Ways and Reasons for Words Semantic Change
Words change all the time. This kind of meaning change is reflected in the way that the words are being used. As people use words in new contexts, the meaning of words change gradually. The point is that the new meaning is relatively different from the original usage. So how do English words change meaning? What are the reasons of this kind of change?
When it comes to the ways of meaning change, we will think of its counterpart in linguistics-- semantic change. In linguistics, semantic change is the evolution of word usage — usually to the point that the modern meaning is radically different from the original usage. Every word has a variety of connotations which can be added to, removed or altered over time. Sometimes this occurs to the extent that words from one point in time have very different meanings in relation to another time.
An good example of a recent semantic change is about the word mouse. The word used to describe a kind of animal which is small, furry and has a long tail. However, with the advent of technology, it now can also be used to refer to a palm-sized, button-operated pointing device that can be used to move, select, activate, and change items on a computer screen. The reason for its meaning transformation is apparent. Science and technology development in modern time has inserted a great impact on human society in every aspect including words which act as a media in daily communication. So many words were reinvested with new technological meaning, like clipping, execute, etc. That is to say, words witness the technical revolution of humanity in the recent two centuries. The changing world will entitle the different meaning to a word, thus some of the ordinary words will embody a technological meaning.
One way words change their meaning is through their transmission from one language to another and the influence on other languages and cultures. Throughout human’s history, many nations, busy in