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C-uppsats Engelska / 2002:004
TITEL
Scandinavian loan words in Middle English

FöRFATTARE
Esenova, Orazgozel

DATUM
2002-01-15

INSTITUTION
Språk och litteratur

SAMMANFATTNING
The main subject of the essay is Scandinavian loan words in Middle English.A vast majority of Scandinavian borrowings entered the language in the Old English period. In contrast to Latin and French borrowings, which were spread through written sources, Scandinavian loan words were exclusively spread through spoken language. Many loan words became established in the tenth and eleventh centuries, but they did not appear in written sources until the thirteenth century.Therefore such words for analyzis are selected from 'The Canterburry Tales' which was written by Geoffrey Chaucer some time between 1387 and 1400.

Totally 75 words of Scandinavian origin are analyzed in the essay.In the first chapter a semantic-etymological analyzis of 49 borrowings is made and the words are divided into different word classes. In the second chapter the word formation types of their 26 derivatives are studied. In the third chapter semantic differences between some Scandinavian borrowings and their synonyms in Middle English are analyzed.

The study shows clearly that the Scandinavian loan words found in the book belong to various word classes. There are both lexical and grammatical terms among them. The nouns found in the text belong to different categories. There are both concrete and abstract nouns among the loan words, but concrete nouns prevail, which can be explained by the everyday character of these words. Only a few non-count nouns were found in the text and the majority of substantives are count – nouns. The verbs of Scandinavian origin that are chosen from the text can be divided into transitive and intransitive groups. There are also some verbs that are used both transitively and intransitively. A few Scandinavian verbs are irregular. The majority of Scandinavian adjectives and adverbs found in the book consist of one - root morphemes. There are also possessive and personal pronouns among the loan words. With their borrowing it became possible to avoid confusion of some English singular and plural pronouns. Scandinavian loan words belong to the core words of English and they are frequently used in the language.

A lot of new words formed from Scandinavian borrowings are found in the text. The formative types by which the new words are derived are affixation and compounding. However, more cases of compound words were found among nouns than among other word classes.

Some Scandinavian words have synonyms in English. Their meanings differ from those of the corresponding words in English in a variety of ways. The existence of different synonymous words in the language gives us the possibility of describing things in various ways. Such words enrich the language and the role of Scandinavian borrowings in this process is undeniable. In 'The Canterbury Tales' Scandinavian borrowings are often combined with their English synonyms that begin with the same sound according to the head –rhyme method which gives this literary work a special melodic character.

ISSN 1402-1773 / ISRN LTU-CUPP--02/004--SE / NR 2002:004

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