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Formal (bookish, literary) words

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  1. Abbreviations of words.
  3. D) Barbarisms and foreign words
  4. Etymological survey of the English vocabulary. Native words VS borrowings.
  5. Informal (colloquial, common) vocabulary

Literary (bookish) words belong to that stratum of the vocabulary which is used in cultivated speech only – in books, official papers and documents, in scientific communication, in high poetry, in authorial speech of creative prose or in such special types of oral communication as public speeches, official negotiations, etc. They contribute to the message, the tone of solemnity, sophistication, seriousness, gravity, learnedness. Bookish words are mostly loan-words, Latin and Greek. They are either high-flown synonyms of neutral words, or popular terms of science. Consider the following example:

A great crowd come to see. – A vast concourse was assembled to witness.

He began his answer. – He commenced his rejoinder.

Words of literary stylistic layer are divided into literary-colloquial (common literary) and literary-bookish (special literary). Literary-colloquial are words denoting everyday concepts, they constitute the core of the word-stock (see, come, home, right).

Among special literary words such subgroups are mentioned:

• Terms, i.e. words denoting objects, processes, phenomena of science, humanities, technique. They may be subdivided into:

- Popular terms of some special spheres of human knowledge known to the public at large (typhoid, pneumonia);

- Terms used exclusively within a profession (phoneme, micro-linguistics).

In the works of fiction the use of terminology serves in characterize the speech of a character thus pointing out his job or occupation. The terms may also be used to describe a certain location – a plant, a laboratory, a bank this providing the reader with the realistic scenery. Sometimes a humorous note may be seen in the terms usage when they are employed in the speech of uneducated or showing off people.

Archaisms – words which are practically out of use in present-day language and are felt as obsolete. Archaisms may be subdivided into two groups:

- denoting historical phenomena which are no more in use (such as "yeoman", "vassal", "falconet") These are historical words.

- in the course of language history ousted by newer synonymic words (such as "whereof" = of which; "to deem" = to think; "repast" = meal; "nay" = no; main - ocean) of forms ("maketh" = makes; "thou wilt" = you will; "brethren" = brothers). These are called archaic words (archaic forms) proper.

In the works of fiction the use of archaic words serves in characterize the speech of the bygone epoch, to reproduce its atmosphere. It should be noted that archaization does not mean complete reproduction of the speech of past epochs; it is effected by the use of separate archaic words.

Occurring in the speech of a person, archaic words shun his attachment to antiquity. In official form of speech the function of archaisms is to rise above the ordinary matters of everyday life, with the colouring of solemnity.

They are also still used in juridical documentation (Сим удостоверяю – Hereby I promise. К этому – Hereto. При сем – Herewith. Из этого – Thereof. В дальнейшем именуемый – Hereinafter named).

Poeticisms, words used exclusively in poetry and the like. They are used to create romantic atmosphere, the general colouring of elevation. The colouring may be described as poetic and solemn at the same time. Many of these words are archaic or obsolete: e.g. foe (enemy), realm (kingdom), billow (wave, surge), spouse (husband or wife), woe (sorrow), childe (a nobleman's son); whilom (sometimes), aught (anything), naught (nothing), lie (no, not), haply (may be), for at (for ever), I wee (I suppose), he kens (he knows).

Others are morphological variants of neutral words: oft (often), list (listen), morn (morning).

Foreign words (bon mot, negligee, au revoir, adabsurdum, Bundeswehr) are words and phrases loaned from other languages. These words haven't undergone grammatical or phonetic assimilation. Fr.: bonjour, tout le monde (всякий, каждый встречный и поперечный), peu de chose (малость, пустяк, ерунда). Ital.: dolce far niente (pleasing inactivity). lat.: alter ego, mirabile dictu. In literature foreign words are generally used to lend local colouring: pied-a-terre (a small flat), croissants (breakfast, bread), or point at the character's nationality "Mme Lamote found him and said … trés amical, trés gentel".

Barbarisms ate foreign words which have exact equivalents in the language thus being superfluous, unnecessary: e.g. chagrin (vexation); chic (stylish); bon mot (a clever or witty saying). Nevertheless they are considered to be part of the vocabulary of the given language constituting its peripheral layer. They are usually registered in dictionaries (apropos, vis-à-vis, etc.) while foreign words are, as a rule, not found in dictionaries. In the belles-lettres they are often used to deride the character, e.g. "… what a distingue girl she was…"

But it would also be true to say that no straight line of demarcation can be drawn between the two groups.

Neologism are new words or expressions. These words have the connotation of novelty. The following classification of neologisms can be observed:

- neologisms proper: both new form and new meaning, such words soon enter common literary group of vocabulary mainly as terms: e.g. audio typing; computer-buyer; to telecommute – осуществлять связь с работодателем через компьютер; electronic cottage автоматизированное домашнее хозяйство

- transnomination: new form but the meaning already exist in another form. Such words shift to common colloquial group of vocabulary and enlarge synonymous rows, e.g. big C – cancer; sudser (suds – мыльная пена) – soap opera; I'm burned out – tired/exhausted

- semantic innovations: using existing words in a new meaning, thus developing polysemy: e.g. mafia – any closed society; sophisticated – earlier; "умудренный опытом" now "sophisticated computer" – прогрессивный компьютер; bread – money.

- occasionalisms/ nonce-words: words which appear only for special situations. They are not usually registered by dictionaries and never claim to enter the language; they are valid for one occasion only. They usually have the author and are called individual formations, we usually quote them. Occasionalisms are very expressive, humorous; usually follow already existing word-formation patterns: e.g. sexaphonist – о Клинтоне, Clinton's sexcapades (escapade – wild, exciting adventure); balconyful – балкон, полный людей.

Due to this classification we cannot refer neologisms to the stratum of literary vocabulary only, as new words tend to shift to both stylistically marked groups of vocabulary.

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Stylistic Classification of the English Vocabulary | Informal (colloquial, common) vocabulary

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