Laguna State Polytechnic University San Pablo City Campus Brgy. Del Remedio, San Pablo City EngM19 – Introduction to StylisticsARCHAIC WORDS Or ACHAISMS (Research Paper) PREPARED BY: ANGELES, Maria Monica M. BSEd 4-S SUBMITTED TO: Mr. Alexander dela Vega
ARCHAIC WORDS/ARCHAISMS Languages continually go through changes which results in the development in thevarieties of language. Most users of the language are not aware of these changes as they arehappening. These changes become more dramatic after long periods of time. WilliamShakespeare and Geoffrey Chaucer works, for example, differ from the modern English languagethat most of the readers prefer a translation of their works into modern English language. In the classification of English vocabulary, archaic words or archaisms are one fromvarious groups of words on stylistic function which are being used by writers. Archaisms camefrom the Greek word “arkhaismos” which means “copy the ancients” or “give an archaic air to”.Archaisms are the usage of a form of writing or speech from an earlier time that is no longerused in the present. As the language continues to develop, its word stock also goes through an increasingstate of change. In each progress of literary language, more or less apparent changes in themeaning or usage can be find, and for some instance, a total disappearance of a particular unitfrom the language. Archaisms have three stages in the aging process of words and they are asfollows: Obsolescent – the beginning aging process of a word. Words of this kind become seldom used. Obsolete – these are the words that have already gone entirely out of use but are still being recognized by the community. Archaic Proper – these are the words which are no longer being recognized in modern English. They are the words in Old English which are either completely dropped out of the language or have changed in their appearance and have become unrecognizeable. Historic words are being erroneously classified as archaic words. Archaic words are wordswhich are no longer in general use but still encountered for stylistic function. Historic words, onthe other hand, never disappear from the language, thus, words of these types cannot beconsidered as archaic.
Most frequently, words that fall on archaisms are being used in poetry, science andtechnology, ritual writings, geography, law, and speeches. It is said that archaisms can be dividedinto two: the literary archaisms and the lexical archaisms. Literary archaism seeks to evoke styleof older speeches and writings. The usage of words, which are no longer in the common use, fallunder the lexical archaism. Different rituals and literary uses in the literature of the old helparchaisms kept alive. Science and technology is one of the factors of the generation of words because ofcontinuous discoveries and inventions. For instance, the usage of the word “wireless” instead of“radio” for the generation of British citizens during the World War II – association of thesewords kept the both words alive in the speaking community but, in fact, the word “radio” is anolder word which is a obviously of archaism. Another example of archaism is to evoke the former age means through old place names thatcould convey a political or emotional subtext or when many don’t recognize the new officialname – just like “Persia” rather than “Iran”. A famous example is the airline name, “CathayPacific”. It uses the archaic name “Cathay” which now known as “China.” Compound adverbs and prepositions found in the writing of lawyers – like the wordsheretofore, hereunto, thereof – are also examples of archaisms. In some phraseologies, mostespecially in religious contexts, archaic elements that are not used in ordinary speech in anyother context are being retained: "With this ring I thee wed." Archaisms are also used in the dialogue of historical novels so as to draw out the flavor of theperiod. Others use archaisms to add a humorous effect and may count as inherently funny words. Archaisms are mostly misunderstood which leads to changes in the usage. An example canbe found in the phrase "the odd man out". This originally came from the phrase "to find the oddman out", where the verb "to find out" has been split by its object "the odd man", meaning theitem which does not fit.SOURCES: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaism; www.durov.com/study/STYLISTICS-826.doc; Microsoft Encarta 2007