Changes To Old English Vocabulary
Many words that existed in Old English did not survive into Modern English. There are also many words in Modern English that bear little or no resemblance in meaning to their Old English etymons. Some linguists estimate that as much as 80 percent of the lexicon of Old English was lost by the end of the Middle English period, including a large number of words formed by compounding, e.g. bōchūs ('bookhouse', 'library'), yet we still retain the component parts 'book' and 'house'. Certain categories of words seem to have been especially vulnerable. Nearly all words relating to sexual intercourse and sexual organs were supplanted by words of Latin or Ancient Greek origin. Many, if not most, of the words in Modern English that are used in polite conversation to describe body parts and bodily functions are of Latin or Greek origin. The words which were used in Old English for these same purposes are now mostly either extinct or considered crude or vulgar, such as arse/ass.
Some words became extinct while other near-synonyms of Old English origin replaced them ('limb' survives, yet lið is gone or survives dialectally as lith). Many of these linguistic changes were brought on by the introduction of Old Norse and Norman French words, while others fell away due to the natural processes of language evolution.
Other articles related to "changes to old english vocabulary, english":
... compounds, these words exists in Modern English only in the Germanic loanwords edelweiss and Adelaide ... terms noble and gentle (in its original English meaning of 'noble') both appeared in English around 1230 ... ge- a prefix used extensively in Old English, originally meaning 'with', but later gaining several other usages, such as being used grammatically for the perfect ...
Famous quotes containing the words vocabulary and/or english:
“I have a vocabulary all my own. I pass the time when it is wet and disagreeable. When it is fine I do not wish to pass it; I ruminate it and hold on to it. We should hasten over the bad, and settle upon the good.”
—Michel de Montaigne (15331592)
“The English language is nobodys special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself.”
—Derek Walcott (b. 1930)