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The period of Cristianization. The seventh century A.D.

Thiscentury was significant for the hristianization of England. Latin was the official language of the Christian church, and consequently the spread of Christianity was accomplished by a new period of Latin borrowings. These no longer came from spoken Latin as they did eight centuries earlier, but from church Latin. Also, these new Latin borrowings were very different in meaning from the earlier ones. They mostly indicated persons, objects and ideas associated with church and religious rituals. E.g. priest (священник), bishop (епископ), monk (монах), nun (монахиня), candle (свеча).

Additionally,there were educational terms. It was quite natural that these were also Latin borrowings, for the first schools in England were church schools, and the first teachers – priests and monks. The very word school is a Latin borrowing.

The characteristic features of Scandinavian borrowings.


From the end of the 8th c. to the middle of the 11th c. England underwent several Scandinavian invasions which left their trace on English vocabulary. Here are some examples of early Scandinavian borrowings: call v, take v, die v, law n, husband, window, ill.

Some of the words of this group are easily recognizable as Scandinavian borrowings by the initial sk- combination. E.g. sky, skill, skin, ski, skirt.


Norman French borrowings (1066).

With the famous Battle of Hastings, when the English were defeated by the Normans under William the Conqueror, we come to the eventful epoch of the Norman Conquest. The epoch can be called eventful not only in national, social, political and human terms, but also in linguistic terms. England became a bi-lingual country, and the impact on the English vocabulary made over this two-hundred-years period is immense. French words from the Norman dialect penetrated every aspect of social life. Here is a brief list of examples of Norman French borrowings.

Administrative words: state, government, parliament.

Legal terms: court, judge, justice, crime, prison.

Military terms: army, war, soldier, officer, enemy.

Educational terms: pupil, lesson, library, science, pen, pencil.

Numerous terms of everyday life were also borrowed from French in this period: e.g. table, plate, saucer, dinner, supper, autumn, uncle, etc.


The Renaissance Period.

In England, as in all European countries, this period was marked by significant developments in science, art and culture and, also, by a revival of interest in the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome and their languages. Hence, there ntellig a considerable number of Latin and Greek borrowings. They were mostly abstract words (e.g. major, minor, filial (дочерний, сыновний), moderate (умеренный), ntelligent, permanent, to create). There were numerous scientific and artistic terms (datum, status, phenomenon, philosophy, music). Phenomenon, philosophy, method, music, etc. were borrowed into English from Latin and had earlier come into Latin from Greek. Greek Renaissance borrowings are, e.g. atom, cycle, ethics.

The Renaissance was a period of extensive cultural contacts between the major European states. Therefore, it was only natural that new words also entered the English vocabulary from other European languages. The most significant once more were French borrowings. This time they came from the Parisian dialect of French and are known as Parisian borrowings. Examples : regime, routine, police, machine, ballet, matinée (дневное представление), scene, technique, bourgeois, etc.

Italian also contributed a considerable number of words to English, e.g. piano, violin, opera, alarm.



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There are certain structural features which enable us to identify some words as borrowings and even to determine the source language. We have already established that the initial sk usually indicates Scandinavian origin. You can also recognize words of Latin and French origin by certain suffixes, prefixes or endings. (See two tables in the book, pp. 50 – 51).

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