THE SEMANTIC CHANGE IN ENGLISH AND ARABIC: A CONTRASTIVE STUDY
for humanities sciences al qadisiya,
2012, Volume 15, Issue 1, Pages 7-23
AbstractSemantic change refers to the way in which the meaning of a word changes over long or short stretches of time. It can be internally or externally motivated .The equivalent to the paradigm in morphology is ,in semantics , the word field in which words and their meanings stand in a network of relationships .The alteration of meaning occurs because words are constantly used and what is intended by speakers is not exactly the same each time .If a different intention for a word is shared by the speech community and becomes established in usage then a semantic change has occurred.
This study is divided into three sections , the first is devoted to semantic change in English ,while the second is going to discuss it in Arabic ; however ,the third section will shed light on some samples chosen from the two languages to show how semantic change practically takes place across their history .The aim of this research is to state the stages of those two languages` development ,types of semantic change ,reasons and processes of word formation in each language . The following conclusions are shown:
1. Semantic change is , just like other types of linguistic change , continuous, not sudden but gradual and universal .
2. Gaps in the historical record between the identifiable stages called for the loss of the middle stage of Arabic , on the one hand , and produced the illusion of discontinuity between Anglo-Saxon and Middle English and between Middle English and Modern English , on the other hand .
3. Causes of semantic change are either linguistic or extra –linguistic .
4. As far as these two languages are concerned , they have passed different stages and were subject to different political and social factors , yet they have almost the same types .
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