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Studies in Philology: Important Notes for English Honours (DSE 4)

Studies in Philology

Important Notes for English Honours (DSE 4)

Studies in Philology: Important Notes for English Honours (DSE 4)

Philology is an important field for the study of ancient languages and literatures, as well as for understanding the historical and cultural developments of different civilizations. It encompasses the analysis and interpretation of the evolution and usage of language, including its grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and dialects, as well as the cultural and historical contexts in which it was used.

It has played a significant role in the preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of literary and cultural traditions across generations and across different regions of the world.

    👉 What is ‘archaism’? Give an example.

    Archaism refers to the use of old or outdated language, expressions, or styles that are no longer commonly used in modern speech or writing. Archaic language may include obsolete words, spellings, or grammatical constructions that were once common but have since fallen out of use.

    For example, the phrase "thou art" is an archaic way of saying "you are." This construction was commonly used in Early Modern English, the language spoken during Shakespeare's time, but it is no longer used in contemporary English. Similarly, the use of the word "whence" instead of "where" or "from where" is an archaic usage, as it was more commonly used in Middle English and earlier periods.

    Archaism is often used intentionally in literature, poetry, or other forms of artistic expression to create a sense of historical authenticity or to evoke a particular mood or atmosphere. It may also be used for comedic effect or to parody older forms of language.

    However, excessive use of archaic language can also make writing or speech difficult to understand or even incomprehensible to modern audiences, so it is generally recommended to use it sparingly and with care.

    👉 Euphemism: Explain with an example what is meant by ‘Euphemism’.

    Euphemism refers to the use of a mild or indirect word or expression in place of one that is considered harsh, blunt, or offensive. Euphemisms are often used to soften the impact of unpleasant or taboo subjects, or to express sensitive or delicate issues in a more tactful or diplomatic way.

    For example, instead of saying "he died," someone might use the euphemism "he passed away." This phrase is less direct and more gentle, which can be helpful in situations where the news of someone's death may be difficult for others to hear.

    Similarly, instead of saying "fired," someone might use the euphemism "let go" or "laid off." This is a less harsh and less confrontational way of expressing the same idea.

    Euphemisms are also used to avoid offending others or to show respect for their beliefs or cultural norms. For instance, instead of saying "mentally disabled," one might use the euphemism "intellectually challenged," which is considered less stigmatizing and more sensitive.

    Overall, euphemisms are an important part of language as they help us to communicate more effectively and sensitively with others, especially when discussing sensitive or difficult topics. However, they can also be used to obscure or avoid the truth, so it is important to use them judiciously and with care.

    👉 What are double plurals?

    Double plurals, also known as redundant plurals, refer to the use of both a singular and plural marker in a single word. This can happen when a word is borrowed from another language that has a different pluralization system, or when there is a misunderstanding or overgeneralization of English pluralization rules.

    For example, the word "octopuses" is a double plural. The plural of "octopus" in Greek is "oktapodes," but in English, the standard pluralization rule is to add "-es" to words ending in "-us." Therefore, "octopuses" is the plural form of "octopus" in English. However, some people mistakenly use the plural "octopi," which follows the Latin pluralization rule of adding "-i" to words ending in "-us." This is incorrect, as "octopus" does not actually come from Latin.

    Other examples of double plurals include "attorneys general" (the plural of "attorney general"), "brothers-in-law" (the plural of "brother-in-law"), and "courts-martial" (the plural of "court-martial").

    While double plurals may seem odd or even incorrect, they are often accepted as a normal part of the English language. However, it is generally best to use the Standard English Pluralization rule whenever possible to avoid confusion or ambiguity.

    👉 What is ‘s’ ending in genitive?

    The "s" ending in genitive refers to the inflectional ending that is added to nouns in English to indicate possession or ownership. In the genitive case, also known as the possessive case, the "s" ending is added to the noun that is doing the possessing.

    For example, in the sentence "John's car is red," the noun "John" is in the genitive case because he is the owner of the car. The "s" ending is added to his name to show that the car belongs to him.

    Similarly, in the sentence "the dog's bone is buried in the backyard," the noun "dog" is in the genitive case because it is the possessor of the bone. The "s" ending is added to the word "dog" to show that the bone belongs to the dog.

    It is important to note that not all nouns in English have a distinct genitive form. Some nouns, especially those that already end in "s" or "z," may only require an apostrophe to indicate possession, for example, "Chris' bike" or "Jesus' teachings." Additionally, pronouns also have unique forms in the genitive case, such as "mine," "yours," "his," "hers," "theirs," and so on.

    👉 What is journalese?

    Journalese is a term used to describe a style of writing commonly used in journalism. It is characterized by a specific set of language and style conventions that are often used to create catchy headlines or news stories that are easy to read and understand.

    Some common features of journalese include the use of short, simple sentences; the frequent use of colloquial expressions and idioms; and the repetition of key phrases or ideas for emphasis. Journalese often employs dramatic or sensational language to grab the reader's attention and create a sense of urgency or excitement.

    For example, headlines in journalese might include phrases like "Breaking news!" or "Exclusive report!" to make the story seem more important or urgent. News stories might use vivid descriptions and strong adjectives to create a sense of drama or tension, even if the actual events are relatively mundane.

    While journalese can be an effective way to engage readers and communicate information quickly, it can also be criticized for oversimplifying complex issues and presenting a biased or sensationalized view of the news. Therefore, it is important for journalists to use journalese carefully and responsibly, and to maintain their commitment to accuracy and impartiality in reporting the news.

    👉 Shakespeare’s ‘boldness’ in use of language - Explain with an example

    Shakespeare is known for his bold and innovative use of language in his plays and poetry. One example of this can be seen in his play "Hamlet," where the character Hamlet delivers the famous soliloquy that begins with the line "To be or not to be, that is the question."

    In this soliloquy, Shakespeare uses language in a bold and complex way to explore the existential question of whether it is better to live or die. He plays with word order and sentence structure to create a series of paradoxes and rhetorical questions that challenge the audience's understanding of the nature of life and death.

    For example, consider the line "Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer." This line is a perfect example of Shakespeare's boldness in his use of language. The word order is inverted, with the verb "to suffer" coming at the end of the sentence instead of the beginning. This creates a sense of tension and uncertainty, as the audience must wait until the end of the line to understand the full meaning.

    Additionally, the use of the word "nobler" is significant. Shakespeare uses this adjective to suggest that there is a certain moral superiority in enduring suffering, even though it may be painful or difficult. This is a bold and provocative idea, as it challenges the conventional wisdom that suffering is always something to be avoided.

    Overall, Shakespeare's boldness in his use of language is evident throughout his works, and his willingness to push the boundaries of syntax, vocabulary, and meaning has had a profound impact on the English language and on literature more broadly.


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