Diachronic Semantic and Morphological Analysis of Abstract Noun Doublets of Norman-French and Anglo-Saxon Origin

Antonija Saric, Krunoslav Pavlovic


The aim of this paper is to show how Norman-French influenced the modern English language with an emphasis on abstract nouns. Old English spoken by Angles, Saxons and Jutes provided roots for only about a half of the commonly words used in the modern English language. Apart from all the other languages like Norse, Latin, Dutch, Greek, Arabic, Hindi (from India), Spanish and Native American languages that have also contributed to Modern English it was Norman-French that changed it completely. Beginning with the Norman invasion in 1066, Norman-French or Anglo-Norman, which was a French dialect that had considerable Germanic roots in addition to the basic Latin roots, caused metamorphosis from Old English to Middle English. Due to the fact that Norman-French was spoken by the aristocracy that tended to express themselves in an exalted manner, there are many abstract nouns of Norman-French origin that have survived and become a part of Modern English. However, those words have not completely replaced the Old English equivalents, they have rather existed simultaneously. This paper will provide a semantic and morphological analysis how those noun doublets have changed and developed through the history. Although in the paper not all the existing doublets are analysed, but only 10 pairs of them, and although some of them cannot be thoroughly analysed due to a lack of adequate sources, it will be possible to draw certain conclusions and realize some tendencies.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v14i2.19712

Copyright (c) 2022 Antonija Šarić, Krunoslav Pavlović

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