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Semantic drift


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Semantic drift, words that have changed their meanings over time

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Semantic drift

  1. 1. Semantic drift • Semantic drift is the evolution of word usage — usually to the point that the modern meaning is radically different from the original usage.
  2. 2. Etymology • Etymology is the study of the origins of words. • As languages develop the meaning of words can change over time. This causes confusion and misunderstanding when communicating with other people.
  3. 3. Why words change their meanings? • Influence of other languages and cultures. • Predominate use of slang words. • Advancement of science and technology
  4. 4. How Latin words got into English language The Roman Empire expanded into Britain, bringing Latin Latin words found their way into the Anglo-Saxon language of the people in Ancient Britain Latin word “stratum” means “layered road” “Stratum” became “straets” in Anglo- Saxon Now called “streets” in modern English
  5. 5. How fast are words changing? • Once every ten years, the Merriam- Webster dictionary is updated. • Their 11th edition for 2003 included some 10,000 new words along with 100,000 new meanings to words already existing and some 225,00 revised definitions.
  6. 6. Words that have changed their meanings! Words Old Meaning New Meaning Awful Full of awe Bad or unpleasant Ambulance Walking hospital Carries the patient to the hospital Amuse To distract and mislead someone To entertain Apology To defend oneself Formal statement of regret Bachelor A young man hoping to become a knight Unmarried Basement Toilet Foundation of a building
  7. 7. Words that have changed their meanings! Words Old Meaning New Meaning Bimbo Tough guy An attractive but empty headed woman Bully Sweetheart , darling Harasser of the weak Cauldrons Started out as something for heating people Cooking utensil Confuse To ruin someone To make something less easy to understand Cute Acute, keenly perceptive and shrewd Pretty and charming Defecate To purify To discharge faeces Diaper A special white fabric with diamond shapes Absorbent material for babies
  8. 8. Words that have changed their meanings! Words Old Meaning New Meaning Embarrass To block or obstruct Ashamed Garble To sort something out To mess it up Girl Young person of either sex Only female Grin To show your teeth in anger Smile broadly Husband House owner The person a woman is married to Idiot Anybody who is not a clergyman A stupid person
  9. 9. Words that have changed their meanings! Words Old Meaning New Meaning Imprecate To pray for someone’s good To cause harm to someone Manage The age at which one becomes a man To take control Matrix Pregnant animal An environment or material where something develops Nice Silly and foolish Pleasant, agreeable Sad To be satisfied or settled Unhappy Servant An admirer One who is employed to carry out duties
  10. 10. Words that have changed their meanings! Words Old Meaning New Meaning Spinster A woman who spun for a living Unmarried girl Stupid Surprised, amazed Lacking intelligence Success Outcome no matter good or bad A final good outcome Tomboy A boy lacking good manners A girl who acts like a boy Zombie Name of a snake god Soulless creatures that eat brains!
  11. 11. REFERENCES • meaning-through-2173079 • changed-meaning-over-the-years/-/691232/1940530/-/gmgvtl/- /index.html • Words-That-Have-Changed-Their-Meaning-Part-1 • meaning-over-time/ • time.html