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The basic variants of the English vocabulary

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In the accordance with the division of language into written and oral varieties the whole word-stock may be divided into 3 main larges: literary, neutral and colloquial.

In the present day English society the Literary English is the language of science, newspapers, documents, bell-letters. The function of non-literary English (dialectical) – is vernacular: everyday life of family, peasants, of a certain region.

Literary English is sometimes identified with the bell-letters style, but bell-letters style used non-literary English as well for its specific purpose.

Both literary and non-literary English are forms of the national language. But they are set against one another as:

· Literary English selects words, forms and syntactical constructions which are recognized as received English or Standard English. Non-literary English makes no selection of words, forms or constructions and therefore is regarded as being: interior to literary English. It has no norms.

· Literary English is universal, common for all English-speaking people. Non-literary is regional.

Thus Standard English is characterized by the high degree of elaboration, selection, function and stylistic variance. It is superdialectal, polyvalent.

So the aspect of the literary lager is its bookish character. The aspect of the colloquial lager is its lively spoken character. The aspect of the neutral lager is its universal character: it can be employed in all styles of language and in all spheres of human activity.

Colloquial Non-literary Literary
kid daddy go ahead child farther begin infant parent commence

Colloquial words are more emotionally colored that literary ones.

The literary vocabulary consists of the following subgroups:

· Common literary, terms and learned words, poetical words (woe-sorrow, hoarse), archaic words (vassal, yeoman), barbarisms and foreign words (chic, bon mot, ad infinitum), literary coinages (neologisms, new words – monitor).

· The colloquial vocabulary falls into the following groups: common colloquial, stay (a pretty girl – “bird”, “sugar”), jargonisms (thieves “grease” – money, “erth” – three, “owt” – two).

· Professional words (digger, driller)



· Dialectical words

· Vulgar words (bloody)

· Colloquial coinages

Common literary, neutral and common colloquial words are grouped under the term Standard English Vocabulary.

Words transferred from their usual environment undergo rather peculiar semantic and stylistic changes and serve the basis for a stylistic device called bathos: notions high and common, words elevated and vulgar: ambrosial cash (Byron).

 

 


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