Chapter 7 Changes in Word Meaning

1.Types of changes

1)Extension

  The extension of meaning, the opposite of restriction, means the widening of a word's sense until it covers much more than what it originally conveyed.

2)Narrowing

  Narrowing of meaning, also called restriction of meaning, means that a word of wide meaning acquires a narrower, specialised sense which is applicable to only one of the objects it previously denoted.

3)Elevation

  When the meaning of a word narrows toward a more favourable meaning it is called elevation

4)Degradation

  Degradation means the falling of word meaning into disrepute, for one reason or another. Words once respectable or neutral may shift to a less respectable, or even derogatory meaning.

2. Causes of changes

  1)Extra-linguistic factors

  (1)historical reason

  (2)class reason
  (3)psychological reason

  2)Linguistic factors

  (1)shortening

  (2)borrowing

  (3)analogy