miércoles, 23 de junio de 2010


We believe Globish is a tool for communication but not a language in itself ...

viernes, 11 de junio de 2010

The Origin of Words and Names

The Origin of Words and Names

Where Words Come From

The English language has developed from an Anglo-Saxon base of common words: household words, parts of the body, common animals, natural elements, most pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions and auxiliary verbs. Other modern words in English have developed from five sources. These are discussed below.

Words Created From Nothing

Examples of words that have just appeared in the language out of nothing are byte, dog (replacing the earlier hund), donkey, jam, kick, log, googol, quasar and yuppie. The latter two are acronyms (words made from initials).
Shakespere coined over 1600 words including countless, critical, excellent, lonely, majestic, obscene.
From Ben Johnson we got damp, from Isaac Newton centrifugal and from Thomas More: explain and exact.

Words Created In Error

The vegetable pease was thought to be a plural so that the individual item in the pod was given the name pea. The verb laze was erroneously created from the adjective lazy. The word buttonhole was a mis-hearing of button-hold.
Borrowed and Adopted Words
English has borrowed words from a variety of sources and other languages. Three examples show this.

The name of the fruit was NARANJ in Sanskrit. This language was spoken in ancient India. Indians traded with Arabs, so the word passed into Arabic as NARANJAH. The Spaniards were ruled by north African Arabs who passed the fruit and word into Spanish as NARANJA (pronounced as NARANHA).
This came into English where the fruit was a NARANJ. Words ending in J are not common in English so the spelling quickly changed to a NARANGE.
The initial N moved to the a because of mis-hearing to give an ARANGE (this is called metanalysis).
Over time, the initial A became an O to give an ORANGE.


When the Spanish arrived in Mexico they came across the Aztecs. The Aztec language is called Nahuatl. The Aztecs had a drink which they made from a bean they called CHOCO (bitter). They would put this bean into water (ATL) to produce CHOCO-ATL (bitter water).
The TL sound is common in the Aztec language but not in Spanish. The Spaniards mispronounced the drink CHOCOLATO.
This drink was brought to Europe (with sugar added) where the pronunciation and spelling in English became CHOCOLATE.


This is a mathematical term. It comes from Arabic.
Mohammad al-Khwarizmi was a mathematician who flourished in Baghdad around the year 800. He wrote a book about the solving of equations. It was called ilm al-jabr wa'l muqabalah (the science of transposition and cancellation).
The term al-jabr from this title gave the English word, ALGEBRA.


This is a term in chess. It is from the Farsi language spoken in Iran and Afghanistan. The original phrase is SHAH-K-MATE (every syllable pronounced) which means "The King is Dead".
The word SHAH means a "king" as in the last monarch (or SHAH) of Iran. MATE has the same root as the English "murder" and the Spanish "matador" (killer).
The word came via French (where the SH became a CH) and into English where the MA-TE (two syllables) became MATE (one syllable) to give CHECKMATE.
Words that imitate or suggest the source of the sound they are describing (onomatopoeia)
Many words were invented because they sound like the action, for example: a bell when struck makes a noise bing, so from there you get bingo like the sound, so when people are playing bingo games and they win they say bingo like it's like a bell has been rung; or when a cat makes a noise it's called meowing and the word sounds like the name meow.

Changes In Words

Many words used in modern English have changed their meaning over the years. This is shown in the table below.
Word Original Meaning
awful deserving of awe
brave cowardice (as in bravado)
counterfeit legitimate copy
cute bow-legged
girl young person of either sex
guess take aim
knight boy
luxury sinful self indulgence
neck parcel of land (as in neck of the woods)
notorious famous
nuisance injury, harm
quick alive (as in quicksilver)
sophisticated corrupted
tell to count (as in bank teller)
truant beggar

The word silly meant blessed or happy in the 11th century going through pious, innocent, harmless, pitiable, feeble, feeble minded before finally ending up as foolish or stupid.
Pretty began as crafty then changed via clever, skilfully made, fine to beautiful.
Buxom began with the meaning obedient and changed via compliant, lively, plump to large breasted.

The word nice meant stupid and foolish in the late 13th Century. It went through a number of changes including wanton, extravagant, elegant, strange, modest, thin, and shy. By the middle of the 18th Century it had gained its current meaning of pleasant and agreeable.
Words are changing meaning now: consider how the words bad and gay have changed in recent years.

Words Created By Subtraction Or Addition

Words can be created by adding suffixes: -able, -ness, -ment. They can also be created by adding prefixes: dis-, anti-.
Examples include: sellable, brightness, pavement, disestablish, antimatter.
Words can be combined to form new words (air and port gave airport; land and mark to give landmark). Sometimes the combination can go in more than one way (houseboat, boathouse; bookcase, casebook).
Many common words have been shortened from the original term as in the table below.

Modern Word Original Form

bra brassière
bus omnibus (Latin: for everyone)
exam examination
gym gymnasium
knickers knickerbockers
lab laboratory
mob mobile vulgus (Latin: fickle crowd)
petrol petroleum (Greek: rock oil)
pram parambulator

Metanalysis is the process where a letter is added or subtracted because of a nearby word. Examples below.

Modern Word Original Form
a nickname an ekename
a newt an ewt
an adder a nadder
an apron a napron
an orange a narange
an umpire a nonper
Where Surnames Come From

English and British surnames (family names) have four main sources: the person's occupation, the place of origin, a nickname and relations. Examples of these can be seen in the tables below.


Name Meaning
Archer bow and arrow user
Bishop bishop's man
Butcher meat worker
Carpenter wheel repairer
Fletcher arrow maker
Fuller cloth cleaner
Miller grain grinder
Shepherd herder of sheep
Smith metal worker


Name Origin

Devonshire an English county
French from France
Lincoln an English city
Kent an English county
Preston an English city
Scott from Scotland
Walsh from Wales
Name Meaning
Armstrong strong armed
Campbell crooked mouth
Goldwater urine (derogatory)
Kennedy Gaelic: ugly head
Morgan Welsh: white haired
Russell French: red haired
Whistler one who whistles
Whitehead white headed


Name Meaning
Johnson son of John
MacDonald son of Donald (Scottish)
O'Connor son of Connor (Irish)
Robinson son of Robin

Where First Names Come From

First names (given names in American English, a more accurate term) have many sources as can be seen in the tables below. Please note that the phrase first name may be ambiguous in some cultures (eg. Chinese) where the family name comes first. I do not use the term Christian name as it makes cultural assumptions.
There is a Search facility for finding names or meanings.
Arabic Names
Examples: Amber, Ali, Mohammed...
Aramaic Names
Examples: Bartholomew, Martha, Thomas...
Celtic Names
Examples: Brian, Dylan, Kermit, Tara...
French Names
Examples: Alison, Bruce, Olivia...
Germanic Names
Examples: Charles, Leonard, Richard, William...
Greek Names
Examples: Angel, Christopher, George, Selina...
Hebrew Names
Examples: Adam, David, John, Michelle...
Italian Names
Examples: Bianca, Donna, Mia...
Latin Names
Examples: Cordelia, Diana, Patrick, Victoria...
Norse Names
Examples: Brenda, Dustin, Eric...
Old English Names
Examples: Edward, Oscar, Wayne...
Persian Names
Examples: Esther, Jasmine, Roxanne...
Phoenician Names
Example: Hannibal...
Sanskrit Names
Examples: Beryl, Opal, Uma...
Slavic Names
Examples: Boris, Nadia, Vera...
Spanish Names
Examples: Dolores, Linda, Rio...
Turkish Names
Example: Ayla...
Search on First (Given) Names
A search engine that allows a search for First (Given) names.

Where Place Names Come From

The table below shows the historical influence of various languages in names of places and their derivations for the British Isles.

Source Language Meaning Modern Forms

ac Anglo-Saxon oak Ac-, Oak-, -ock
baile Gaelic farm, village Bally-, Bal-
bearu Anglo-Saxon grove, wood Barrow-, -ber
beorg Anglo-Saxon burial mound Bar-, -borough
brycg Anglo-Saxon bridge Brig-, -bridge
burh Anglo-Saxon fortified place Bur-, -bury
burna Anglo-Saxon stream, spring Bourn-, -burn(e)
by Old Norse farm, village -by
caer Welsh fortified place Car-
ceaster Latin fort, Roman town Chester-, -caster
cot Anglo-Saxon shelter, cottage -cot(e)
cwm Welsh deep valley -combe
daire Gaelic oak wood -dare, -derry
dalr Old Norse valley Dal-, -dale
denn Anglo-Saxon swine pasture -dean, -den
dun Anglo-Saxon hill, down Dun-, -down, -ton
ea Anglo-Saxon water, river Ya-, Ea-, -ey
eg Anglo-Saxon island Ey-
ey Old Norse island -ey, -ay
gleann Gaelic narrow valley Glen-
graf Anglo-Saxon grove -grave, -grove
ham Anglo-Saxon homestead, village Ham-, -ham
hyrst Anglo-Saxon wooded hill Hurst-, -hirst
-ing Anglo-Saxon place of ... -ing
leah Anglo-Saxon glade, clearing Leigh-, Lee-, -ley
loch Gaelic lake Loch-, -loch
mere Anglo-Saxon lake, pool Mer-, Mar-, -mere, -more
nes Old Norse cape -ness
pwll Welsh anchorage, pool -pool
rhos Welsh moorland Ros(s)-, -rose
stan Anglo-Saxon stone Stan-, -stone
stede Anglo-Saxon place, site -ste(a)d
stoc Anglo-Saxon meeting place Stoke-, -stock
stow Anglo-Saxon meeting place Stow-, -stow(e)
straet Latin Roman road Strat-, Stret-, -street
tun Anglo-Saxon enclosure, village Ton-, -town, -ton
thorp Old Norse farm, village Thorp-, -thorp(e)
thveit Old Norse glade, clearing -thwaite
wic Anglo-Saxon dwelling, farm -wick, -wich
© 2001, 2005 KryssTal

miércoles, 2 de junio de 2010

Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning

Please visit http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/constructivism/index.html

Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning
What is constructivism?

Constructivism is basically a theory—based on observation and scientific study—about how people learn. It says that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. When we encounter something new, we have to reconcile it with our previous ideas and experience, maybe changing what we believe, or maybe discarding the new information as irrelevant. In any case, we are active creators of our own knowledge. To do this, we must ask questions, explore, and assess what we know.
In the classroom, the constructivist view of learning can point towards a number of different teaching practices. In the most general sense, it usually means encouraging students to use active techniques (experiments, real-world problem solving) to create more knowledge and then to reflect on and talk about what they are doing and how their understanding is changing. The teacher makes sure she understands the students’ preexisting conceptions, and guides the activity to address them and then build on them.

Constructivist teachers encourage students to constantly assess how the activity is helping them gain understanding. By questioning themselves and their strategies, students in the constructivist classroom ideally become “expert learners.” This gives them ever-broadening tools to keep learning. With a well-planned classroom environment, the students learn HOW TO LEARN.
You might look at it as a spiral. When they continuously reflect on their experiences, students find their ideas gaining in complexity and power, and they develop increasingly strong abilities to integrate new information. One of the teacher’s main roles becomes to encourage this learning and reflection process.
For example: Groups of students in a science class are discussing a problem in physics. Though the teacher knows the “answer” to the problem, she focuses on helping students restate their questions in useful ways. She prompts each student to reflect on and examine his or her current knowledge. When one of the students comes up with the relevant concept, the teacher seizes upon it, and indicates to the group that this might be a fruitful avenue for them to explore. They design and perform relevant experiments. Afterward, the students and teacher talk about what they have learned, and how their observations and experiments helped (or did not help) them to better understand the concept.
Contrary to criticisms by some (conservative/traditional) educators, constructivism does not dismiss the active role of the teacher or the value of expert knowledge. Constructivism modifies that role, so that teachers help students to construct knowledge rather than to reproduce a series of facts. The constructivist teacher provides tools such as problem-solving and inquiry-based learning activities with which students formulate and test their ideas, draw conclusions and inferences, and pool and convey their knowledge in a collaborative learning environment. Constructivism transforms the student from a passive recipient of information to an active participant in the learning process. Always guided by the teacher, students construct their knowledge actively rather than just mechanically ingesting knowledge from the teacher or the textbook.
Constructivism is also often misconstrued as a learning theory that compels students to “reinvent the wheel.” In fact, constructivism taps into and triggers the student’s innate curiosity about the world and how things work. Students do not reinvent the wheel but, rather, attempt to understand how it turns, how it functions. They become engaged by applying their existing knowledge and real-world experience, learning to hypothesize, testing their theories, and ultimately drawing conclusions from their findings.
The best way for you to really understand what constructivism is and what it means in your classroom is by seeing examples of it at work, speaking with others about it, and trying it yourself. As you progress through each segment of this workshop, keep in mind questions or ideas to share with your colleagues.
How does this theory differ from traditional ideas about teaching and learning?
As with many of the methods addressed in this series of workshops, in the constructivist classroom, the focus tends to shift from the teacher to the students. The classroom is no longer a place where the teacher (“expert”) pours knowledge into passive students, who wait like empty vessels to be filled. In the constructivist model, the students are urged to be actively involved in their own process of learning. The teacher functions more as a facilitator who coaches, mediates, prompts, and helps students develop and assess their understanding, and thereby their learning. One of the teacher’s biggest jobs becomes ASKING GOOD QUESTIONS.
And, in the constructivist classroom, both teacher and students think of knowledge not as inert factoids to be memorized, but as a dynamic, ever-changing view of the world we live in and the ability to successfully stretch and explore that view.
The chart below compares the traditional classroom to the constructivist one. You can see significant differences in basic assumptions about knowledge, students, and learning. (It’s important, however, to bear in mind that constructivists acknowledge
that students are constructing knowledge in traditional classrooms, too. It’s really a matter of the emphasis being on the student, not on the instructor.)
Curriculum begins with the parts of the whole. Emphasizes basic skills.Curriculum emphasizes big concepts, beginning with the whole and expanding to include the parts. Strict adherence to fixed curriculum is highly valued.Pursuit of student questions and interests is valued.
Materials are primarily textbooks and workbooks. Materials include primary sources of material and manipulative materials.

Learning is based on repetition. Learning is interactive, building on what the student already knows. Teachers disseminate information to students; students are recipients of knowledge. Teachers have a dialogue with students, helping students construct their own knowledge. Teacher’s role is directive, rooted in authority. Teacher’s role is interactive, rooted in negotiation. Assessment is through testing, correct answers.
Assessment includes student works, observations, and points of view, as well as tests. Process is as important as product. Knowledge is seen as inert. Knowledge is seen as dynamic, ever changing with our experiences.
Students work primarily alone.Students work primarily in groups.

What does constructivism have to do with my classroom?
As is the case with many of the current/popular paradigms, you’re probably already using the constructivist approach to some degree. Constructivist teachers pose questions and problems, then guide students to help them find their own answers. They use many techniques in the teaching process. For example, they may:
prompt students to formulate their own questions (inquiry) allow multiple interpretations and expressions of learning (multiple intelligences) encourage group work and the use of peers as resources (collaborative learning)
More information on the above processes is covered in other workshops in this series. For now, it’s important to realize that the constructivist approach borrows from many other practices in the pursuit of its primary goal: helping students learn HOW TO LEARN.
In a constructivist classroom, learning is . . .

Students are not blank slates upon which knowledge is etched. They come to learning situations with already formulated knowledge, ideas, and understandings. This previous knowledge is the raw material for the new knowledge they will create.
Example: An elementary school teacher presents a class problem to measure the length of the “Mayflower.” Rather than starting the problem by introducing the ruler, the teacher allows students to reflect and to construct their own methods of measurement. One student offers the knowledge that a doctor said he is four feet tall. Another says she knows horses are measured in “hands.” The students discuss these and other methods they have heard about, and decide on one to apply to the problem.

The student is the person who creates new understanding for him/herself. The teacher coaches, moderates, suggests, but allows the students room to experiment, ask questions, try things that don’t work. Learning activities require the students’ full
participation (like hands-on experiments). An important part of the learning process is that students reflect on, and talk about, their activities. Students also help set their own goals and means of assessment.
Examples: A middle-school language arts teacher sets aside time each week for a writing lab. The emphasis is on content and getting ideas down rather than memorizing grammatical rules, though one of the teacher’s concerns is the ability of his students to express themselves well through written language. The teacher provides opportunities for students to examine the finished and earlier drafts of various authors. He allows students to select and create projects within the general requirement of building a portfolio 1. Students serve as peer editors who value originality and uniqueness rather than the best way to fulfill an assignment.

In a history class, asking students to read and think about different versions of and perspectives on “history” can lead to interesting discussions. Is history as taught in textbooks accurate? Are there different versions of the same history? Whose version of history is most accurate? How do we know? From there, students can make their own judgments.

Students control their own learning process, and they lead the way by reflecting on their experiences. This process makes them experts of their own learning. The teacher helps create situations where the students feel safe questioning and reflecting on their own processes, either privately or in group discussions. The teacher should also create activities that lead the student to reflect on his or her prior knowledge and experiences. Talking about what was learned and how it was learned is really important.
Example: Students keep journals in a writing class where they record how they felt about the class projects, the visual and verbal reactions of others to the project, and how they felt their own writing had changed. Periodically the teacher reads these journals and holds a conference with the student where the two assess (1) what new knowledge the student has created, (2) how the student learns best, and (3) the learning environment and the teacher’s role in it.

The constructivist classroom relies heavily on collaboration among students. There are many reasons why collaboration contributes to learning. The main reason it is used so much in constructivism is that students learn about learning not only from themselves, but also from their peers. When students review and reflect on their
learning processes together, they can pick up strategies and methods from one another.

Example: In the course of studying ancient civilizations, students undertake an archaeological dig. This may be something constructed in a large sandbox, or, as in the Dalton School’s “Archaeotype” software simulation, on a computer. As the students find different objects, the teacher introduces classifying techniques. The students are encouraged to (1) set up a group museum by developing criteria and choosing which objects should belong, and (2) collaborate with other students who worked in different quadrants of the dig. Each group is then asked to develop theories about the civilizations that inhabited the area.

The main activity in a constructivist classroom is solving problems. Students use inquiry methods to ask questions, investigate a topic, and use a variety of resources to find solutions and answers. As students explore the topic, they draw conclusions, and, as exploration continues, they revisit those conclusions. Exploration of questions leads to more questions. (See the CONCEPT TO CLASSROOM workshop Inquiry-based Learning)
Example: Sixth graders figuring out how to purify water investigate solutions ranging from coffee-filter paper, to a stove-top distillation apparatus, to piles of charcoal, to an abstract mathematical solution based on the size of a water molecule. Depending upon students’ responses, the teacher encourages abstract as well as concrete, poetic as well as practical, creations of new knowledge.

Students have ideas that they may later see were invalid, incorrect, or insufficient to explain new experiences. These ideas are temporary steps in the integration of knowledge. For instance, a child may believe that all trees lose their leaves in the fall, until she visits an evergreen forest. Constructivist teaching takes into account students’ current conceptions and builds from there. What happens when a student gets a new piece of information? The constructivist model says that the student compares the information to the knowledge and understanding he/she already has, and one of three things can occur:
The new information matches up with his previous knowledge pretty well (it’s consonant with the previous knowledge), so the student adds it to his understanding. It may take some work, but it’s just a matter of finding the right fit, as with a puzzle piece.
The information doesn’t match previous knowledge (it’s dissonant). The student has to change her previous understanding to find a fit for the information. This can be harder work. The information doesn’t match previous knowledge, and it is ignored. Rejected bits of information may just not be absorbed by the student. Or they may float around, waiting for the day when the student’s understanding has developed and permits a fit.

Example: An elementary teacher believes her students are ready to study gravity. She creates an environment of discovery with objects of varying kinds. Students explore the differences in weight among similarly sized blocks of Styrofoam, wood, and lead. Some students hold the notion that heavier objects fall faster than light ones.
The teacher provides materials (stories, posters, and videos) about Galileo, Newton, etc. She leads a discussion on theories about falling. The students then replicate Galileo’s experiment by dropping objects of different weights and measuring how fast they fall. They see that objects of different weights actually usually fall at the same speed, although surface area and aerodynamic properties can affect the rate of fall.

What are some critical perspectives?

Constructivism has been criticized on various grounds. Some of the charges that critics level against it are:
It’s elitist. Critics say that constructivism and other “progressive” educational theories have been most successful with children from privileged backgrounds who are fortunate in having outstanding teachers, committed parents, and rich home environments. They argue that disadvantaged children, lacking such resources,
benefit more from more explicit instruction.
. Social constructivism leads to “group think.” Critics say the collaborative aspects of constructivist classrooms tend to produce a “tyranny of the majority,” in which a few students’ voices or interpretations dominate the group’s conclusions, and dissenting
students are forced to conform to the emerging consensus.
. There is little hard evidence that constructivist methods work.
Critics say that constructivists, by rejecting evaluation through testing and other external criteria, have made themselves unaccountable for their students’ progress. Critics also say that studies of various kinds of instruction—in particular Project
Follow Through 1, a long-term government initiative—have found that students in constructivist classrooms lag behind those in more traditional classrooms in basic skills.

Constructivists counter that in studies where children were compared on higher-order thinking skills, constructivist students seemed to outperform their peers.

What are the benefits of constructivism?

. Benefit - Children learn more, and enjoy learning more when they are actively
involved, rather than passive listeners.
. Benefit - Education works best when it concentrates on thinking and understanding, rather than on rote memorization. Constructivism concentrates on learning how to think and understand.
. Benefit - Constructivist learning is transferable. In constructivist classrooms, students create organizing principles that they can take with them to other learning settings.
. Benedit- Constructivism gives students ownership of what they learn, since
learning is based on students’ questions and explorations, and often the students have a hand in designing the assessments as well.
Constructivist assessment engages the students’ initiatives and personal investments in their journals, research reports, physical models, and artistic representations. Engaging the creative instincts develops students’ abilities to express knowledge through a variety of ways. The students are also more likely to retain and transfer the new knowledge to real life.
. Benefit - By grounding learning activities in an authentic, real-world context, constructivism stimulates and engages students. Students in constructivist classrooms learn to question things and to apply their natural curiousity to the world.
. Benefit -Constructivism promotes social and communication skills by creating
a classroom environment that emphasizes collaboration and exchange of ideas. Students must learn how to articulate their ideas clearly as well as to collaborate on tasks effectively by sharing in group projects. Students must therefore exchange ideas and so must learn to “negotiate” with others and to evaluate their contributions in a socially acceptable manner. This is essential to success in the real
world, since they will always be exposed to a variety of experiences in which they will have to cooperate and navigate among the ideas of others.

Cooperative and Collaborative Learning

Please visit the link below and see the videos!!!


Cooperative and Collaborative Learning: Explanation

- What are cooperative and collaborative learning?
- How do cooperative and collaborative learning differ from the traditional approach?
- How have cooperative and collaborative learning developed since they became popular?
- What are the benefits of cooperative and collaborative learning?
- What are some critical perspectives?
- How can I use cooperative and collaborative learning in conjunction with other educational techniques?

What are cooperative and collaborative learning?

Collaborative learning is a method of teaching and learning in which students team together to explore a significant question or create a meaningful project. A group of students discussing a lecture or students from different schools working together over the Internet on a shared assignment are both examples of collaborative learning.
Cooperative learning, which will be the primary focus of this workshop, is a specific kind of collaborative learning. In cooperative learning, students work together in small groups on a structured activity. They are individually accountable for their work, and the work of the group as a whole is also assessed. Cooperative groups work face-to-face and learn to work as a team.
In small groups, students can share strengths and also develop their weaker skills. They develop their interpersonal skills. They learn to deal with conflict. When cooperative groups are guided by clear objectives, students engage in numerous activities that improve their understanding of subjects explored.
In order to create an environment in which cooperative learning can take place, three things are necessary. First, students need to feel safe, but also challenged. Second, groups need to be small enough that everyone can contribute. Third, the task students work together on must be clearly defined. The cooperative and collaborative learning techniques presented here should help make this possible for teachers. Also, in cooperative learning small groups provide a place where:
learners actively participate; teachers become learners at times, and learners sometimes teach; respect is given to every member; projects and questions interest and challenge students; diversity is celebrated, and all contributions are valued; students learn skills for resolving conflicts when they arise; members draw upon their past experience and knowledge; goals are clearly identified and used as a guide; research tools such as Internet access are made available; students are invested in their own learning.
For more detailed descriptions of cooperative and collaborative learning, check out the books, articles, and Web sites listed on our Resources page.

How do cooperative and collaborative learning differ from the traditional approach?

Cooperative and collaborative learning differ from traditional teaching approaches because students work together rather than compete with each other individually. Collaborative learning can take place any time students work together—for example, when they help each other with homework. Cooperative learning takes place when students work together in the same place on a structured project in a small group. Mixed-skill groups can be especially helpful to students in developing their social abilities.
The skills needed to work together in groups are quite distinct from those used to succeed in writing a paper on one’s own or completing most homework or “seatwork” assignments. In a world where being a “team player” is often a key part of business success, cooperative learning is a very useful and relevant tool. Because it is just one of a set of tools, however, it can easily be integrated into a class that uses multiple approaches. For some assignments individual work may be most efficient, while for others cooperative groups work best.
Research suggests that cooperative and collaborative learning bring positive results such as deeper understanding of content, increased overall achievement in grades, improved self-esteem, and higher motivation to remain on task. Cooperative learning helps students become actively and constructively involved in content, to take ownership of their own learning, and to resolve group conflicts and improve teamwork skills.

How have cooperative and collaborative learning developed since they became popular?

Over the past twenty-five years, the use of small-group learning has greatly increased. Informal collaborative projects have grown into structured, cooperative group work. Cooperative learning became especially popular in the early 1980s and has matured and evolved since.
One evolving aspect of cooperative and collaborative learning involves how the educational community approaches the composition of the small groups. Debates still occur on this topic. Researchers disagree mainly about whether to group students according to their ability, or to mix them so that stronger students can help the weaker ones learn and themselves learn from the experience of tutoring.
Some researchers, such as Mills 1 and Durden (1992), suggest that gifted students are held back when grouped with weaker students. More researchers support diversity in small groups, however. Radencich and McKay (1995) conclude that grouping by ability does not usually benefit overall achievement and can lead to inequalities of achievement. With good arguments on both sides, most teachers make choices based on their objectives.
Or, they simply alternate. Sometimes they group according to the strengths or interests of students, and other times they mix it up so that students can learn to work with different types of people. Just as experts differ on the make-up of groups, they also debate about the most effective size for small groups. According to Slavin 2 (1987), having two or three members per group produces higher achievement than groups with four or more members. Antil et al. (1997) conclude that most teachers prefer pairs and small groups of three and four. Elbaum et al. (1997) suggest that we have dialogues with students about their preferences for group composition and expected outcomes. And Fidler (1999) discusses the value of reflecting in order to correct errors we make in group assignments. Through many mistakes, Fidler learned how to refine the composition of his groups.
As we work through some examples of cooperative learning, you will learn how to devise groups that work best for particular assignments.
Science teacher Janet Torkel at Brooklyn’s P.S. 200 discusses how collaboration between teachers helps her students learn better. Seeing teachers working together helps reinforce the students’ own collaborative work. Most recently, new technologies have added an exciting new dimension to collaborative and cooperative learning. With the Internet, collaboration can occur without regard to distance or time barriers: e-mails can be sent at students’ or teachers’ convenience to practically anywhere around the world, and the recipient can reply when he or she has time. Students can work together to create Web pages or find and share data gleaned from the Net. There is software that can be used with school computer networks to allow students in different classrooms to work together simultaneously or a group of students to collaborate on projects like desktop publishing. For more on using technology with cooperative and collaborative learning, see the topic “How can technology be used with cooperative and collaborative learning?” in the “Exploration” section of this workshop.

What are the benefits of cooperative and collaborative learning?

Benefits from small-group learning in a collaborative environment include:
Celebration of diversity. Students learn to work with all types of people. During small-group interactions, they find many opportunities to reflect upon and reply to the diverse responses fellow learners bring to the questions raised. Small groups also allow students to add their perspectives to an issue based on their cultural differences. This exchange inevitably helps students to better understand other cultures and points of view.
Acknowledgment of individual differences. When questions are raised, different students will have a variety of responses. Each of these can help the group create a product that reflects a wide range of perspectives and is thus more complete and comprehensive.
Interpersonal development. Students learn to relate to their peers and other learners as they work together in group enterprises. This can be especially helpful for students who have difficulty with social skills. They can benefit from structured interactions with others. Actively involving students in learning. Each member has opportunities to contribute in small groups. Students are apt to take more ownership of their material and to think critically about related issues when they work as a team. More opportunities for personal feedback. Because there are more exchanges among students in small groups, your students receive more personal feedback about their ideas and responses. This feedback is often not possible in large-group instruction, in which one or two students exchange ideas and the rest of the class listens.

In Part 1 of this video clip, Kathryn Mitchell Pierce, who teaches grades one through three in Clayton, Missouri, talks about adjusting the make-up of cooperative groups. In Part 2, she discusses how even shy students can blossom when assigned to the right kind of group.
Beneficial, cooperative-learning situations are not easy to set up. In many situations, particularly those in which people must work together on a problem, conflicts prevent learning. As a result, cooperative learning requires teaching kids to work well with others by resolving these inevitable conflicts. In the next section, we will present specific techniques for dealing with group conflicts.

What are some critical perspectives?

Critics of small-group learning often point to problems related to vague objectives and poor expectations for accountability. Small-group work, some claim, is an avoidance of teaching. According to these critics, dividing the class into small groups allows the teacher to escape responsibility.
Vicki Randall (1999), who has taught elementary, high-school, and college-level students, cautions against abuse and overuse of group work. According to Randall, the many benefits of cooperative learning sometimes blind us to its drawbacks. She identifies the following practices as common weaknesses:
Making members of the group responsible for each other’s learning. This can place too great a burden on some students. In mixed-ability groups, the result is often that stronger students are left to teach weaker students and do most of the work. Encouraging only lower-level thinking and ignoring the strategies necessary for the inclusion of critical or higher-level thought. In small groups, there is sometimes only enough time to focus on the task at its most basic level.
You can find information about this and other critical works we cite on our Resources page.
Some critics cite the mix of students as a source of potential difficulties, although they disagree on which types of groups are problematic. Other dissenters highlight the overuse of cooperative groups to the detriment of students who benefit more from learning alone. Yet others recommend that we negotiate more with students to determine how they learn best and apply these ideas to the way we structure classes.

Recommendations from advocates of cooperative learning to address issues that critics raise include:

.making sure to identify clear questions at the outset and to show how these questions relate to students’ interests and abilities and the teaching goals;
.resolving small-group conflicts as soon as they arise and showing students how to prevent trouble in future;
.creating rubrics 1 at the beginning of any assignment and using these for guiding the learning process and for assessing final work;
.helping students reflect on their progress on a regular
.expecting excellence from all students and letting them know that you believe in them and their ability to produce excellent work.
Another possible problem with cooperative learning involves racial and gender inequities. Research (Cohen 1986; Sadker et al. 1991;
Linn and Burbules 1993) shows that in science, and perhaps in other areas of the curriculum as well, group learning may be LESS equitable for girls than autonomous learning. Group learning may reinforce stereotypes, biases, and views of science and math as a male domain. Male students may discredit females, and the classroom may become a microcosm of the “old boy” network that has frequently discouraged women and minorities from participating in certain curricular activities. Specifically, according to Sadker et al. (1991):
The different and contradictory findings of the relatively few studies analyzing cross-gender performance in cooperative learning organizations suggest that, by itself, the implementation of cooperative learning groups does not necessarily lead to a more equitable and effective learning environment for females and minorities.
Group formations that avoid diversity—e.g., all female or all racial-minorities—may be useful in these situations, but these groups also have drawbacks of their own.

How can I use cooperative and collaborative learning in conjunction with other educational techniques?

Since cooperative-learning techniques revolve around the use of a particular tool—small groups—they can be used with almost any other educational strategy.
Many of the other teaching techniques detailed in previous workshops include small-group learning activities. The cooperative-learning techniques described here will help you and your students make the best use of these small-group activities. Some types of cooperative learning (like those demonstrated in this workshop) have been developed in concert with the theory of multiple intelligences, so they work very readily with this strategy. In small groups, students can share their strengths and weaknesses and use the group activities to develop a variety of their intelligences.
Cooperative activities involve the construction of new ideas based on personal and shared foundations of past experiences and understandings—so they naturally apply some of the principles of constructivism. Learners also investigate significant, real-world problems through good explorative questions, and as a result these groups can easily be used for an inquiry-based approach. They can also help students meet national, state, or local standards. Cooperative and collaborative activities can have many different objectives, ranging from mastery of basic skills to higher-order thinking. Because the specifics of a cooperative-learning project depend on the objectives of the particular teacher, the teacher can easily orient the project toward meeting these standards.

viernes, 21 de mayo de 2010

Rhyming Compounds

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viernes, 14 de mayo de 2010

Affixation - Word Formation

Word Formation

The basic part of any word is the root; to it, you can add a prefix at the beginning and/or a suffix at the end to change the meaning. For example, in the word "unflattering," the root is simply "flatter," while the prefix "un-" makes the word negative, and the suffix "-ing" changes it from a verb into an adjective (specifically, a participle).

English itself does not use prefixes as heavily as it once did, but many English words come from Latin, which uses prefixes and suffixes (you can use the word affix to refer either to a prefix or a suffix) quite extensively. For example, the words "prefix," "suffix," and "affix" themselves are all formed from "fix" by the use of prefixes:

• "ad" (to) + "fix" (attached) = "affix"
• "pre" (before) + "fix" = "prefix"
• "sub" (under) + "fix" = "suffix"

Note that both the "-d" of "ad" and the "-b" of "sub" change the last letter.
Here are some of the most common Latin prefixes (for the meanings of the Latin roots, look up the words in a good dictionary):

(away) abrupt, absent, absolve
(to) adverb, advertisment, afflict
(not) incapable, indecisive, intolerable
(between, among) intercept, interdependent, interprovincial
(within) intramural, intrapersonal, intraprovincial
(before) prefabricate, preface prefer
(after) postpone, postscript, postwar
(under) submarine, subscription, suspect
(across) transfer, transit, translate

Written by David Megginson

Conversion I

Word Formation: Conversion

Article by Heather Marie Kosur (18,370 pts )
Edited & published by Rebecca Scudder (15,909 pts ) on Dec 16, 2009

Part two of "Word Formation: Creating New Words in English" covers the process of conversion, which is the word formation process whereby a word of one part of speech converts into a word of another part of speech, e.g., the noun Google changing into the verb to google.


Conversion is the word formation process in which a word of one grammatical form becomes a word of another grammatical form without any changes to spelling or pronunciation. For example, the noun email appeared in English before the verb: a decade ago I would have sent you an email (noun) whereas now I can either send you an email (noun) or simply email (verb) you. The original noun email experienced conversion, thus resulting in the new verb email. Conversion is also referred to as zero derivation or null derivation with the assumption that the formal change between words results in the addition of an invisible morpheme. However, many linguistics argue for a clear distinction between the word formation processes of derivation and conversion.

Noun to Verb Conversion

The most productive form of conversion in English is noun to verb conversion. The following list provides examples of verbs converted from nouns:
• Noun – Verb
• access – to access
• bottle – to bottle
• can – to can
• closet – to closet
• email – to email
• eye – to eye
• fiddle – to fiddle
• fool – to fool
• Google – to google
• host – to host
• knife – to knife
• microwave – to microwave
• name – to name
• pocket – to pocket
• salt – to salt
• shape – to shape
• ship – to ship
• spear – to spear
• torch – to torch
• verb – to verb
For example:
• My grandmother bottled (verb) the juice and canned (verb) the pickles.
• My grandmother put the juice in a bottle (noun) and the pickles in a can (noun).
• She microwaved (verb) her lunch.
• She heated her lunch in the microwave (noun).
• The doctor eyed (verb) my swollen eye (noun).

Noun to verb conversion is also referred to as verbification or verbing, as humorously discussed by Calvin and Hobbes.

Verb to Noun Conversion

Another productive form of conversion in English is verb to noun conversion. The following list provides examples of nouns converted from verbs:
• Verb – Noun
• to alert – alert
• to attack – attack
• to call – call
• to clone – clone
• to command – command
• to cover – cover
• to cry – cry
• to experience – experience
• to fear – fear
• to feel – feel
• to hope – hope
• to increase – increase
• to judge – judge
• to laugh – laugh
• to rise – rise
• to run – run
• to sleep – sleep
• to start – start
• to turn – turn
• to visit – visit
For example:
• The guard alerted (verb) the general to the attack (noun).
• The enemy attacked (verb) before an alert (noun) could be sounded.
• Sometimes one just needs a good cry (noun).
• The baby cried (verb) all night.
• We need to increase (verb) our productivity to see an increase (noun) in profits.
Verb to noun conversion is also referred to as nominalization.
Other Conversions

Conversion also occurs, although less frequently, to and from other grammatical forms. For example:
• adjective to verb: green → to green (to make environmentally friendly)
• preposition to noun: up, down → the ups and downs of life
• conjunction to noun: if, and, but → no ifs, ands, or buts
• interjection to noun: ho ho ho → I love the ho ho hos of Christmastime.

Conversion III

Grammatical Conversion in English:
Some new trends in lexical evolution
by Ana I. Hernández Bartolomé and Gustavo Mendiluce Cabrera
Universidad de Valladolid

1. Introduction

English is a very productive language. Due to its versatile nature, it can undergo many different word formation processes to create new lexicon. Some of them are much lexicalised—such as derivation or compounding. However, new trends are pointing up in the productive field. This is the case of the minor methods of word-formation—i.e. clipping, blending—and conversion. As they are recent phenomena, they have not been much studied yet. Even scholars differ in their opinions about the way they should be treated. There is only one point they all agree with: these new methods are becoming more frequently used. For example, conversion will be more active in the future, and so, it will create a great part of the new words appearing in the English language (Cannon, 1985: 415).

Conversion is particularly common in English because the basic form of nouns and verbs is identical in many cases.
This paper will attempt to analyse in depth the behaviour of one of these new word-formation methods: conversion. It is probably the most outstanding new method in the word-formation panorama. It is a curious and attractive subject because it has a wide field of action: all grammatical categories can undergo conversion to more than one word-form, it is compatible with other word-formation processes, and it has no demonstrated limitations. All these reasons make the scope of conversion nearly unlimited.

2. Definition, terminology and characteristics

"Conversion is the derivational process whereby an item changes its word-class without the addition of an affix" (Quirk, Randolph and Greenbaum, 1987: 441). Thus, when the noun 'sign' (1) shifts to the verb 'sign(ed)' (2) without any change in the word form we can say this is a case of conversion1. However, it does not mean that this process takes place in all the cases of homophones (Marchand, 1972: 225). Sometimes, the connection has to do with coincidences or old etymological ties that have been lost.. For example, 'mind' (3 and 4) and 'matter' (5 and 6) are cases of this grammatical sameness without connection by conversion—the verbs have nothing to do today with their respective noun forms in terms of semantics (ibid.: 243).

Conversion is particularly common in English because the basic form of nouns and verbs is identical in many cases (Aitchison, 1989: 160). It is usually impossible in languages with grammatical genders, declensions or conjugations (Cannon, 1985: 430).
The status of conversion is a bit unclear. It must be undoubtedly placed within the phenomena of word-formation; nevertheless, there are some doubts about whether it must be considered a branch of derivation or a separate process by itself (with the same status as derivation or compounding) (Bauer, 1983: 32).

Despite this undetermined position in grammar, some scholars assert that conversion will become even more active in the future because it is a very easy way to create new words in English (Cannon, 1985: 415). There is no way to know the number of conversions appearing every day in the spoken language, although we know this number must be high (ibid.: 429). As it is a quite recent phenomenon, the written evidence is not a fully reliable source. We will have to wait a little longer to understand its whole impact, which will surely increase in importance in the next decades.
The terminology used for this process has not been completely established yet. The most usual terms are 'conversion', because a word is converted (shifted) to a different part of speech; and 'zero-derivation', because the process is like deriving (transferring) a word into another morphological category with a zero-affix creating a semantic dependence of one word upon another (Quirk, 1997: 1558). This would imply that this affix exists—because it is grammatically meaningful—although it cannot be seen (Arbor, 1970: 46). Other less frequently used terms are 'functional shift', 'functional change' or 'zero-marked derivative' (Cannon, 1985: 412), denominations that express by themselves the way the process is considered to happen.
Conversion is extremely productive to increase the English lexicon because it provides an easy way to create new words from existing ones. Thus, the meaning is perfectly comprehensible and the speaker can rapidly fill a meaningful gap in his language or use fewer words (Aitchison, 1989: 161). "Conversion is a totally free process and any lexeme can undergo conversion into any of the open form classes as the need arises" (Bauer, 1983: 226). This means that any word form can be shifted to any word class, especially to open classes—nouns, verbs, etc.—and that there are not morphological restrictions. Up to date, there has only been found one restriction: derived nouns rarely undergo conversion (particularly not to verbs) (Bauer, 1983: 226). This exception is easily understood: if there already exists one word in the language, the creation of a new term for this same concept will be blocked for the economy of language. For example, the noun 'denial' (7) will never shift into a verb because this word already derives from the verb 'deny' (8). In that case, the conversion is blocked because 'to deny' (8) and '*to denial' would mean exactly the same. However, there are some special cases in which this process seems to happen without blocking. This can be exemplified in the noun 'sign' (1), converted into the verb 'to sign' (2), changed by derivation (suffixation) into the noun 'signal' (9) and converted into a new verb, 'to signal' (10). In this case there is no blocking because these words have slight semantic differences (Bauer, 1983: 226-227).
It must be pointed out that the process of conversion has some semantic limitations: a converted word only assumes one of the range of meanings of the original word. For example, the noun 'paper' has various meanings, such as "newspaper" (11), "material to wrap things" (12)... The denominal verb, though, only contains the sense of putting that material on places like walls. This shows the converted item has only converted part of the semantic field of the source item.

The aim of conversion varies with the user. Adults convey it to use fewer words, whereas children perform it in order to be understood, although they frequently produce ungrammatical utterances (Aitchison, 1989: 161). Anyway, it always helps to make communication easier. Thus, trying to gather this double functional raison d'être we have compiled our corpus of examples from international newspapers and magazines, such as The New York Times or Newsweek, and popular literature, such as the teenagers' magazines Smash Hits and Teens. The complete list of extracts can be found in the appendix.

3. Typology

There are many cases in which the process of conversion is evident. Nevertheless, conversion is not as simple as it may seem: the process is easily recognisable because both words are graphically identical; the direction of this process, though, is sometimes nearly impossible to determine. This is not very important for the speaker: he just needs a simple way to cover a gap in the language. As this paper tries to give a comprehensive vision on conversion, it will attempt to establish the direction of the process. Therefore, both the original category and the derived one will be mentioned.
The criterion to establish the original and derived item has been taken from Marchand (1972: 242-252). It focuses on several aspects:
a. the semantic dependence (the word that reports to the meaning of the other is the derivative)

b. the range of usage (the item with the smaller range of use is the converted word),

c. the semantic range (the one with less semantic fields is the shifted item)

d. and the phonetic shape (some suffixes express the word-class the item belongs to and, if it does not fit, this is the derivative).

After this analysis, intuition is still important. Verbs tend to be abstract because they represent actions and nouns are frequently concrete because they name material entities. Conversion is quickly related to shift of word-class. With this respect, it mainly produces nouns, verbs and adjectives. The major cases of conversion are from noun to verb and from verb to noun. Conversion from adjective to verb is also common, but it has a lower ratio. Other grammatical categories, including closed-class ones, can only shift to open-class categories, but not to closed-class ones (prepositions, conjunctions). In addition, it is not rare that a simple word shifts into more than one category.

3.1 Conversion from verb to noun

We shall first study the shift from verb to noun. It can be regarded from seven different points of view (Quirk, 1997: 1560). These subclassifications are not well defined in many cases. The same pair of converted words can be placed into two different categories depending on the subjectivity of their meaning. Nouns coming from verbs can express state of mind or state of sensation, like in the nouns 'experience' (13), 'fear' (14), 'feel' (15) or 'hope' (16). Nouns can also name events or activities, such is the case of 'attack' (17), 'alert(s)' (18) and 'laugh(s)' (19). The object of the verb from which the noun is derived can be observed in 'visit' (20) (with the sense of that which visits), 'increase' (21) (that which increases), 'call' (22) and 'command' (23). In the fourth division the noun refers to the subject of the original verb. Examples of this kind are 'clone' (24) (the living being that is cloned), 'contacts' (25) or 'judge' (26). Other nouns show the instrument of the primitive verb, like in 'cover' (27) (something to cover with) and 'start' (28). Finally, a place of the verb can also be nominalised, like in 'turn' (29) (where to turn) or 'rise' (9).

3.2 Conversion from noun to verb

Verbs converted from nouns have also many subclassifications (Quirk, 1997: 1561). They can express the action of putting in or on the noun, such as in pocket(ed) (30) (to put into the pocket), 'film(ing)' (31) (to put into a film) and 'practice' (32). These verbs can also have the meaning of "to provide with (the noun)" or "to give (the noun)", like 'name' (33) (to give a name to somebody), 'shape' (34) (to give shape to something) or 'fuel(s)' (35). The verbs belonging to the third division will express the action done with the noun as instrument. It can be exemplified with 'hammer' (36) (to hit a nail by means of a hammer), 'yo-yo' (37) (to play with a yo-yo) 'dot' (38) or 'brake' (braking) (39). Another group of verbs has the meaning of to act as the noun with respect to something, as exemplified in 'host(ed)' (40) (to act as the host of a house). Other subclassification has the sense of making something into the original noun, like in 'schedule(d)' (41) (to arrange into a schedule) and 'rule' (42). The last group means to send by means of the noun, that is the case of 'ship(ped)' (43) or 'telephone(d)' (44) (in an abstract sense).

3.3 Conversion from adjective to verb

Adjectives can also go through the process of conversion, especially to verbs. De-adjectival verbs get the meaning of "to make (adjective)". It can be easily seen by means of examples like 'black(ed)' (45) (to make black), 'open' (46), 'slow(ing)' (47)... In some cases, when these transitive verbs are used intransitively, a secondary conversion may happen (Quirk, 1997: 1561-1562), as it will be explained later on.

3.4 Conversion from a closed category to any other category

Closed-class categories can also undergo conversion. Although their frequency is much less common, the process is not ungrammatical. All morphologic categories have examples of this kind (Cannon, 1985:425-426). Prepositions are probably the most productive ones. They can easily become adverbs, nouns and verbs. This is the case of 'up' (48 and 49) and 'out' (37 and 50). Conversion to noun may as well occur in adverbs like in 'outside' (51) and 'inside' (51); conjunctions, as regarded in 'ifs' (52) and 'buts' (52); interjections and non-lexical items, like 'ho ho ho's' (53) and 'ha ha ha' (54); affixes such as 'mini-' (55) can appear as noun (56) and proper noun (55).... Conversion to verb is frequent in onomatopoeic expressions like 'buzz' (57), 'beep' (57) or 'woo(ing)' (58). Finally, phrase compounds can appear as adjectives, such as in 'borrow-the-mower' (59), 'down-to-earth' (60) or 'now-it-can-be-told' (61).

4. Partial conversion

Conversion from noun to adjective and adjective to noun is rather a controversial one. It is called 'partial conversion" by Quirk (1997: 1559) and Cannon (1985: 413) and 'syntactic process' by Bauer (1983: 230). This peculiar process occurs when "a word of one class appears in a function which is characteristic of another word class" (Quirk, 1997: 1559). Most of these cases should not be treated as conversion but as nouns functioning as adjectives and vice versa.

4.1 Conversion from noun to adjective

There are some clues, though, to make sure conversion has taken place. In the case of adjectives coming from nouns, the hints are quite easy: they can be considered as cases of conversion only when they can appear in predicative as well as in attributive form. If the denominal adjective can be used attributively, we can affirm conversion has happened. If it can only appear predicatively, it is merely a case of partial conversion. 'Mahogany music box' (62) can be used in an attributive way, "the music box is mahogany". This implies 'mahogany' is a denominal adjective. However, in the predicative phrase 'antiques dealers' (63) we cannot treat 'antiques' as an adjective because the attributive form of this expression is ungrammatical (*dealers are antique). Another way to make sure we are in front of a case of conversion is to change a word for another similar one. For example, in 'Dutch Auction' (64) we are sure the word 'Dutch' is an adjective because it has the specific form of adjective. Therefore, in 'South Jersey Auction' (65) or 'Texas Auction' (66) we can affirm these are cases of denominal adjectives.

4.2 Conversion from adjective to noun

Adjectives can also shift into nouns, though it is not very frequent. It mainly happens in well-established patterns of adjective plus noun phrase. Nominalisation occurs when the noun is elided and the adjective is widely used as a synonym of an existing set pattern. This could be the case of 'a Chinese favorite' (67).
The adjective nature in cases of partial conversion is evident, though. They are nouns from the point of view that they appear in the same syntactic position. Their grammatical nature, though, is a different one. These adjectives can still be changed to the comparative and superlative form (adjective nature). This can be exemplified in 'worst' (68) and 'merrier' (69). However, these adjectives cannot behave as nouns: if their number or case is changed, they will produce ungrammatical sentences. This can be seen in the case of 'more' (69) in cases like "*the mores we get". If the '-s' for the plural is added to any of these items, we would get ungrammatical sentences. The case of 'cutie' (70), though, could be argued. It seems to be much used and established within certain groups. This could have converted it into a lexicalised example of adjective to noun.

5. Conversion within secondary word classes

Up to this point conversion has only been considered as a shift from one grammatical category to another. However, these are not the only cases where it may happen. "The notion of conversion may be extended to changes of secondary word class, within the same major word category" (Quirk, 1997: 1563). This process has no clear terminology; for example it is called 'change of secondary word class' by Quirk (1997: 1563) and 'conversion as a syntactic process' by Bauer (1983: 227). Within the field of conversion, it has not been much studied because it is less evident than the classical conversion. Some scholars argue that these cases are products of syntactic processes, and so, they may not be considered as part of word-formation (they shift within the same grammatical category but not to a different one) (Bauer, 1983: 227).

5.1 Conversion within noun categories

The noun category can undergo four different kinds of secondary conversion (Quirk, 1997: 1563-1566). First, an uncountable noun can shift to a countable noun, like in the case of 'supplies' (71). It can also happen the other way round, a countable noun can become an uncountable one by becoming abstract, such as in 'cabaret' (72), 'chief' (73) and 'touch' (74). A third case occurs when a proper noun is converted into a common noun, as can be seen in 'diesel(s)' (75) (person's name), 'Bordeaux' (76) (usually related to high-quality French wines but not necessarily made in that particular city), 'yo-yo' (77) (trademark) or 'Stradivarius' (76) (famous maker of violins). Thus, this category can be rephrased as "a product of the (proper noun)". The fourth and final type happens when nouns shift from their static nature to a dynamic meaning when they follow the progressive of the verb 'to be'. Examples of this kind are 'student' (78), 'president' (79) and 'trouper' (80). These cases assume the meaning of "temporary role or activity". This fourth type is a product of the dynamic nature of the tense of the verb; it is not a characteristic of the noun by itself. This means that these nouns would return to their static nature by eliding the progressive form.

5.2 Conversion within verb categories

Verbs may undergo four different types of conversion. The first one happens when an intransitive verb is used transitively. This type has the meaning of "to cause to (verb)". Examples of this kind are 'worked a computer' (81), 'stop the manual recount' (82) and 'run the day-to-day operations' (83). Transitive verbs can also be used intransitively, that is the case of 'closed' (84). This category has been previously converted from adjective to verb, and, afterwards, it has experienced a secondary conversion from transitive to intransitive verb. In this sense, the verb would change the meaning from "to make close" (85) (transitive use) to "to become closed" (intransitive use) (84). A third type involves intransitive nouns converted into copulas. Examples like 'sat frozen' (86), 'grew silent' (87), 'were nailed shut' (88) or 'go global' (89) are quite current in daily conversations for the economy of language. In the case of 'sat frozen' (86) the strongest meaning remains with the verb, while, in the other two examples, the resulting meaning of the adjective prevails over the verbal one. Finally, verbs also shift form a monotransitive nature to a complex transitive one. Verbs commonly used with a unique object—direct or indirect—shift their behaviour and take more than one complement, as it can be seen in examples (90), (91) and (92). In 'won him the award' (90), the verb 'win' takes an indirect object and a direct one, although it usually takes only one direct one. The verb 'make' in 'make it a cabaret' (91) takes two different direct objects as well as the verb 'find' in 'find it very satisfying' (92).

5.3 Conversion within adjective categories

The adjective category can only be converted in two different ways. Like in the case of nouns, the static nature of adjectives can shift to a dynamic one because of the influence of the progressive form of the verb 'to be', such as in 'accused' (93). The other case happens when non-gradable adjectives turn into gradable ones. This category, though, is rather difficult to find. This gradation happens in 'incredulous' (94).

5.4 Conversion within adverb categories

Adverbs may also undergo secondary conversions within themselves. For example, the adverb 'still' can have a temporal sense (37) or be a manner adverb (95).

6. Marginal cases of conversion

There are some few cases of conversion in which there are slight non-affixal changes. These can be considered marginal cases of conversion (Bauer, 1983: 228-229). Although the shift takes place, they are called "marginal" because of the alterations produced in the word. Words belonging to this category are a close and long-established set. This marginal group can be divided regarding two different aspects: the pronunciation and the word-stress (Quirk, 1997: 1566).

6.1 Slight changes in pronunciation

With respect to pronunciation, there are some nouns ending in voiceless fricative consonants /-s/, /-f/ and /-θ/ which are converted into verbs with the voicing of the final consonant into /-z/, /-v/ and /-δ/, respectively2. For example, the noun 'use' /-s/ (96) shifts to the verb 'to use' /-z/ (97) without any change but the voicing of the final consonant. There are also some examples in this category that have a change in spelling for historical reasons. This is the case of the noun 'advice' /-s/ (98), which began to be written with 'c' in the 16th century (Oxford English Dictionary, 1979, vol. I: 139), whereas its corresponding verb 'advise' /-z/ (99) did not change its original spelling. Similarly, the noun 'belief' /-f/ (100) changed from 'beleeve' to 'beleefe' in the 16th century, "apparently by form-analogy with pairs like grieve grief, prove proof" (Oxford English Dictionary, 1979, vol. I: 782), while the verb 'believe' /-v/ (101) kept the original 'v'. In all those cases the change in graphic form corresponds to the shift in sound nature from a voiceless to a voiced consonant. Therefore, the voicing is also represented graphically. This category is no longer productive.

6.2 Slight changes in stress

The other marginal type has to do with the stress pattern. There are some bisyllabic verbs which shift to nouns or adjectives with a change in word stress from the verb distribution /-´-/ to the noun and adjective pattern /´—/ (this stress shift also affects the phonetic pattern, especially the length of the vowels involved). These are the cases of the verb 'conduct' (102) /kən'dVkt/ to the noun 'conduct' (103) /'kQndVkt/, from the verb 'protest' (104) /pr@'test/ to the noun 'protest' (105) /'pr@Utest/, or from the verb 'increase' (106) /iŋ'kri:s/ to the noun 'increase' (107) ('iŋkri:s/. This distinction is not kept in all the varieties of English and it tends to be lost. However, the shift of stress is still productive, as the following quotation from the entry corresponding to 'increase' in the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary shows (2003: 387):
The stress distinction between verb -´- and noun ´— is not always made consistently. Nevertheless, 85% of the BrE 1988 poll panel preferred to make this distinction (as against 7% preferring ´— for both verb and noun, 5% -´- for both, and 3% ´— for the verb, -´- for the noun.
There is a great amount of phrasal verbs which are being nominalised with a change in the stress patterns, such as in 'layoffs' (108), 'outbreak' (109) or 'outlets' (110).

7. Conclusions

Most new words are not as new as we tend to think. They are just readjustments within the same language, like additions to existing items or recombination of elements. This is where the field of action of conversion may be placed, and that is why this type of morphological studies reveals interesting aspects in the diachronic evolution of the English language.
There are evident cases of conversion from one part of speech to another, unclear cases in which the grammatical category is not definitely shifted, secondary changes within the same word and marginal cases where the change has produced slight modifications.
The real examples provided indicate the high frequency of this process. It is quite a common phenomenon is everyday English. In addition, it is not a great source of problems for nonnative speakers and translators because the meaning of converted items is easily recognisable. However, nonnatives and translators are strongly advised to be taught conversion so that their passive knowledge of it can be turned into an active skill, with the subsequent lexical enlargement for their everyday communication.

Conversion II

Conversion (linguistics)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In linguistics, conversion, also called zero derivation, is a kind of word formation; specifically, it is the creation of a word from an existing word without any change in form. Conversion is more productive in some languages than in others; in English it is a fairly productive process.

Often a word of one lexical category (part of speech) is converted to a word of another lexical category; for example, the noun green in golf (referring to a putting-green) is derived ultimately from the adjective green. Conversions from adjectives to nouns and vice versa are both very common and unnotable in English; much more remarked upon is verbing, the creation of a verb by converting a noun or other word (e.g. the adjective clean becomes the verb to clean).

The boundary between conversion and functional shift (the extension of an existing word to take on a new syntactic function) is not well-defined.

Verb conversion in English

Verbification, or verbing, is the creation of a verb from a noun, adjective or other word. Verbification is a type of functional shift. It is also a form of derivation, and may involve any of the various derivational processes. In English, verbification typically involves simple conversion of a non-verb to a verb. The verbs to verbify and to verb are themselves products of verbification, and — as might be guessed — the term to verb is often used more specifically, to refer only to verbification that does not involve a change in form. (Verbing in this specific sense is therefore a kind of anthimeria.)

Verbification may have a bad reputation with some English users because it is such a potent source of neologisms. Although most products of verbification are regarded as neologisms, and may meet considerable opposition from prescriptivist authorities, they are extremely common in colloquial speech, particularly specialized jargon, where words are needed to describe common actions or experiences.
Verbification is by no means confined to argot, and has furnished English with countless new expressions, e.g. "access", as in "access the file", which was previously a noun, as in "gain access to the file". Similar mainstream examples include "host", as in "host a party", and "chair", as in "chair the meeting". Other formations, such as "gift", are less widespread but nevertheless mainstream.

Examples of verbification in the English language number in the thousands, including some of the most common words, such as mail and e-mail, strike, beer, talk, salt, pepper, switch, bed, sleep, ship, train, stop, drink, cup, lure, mutter, dress, dizzy, divorce, fool, merge, and many more, to be found on virtually every page in the dictionary. In many cases, the verbs were distinct from their noun counterparts in Old English and regular sound change has made them the same form: these can be reanalysed as conversion. "Don't talk the talk if you can't walk the walk" is an exemplary sentence.

Verbification is sometimes used to create nonce words or joking words. Sometimes these jocular constructions gain favor and become used in serious discourse, due to a subtle shade of meaning which is present in the neologism but absent from similar standard verbs, e.g. speechify. In other cases, simple conversion is involved, as with formations like beer, as in beer me ("give me a beer") and eye, as in eye it ("look at it"). Sometimes, a verbified form requires an adverb, e.g. sex as in sex it up ("make it sexier").
In other languages, such as Japanese and the Semitic languages, verbification is a more regular process. In Esperanto, any word can be transformed into a verb, either by altering its ending to -i, or by applying suffixes such as -igi and -iĝi.

domingo, 25 de abril de 2010

Secrets of the Dead: Michelangelo Revealed

Above: Pietà, one of Michelangelo's most famous sculptures. (Secrets of the Dead: Michelangelo Revealed)
May 8, 2009

Throughout his masterful career, Michelangelo glorified the church, etching Catholic ideals into the sculptures and artwork that defined religion for the masses. Now, 500 years after his death, art historian Antonio Forcellino has found evidence of Michelangelo’s involvement with a clandestine fellowship trying to reform the Catholic Church from within. The group’s radical ideas and accusations of corruption were considered heretical and punishable by death. Michelangelo’s involvement put him at dangerous odds with powerful officials who held his livelihood — and life — in their hands. Michelangelo Revealed paints a stunning new picture of brave religious expression, personal vendettas, careful cover-ups and a most gifted artist desperately trying to reconcile his loyalty to the church with his own personal belief about the road to salvation. Visit the Secrets of the Dead website to explore more cases.

Watch the video at http://video.pbs.org/video/1214340861/
What a mistake to make – falling foul of French-English false friends

A British tourist was reportedly forced to spend the night in the municipal buildings of a small French town over the weekend, after confusing Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) with somewhere she could book a room for the night. It's a fairly easy mistake to make, as anyone who's ever tried learning a foreign language, and tripped up over False Friends, will know. But what are False Friends, and where do they come from?

French is still the most common source of borrowed words in English
Though actually a Germanic language, English often seems more closely to resemble a Romance language, and in particular, French. This is the natural result of close geographical and cultural contact between the two countries over many centuries. English has been 'borrowing' words from French since the Middle Ages, and this borrowing escalated after 1066 when Norman French became the official language of government, the church and the upper classes in England. David Crystal suggests that, by the end of the 13th century, more than 10,000 French words had entered the English language and that of these, more than 75% are still in use today.¹ French is still the most common source of borrowed words in English, and vice versa.

The upshot of all this word-trading is that it is easy to spot similarities between the vocabularies of French and English. Similarities, particularly in the area of vocabulary, can be both good news and bad, however. They can aid the learner, offering an encouraging springboard into learning a new language, but they can also be traps – False Friends – which lull learners of both languages into a false sense of security.

French loan words in English
French words and expressions have been taken into English wholesale, with their Frenchness intact, like sang-froid, cause célèbre, par excellence, and déjà vu. Some, like boutique, detour, nuance, and amateur still look and sound quite French but are used with ease by all of us, with little thought for where they came from. Most of us see them as English words. Other words have been adapted to English orthography but reliably retain the meaning or meanings of the French original: they are True Friends. Here are a few examples, with their French equivalents: age / âge; literature / littérature; authority / autorité; soldier / soldat; vinegar / vinaigre; comfort / confort; baggage / bagage.

Note that even when the meanings are the same between the two languages, traps still lie in wait for the learner of either one. These slight differences in spelling account for a significant proportion of errors made by learners of English. French learners of English frequently spell comfortable with an n instead of an m and literature with two ts, for example. Another thing to watch out for is countability. English baggage may mean the same as French bagage, but there is an important grammatical difference – the English word cannot follow an indefinite article (a/an) or take a plural form (baggages), whereas the French word can.

English word pairs

Avid borrowing from French over the centuries, particularly in the areas of administration, law, religion, gastronomy, fashion, literature and the arts, and science and learning, followed two different trends. Often, the newly-borrowed words had the same meanings as established native words, so they either replaced the existing words, or the two words lived side-by-side in the language, but developed slightly different meanings or nuances. This is how we came to have the Old English word pig for the live animal and the French-origin word pork for the animal's edible meat. This second phenomenon led to the existence of word pairs in English – another tricky aspect of English. Thus, English ended up with both begin and commence, help and aid, wedding and marriage, freedom and liberty, hide and conceal, and many more. The temptation for French learners of English is, naturally, to use the French-origin word, which can often lead to their English sounding quaint or excessively formal: Can I aid you? or I want to ameliorate my English.

English loan words in French

French has also borrowed a considerable part of its lexicon from English, and continues to do so today, though with some resistance from the Académie Française. The case of le weekend is well documented. Borrowed unchanged from English in 1926, le weekend was by no means the first French borrowing from English, however.

The soaking up of English words into the French lexicon has been so pervasive that there is even a word – Franglais – for the mixture of French and English that results. The term was first coined by René Étiemble in his (1964) book Parlez-vous Franglais, where he took a light-hearted look at the phenomenon. Since then, the matter has come under more serious scrutiny from an anxious Government and a number of watchdog organisations which see the infiltration of English as a direct threat to the purity of the French language.

In August 1994, French Minister for Culture, Jacques Toubon, put forward a law aimed at restricting the influx of English and reintroducing new words to replace anglicisms already in place. Toubon was keen to introduce fines for people using the anglicism computer instead of the home-grown word ordinateur, for example. A Government paper produced in 1996 and aimed at inventing or reintroducing French words to replace the plethora of anglicisms in the fields of economics and finance specifically, gives a list of 70 replacements including: arbitrage for trade-off; la vente agressive for hard selling; jeune pousse for start-up, and achat sur simulation électronique for virtual shopping. The author stresses that the main aim is to invent new French words for new phenomena soon enough to stamp out the wholesale adoption of the English term.

But it is not just the lexical growth areas of computing and commerce that are a source of English words in French. Franglais is everywhere, particularly among the young, who are most influenced by American culture and whose day-to-day lives are immersed in football, popular music, film and television and whose vocabularies are consequently peppered with the UK and US English words they hear. The French media, too, called upon to cover events as they happen, are not always able to wait for a French word to be invented before they write their reports. Hence, on 18th April 2003, during the conflict in Iraq, Le Monde reporter, Yves Eudes, wrote the headline Un jour dans la vie d'un 'embedded'. With the word embedded only just coined in English, there was no time to wait for a French equivalent to be invented.

Invented English words (pseudo-anglicisms)

Pseudo-anglicisms are common in French. These are loan words gone wrong. They look like English words and often came from English words but they are used differently. Here are a few examples of these French words, followed by their meaning in English: baskets / trainers; catch / wrestling; slip / underpants or briefs; stop / hitchhiking; snob / follower of fashion.

Some of these deceptive anglicisms are shortenings of the original English word: foot from football; golf from golf course; spot (meaning advertisement) from spotlight; snack from snack bar; goal from goalkeeper; pull from pullover.

Some false anglicisms are invented by analogy with other English terms, presumably out of a feeling that they ought, logically, to exist. For example, the suffix -man, as used to create sportsman and cameraman, is added to tennis and rugby also, to create tennisman and rugbyman, and a recordman/woman is a record-holder.

The French love affair with -ing

The -ing suffix in English is used to form the present participle of regular verbs: going, coming, eating etc. It is also used to form nouns from verbs (and sometimes other nouns and adverbs). These nouns usually denote activities: dancing, parking, smoking, counselling etc, or the results of activities: building, painting etc.

The versatility of this suffix for creating nouns has been taken to extremes in French since before the 20th century, and often results in English-looking words which have no direct meaning equivalent in English. For example, le lifting (1955), for English facelift, and my favourite, more recent, example is le zapping (pre-1986) for television channel-hopping. Even when there is a direct noun equivalent in English, its meaning may still pose subtle problems for the learner. For example, le shopping, borrowed in the early 19th century, is mainly restricted to the more leisurely browsing of boutiques or department stores, rather than the mundane dash to the local supermarket for milk and tea bags it sometimes means in English.

French anglicisms ending in -ing often denote the location where an activity typically takes place. Hence, un dancing, un camping, un bowling, un parking, un living and un skating, are a dance hall, campsite, bowling alley, car park / parking space, living room and a skating rink, respectively. Sometimes they denote clothes, as in le smoking (dinner jacket / tuxedo) and le training, which means the same as English training, but also a tracksuit. They can even denote substances, as is the case with le shampooing. The majority, however, denote activities, as is the case in English, but as with the -man suffix, the French have invented a few of their own which can be false friends, e.g le footing (jogging), or have no equivalent noun in English, e.g le forcing (used in sports to refer to intensive attack).

A lthough false anglicisms ending in -ing are often ephemeral, their introduction into the French language continues apace and is one of the primary targets of the language purity watchdogs. These -ing anglicisms are also a notable source of confusion between French learners of English and native speakers. A common ground of vocabulary is assumed which simply isn't there.

Utterly False Friends

These are, perhaps, the ones to learn first. Fortunately, in most cases, context will help a great deal. Because they have no common roots, these words rarely appear in contexts where they could be confused. Here is a list of a few to watch out for (French words are shown first and their meaning in English second): pain / bread; flipper / pinball machine; location / rental, hire; chat / cat; chair / flesh.

False cognates

Because these words were once related but have now grown apart, they often refer to objects or concepts in the same semantic domains. This is where the greatest risk of confusion lies and one where learners of either language must exercise and sustain caution – it is tempting to clutch at identical or similar words when using another language. There are too many false friends between French and English to cover them all here. The lists of common false friends given below are selected from The Cambridge International Dictionary of English², and are a good place to start thinking about the relationships between words in different languages which share common roots and the problems they can cause.

The French words, shown first, have shared roots but no shared meaning with the English words that look just like them. Their meaning in English is given second:

•actuellement / at present, currently, nowadays
•car / coach, bus; van
•cave / cellar, basement; nightclub
•chef / boss, chief, leader
•déception / disappointment; disenchantment
•demander / to ask, to request, to require
•éventuellement / possibly
•génial(e) / inspired, fantastic, brilliant
•journée / day
•lecture / reading; reading matter
•librairie / bookshop; the book trade
•préservatif / condom, sheath
•prune / plum
•raisin / grape
•sympathiser / to get on well, hit it off
•veste / jacket
False cognates with some shared meanings
The French words in the following list have some overlap in meaning with English words that look the same, but also have additional meanings which are not shared. For example, French cabinet does share with English cabinet the government office sense, but has other meanings not shared with its English cognate. The extra meanings of the French words which are not shared with their English cognate are given after the + sign, on the right:

•agenda + diary
•cabinet + toilet; study; consulting room, surgery
•chauffeur + driver in general
•circulation + traffic
•décade + period of ten days
•dramatique + tragic
•éditer + to publish
•figure + face
•herbe + grass
•manifester + to demonstrate, to protest
•massif/massive + solid, robust
•parfum + flavour, aroma
•porc + pig; pig skin
•radio + x-ray
•route + road
•sensible + sensitive
•souvenir + memory, recollection
•sympathique + likeable, pleasant, friendly; attractive
Of course, it's doubtful that any of this will make that hapless British tourist feel any better about her mistake over the Hotel de Ville. She's probably going to be checking every word very, very carefully the next time she sets foot in France!

1. David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (Cambridge University Press, 1995, p46)

2. The Cambridge International Dictionary of English (Cambridge University Press, 1995, p491)

by Diane Nicholls, editor of the Macmillan Dictionary Thesaurus

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viernes, 16 de abril de 2010

Major Periods of Borrowing in the History of English

<strong>Words in English public websiteLing/Engl 215 course information
Rice University
Prof. S. Kemmer


Major Periods of Borrowing in the History of English

Loanwords are words adopted by the speakers of one language from a different language (the source language). A loanword can also be called a borrowing. The abstract noun borrowing refers to the process of speakers adopting words from a source language into their native language. "Loan" and "borrowing" are of course metaphors, because there is no literal lending process. There is no transfer from one language to another, and no "returning" words to the source language. They simply come to be used by a speech community that speaks a different language from the one they originated in.

Borrowing is a consequence of cultural contact between two language communities.

Borrowing of words can go in both directions between the two languages in contact, but often there is an asymmetry, such that more words go from one side to the other. In this case the source language community has some advantage of power, prestige and/or wealth that makes the objects and ideas it brings desirable and useful to the borrowing language community. For example, the Germanic tribes in the first few centuries A.D. adopted numerous loanwords from Latin as they adopted new products via trade with the Romans. Few Germanic words, on the other hand, passed into Latin.

The actual process of borrowing is complex and involves many usage events (i.e. instances of use of the new word). Generally, some speakers of the borrowing language know the source language too, or at least enough of it to utilize the relevant words. They adopt them when speaking the borrowing language. If they are bilingual in the source language, which is often the case, they might pronounce the words the 4same or similar to the way they are pronounced in the source language. For example, English speakers adopted the word garage from French, at first with a pronunciation nearer to the French pronunciation than is now usually found. Presumably the very first speakers who used the word in English knew at least some French and heard the word used by French speakers.

Those who first use the new word might use it at first only with speakers of the source language who know the word, but at some point they come to use the word with those to whom the word was not previously known. To these speakers the word may sound 'foreign'. At this stage, when most speakers do not know the word and if they hear it think it is from another language, the word can be called a foreign word. There are many foreign words and phrases used in English such as bon vivant (French), mutatis mutandis (Latin), and Fahrvergnügen (German).

However, in time more speakers can become familiar with a new foreign word. The community of users can grow to the point where even people who know little or nothing of the source language understand, and even use the novel word themselves. The new word becomes conventionalized. At this point we call it a borrowing or loanword. (Not all foreign words do become loanwords; if they fall out of use before they become widespread, they do not reach the loanword stage.)

Conventionalization is a gradual process in which a word progressively permeates a larger and larger speech community. As part of its becoming more familiar to more people, with conventionalization a newly borrowed word gradually adopts sound and other characteristics of the borrowing language. In time, people in the borrowing community do not perceive the word as a loanword at all. Generally, the longer a borrowed word has been in the language, and the more frequently it is used, the more it resembles the native words of the language.

English has gone through many periods in which large numbers of words from a particular language were borrowed. These periods coincide with times of major cultural contact between English speakers and those speaking other languages. The waves of borrowing during periods of especially strong cultural contacts are not sharply delimited, and can overlap. For example, the Norse influence on English began already in the 8th century A.D. and continued strongly well after the Norman Conquest brought a large influx of Norman French to the language.

It is part of the cultural history of English speakers that they have always adopted loanwords from the languages of whatever cultures they have come in contact with. There have been few periods when borrowing became unfashionable, and there has never been a national academy in Britain, the U.S., or other English-speaking countries to attempt to restrict new loanwords, as there has been in many continental European countries.

The following list is a small sampling of the loanwords that came into English in different periods and from different languages.

I. Germanic period

The forms given in this section are the Old English ones. The original Latin source word is given in parentheses where significantly different. Some Latin words were themselves originally borrowed from Greek.
It can be deduced that these borrowings date from the time before the Angles and Saxons left the continent for England, because of very similar forms found in the other old Germanic languages (Old High German, Old Saxon, etc.). The source words are generally attested in Latin texts, in the large body of Latin writings that were preserved through the ages.

ancor 'anchor'
butere 'butter' (L <>II. Old English Period (600-1100)

apostol 'apostle' (apostolus <>III. Middle English Period (1100-1500)
Most of these first appeared in the written language in Middle English; but many were no doubt borrowed earlier, during the period of the Danelaw (9th-10th centuries).
anger, blight, by-law, cake, call, clumsy, doze, egg, fellow, gear,
get, give, hale, hit, husband, kick, kill, kilt, kindle, law, low,
lump, rag, raise, root, scathe, scorch, score, scowl, scrape, scrub,
seat, skill, skin, skirt, sky, sly, take, they, them, their, thrall,
thrust, ugly, want, window, wing

Place name suffixes:
-by, -thorpe, -gate

Law and government

attorney, bailiff, chancellor, chattel, country, court, crime,
defendent, evidence, government, jail, judge, jury, larceny, noble,
parliament, plaintiff, plea, prison, revenue, state, tax, verdict


abbot, chaplain, chapter, clergy, friar, prayer, preach, priest,
religion, sacrament, saint, sermon


baron, baroness; count, countess; duke, duchess; marquis, marquess;
prince, princess; viscount, viscountess; noble, royal

(contrast native words: king, queen, earl, lord, lady, knight, kingly,


army, artillery, battle, captain, company, corporal,
defense,enemy,marine, navy, sergeant, soldier, volunteer


beef, boil, broil, butcher, dine, fry, mutton, pork, poultry, roast,
salmon, stew, veal

Culture and luxury goods

art, bracelet, claret, clarinet, dance, diamond, fashion, fur, jewel,
oboe, painting, pendant, satin, ruby, sculpture


adventure, change, charge, chart, courage, devout, dignity, enamor,
feign, fruit, letter, literature, magic, male, female, mirror,
pilgrimage, proud, question, regard, special

Also Middle English French loans: a huge number of words in age, -ance/-ence, -ant/-ent, -ity, -ment, -tion, con-, de-, and pre-.

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether a given word came from French or whether it was taken straight from Latin. Words for which this difficulty occurs are those in which there were no special sound and/or spelling changes of the sort that distinguished French from Latin.

IV. Early Modern English Period (1500-1650)
The effects of the renaissance begin to be seriously felt in England. We see the beginnings of a huge influx of Latin and Greek words, many of them learned words imported by scholars well versed in those languages. But many are borrowings from other languages, as words from European high culture begin to make their presence felt and the first words come in from the earliest period of colonial expansion.


agile, abdomen, anatomy, area, capsule, compensate, dexterity,
discus, disc/disk, excavate, expensive, fictitious, gradual, habitual,
insane, janitor, meditate, notorious, orbit, peninsula, physician,
superintendent, ultimate, vindicate


(many of these via Latin)
anonymous, atmosphere, autograph, catastrophe, climax, comedy, critic,
data, ectasy, history, ostracize, parasite, pneumonia, skeleton,
tonic, tragedy

Greek bound morphemes: -ism, -ize

Arabic via Spanish

alcove, algebra, zenith, algorithm, almanac, azimuth, alchemy, admiral

Arabic via other Romance languages:

amber, cipher, orange, saffron, sugar, zero, coffee

V. Modern English (1650-present)

About 1650 was the start of major colonial expansion, industrial/technological revolution, and significant American immigration. Words from all over the world begin to pour in during this period. Also, the tendency for specialists to borrow words from Latin and Greek, including creating new words out of Latin and Greek word elements, continues from the last period and also increases with the development of science, technology, and other fields.

Words from European languages
French continues to be the largest single source of new words outside of very specialized vocabulary domains (scientific/technical vocabulary, still dominated by classical borrowings).
High culture

ballet, bouillabaise, cabernet, cachet, chaise longue, champagne,
chic, cognac, corsage, faux pas, nom de plume, quiche, rouge, roulet,
sachet, salon, saloon, sang froid, savoir faire

War and Military
bastion, brigade, battalion, cavalry, grenade, infantry, pallisade, rebuff,

bigot, chassis, clique, denim, garage, grotesque, jean(s), niche, shock

French Canadian
Louisiana French (Cajun)


armada, adobe, alligator, alpaca, armadillo, barricade, bravado,
cannibal, canyon, coyote, desperado, embargo, enchilada, guitar,
marijuana, mesa, mosquito, mustang, ranch, taco, tornado, tortilla,


alto, arsenal, balcony, broccoli, cameo, casino, cupola, duo, fresco,
fugue, gazette (via French), ghetto, gondola, grotto, macaroni,
madrigal, motto, piano, opera, pantaloons, prima donna, regatta,
sequin, soprano, opera, stanza, stucco, studio, tempo, torso,
umbrella, viola, violin,

More recent words from Italian American immigrants:
cappuccino, espresso, linguini, mafioso, pasta,
pizza, ravioli, spaghetti, spumante, zabaglione, zucchini

Dutch, Flemish

Shipping, naval terms

avast, boom, bow, bowsprit, buoy, commodore, cruise, dock, freight,
keel, keelhaul, leak, pump, reef, scoop, scour, skipper, sloop,
smuggle, splice, tackle, yawl, yacht

Cloth industry

bale, cambric, duck (fabric), fuller's earth, mart, nap (of cloth),
selvage, spool, stripe

easel, etching, landscape, sketch

beleaguer, holster, freebooter, furlough, onslaught

Food and drink

booze, brandy(wine), coleslaw, cookie, cranberry, crullers, gin, hops,
stockfish, waffle

bugger (orig. French), crap, curl, dollar, scum, split (orig. nautical
term), uproar


bum, dunk, feldspar, quartz, hex, lager, knackwurst, liverwurst,
loafer, noodle, poodle, dachshund, pretzel, pinochle, pumpernickel,
sauerkraut, schnitzel, zwieback, (beer)stein, lederhosen, dirndl

20th century German loanwords:

blitzkrieg, zeppelin, strafe, U-boat, delicatessen, hamburger,
frankfurter, wiener, hausfrau, kindergarten, Oktoberfest, schuss,
wunderkind, bundt (cake), spritz (cookies), (apple) strudel

(most are 20th century borrowings)

bagel, Chanukkah (Hanukkah), chutzpah, dreidel, kibbitzer, kosher, lox,
pastrami (orig. from Romanian), schlep, spiel, schlepp, schlemiel,
schlimazel, gefilte fish, goy, klutz, knish, matzoh, oy vey, schmuck,

fjord, maelstrom, ombudsman, ski, slalom, smorgasbord

apparatchik, borscht, czar/tsar, glasnost, icon, perestroika, vodka

Words from other parts of the world

avatar, karma, mahatma, swastika, yoga

bandanna, bangle, bungalow, chintz, cot, cummerbund, dungaree,
juggernaut, jungle, loot, maharaja, nabob, pajamas, punch (the drink),
shampoo, thug, kedgeree, jamboree

curry, mango, teak, pariah

Persian (Farsi)
check, checkmate, chess

bedouin, emir, jakir, gazelle, giraffe, harem, hashish, lute, minaret,
mosque, myrrh, salaam, sirocco, sultan, vizier, bazaar, caravan

African languages

banana (via Portuguese), banjo, boogie-woogie, chigger, goober,
gorilla, gumbo, jazz, jitterbug, jitters, juke(box), voodoo, yam,
zebra, zombie

American Indian languages

avocado, cacao, cannibal, canoe, chipmunk, chocolate, chili, hammock,
hominy, hurricane, maize, moccasin, moose, papoose, pecan, possum,
potato, skunk, squaw, succotash, squash, tamale (via Spanish), teepee,
terrapin, tobacco, toboggan, tomahawk, tomato, wigwam, woodchuck

(plus thousands of place names, including
Ottawa, Toronto, Saskatchewan and the names of more than half the
states of the U.S., including Michigan, Texas, Nebraska, Illinois)

chop suey, chow mein, dim sum, ketchup, tea, ginseng, kowtow, litchee

geisha, hara kiri, judo, jujitsu, kamikaze, karaoke, kimono, samurai,
soy, sumo, sushi, tsunami

Pacific Islands bamboo, gingham, rattan, taboo, tattoo, ukulele, boondocks

Australia boomerang, budgerigar, didgeridoo, kangaroo (and many more in
Australian English)

© 2001-2009
Suzanne Kemmer

Last modified 22 Sep 2009