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: 2016-10-20
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The Etymology of English words ()
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The Etymology 

of English Words





Survey of certain historical facts						3

Structural elements of borrowings 							7

Why Are Words Borrowed?								8

Do Borrowed Words Change or 

do They Remain the Same?								8

International Words									9

Etymological Doublets									10

Translation-Loans 										10

Are Etymological and Stylistic Characteristics of Words Interrelated?	

Survey of certain historical facts

It is true that English vocabulary, which is one of the most extensive
among the world's languages contains an immense number of words of
foreign origin. Explanations for this should be sought in the history of
the language which is closely connected with the history of the nation
speaking the language. 

The first century B. C. Most of the territory now known to us as Europe
was occupied by the Roman Empire. Among the inhabitants of the Europe
are Germanic tribes.  Theirs stage of development was rather primitive,
especially if compared with the high civilization of Rome. They are
primitive cattle-breeders and know almost nothing about land
cultivation. Their tribal languages contain only Indo-European and
Germanic elements. 

Due to Roman invasion Germanic tribes had to come into contact with
Romans. Romans built roads, bridges, military camps. Trade is carried
on, and the Germanic people gain knowledge of new and useful things. The
first among them are new things to eat. It has been mentioned that
Germanic cattle-breeding was on a primitive scale. Its only products
known to the Germanic tribes were meat and milk. It is from the Romans
that they learn how to make butter and cheese and, as there are
naturally no words for these foodstuffs in their tribal languages, they
had to use the Latin words to name them (Lat. butyrum, caseus). It
is also to the Romans that the Germanic tribes owe the knowledge of some
new fruits and vegetables of which they had no idea before, and the
Latin names of these fruits and vegetables entered their vocabularies:
cherry (Lat. cerasum), pear (Lat. pirum), plum (Lat.
prunus), pea (Lat. pisum), beet (Lat. beta), pepper (Lat.

Here are some more examples of Latin borrowings of this period: cup
(Lat. cuppa), kitchen (Lat. coquina), mill (Lat. molina),
port (Lat. portus), wine (Lat. vinum). 

The Germanic tribal languages gained a considerable number of new words
and were thus enriched. 

Latin words became the earliest group of borrowings in the future
English language which was - much later - built on the basis of the
Germanic tribal languages. 

The fifth century A.D. Several of the Germanic tribes (the most numerous
among them were the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes) migrated across
the sea to the British Isles. There they were confronted by the Celts,
the original inhabitants of the Isles. The Celts desperately defended
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