Lexicology of the English Language

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There are the following changes in pronouncing vowels:

a) shortening of long vowels, especially at the end of the word and before voiceless consonants, e.g. see, keep;

b) lengthening of short vowels before voiced consonants, e.g. big, good, come, jam etc. In such adjectives which end in /d/ lengthening of the vowel is observed all over England, e.g. bad, sad, glad, mad etc.

c) drawling of stressed syllables and clipping of unstressed syllables.

d) In unstressed syllables / / is pronounced instead of / i /, e.g. /b `ko:z/, /`evid ns/ etc.

e) In the words consisting of three or more syllables there is a tendency to have two main stresses,e.g. /`nes `s ri/, /`int `restin/.

f) The diphthong /ou/ is pronounced / u/,e.g. home /h um/, go /g u/.

g) the diphthong / u / is pronounced /o:/, e.g. sure /sho:/.

Vowels can also change under the influence of consonants:

a) after fricatives and consonants /n/ and /m/ /ju:/ is pronounced as /u:/, e.g. resume, music, news, enthusiasm.

b) before fricatives and combinations of fricatives with consonants «a« is pronounced as / /, e.g. dance, answer, class, fast.

The pronunciation of some consonants is also changed :

a) after a vowel /r/ is pronounced ,e.g. /ka:r/ , /ha:rt/.

b)There appears an intrusive /r/ in the combinations where after the final vowel / / there is a vowel at the beginning of the next word, e.g. the idea of, Asia and Europe/ on the analogy with word combinations there is, there are/.

c) /p/ and /t/ are glotalized in the middle of the word,e.g. matter is pronounced as /`m ? /, happy as /`h ? i/.

d) /s/ is used instead of /sh/ before /i/ in the structure of suffixes, e.g. social /`sousi l/, negotiate / ni`gousi,eit/;

e) /l/ is vocalized at the end of the word, e.g. full/ ful/( close to /v/ in sound).

f) /sh/ is voiced in the intervocal position in some geographical names, e.g . «Asia», «Persia»;

g) combinations of sounds /dj/, /tj/ , /sj/ in such words as duke, tube, issue have two variants of pronunciation: /d3u:k/ and /dju:k/, /chu:b/ and /tju:b/, /`ishu:/ and /`isju:/;

g) pronunciation approaching spelling is being developed, e.g. often /`oftn/, forehead / fo:`hed/ etc;

h) /t/ and/d/ at the end of words are not pronounced, e.g. «half past five’ /`ha:f `pa:s`faiv/, «old man» /`oul `m n/.


The theory and practice of compiling dictionaries is called lexicography. The history of compiling dictionaries for English comes as far back as the Old English period, where we can find glosses of religious books / interlinear translations from Latin into English/. Regular bilingual dictionaries began to appear in

the 15-th century /Anglo-Latin, Anglo-French , Anglo-German/.

The first unilingual dictionary explaining difficult words appeared in 1604, the author was Robert Cawdry, a schoolmaster. He compiled his dictionary for schoolchildren. In 1721 an English scientist and writer Nathan Bailey published the first etymological dictionary which explained the origin of English words. It was the first scientific dictionary, it was compiled for philologists.

In 1775 an English scientist compiled a famous explanatory dictionary. Its author was Samuel Johnson. Every word in his dictionary was illustrated by examples from English literature, the meanings of words were clear from the contexts in which they were used The dictionary was a great success and it influenced the development of lexicography in all countries. The dictionary influenced normalization of the English vocabulary. But at the same time it helped to preserve the English spelling in its conservative form.

In 1858 one of the members of the English philological society Dr. Trench raised the question of compiling a dictionary including all the words existing in the language. The

philological society adopted the decision to compile the dictionary and the work started. More than a thousand people took part in collecting examples, and 26 years later in 1884 the first volume was published. It contained words beginning with «A» and «B». The last volume was published in 1928 that is 70 years after the decision to compile it was adopted. The dictionary was called NED and contained 12 volumes.

Реферат опубликован: 21/06/2009