Topics: English language, Language, Portmanteau Pages: 3 (1114 words) Published: April 14, 2013
“Words Will not stay still” T. S. Elliot
The English lexicon is changing and always will change. Discuss with reference to contemporary Australian English.

Whether it is the creation of the new or the dying out of the old, the shortening of one or the blending of two, words and their semantics are forever transforming. The English language, as with all “living,” i.e., currently spoken, read, and/or written, languages are constantly changing. But that change only happens as people use the language, try out changes in meaning or spelling, and then spread that change. Language meaning or usage does not change “overnight,” it changes over time. Words change their meanings because a community of speakers who use those words cause them to change.

Language changes when words get old and new words are created to replace these expired words. This change can also occur when there are no previous words to describe a certain thing. This development of the English language occurs through methods such as compounding, broadening, narrowing and affixation. Compounding is joining two separate words to make a whole new word. An example of this may include “gold-digger” which as two separate words means different things. However, the recent fusing together of these words now means that a gold-digger is a woman that is only together with a man because she wants his money. This neologism has been established to describe a certain type of woman who can be found within today’s society. Broadening is when the meaning of a word becomes broader or more inclusive than its earlier meaning. A modern example of this shift in meaning is the word “mint”. Mint used to be a type of herb but is now used as an evaluative/descriptive adjective used especially by teenagers, meaning “cool”, “good”, “attractive”. This transition shows how the younger generations have such a big impact on language change. The opposite of this process is Narrowing. The word naughty used to mean something much...
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