Semantic change - Case Study Example

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The etymology of the word journey first originated from Latin language and it later evolved to the early French as jour with the meaning of "day" and journée with meaning of "a days work or a days travel." The Middle English then borrowed the word journée with both of its…
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Question The etymology of the word journey first originated from Latin language and it later evolved to the early French as jour with the meaning of "day" and journée with meaning of "a days work or a days travel." The Middle English then borrowed the word journée with both of its meanings. However, the latter “a days travel," came into the widespread present use. It is from this point that the sematic shift took place and consequently the modern form journey now refers to travel without regard to the amount of time or period taken that was encapsulated in the word “day” during its etymological period.
Part a)
During the etymological period of the name “journey”, the meaning was attached to time or period. One of the meaning at the time was a long process in work. Secondly, the word journey could mean the days travel. The time frame of day was always attached. For that reason, it was always used to show a process. Thirdly, the name means traveling in modern time English without necessarily considering the period attached to it.
Part b)
The present time meaning of the name journey represent a narrowing semantic shift. The name journey during its etymological period had time frame attached to it but currently, in the modern time English, it has been narrowed down to travelling from one point to another regardless of the time frame. Additionally, the name has shifted semantically in meaning in a metaphorical fashion where it refers to a process in the modern time English. The journey as process can refer to change that occur in a period of time in somebody such as “character journey”
Question 2:
Part a)
‘Queer’ originally meant strange or peculiar. In the year 1811 the name queer affairs was used with an intention of meaning strange as in the following context: Its devilish queer behavior about a man was going to be buried alive. However in the year 1935 semantic shift took place with the meaning evolving and was connected with sexuality to mean homosexuality. However, the strangeness of homosexuality made the semantic shift in meaning, but the word also retained its original meaning. The use now modifies the harshness of the name homosexuality.
Part b)
In modern time of years 2000, the meaning became core and as modifier amongst the homosexuals. The name is currently being used in the context of queer rights, queer bashing, and others that reduces the negativity that is seen in the name such as gay and homosexuals.
Part c)
The regular use of the name queer in the modern time English has been associated with the gay community. According to COHA, in the years of 1811 the name could have been harsher in the gays and the homosexual. However, in the modern time English the word has been used as soothing argents to the real words such as gays and homosexual.
Question 3:
Part a)
About 200 years ago, skinny was used to mean less in quantity for example “joy was very skinny on their faces as they eulogized the death of their brother”. Currently, skinny is used to mean a wasted individual, which metaphorically means rare. This is the explosion that has come with the word. The original meaning of the word is wasted due to disease and other health issue.
Brigham Young University. The corpus of historical american english (COHA). 1810-2009. Web. 24 January 2015. Read More
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