Лекция: II. Read the following extracts and explain the semantic processes by which the italicized words acquired their meanings


1. 'Bureau', a desk, was borrowed from French in the 17thc. In Modern French (and English) it means not only the desk but also the office itself and the authority exercised by the office. Hence the familiar bureaucracy is likely to become increasingly familiar. The desk was called so because covered with bureau, a thick coarse cloth of a brown russet.

(From The Romance of Words by E. Weekley)


2. An Earl of Spencer made a short overcoat fashionable for some time. An Earl of Sandwich invented a form of light refreshment which enabled him to take a meal without leaving the card-table. Hence we have such words as spencer and sandwich in English.

(From The Romance of Words by E. Weekley)


3. A common name for overalls or trousers is jeans. In the singular jean is also a term for a durable twilled cotton and is short for the phrase jean fustian which first appeared in texts from the sixteenth century. Fustian (a Latin borrowing) is a cotton or cotton and linen fabric, and jean is the modern spelling of Middle English Jene or Gene, from Genes, the Middle French j name of the Italian city Genoa, where it was made and shipped abroad.

(From The Merriam-Webster Book of Word Histories)


4. Formally barn meant «a storehouse for barley»; today it has widened to mean «any kind of storehouse» for animals or equipment as well as any kind of grain. | The word picture used to refer only to a representation ;:: made with paint; today it can be a photograph or a representation made with charcoal, pencil or any other; means. A pen used to mean «feather» but now has become generalized to include several kinds of writing implements — fountain, ballpoint, etc. The meaning of sail as limited to moving on water in a ship with sails has now generalized to mean «moving on water in any ship».

(From Teaching English Linguistically by J. Malmstrom, J. Lee)


III. Read the following extract and criticize the author's treatment of the examples. Provide your own explanations.


Words degenerate in meaning also. In the past villain meant «farm labourer»; counterfeiter meant «imitator» without criminal connotations, and sly meant «skilful». A knave meant a «boy» and immoral meant «not customary», and hussy was a «housewife».

Other words improve in meanings. Governor meant «pilot» and constable meant «stable attendant». Other elevations are enthusiasm which formally meant «fanaticism», knight which used to mean «youth», angel which simply meant «messenger» and pretty which meant «sly». No one can predict the direction of change of meaning, but changes occur constantly.

(From Teaching English Linguistically by J. Malmstrom, J. Lee)

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