Functional Differentiation of the Middle English Names of Scholars and Teachers

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2016, Vol. 2. №3

Functional Differentiation of the Middle English Names of Scholars and Teachers

About the author:

Oxana Ya. Dobrovolskaya, Cand. Sci. (Philol.), Associate Professor, Doctoral Postgraduate, Kiev National Linguistic University;


The relevance of the research is due to the need for a comprehensive study of the Middle English vocabulary, in particular of occupational names as its subsystem, which goes in line with the traditional systemic-structural paradigm of linguistic researches focusing on the modern functional-systemic approach to the language phenomena. The article is devoted to the general purpose of the study of the etymological composition and functional differentiation of the thematic group of the Middle English names of teachers and scholars.

The investigation of the functional differentiation of the Middle English occupational names is based on the principles of the functional-systemic approach to the language, especially the communicative and historical approaches. Middle English occupational terms are distributed into two classes — common nouns (in their nominating function) and proper names, especially family names (in the function of identification of the person as the component additional to the personal name in the personal nomination formula). Within each etymological group of the vocabulary we distribute the lexical material according to the functional principle and distinguish three groups of occupational names: those functioning exclusively as common nouns; those functioning exclusively as the proper names in the personal nomination formulas; and those functioning as common nouns as well as the proper names. According to the functional principle of the distribution of the vocabulary and on the quantitative calculations, we draw the conclusions about the degree of sustainability of the usage of borrowed occupational names: we consider English words, loan-blends as well as the assimilated borrowings that functioned as the common nouns and proper names to be the words with the established usage; we consider English words, loan-blends and the assimilated borrowings that existed only as the personal name in the nomination formula to be the words with the unsettled usage; we consider English words, loan-blends, and the assimilated borrowings that existed exclusively as common nouns to be the words with the restricted usage. It was found out that functional differentiation of the vocabulary is different in English and borrowed occupational terms as well as within the lexical-thematic subgroups.

The study of the Middle English names of teachers and scholars in the etymological and functional aspects revealed the following quantitative data: 96 names of teachers and scholars constitute 4% of the total number of the Middle English occupational terms. The ratio of the English names of farmers as to the loanwords is 47:53. French borrowings constitute 21%, borrowings of Latin and French etymology — 18% of the vocabulary under study. The prevailing majority (69%) are the words with the restricted usage.

Data obtained in the study under review are valuable as the constituent part of the comprehensive study of the etymology and usage of the Middle English vocabulary.


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