relations, social life, art and fashions. French remained the international language of diplomacy for several hundred years; Paris led the fashion in dress, food and in social life and to a certain extent in art and literature; finally, the political events in France in the 18th – 19th c. were of world-wide significance. All these external conditions are reflected in French loans. Examples of diplomatic terms are attaché, communiqué, dossier; the words ball, beau, cortege, café, coquette, hotel, picnic, restaurant refer to social life; ballet, ensemble, essay, genre pertain to art; military terms brigade, corps, manoeuvre, marine, police, reconnaissance; fashions in dress and food are illustrated by words like blouse, chemise, corsage, cravat, champagne, menu, soup. Words of miscellaneous character are: comrade, detail, entrance, essay, machine, moustache, progress, ticket.

As seen from the lists, later French borrowings differ widely from the loan-words adopted in ME. Most of them have not been completely assimilated and have retained a foreign appearance to the present day – note their spellings, the sounds and the position of the stress. Words like genre and restaurant have nasalized vowels and a French spelling: police, fatigue, marine receive the stress on the last syllable and are pronounced with long [i:] indicated by the letter i like French words; the diagraph ch stands for [ʃ] in machine, in beau the letters eau have also retained the sound value of the French prototype [ͻ:].

In addition to the three main sources – Greek, Latin and French, English speakers of the NE period borrowed freely from many other languages. It has been estimated that even in the 17th c. the English vocabulary contained words derived from no less than fifty foreign tongues. We shall mention only the most important ones.

The main contributors to the vocabulary were Italian, Dutch, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Russian. A number of words were adopted from languages of other countries and continents, which came into contact with English: Persian, Chinese, Hungarian, Turkish, Malayan, Polynesian, the native languages of India and America.

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 art.

In the 14th c. English imported the Italian words ducato, million, florin (from the name of Florence, where the coin was minted), pistol, cartridge, alarm (probably borrowed from French but traced to Italian ‘all’arme ‘all to arms’). Italian words relating to art are well known to speakers of all European languages. Examples of musical terms adopted in English are: aria, bass, cello, concerto, duet, finale, piano, solo, sonata, soprano, tenor, violin.

The Italian loan-words balcony, cameo, corridor, cupola, design, fresco, gallery, granite, parapet, pedestal, studio reveal the priority of the Italians in certain spheres of culture. The loans replica, sonnet, stanza indicate new concepts in literature.

As seen from the examples, some loan-words retained their Italian appearance, others were Gallicised (i.e. assumed a French shape); probably they had entered the English language through French, e.g.: artisan, campaign, intrigue. Many words in general use do not differ from English words either in sounds or spelling and cannot be distinguished from native words without a special study: barrack, cash, canteen, escort, gallop, laundry, manage, medal, pants, pilot; these borrowings were probably imported at an earlier date and have lost their foreign flavour.

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. This is apparent from the nature of Spanish borrowings in English made in the 16th and 17th c., e.g.: armada, barricade, cannibal, cargo, embargo, escapade. Many loan-words indicated new objects and concepts encountered in the colonies: banana, canoe, chocolate, cocoa, colibri, maize, mosquito, Negro, potato, ranch, tobacco, tomato.

Borrowings from Germanic languages are of special interest as English is a Germanic language too. The influence of Scandinavian in Early Middle English period has certainly remained unsurpassed and the unique conditions of close language contacts were never repeated. By the 15-th – 16th c. the Germanic languages had driven apart; their linguistic affinities were disguised by the changes of the intervening periods. Therefore loan-words from related Germanic tongues were no less foreign to English speakers than those from other linguistic groups. Yet their sound form was somewhat closer to English and their assimilation progressed rapidly. Dutch words and some of the German words do not differ in appearance from native English words.

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 practice their trade, and sell their goods. They specialized in wool weaving and brewing, which is reflected in the Dutch loan-words: pack, scour, spool, stripe (terms of weaving); hops, tub, scum. Extensive borrowing is found in nautical terminology: bowline, buoy, cruise, deck, dock, freight, keel, skipper. The flourishing of art in the Netherlands accounts for some Dutch loan-words relating to art: easel, landscape, sketch.

Loan-words from German reflect the scientific and cultural achievements of Germany at different dates of the New English period. Mineralogical terms are connected with the employment of German specialists in the English mining industry, e.g.: cobalt, nickel, zinc. The advance of philosophy in the 18th and 19th c. accounts for philosophical terms, e.g.: transcendental, dynamics (going back to classical roots). Some borrowings do not belong to a particular semantic sphere and can only be classified as miscellaneous: kindergarten, halt, stroll, plunder, poodle, waltz.

The most peculiar feature of German influence on the English vocabulary in the 18th and 19th c. is the creation of translation-loans on German models from native English components (sometimes also from foreign roots, borrowed and assimilated before). Whenever compound German nouns, in their alien sound form and morphological structure, were hard to reproduce, translation-loans came in handy in rendering their meaning and creating new terms: English swan-song is a literal translation of German Schwanenlied; home-sickness comes from Heimweh, standpoint from Standpunkt; environment was the rendering of Umgbung, masterpiece consists of two Romance elements reproducing German Meisterstück.

Recent German borrowings in English, connected with World War II and other political events, are: blitz, bunker, Gestapo, nazi.)

The Russian element in the English vocabulary is of particular interest to the Russian student of the history of English. 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: astrakhan, beluga, boyar, copeck, intelligentsia, muzhik, rouble, samovar, troika, tsar, verst, vodka.

The loan-words adopted after 1917 reflect the new social relations and political institutions in the USSR: Bolshevik, Komsomol, Soviet. Some of the new words are translation-loans: collective farm, Five-Year-Plan, wall newspaper. In the recent decades many technical terms came from Russian, indicating the achievements in different branches of science: sputnik, cosmonaut (in preference of the American astronaut), synchrophasotron.

English words of Ukrainian origin were words in the English language that had been borrowed or derived from the Ukrainian language.

Some of them entered English via Russian, Polish, or Yiddish, among others. They originated in other languages, but were used to describe notions related to Ukraine. Some were regionalisms, used in English-speaking places with a significant Ukrainian diaspora population, especially in Canada, but all of those entered the general English vocabulary. There were some of them:

  • Babka (Ukrainian: ба́бка), a sweet Easter bread (related to French baba au rhum);
  • Bandura (Ukrainian: банду́ра), a stringed instrument;
  • Chumak (Ukrainian: чума́к), a class of merchants and traders from the area comprising modern Ukraine;
  • Hetman (Ukrainian: ге́тман), a Cossack military leader;
  • Holubtsi (Western Canadian English), (Ukrainian: голубці́ holubtsi, plural from голубе́ць holubets'), cabbage rolls;
  • Hopak (Ukrainian: гопа́к), a lively traditional dance;
  • Kubasa (Canadian English, from Ukrainian ковбаса́ kovbasa), a garlic sausage. Also kubie, kubie burger;
  • Paska (Ukrainian: па́ска), a decorated Easter bread, also paskha or pashka, a rich dessert with curd cheese and dried fruit;
  • Pysanka (Ukrainian: пи́санка), a decorated Easter egg;
  • Varenyky (Ukrainian: варе́ники varenyky, plural from варе́ник varenyk), boiled dumplings with potato or meat inside.


The investigation of the influence of the of the borrowings from contemporary languages on the development of New English in the age of the Renaissance and in the succeeding centuries has resulted in the revealing the peculiarities of the English language in New English period; exposing the specific influence of the borrowings from contemporary languages in New English; introducing a set of examples of the borrowings from contemporary languages, demonstrating their distinctive and articulatory features; observing peculiarities of phonetics, grammar and lexical meaning.

We are sure that all the things mentioned above and further investigation of the problem as for the influence of the borrowings from different languages on the development of Modern English will help students overcome every of the difficulties in the process of learning English.


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