Stylistic classification of the English word-stock A present-day English vocabulary contains subclasses which are singled out according to several principles. Let us consider two of them. I. It is important to distinguish between what is obsolete, what is normal, habitual and what is new. According to this principle they single out 3 classes: Archaisms Current words Neologisms An archaism is a word or phrase formally in general use but now rarely used except in restricted contexts. They are commonly found in poetry and religious texts.
Examples: Thou shall (shall) “Howbeit, herringbones any is bold, I am bold also” = Nevertheless, in whatever respects anyone is bold… Perchance = perhaps Quota = uttered Words disappear from he mainstream vocabulary for two reasons: a) Due to the disappearance of the referent, the object they denote.
Such words are called historicism. Examples: musket, battering ram, house-maid, yeomen b) Due to the ousting of the word by a synonym Examples: Main was replaced by ocean, tethered- tired, whither -? where to, albeit – although Neologisms are words made up or invented by a speaker.Such words are considered neologisms unless they appear in the dictionary of the primary spoken language. Nowadays many neologisms are coined by ruinations: stagnation, shoppers, regretted, meat space (vs. cyberspace), sloganeering, Romancer (Roomy + (health)care), Newell (neo+ Beowulf) II.
According to their stylistic value English words are divided into neutral and stylistically colored. The latter fall into 2 groups: elevated or degraded. Maximal Medial elevation Minimal Neutral Medial degradation et us consider each layer in turn.Elevated words Minimally elevated are slightly bookish words: sibling, enmity, enlightenment, fundamental etc.
He medium class comprises high-flown words: solemnity, satiate, serpent, sagacity, etc The maximum degree of elevation is found with attic words: starlit, barb (horse), morn (morning), even( evening), sylvan Degraded words 1) Colloquial words demonstrate the minimal degree of degradation: jiffy, to nick, guy, dorm, wait a MO etc. 2) Slang, jargon and can’t belong to the medial degree of degradation. Slang words – widely used words of humorous and derogatory character.They are intentional substitutes for neutral words and expressions: sketchy, let’s blow this popsicle stand = let’s go, to moonlight, a sky pilot = a priest Jargon words appear in social or professional groups (medical jargon, political jargon etc. )These are either non-terminological, unofficial substitutes for professional terms or official terms misused deliberately: beak = a teacher, tap = a school bar, prune =a bad pilot, jar-head = an inexperienced soldier Can’t/argot – the secret language of thieves, tramps.Can words are for most part ordinary English words with transferred meaning. They serve a sign of recognition.
Ex. : box man = a criminal specializing in opening safes Designer = a counterfeiter Shoe = a plainclothes policeman Uncle = a receiver Of stolen goods 3) The maximal degree of degradation is found With vulgar words. They are too offensive for polite usage. They are so called four-letter words.