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The English language belongs to the West Germanic branch of the Indo-European family of languages. The closest
undoubted living relatives of English are Scots and Frisian. Frisian is a language spoken by approximately half a
million people in the Dutch province of Friesland, in nearby areas of Germany, and on a few islands in the North

The history of the English language has traditionally been divided into three main periods: Old English (450-1100
AD), Middle English (1100-circa 1500 AD) and Modern English (since 1500). Over the centuries, the English
language has been influenced by a number of other languages.

Old English (450 - 1100 AD): During the 5th Century AD three Germanic tribes (Saxons, Angles, and Jutes) came to
the British Isles from various parts of northwest Germany as well as Denmark. These tribes were warlike and
pushed out most of the original, Celtic-speaking inhabitants from England into Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall. One
group migrated to the Brittany Coast of France where their descendants still speak the Celtic Language of Breton

Through the years, the Saxons, Angles and Jutes mixed their different Germanic dialects. This group of dialects
forms what linguists refer to as Old English or Anglo-Saxon. The word "English" was in Old English "Englisc", and
that comes from the name of the Angles. The Angles were named from Engle, their land of origin.

Before the Saxons the language spoken in what is now England was a mixture of Latin and various Celtic languages
which were spoken before the Romans came to Britain (54-5BC). The Romans brought Latin to Britain, which was
part of the Roman Empire for over 400 years. Many of the words passed on from this era are those coined by
Roman merchants and soldiers. These include win (wine), candel (candle), belt (belt), weall (wall). ("Language
Timeline", The British Library Board)

The influence of Celtic upon Old English was slight. In fact, very few Celtic words have lived on in the English
language. But many of place and river names have Celtic
origins: Kent, York, Dover, Cumberland, Thames, Avon, Trent, Severn.

The arrival of St. Augustine in 597 and the introduction of Christianity into Saxon England brought more Latin
words into the English language. They were mostly concerned with the naming of Church dignitaries, ceremonies,
etc. Some, such as church,bishop, baptism, monk, eucharist and presbyter came indirectly through Latin from the

Around 878 AD Danes and Norsemen, also called Vikings, invaded the country and English got many Norse words
into the language, particularly in the north of England. The Vikings, being Scandinavian, spoke a language (Old
Norse) which, in origin at least, was just as Germanic as Old English.

Words derived from Norse include: sky, egg, cake, skin, leg, window (wind
eye), husband, fellow, skill, anger, flat, odd,ugly, get, give, take, raise, call, die, they, their, them. ("The Origin and
History of the English Language", Kryss Katsiavriades)

Several written works have survived from the Old English period. The most famous is a heroic epic poem
called "Beowulf". It is the oldest known English poem and it is notable for its length - 3,183 lines. Experts
say "Beowulf" was written in Britain more than one thousand years ago. The name of the person who wrote it is

Middle English (1100-circa 1500 AD): After William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy, invaded and conquered
England in 1066 AD with his armies and became king, he brought his nobles, who spoke French, to be the new
government. The Old French took over as the language of the court, administration, and culture. Latin was mostly
used for written language, especially that of the Church. Meanwhile, The English language, as the language of the
now lower class, was considered a vulgar tongue.

By about 1200, England and France had split. English changed a lot, because it was mostly being spoken instead of
written for about 300 years. The use of Old English came back, but with many French words added. This language
is called Middle English. Most of the words embedded in the English vocabulary are words of power, such
as crown, castle, court, parliament, army,mansion, gown, beauty, banquet, art, poet, romance, duke, servant, peas
ant, traitor and governor. ("Language Timeline", The British Library Board)

Because the English underclass cooked for the Norman upper class, the words for most domestic animals are
English (ox, cow,calf, sheep, swine, deer) while the words for the meats derived from them are French
(beef, veal, mutton, pork, bacon,venison). ("The Origin and History of the English Language", Kryss Katsiavriades)

The Middle English is also characterized for the beginning of the Great Vowel Shift. It was a massive sound change
affecting the long vowels of English. Basically, the long vowels shifted upwards; that is, a vowel that used to be
pronounced in one place in the mouth would be pronounced in a different place, higher up in the mouth. The
Great Vowel Shift occurred during the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries.

The most famous example of Middle English is Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales", a collection of stories about a
group of thirty people who travel as pilgrims to Canterbury, England. The portraits that he paints in his Tales give
us an idea of what life was like in fourteenth century England.

Modern English (1500 to the present): Modern English developed after William Caxton established his printing
press at Westminster Abbey in 1476. Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in Germany around 1450, but
Caxton set up England's first press. The Bible and some valuable manuscripts were printed. The invention of the
printing press made books available to more people. The books became cheaper and more people learned to read.
Printing also brought standardization to English.

By the time of Shakespeare's writings (1592-1616), the language had become clearly recognizable as Modern
English. There were three big developments in the world at the beginning of Modern English period: the
Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, and the British Colonialism.

It was during the English Renaissance that most of the words from Greek and Latin entered English. This period in
English cultural history (early 16th century to the early 17th century) is sometimes referred to as "the age of
Shakespeare" or "the Elizabethan era", taking the name of the English Renaissance's most famous author and most
important monarch, respectively. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I there was an explosion of culture in the
form of support of the arts, popularization of the printing press, and massive amounts of sea travel.

England began the Industrial Revolution (18th century) and this had also an effect on the development of the
language as new words had to be invented or existing ones modified to cope with the rapid changes in technology.
New technical words were added to the vocabulary as inventors designed various products and machinery. These
words were named after the inventor or given the name of their choice
(trains, engine, pulleys, combustion, electricity, telephone, telegraph, camera etc).

Britain was an Empire for 200 years between the 18th and 20th centuries and English language continued to
change as the British Empire moved across the world - to the USA, Australia, New Zealand, India, Asia and Africa.
They sent people to settle and live in their conquered places and as settlers interacted with natives, new words
were added to the English vocabulary. For example, 'kangaroo' and 'boomerang' are native Australian Aborigine
words, 'juggernaut' and 'turban' came from India. (See more borrowings from different languages.)

English continues to change and develop, with hundreds of new words arriving every year. But even with all the
borrowings from many other languages the heart of the English language remains the Anglo-Saxon of Old English.
The grammar of English is also distinctly Germanic - three genders (he, she and it) and a simple set of verb tenses.

History of the English Language
What is English?
A short history of the origins and development of English
The history of the English language really started with the arrival of three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain
during the 5th century AD. These tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, crossed the North Sea from what
today is Denmark and northern Germany. At that time the inhabitants of Britain spoke a Celtic language. But most
of the Celtic speakers were pushed west and north by the invaders - mainly into what is now Wales, Scotland and
Ireland. The Angles came from "Englaland" [sic] and their language was called "Englisc" - from which the words
"England" and "English" are derived.
Map of Germanic invasions
Germanic invaders entered Britain on the east and south coasts in the 5th century
Old English (450-1100 AD)
Example of Old English
Part of Beowulf, a poem written in Old English The invading Germanic tribes spoke similar languages, which in
Britain developed into what we now call Old English. Old English did not sound or look like English today. Native
English speakers now would have great difficulty understanding Old English. Nevertheless, about half of the most
commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots. The words be, strong and water, for example,
derive from Old English. Old English was spoken until around 1100.
Middle English (1100-1500)
Example of Middle English
An example of Middle English by Chaucer In 1066 William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy (part of modern
France), invaded and conquered England. The new conquerors (called the Normans) brought with them a kind of
French, which became the language of the Royal Court, and the ruling and business classes. For a period there was
a kind of linguistic class division, where the lower classes spoke English and the upper classes spoke French. In the
14th century English became dominant in Britain again, but with many French words added. This language is called
Middle English. It was the language of the great poet Chaucer (c1340-1400), but it would still be difficult for native
English speakers to understand today.
Modern English
Early Modern English (1500-1800)
Towards the end of Middle English, a sudden and distinct change in pronunciation (the Great Vowel Shift) started,
with vowels being pronounced shorter and shorter. From the 16th century the British had contact with many
peoples from around the world.
Example of Early Modern English
Hamlet's famous "To be, or not to be" lines, written in Early Modern English by Shakespeare
This, and the Renaissance of Classical learning, meant that many new words and phrases entered the language.
The invention of printing also meant that there was now a common language in print. Books became cheaper and
more people learned to read. Printing also brought standardization to English. Spelling and grammar became fixed,
and the dialect of London, where most publishing houses were, became the standard. In 1604 the first English
dictionary was published.
Late Modern English (1800-Present)
The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is vocabulary. Late Modern English
has many more words, arising from two principal factors: firstly, the Industrial Revolution and technology created a
need for new words; secondly, the British Empire at its height covered one quarter of the earth's surface, and the
English language adopted foreign words from many countries.
Varieties of English
From around 1600, the English colonization of North America resulted in the creation of a distinct American variety
of English. Some English pronunciations and words "froze" when they reached America. In some ways, American
English is more like the English of Shakespeare than modern British English is. Some expressions that the British call
"Americanisms" are in fact original British expressions that were preserved in the colonies while lost for a time in
Britain (for example trash for rubbish, loan as a verb instead of lend, and fall for autumn; another example, frame-
up, was re-imported into Britain through Hollywood gangster movies). Spanish also had an influence on American
English (and subsequently British English), with words like canyon, ranch, stampede and vigilante being examples
of Spanish words that entered English through the settlement of the American West. French words (through
Louisiana) and West African words (through the slave trade) also influenced American English (and so, to an
extent, British English).
Today, American English is particularly influential, due to the USA's dominance of cinema, television, popular
music, trade and technology (including the Internet). But there are many other varieties of English around the
world, including for example Australian English, New Zealand English, Canadian English, South African English,
Indian English and Caribbean English.
The Germanic Family of Languages
Chart of the Germanic family of languages
English is a member of the Germanic family of languages. Germanic is a branch of the Indo-European language
A brief chronology of English
55 BC Roman invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar Local inhabitants speak Celtish
AD 43 Roman invasion and occupation. Beginning of Roman rule of Britain
436 Roman withdrawal from Britain complete
449 Settlement of Britain by Germanic invaders begins
450-480 Earliest known Old English inscriptions Old English
1066 William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invades and conquers England
c1150 Earliest surviving manuscripts in Middle English Middle English
1348 English replaces Latin as the language of instruction in most schools
1362 English replaces French as the language of law. English is used in Parliament for the first time
c1388 Chaucer starts writing The Canterbury Tales
c1400 The Great Vowel Shift begins
1476 William Caxton establishes the first English printing press Early Modern English
1564 Shakespeare is born
1604 Table Alphabeticall, the first English dictionary, is published
1607 The first permanent English settlement in the New World (Jamestown) is established
1616 Shakespeare dies
1623 Shakespeare's First Folio is published
1702 The first daily English-language newspaper, The Daily Courant, is published in London
1755 Samuel Johnson publishes his English dictionary
1776 Thomas Jefferson writes the American Declaration of Independence
1782 Britain abandons its colonies in what is later to become the USA
1828 Webster publishes his American English dictionary Late Modern English
1922 The British Broadcasting Corporation is founded
1928 The Oxford English Dictionary is published

In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules governing the composition ofclauses, phrases, and words in any
given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax,
and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics, and pragmatics.
Use of the term[edit]
The term grammar is often used by non-linguists with a very broad meaning. As Jeremy Butterfield puts it,
"Grammar is often a generic way of referring to any aspect of English that people object to."
However, linguists
use it in a much more specific sense. Speakers of a language have a set of internalised rules
for using that
language. This is a grammar, and the vast majority of the information in it is acquiredat least in the case of
one's native languagenot by conscious study or instruction, but by observing other speakers; much of this work
is done during infancy. Learning a language later in life usually involves a greater degree of explicit instruction.

The term "grammar" can also be used to describe the rules that govern the linguistic behaviour of a group of
speakers. The term "English grammar", therefore, may have several meanings. It may refer to the whole of English
grammarthat is, to the grammars of all the speakers of the languagein which case, the term encompasses a
great deal of variation.
Alternatively, it may refer only to what is common to the grammars of all, or of the vast
majority of English speakers (such as subjectverbobject word order in simple declarative sentences). Or it may
refer to the rules of a particular, relatively well-defined variety of English (such as Standard English).
"An English grammar" is a specific description, study or analysis of such rules. A reference book describing the
grammar of a language is called a "reference grammar" or simply "a grammar". A fully explicit grammar that
exhaustively describes thegrammatical constructions of a language is called a descriptive grammar. This kind
of linguistic description contrasts withlinguistic prescription, an attempt to discourage or suppress some
grammatical constructions, while promoting others. For example, preposition stranding occurs widely in Germanic
languages and has a long history in English. John Dryden, however, objected to it (without explanation),
other English speakers to avoid the construction and discourage its use.

Further information: Grapheme
The word grammar is derived from Greek (grammatik techn), which means "art of letters",
from (gramma), "letter", itself from (graphein), "to draw, to write".

Further information: History of linguistics
The first systematic grammars originated in Iron Age India, with Yaska (6th century BC), Pini (4th century BC) and
his commentators Pingala (c. 200 BC), Katyayana, and Patanjali (2nd century BC). Tolkppiyam is the
earliest Tamil grammar is mostly dated to before the 5th century AD.
In the West, grammar emerged as a discipline in Hellenism from the 3rd century BC forward with authors
like Rhyanus andAristarchus of Samothrace, the oldest extant work being the Art of Grammar ( ),
attributed to Dionysius Thrax (c. 100 BC). Latin grammar developed by following Greek models from the 1st
century BC, due to the work of authors such as Orbilius Pupillus, Remmius Palaemon, Marcus Valerius
Probus, Verrius Flaccus, and Aemilius Asper.
A grammar of Irish originated in the 7th century with the Auraicept na n-ces. Arabic grammar emerged with Abu
al-Aswad al-Du'ali in the 7th century. The first treatises on Hebrew grammar appeared in the High Middle Ages, in
the context ofMishnah (exegesis of the Hebrew Bible). The Karaite tradition originated in Abbasid Baghdad.
The Diqduq (10th century) is one of the earliest grammatical commentaries on the Hebrew Bible.
Ibn Barun in
the 12th century compares the Hebrew language with Arabic in the Islamic grammatical tradition.

Belonging to the trivium of the seven liberal arts, grammar was taught as a core discipline throughout the Middle
Ages, following the influence of authors from Late Antiquity, such as Priscian. Treatment of vernaculars began
gradually during theHigh Middle Ages, with isolated works such as the First Grammatical Treatise, but became
influential only in theRenaissance and Baroque periods. In 1486, Antonio de Nebrija published Las introduciones
Latinas contrapuesto el romance al Latin, and the first Spanish grammar, Gramtica de la lengua castellana, in
1492. During the 16th-century Italian Renaissance, the Questione della lingua was the discussion on the status and
ideal form of the Italian language, initiated byDante's de vulgari eloquentia (Pietro Bembo, Prose della volgar
lingua Venice 1525). The first grammar of Slovene languagewas written in 1584 by Adam Bohori.
Grammars of non-European languages began to be compiled for the purposes of evangelization and Bible
translation from the 16th century onward, such as Grammatica o Arte de la Lengua General de los Indios de los
Reynos del Per (1560), and a Quechua grammar by Fray Domingo de Santo Toms.
In 1643 there appeared Ivan Uzhevych's Grammatica sclavonica and, in 1762, the Short Introduction to English
Grammar ofRobert Lowth was also published. The Grammatisch-Kritisches Wrterbuch der hochdeutschen
Mundart, a High Germangrammar in five volumes by Johann Christoph Adelung, appeared as early as 1774.
From the latter part of the 18th century, grammar came to be understood as a subfield of the emerging discipline
of modernlinguistics. The Serbian grammar by Vuk Stefanovi Karadi arrived in 1814, while the Deutsche
Grammatik of the Brothers Grimm was first published in 1818. The Comparative Grammar of Franz Bopp, the
starting point of modern comparative linguistics, came out in 1833.
Development of grammars[edit]
Main articles: Historical linguistics and History of English grammars
Grammars evolve through usage and also due to separations of the human population. With the advent of
writtenrepresentations, formal rules about language usage tend to appear also. Formal
grammars are codifications of usage that are developed by repeated documentation over time, and
by observation as well. As the rules become established and developed, the prescriptive concept of grammatical
correctness can arise. This often creates a discrepancy between contemporary usage and that which has been
accepted, over time, as being correct. Linguists tend to view prescriptive grammars as having little justification
beyond their authors' aesthetic tastes, although style guides may give useful advice about standard language
employment, based on descriptions of usage in contemporary writings of the same language.Linguistic
prescriptions also form part of the explanation for variation in speech, particularly variation in the speech of an
individual speaker (an explanation, for example, for why some people say "I didn't do nothing", some say "I didn't
do anything", and some say one or the other depending on social context).
The formal study of grammar is an important part of education for children from a young age through
advanced learning, though the rules taught in schools are not a "grammar" in the sense most linguists use the
term, particularly as they are often prescriptive rather than descriptive.
Constructed languages (also called planned languages or conlangs) are more common in the modern day. Many
have been designed to aid human communication (for example, naturalistic Interlingua, schematic Esperanto, and
the highly logic-compatible artificial language Lojban). Each of these languages has its own grammar.
Syntax refers to linguistic structure above the word level (e.g. how sentences are formed)though without taking
into account intonation, which is the domain of phonology. Morphology, by contrast, refers to structure at and
below the word level (e.g. how compound words are formed), but above the level of individual sounds, which, like
intonation, are in the domain of phonology.
No clear line can be drawn, however, between syntax and
morphology. Analytic languages usesyntax to convey information that is encoded via inflection in synthetic
languages. In other words, word order is not significant and morphology is highly significant in a purely synthetic
language, whereas morphology is not significant and syntax is highly significant in an analytic
language. Chinese and Afrikaans, for example, are highly analytic, and meaning is therefore very context-
dependent. (Both do have some inflections, and have had more in the past; thus, they are becoming even less
synthetic and more "purely" analytic over time.) Latin, which is highly synthetic, uses affixes and inflections to
convey the same information that Chinese does with syntax. Because Latin words are quite (though not
completely) self-contained, an intelligible Latin sentence can be made from elements that are placed in a largely
arbitrary order. Latin has a complex affixation and simple syntax, while Chinese has the opposite.
Grammar frameworks[edit]
Main article: Grammar framework
Various "grammar frameworks" have been developed in theoretical linguistics since the mid-20th century, in
particular under the influence of the idea of a "universal grammar" in the United States. Of these, the main
divisions are:
Transformational grammar (TG)
Systemic functional grammar (SFG)
Principles and Parameters Theory (P&P)
Lexical-functional Grammar (LFG)
Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar (GPSG)
Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG)
Dependency grammars (DG)
Role and reference grammar (RRG)
Further information: Orthography
Prescriptive grammar is taught in primary school (elementary school). The term "grammar school" historically
refers to a school teaching Latin grammar to future Roman citizens, orators, and, later, Catholic priests. In its
earliest form, "grammar school" referred to a school that taught students to read, scan, interpret, and declaim
Greek and Latin poets (including Homer, Virgil, Euripides, Ennius, and others). These should not be confused with
the related, albeit distinct, modern Britishgrammar schools.
A standard language is a particular dialect of a language that is promoted above other dialects in writing,
education, and broadly speaking in the public sphere; it contrasts with vernacular dialects, which may be the
objects of study in descriptive grammar but which are rarely taught prescriptively. The standardized "first
language" taught in primary education may be subject to political controversy, because it establishes a standard
defining nationality or ethnicity.
Recently, efforts have begun to update grammar instruction in primary and secondary education. The primary
focus has been to prevent the use of outdated prescriptive rules in favor of more accurate descriptive ones and to
change perceptions about relative "correctness" of standard forms in comparison to non standard dialects.
The pre-eminence of Parisian French has reigned largely unchallenged throughout the history of modern French
literature. Standard Italian is not based on the speech of the capital, Rome, but on the speech of Florence because
of the influence Florentines had on early Italian literature. Similarly, standard Spanish is not based on the speech
of Madrid, but on the one of educated speakers from more northerly areas like Castile and Len.
In Argentina and Uruguay the Spanish standard is based on the local dialects of Buenos
Aires and Montevideo (Rioplatense Spanish). Portuguese has for now two official written standards,
respectively Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese, but in a short term it will have a unified

The Serbian language is divided in a similar way; Serbia and the Republika Srpska use their own separate standards.
The existence of a third standard is a matter of controversy, some consider Montenegrin as a separate language,
and some think it's merely another variety of Serbian.
Norwegian has two standards, Bokml and Nynorsk, the choice between which is subject to controversy: Each
Norwegian municipality can declare one of the two its official language, or it can remain "language neutral".
Nynorsk is endorsed by a minority of 27 percent of the municipalities. The main language used in primary schools
normally follows the official language of its municipality, and is decided by referendum within the local school
district. Standard German emerged from the standardized chancellery use of High German in the 16th and 17th
centuries. Until about 1800, it was almost entirely a written language, but now it is so widely spoken that most of
the former German dialects are nearly extinct.
Standard Chinese has official status as the standard spoken form of the Chinese language in the People's Republic
of China (PRC), the Republic of China (ROC) and the Republic of Singapore. Pronunciation of Standard Chinese is
based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin Chinese, while grammar and syntax are based on modern vernacular
written Chinese.Modern Standard Arabic is directly based on Classical Arabic, the language of the Qur'an.
The Hindustani language has two standards, Hindi and Urdu.
In the United States, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar designated March 4 as National Grammar
Day in 2008.

Context clues
Clues used when guessing word meanings; clues that provide students with meaning or comprehension
based on the environment in which a word is found.

Types of Context Clues
Context clues come in various forms. They may be
a definition of the word embedded in the text
The factory supervisor demanded an inspection, which is a careful and critical examination of all of the
meats processed each day.
a synonym or antonym in a word, phrase, sentence, or paragraph around the word
The boxes weren't exactly heavy, just cumbersome, unlike the easy-to-carrybags with handles.
(Here cumbersome can be figured out from its antonym, easy-to-carry.)
an example that helps define the word
The builder decided that the house could be built on a number of sites, for example, along a wooded path,
near the ocean, or atop a mountain.
a restatement of the word or idea
Gary Paulsen writes books that appeal, or are of particular interest, to young adult readers.
` (Content-Area Reading Strategies for Language Arts, Walch Education, 2002)
"All in all, the descriptive research on learning from context shows that context can produce learning of word
meanings and that although the probability of learning a word from a single occurrence is low, the probability of
learning a word from context increases substantially with additional occurrences of the word. That is how we
typically learn from context. We learn a little from the first encounter with a word and then more and more
about a word's meaning as we meet it in new and different contexts."
(Michael F. Graves, The Vocabulary Book: Learning and Instruction. Teachers College Press, 2006)
"[T]here are significant limitations on any attempt to [teach vocabulary] by focusing on context alone. First, of
all there are the limitations stemming from the uninformative nature of many contexts. Also, we are not
convinced that teaching students detailed information about types of context clues (e.g.,appositives) is an
effective use of instructional time."
(S. A. Stahl and W.E. Nagy, Teaching Word Meanings. Routledge, 2006)
"Research based on the naturally occurring prose of novels, magazines, and textbooks strongly suggests
that context clues are not nearly as useful for decoding unfamiliar words as has traditionally been assumed
(Schatz & Baldwin, 1986). Rather, both definitional and contextual information are crucial for learning new
vocabulary along with multiple encounters with new words (Graves & Watts-Taffe, 2002)."
(John E. Readence, Thomas W. Bean, and R. Scott Baldwin, Content Area Literacy: An Integrated Approach.
Kendall/Hunt, 2004)

In linguistics, word formation is the creation of a new word. Word formation is sometimes contrasted
with semantic change, which is a change in a single word's meaning. The boundary between word formation
and semantic change can be difficult to define: a new use of an old word can be seen as a new word derived from
an old one and identical to it in form (seeconversion). Word formation can also be contrasted with the formation
of idiomatic expressions, although words can be formed from multi-word phrases
(see compound and incorporation).
Types of word formation[edit]
There are a number of methods of word formation.
Morphological word formation[edit]
There are two subcategories; words created by derivation and words created by conversion.
Main article: Derivation (linguistics)
Derivation is the process of forming new words from existing ones by adding affixes to them,
like shame + less + ness shamelessness. In cases in which there is a one-to-one correspondence between affixes
and syntactical categories, this is known as agglutination, as seen in agglutinative languages.
Main article: Conversion (word formation)
Also known as zero-affixation, conversion involves forming a new word from an existing identical one, like forming
the verbgreen from the existing adjective.
Main article: Blend word
A blend is a word formed by joining parts of two or more older words. An example is smog, which comes
from smoke and fog, or brunch, which comes from 'breakfast' and 'lunch'.
Sub-categories of blending are:
Acronym (a word formed from initial letters of the words in a phrase, like English laser from light amplified by
stimulated emission of radiation)
Clipping (morphology) (taking part of an existing word, like forming ad from advertisement)
Main article: Calque
A Calque is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word or root-for-root
translation; for example the English phrase to lose face is a calque from Chinese
A sub-category of Calquing is the semantic loan, that is, the extension of the meaning of a word to include new,
foreign meanings.
Main article: Neologism
A neologism is a completely new word, like quark.
Subcategories of neologisms include:
The eponym, a proper noun that becomes commonly used for an idea it is associated with, usually by
changing its part of speech, like Xerox, Orwellian, and Stentorian
The loanword, a word borrowed from another language, as clich is from French
An onomatopoeic word, a word which imitates natural sounds, like the bird name cuckoo
Formation using Phono-semantic matching, that is, matching a foreign word with a phonetically and
semantically similar pre-existent native word/root
Hadumod Bussmann (1996), Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics, London: Routledge.
Joachim Grzega (2004), Bezeichnungswandel: Wie, Warum, Wozu? Ein Beitrag zur englischen und allgemeinen
Onomasiologie, Heidelberg: Winter.
Peter Koch (2002), Lexical Typology from a Cognitive and Linguistic Point of View, in D. Alan Cruse et al.
(eds),Lexicology: An International Handbook on the Nature and Structure of Words and Vocabularies /
Lexikologie: Ein internationales Handbuch zur Natur und Struktur von Wrtern und Wortschtzen,
[Handbcher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft 21], Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, vol. 1,
pp. 1142-1178.
Ghil'ad Zuckermann (2003). Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew. Houndmills: Palgrave
Macmillan. (Palgrave Studies in Language History and Language Change). ISBN 1-4039-1723-X.

In linguistics, assimilation is a common phonological process by which one sound becomes more like a nearby
sound. This can occur either within a word or between words. In rapid speech, for example, "handbag" is often
pronounced [hmb]. As in this example, sound segments typically assimilate to a following sound (this is called
regressive or anticipatory assimilation), but they may also assimilate to a preceding one (progressive assimilation).
While assimilation most commonly occurs between immediately adjacent sounds, it may occur between sounds
separated by others ("assimilation at a distance").
Assimilation can be synchronicthat is, an active process in a language at a given point in timeor diachronic:
That is, a historical sound change.
A related process is coarticulation where one segment influences another to produce an allophonic variation, such
as vowels acquiring the feature nasal before nasal consonants when the velum opens prematurely or /b/ becoming
labialised as in "boot". This article describes both processes under the term assimilation.
The physiological or psychological mechanisms of coarticulation are unknown; coarticulation is often loosely
referred to as a segment being "triggered" by an assimilatory change in another segment. In assimilation, the
phonological patterning of the language, discourse styles and accent are some of the factors contributing to
changes observed.
There are four configurations found in assimilations:
Between adjacent segments.
Between segments separated by one or more intervening segments.
Changes made in reference to a preceding segment
Changes made in reference to a following segment
Although all four occur, changes in regard to a following adjacent segment account for virtually all assimilatory
changes (and most of the regular ones).
[citation needed]
Assimilations to an adjacent segment are vastly more frequent
than assimilations to a non-adjacent one. These radical asymmetries might contain hints about the mechanisms
involved, but they are unobvious.
If a sound changes with reference to a following segment, it is traditionally called "regressive assimilation";
changes with reference to a preceding segment are traditionally called "progressive". Many
find these terms
confusing, as they seem to mean the opposite of the intended meaning. Accordingly, a variety of alternative terms
have arisennot all of which avoid the problem of the traditional terms. Regressive assimilation is also known as
right-to-left, leading, or anticipatory assimilation. Progressive assimilation is also known as left-to-right or
perseveratory or preservative, lagging or lag assimilation. The terms anticipatory and lag are used here.
Occasionally two sounds (invariably adjacent) may influence one another in reciprocal assimilation. When such a
change results in a single segment with some of the features of both components, it is known as coalescence or
Assimilation occurs in two different types: complete assimilation, in which the sound affected by assimilation
becomes exactly the same as the sound causing assimilation, and partial assimilation, in which the sound becomes
the same in one or more features, but remains different in other features.
Tonal languages may exhibit tone assimilation (tonal umlaut, in effect), while sign languages also exhibit
assimilation when the characteristics of neighbouring cheremes may be mixed.