English from 1500-2000
JOAN C. BEAL / ANTHONY P. GRANT: “Make do and mend”: An Online Investigation into Processes of Neologisation and the Dearth of Borrowing in Newer English Wartime Vocabulary 55
JOAN C. BEAL UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD ANTHONY P. GRANT EDGE HILL UNIVERSITY “Make do and mend”1: An Online Investigation into Processes of Neologisation and the Dearth of Borrowing in Newer English Wartime Vocabulary 1. Introduction It has generally been assumed that, for lexical borrowing to take place, the contact between speakers of the borrowing and the lending languages need not be friendly. Indeed, Partridge, writing soon after the end of World War II, states that “war is a powerful excitant, perhaps the most effectual excitant, of language” (1948: 127) and that “war, decimator of nations and desolation of women, has ever been an augmentor of vocabulary” (1948: 115). However, when carrying out research into lexical innovation in the period 1700-1945 (Beal 2004),2 we discovered that, when first citations in the Oxford English Dictionary are compared year by year, the years in which Britain was at war were not always those for which the largest numbers of first 1 The title of this paper refers to the “Make do and Mend” campaign introduced by the British government after the introduction of clothing rationing in 1941. Women were encouraged to repair and recycle clothing rather than buy new items. For an example of a publicity poster from this campaign, see http://www.emsource.org.uk/archive/items/make_do_and_mend.html. 2 Although Beal (2004) is entirely the work of Beal, Grant was a Research Associate from March to September 2003, and contributed significantly to the compilation of material for the chapter on lexical innovation. This...
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