Doublet (linguistics)

Doublet (linguistics)

In etymology, two or more words in the same language are called doublets or etymological twins (or possibly triplets, etc.) when they have different phonological forms but the same etymological root. Often, but not always, the variants have entered the language through different routes. Because the relationship between words that have the same root and the same meaning is fairly obvious, the term is mostly used to characterize pairs of words that have diverged in meaning at least to some extent.

For example English pyre and fire are doublets. Modern words with similar meaning but subtle differences contribute to the richness of the English language, as exemplified by the doublets frail and fragile (both from the Latin root, fragilis): one might refer to a fragile tea cup and a frail old woman, but never frail tea cup and rarely fragile old woman.

Another example of nearly synonymous doublets is aperture and overture (the commonality behind the meanings is "opening"), but doublets may develop divergent meanings, such as the opposite words, host and guest from the same PIE root, which occur as a doublet in Latin and then Old French hospes, before having been borrowed into English. Doublets also vary with respect to how far their forms have diverged. For example, the resemblance between levy and levee is obvious, whereas the connection between sovereign and soprano, or grammar and glamour, is harder to guess synchronically from the forms of the words alone.

Etymological twins are often a result of chronologically separate borrowing from a source language. In the case of English, this usually means once from French during the Norman invasion, and again later, after the word had evolved separately in French. An example of this is warranty and guarantee. Another possibility is borrowing from both a language and its daughter language (usually Latin and some other Romance language – see Latin influence in English).

Alternatively, a word may be inherited from a parent language, and a cognate borrowed from a separate sister language – in English this means one word inherited from a Germanic source, with a Latinate cognate term borrowed from Latin or a Romance language. In English this is most common with words which can be traced back to Indo-European languages, such as the Romance "beef" and the Germanic "cow", which in many cases actually do share the same proto-Indo-European root. However, in some cases the branching is more recent, dating only to proto-Germanic, not to PIE – many words of Germanic origin occur in French and other Latinate languages, and hence in some cases were both inherited by English (from proto-Germanic) and borrowed from French or another source – see List of English Latinates of Germanic origin. The forward linguistic path also reflects cultural and historical transactions; often the name of an animal comes from Germanic while the name of its cooked meat comes from Romance. Since English is unusual in that it borrowed heavily from two distinct branches of the same language family tree – Germanic and Latinate/Romance – it has a relatively high number of this latter type of etymological twin. See list of Germanic and Latinate equivalents in English for further examples and discussion.

Read more about Doublet (linguistics):  Examples in English, Examples in Chinese, Examples in Polish

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Doublet (linguistics) - Examples in Polish
... Doublets(o-) pierdolić (fuck, babble, condemn, vulgar language), (o-) pierdzielić (babble, condemn, informal language)—cognate to Russian определять (deter ...

Famous quotes containing the word doublet:

    Dost thou think, though I am caparisoned like a man, I have
    a doublet and hose in my disposition?
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)