Transformations In English Language

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The English language has experienced all kinds of transformations since the beginning of its existence. Certainly, it has been influenced by a great number of languages. For instance, Nordic languages had a great influence around the 9th century, while they cohabited in England. Moreover, also Latin and French had a great influence, due to religion, and the conquest of England by the Normand around the 11th century. Later, the influence of the colonies caused also significant transformations mainly in the English vocabulary. Consequently, there are a great number of words that have suffered different transformations due these influences. The aim of this paper will be to analyze the transformations that the word axe has suffered through the…show more content…
For instance, its first recorded appearance in English is around the beginning of the 11th century. It appeared in the first translation into Old English of The Wessel Gospels. To illustrate, the OED quotes this sentence: 1.Eallunga ys seo æx to þæra treowa wurtrumum asett [c1000 West Saxon Gospels: Matt]. Moreover, around the 13th century the word started also to be used to name a weapon that was used in ancient battles, as it is shown in this quote from the OED: 2.He lædde on his exle ane muchele wi-eax [c1275 Laȝamon Brut]. Similarly, around the mid of the 15th century the word also acquired a less positive connotation when it began to mean ‘the instrument used to decapitate condemned traitors’. In particular, the quote shown in the OED is from the Four Centuries of English Letters from 1450: 3.Ther was an exe, and a stoke, and oon of the lewdeste of the shippe badde him ley down his hedde [1450 W. Somner in Four C. Eng. Lett]. Furthermore, around the mid of the 20th century the word acquired two new meanings. The first of them is a figurative sense of the word with a negative connotation, which appeared around the 1920s, and it means ‘the person appointed to cut down of expenditure in the public service, or the dismissal of an employee’. One of…show more content…
The word axe can be also used as a verb from the beginning of the 18th century. In particular, the first meaning that the word acquired when becoming a verb is ‘to shape or trim with an axe’. The first time recorded is at 1700 in the book Moxon's Mechanick exercises: 6.To Ax the Brick off, with an Ax that is exactly streight on the edge [1700 Moxon's Mech. Exercises]. Furthermore, in the 20th century axe acquired a new figurative meaning that is ‘to remover officials, or to save expenditure, by means of “the axe”’. The actual use is shown in this quote from the OED: 7.Fifteen hundred officers have been axed under the Geddes recommendation [1923 Hansard Commons]. The analysis of the semantic history of the word shows a clear extension of meaning covering more specific concepts. Furthermore, it has expanded its semantic context. That is to say, nowadays the word axe is used in more semantic contexts (crafts, administration, weaponry, and arts) than it was when it appeared. It has also acquired a less positive connotation in some of the cases, as the ones related to the administration and the weaponry context. Moreover, the category of the word has also changed since it became a verb around the 18th century. Regarding the spelling, it has been continuously changing along the years. Probably, the spelling variations during Middle English, which are reflected in the sentences 2 and

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