English language | vocabulary

Vocabulary

English is a rich language in terms of vocabulary, containing more synonyms than any other language.[130] There are words which appear on the surface to mean exactly the same thing but which, in fact, have slightly different shades of meaning and must be chosen appropriately if a speaker wants to convey precisely the message intended. It is generally stated that English has around 170,000 words, or 220,000 if obsolete words are counted; this estimate is based on the last full edition of the Oxford English Dictionary from 1989.[205] Over half of these words are nouns, a quarter adjectives, and a seventh verbs. There is one count that puts the English vocabulary at about 1 million words—but that count presumably includes words such as Latin species names, scientific terminology, botanical terms, prefixed and suffixed words, jargon, foreign words of extremely limited English use, and technical acronyms.[13]

Due to its status as an international language, English adopts foreign words quickly, and borrows vocabulary from many other sources. Early studies of English vocabulary by lexicographers, the scholars who formally study vocabulary, compile dictionaries, or both, were impeded by a lack of comprehensive data on actual vocabulary in use from good-quality linguistic corpora,[206] collections of actual written texts and spoken passages. Many statements published before the end of the 20th century about the growth of English vocabulary over time, the dates of first use of various words in English, and the sources of English vocabulary will have to be corrected as new computerised analysis of linguistic corpus data becomes available.[13][207]

Word formation processes

English forms new words from existing words or roots in its vocabulary through a variety of processes. One of the most productive processes in English is conversion,[208] using a word with a different grammatical role, for example using a noun as a verb or a verb as a noun. Another productive word-formation process is nominal compounding,[13][207] producing compound words such as babysitter or ice cream or homesick.[208] A process more common in Old English than in Modern English, but still productive in Modern English, is the use of derivational suffixes (-hood, -ness, -ing, -ility) to derive new words from existing words (especially those of Germanic origin) or stems (especially for words of Latin or Greek origin).

Formation of new words, called neologisms, based on Greek and/or Latin roots (for example television or optometry) is a highly productive process in English and in most modern European languages, so much so that it is often difficult to determine in which language a neologism originated. For this reason, lexicographer Philip Gove attributed many such words to the "international scientific vocabulary" (ISV) when compiling Webster's Third New International Dictionary (1961). Another active word-formation process in English is acronyms,[209] words formed by pronouncing as a single word abbreviations of longer phrases (e.g. NATO, laser).

Word origins

Source languages of English vocabulary[6][210]

English, besides forming new words from existing words and their roots, also borrows words from other languages. This adoption of words from other languages is commonplace in many world languages, but English has been especially open to borrowing of foreign words throughout the last 1,000 years.[211] The most commonly used words in English are West Germanic.[212] The words in English learned first by children as they learn to speak, particularly the grammatical words that dominate the word count of both spoken and written texts, are mainly the Germanic words inherited from the earliest periods of the development of Old English.[13]

But one of the consequences of long language contact between French and English in all stages of their development is that the vocabulary of English has a very high percentage of "Latinate" words (derived from French, especially, and also from Latin and other Romance languages). French words from various periods of the development of French now make up one-third of the vocabulary of English.[213] Words of Old Norse origin have entered the English language primarily from the contact between Old Norse and Old English during colonisation of eastern and northern England. Many of these words are part of English core vocabulary, such as egg and knife.[214]

English has also borrowed many words directly from Latin, the ancestor of the Romance languages, during all stages of its development.[207][13] Many of these words had earlier been borrowed into Latin from Greek. Latin or Greek are still highly productive sources of stems used to form vocabulary of subjects learned in higher education such as the sciences, philosophy, and mathematics.[215] English continues to gain new loanwords and calques ("loan translations") from languages all over the world, and words from languages other than the ancestral Anglo-Saxon language make up about 60% of the vocabulary of English.[216]

English has formal and informal speech registers; informal registers, including child-directed speech, tend to be made up predominantly of words of Anglo-Saxon origin, while the percentage of vocabulary that is of Latinate origin is higher in legal, scientific, and academic texts.[217][218]

English loanwords and calques in other languages

English has a strong influence on the vocabulary of other languages.[213][219] The influence of English comes from such factors as opinion leaders in other countries knowing the English language, the role of English as a world lingua franca, and the large number of books and films that are translated from English into other languages.[220] That pervasive use of English leads to a conclusion in many places that English is an especially suitable language for expressing new ideas or describing new technologies. Among varieties of English, it is especially American English that influences other languages.[221] Some languages, such as Chinese, write words borrowed from English mostly as calques, while others, such as Japanese, readily take in English loanwords written in sound-indicating script.[222] Dubbed films and television programmes are an especially fruitful source of English influence on languages in Europe.[222]

Other Languages
Адыгэбзэ: Инджылыбзэ
адыгабзэ: Инджылызыбзэ
Afrikaans: Engels
Akan: English
Alemannisch: Englische Sprache
አማርኛ: እንግሊዝኛ
العربية: لغة إنجليزية
aragonés: Idioma anglés
armãneashti: Limba anglicheascã
arpetan: Anglès
অসমীয়া: ইংৰাজী ভাষা
asturianu: Idioma inglés
Avañe'ẽ: Ingleñe'ẽ
Aymar aru: Inlish aru
azərbaycanca: İngilis dili
bamanankan: Angilɛkan
Bahasa Banjar: Bahasa Inggris
Bân-lâm-gú: Eng-gí
Basa Banyumasan: Basa Inggris
башҡортса: Инглиз теле
беларуская: Англійская мова
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Ангельская мова
भोजपुरी: अंगरेजी
Bikol Central: Ingles
български: Английски език
bosanski: Engleski jezik
brezhoneg: Saozneg
буряад: Англи хэлэн
català: Anglès
Cebuano: Iningles
čeština: Angličtina
Chavacano de Zamboanga: Lengua Inglés
Chi-Chewa: Chingerezi
chiShona: Chirungu
Cymraeg: Saesneg
davvisámegiella: Eaŋgalsgiella
ދިވެހިބަސް: އިނގިރޭސި
Diné bizaad: Bilagáana bizaad
dolnoserbski: Engelšćina
Ελληνικά: Αγγλική γλώσσα
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Inglés
español: Idioma inglés
Esperanto: Angla lingvo
estremeñu: Luenga ingresa
euskara: Ingeles
eʋegbe: Eŋlisigbe
Fiji Hindi: English bhasa
føroyskt: Enskt mál
français: Anglais
Frysk: Ingelsk
Gaeilge: An Béarla
Gaelg: Baarle
Gàidhlig: Beurla
ГӀалгӀай: Ингалсий мотт
贛語: 英語
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: Inglez
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Yîn-ngî
한국어: 영어
Hausa: Turanci
հայերեն: Անգլերեն
hornjoserbsce: Jendźelšćina
hrvatski: Engleski jezik
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: ইংরেজি ঠার
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Inggris
interlingua: Lingua anglese
Interlingue: Anglesi
ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ/inuktitut: ᖃᓪᓗᓈᑎᑐᑦ
isiXhosa: IsiNgesi
isiZulu: IsiNgisi
íslenska: Enska
italiano: Lingua inglese
עברית: אנגלית
Basa Jawa: Basa Inggris
kalaallisut: Tuluttut
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಆಂಗ್ಲ
Kapampangan: Amanung Ingles
къарачай-малкъар: Ингилиз тил
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: اَنٖگرَیزی زَبانَ
kaszëbsczi: Anielsczi jãzëk
қазақша: Ағылшын тілі
kernowek: Sowsnek
Kinyarwanda: Icyongereza
Kiswahili: Kiingereza
Kongo: Kingelezi
Kreyòl ayisyen: Lang angle
Кыргызча: Англис тили
кырык мары: Англ йӹлмӹ
لۊری شومالی: زۊن اینگیلیسی
latviešu: Angļu valoda
Lëtzebuergesch: Englesch
lietuvių: Anglų kalba
Limburgs: Ingels
lingála: Lingɛlɛ́sa
Lingua Franca Nova: Engles (lingua)
la .lojban.: glibau
lumbaart: Lengua inglesa
magyar: Angol nyelv
македонски: Англиски јазик
Malagasy: Fiteny anglisy
Māori: Reo Pākehā
მარგალური: ინგლისური ნინა
مصرى: انجليزى
مازِرونی: اینگلیسی زبون
Bahasa Melayu: Bahasa Inggeris
Baso Minangkabau: Bahaso Inggirih
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Ĭng-ngṳ̄
Mirandés: Léngua anglesa
мокшень: Англань кяль
монгол: Англи хэл
Dorerin Naoero: Dorerin Iburubur
Nederlands: Engels
Nedersaksies: Engels
Nēhiyawēwin / ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ: ᐧᐁᒥᔥᑎᑯᔒᐤ ᐊᔨᒧᐧᐃᓐ
नेपाल भाषा: अंग्रेजी भाषा
日本語: 英語
Napulitano: Lengua ngrese
Nordfriisk: Ingelsk spriak
Norfuk / Pitkern: Inglish
norsk: Engelsk
norsk nynorsk: Engelsk
Nouormand: Angliais
Novial: Anglum
occitan: Anglés
олык марий: Англичан йылме
Oshiwambo: English
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Ingliz tili
Pangasinan: Salitan Ingles
پنجابی: انگریزی
Papiamentu: Ingles
Patois: Ingglish
Перем Коми: Инглиш кыв
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ភាសាអង់គ្លេស
Picard: Inglé
Piemontèis: Lenga anglèisa
Tok Pisin: Tokples Inglis
Plattdüütsch: Engelsche Spraak
português: Língua inglesa
Qaraqalpaqsha: Ingliz tili
qırımtatarca: İngliz tili
reo tahiti: Anglès
Ripoarisch: Änglische Sproch
română: Limba engleză
rumantsch: Lingua englaisa
Runa Simi: Inlish simi
русиньскый: Анґліцькый язык
саха тыла: Ааҥыл тыла
ᱥᱟᱱᱛᱟᱲᱤ: ᱤᱝᱞᱤᱥ ᱯᱟᱹᱨᱥᱤ
Gagana Samoa: Fa'aperetania
संस्कृतम्: आङ्ग्लभाषा
Sängö: Anglëe
Sesotho: Senyesemane
Sesotho sa Leboa: Seisimane
Setswana: Sekgoga
sicilianu: Lingua ngrisa
Simple English: English language
SiSwati: SíNgísi
slovenčina: Angličtina
slovenščina: Angleščina
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Англїискъ ѩꙁꙑкъ
ślůnski: Angelsko godka
Soomaaliga: Af-Ingiriisi
Sranantongo: Ingristongo
српски / srpski: Енглески језик
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Engleski jezik
Basa Sunda: Basa Inggris
svenska: Engelska
Tagalog: Wikang Ingles
தமிழ்: ஆங்கிலம்
Taqbaylit: Taglizit
tarandíne: Lènga 'nglese
татарча/tatarça: Инглиз теле
తెలుగు: ఆంగ్ల భాష
Tshivenda: English
Türkçe: İngilizce
Türkmençe: Iňlis dili
Twi: English
тыва дыл: Англи дыл
удмурт: Англи кыл
ᨅᨔ ᨕᨘᨁᨗ: ᨅᨔ ᨕᨗᨋᨗᨔᨗ
українська: Англійська мова
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ئىنگلىز تىلى
Vahcuengh: Vah Yinghgoz
vepsän kel’: Anglijan kel'
Tiếng Việt: Tiếng Anh
Volapük: Linglänapük
文言: 英語
West-Vlams: Iengels
Winaray: Ininglis
吴语: 英语
Xitsonga: Xinghezi
ייִדיש: ענגליש
粵語: 英文
Zazaki: İngılızki
Zeêuws: Iengels
žemaitėška: Onglu kalba
中文: 英语