Stylistic classification of the English word-stock
A present-day English vocabulary contains subclasses which are singled out according to several principles. Let us consider two of them. I. It is important to distinguish between what is obsolete, what is normal, habitual and what is new. According to this principle they single out 3 classes:
An archaism is a word or phrase formally in general use but now rarely used except in restricted contexts. They are commonly found in poetry and religious texts. Examples:
Thou shalt (shall)
“Howbeit, wherinsoever any is bold, I am bold also” = Nevertheless, in whatever respects anyone is bold… Perchance = perhaps
Quoth = uttered
Words disappear from he mainstream vocabulary for two reasons: a) Due to the disappearance of the referent, the object they denote. Such words are called historisms. Examples: musket, battering ram, house-maid, yeomen
b) Due to the ousting of the word by a synonym
Main was replaced by ocean, tethered- tired, whither – where to, albeit – although Neologisms are words made up or invented by a speaker. Such words are considered neologisms unless they appear in the dictionary of the primary spoken language. Nowadays many neologisms are coined by journalists: staycation, showperson, regretter, meat space (vs cyberspace), shouldersurfing, Romnycare (Romny + (health)care), Neowulf (neo+ Beowulf)
II. According to their stylistic value English words are divided into neutral and stylistically coloured. The latter fall into 2 groups: elevated or degraded.
Let us consider each layer in turn.
Minimally elevated are slightly bookish words: sibling, enmity, enlightenment, fundamental etc. He medium class comprises high-flown words: solemnity, satiate, serpent, sagacity, etc The maximum degree of elevation is found with poetic words:...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document