Germanic word formation and vocabulary

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Germanic word formation and vocabulary

Like any other IE language the GLs have always employed three main word-building

devices: affixation, word composition, sound changes (non-productive).

Considering Germanic word stock we usually distinguish two main layers: native words

and borrowings. As to the native words we speak about three subgroups: Indo-European words,

words typical of Germanic group, and English proper group.

Germanic alphabets

Through the history of their development GLs used 3 different alphabets.

Runic alphabet

The runes were used as letters, each symbol indicated a separate sound. It is supposed that the

runic ABC is based on the Latin or some other Italic alphabet, close to Latin in writing. But the

material and technique of writing used by Germanic tribes in their early times caused

considerable modifications of Latin in the Runic ABC.

It is supposed that the Runic ABC originated in the 2-3 AD on the banks of the Rhine or the

Danube where Germanic tribes could come into contact with the Roman culture. Since the Runic

ABC was used by different Germanic tribes (Goths, Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians) it was

adopted to the needs of each of language. New letters were added into it, some of the original fell



Ulphila’s Gothic ABC originated in the 4th century. It is based on the Greek ABC but has some

Latin and Runic letters. This is the ABC of Ulphila’s gothic translation of the Bible. But in

modern editions of Gothic texts a Latin transcription of the Gothic ABC is used.

Latin alphabet

It began to be used when a new technique of writing was introduced, i.e. spreading of colour,

paint on the surface instead of cutting and engraving the letters. Introduction of the Latin ABC

was stimulated by the spread of Christianity, as Christian religious texts were written in Latin.

The Latin ABC was also modified to the peculiar needs of the separate GLs.


Author's remarks and their role

An author is narrowly defined as the originator of any written work and can thus also be described as a writer (with any distinction primarily being an implication that an author is a writer of one or more major works, such as books or plays). More broadly defined, an author is "the person who originated or gave existence to anything" and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created.[1] The more specific phrase published author refers to an author (especially but not necessarily of books) whose work has been independently accepted for publication by a reputable publisher, versus a self-publishing author or an unpublished one.

In the copyright laws of various jurisdictions there is a necessity for little flexibility regarding what constitutes authorship. The United States Copyright Office, for example, defines copyright as "a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to authors of "original works of authorship".[2] Holding the title of "author" over any "literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, [or] certain other intellectual works" gives rights to this person, the owner of the copyright, especially the exclusive right to engage in or authorize any production or distribution of their work.

In literary theory, critics find complications in the term author beyond what constitutes authorship in a legal setting. In the wake of postmodern literature, critics such as Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault have examined the role and relevance of authorship to the meaning or interpretation of a text.

Barthes challenges the idea that a text can be attributed to any single author. He writes, in his essay "Death of the Author" (1968), that "it is language which speaks, not the author".[3] The words and language of a text itself determine and expose meaning for Barthes, and not someone possessing legal responsibility for the process of its production. Every line of written text is a mere reflection of references from any of a multitude of traditions, or, as Barthes puts it, "the text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture"; it is never original.[3]


Michel Foucault argues in his essay "What is an author?" (1969) that all authors are writers, but not all writers are authors. He states that "a private letter may have a signatory—it does not have an author".[4] For a reader to assign the title of author upon any written work is to attribute certain standards upon the text which, for Foucault, are working in conjunction with the idea of "the author function".[4] Foucault's author function is the idea that an author exists only as a function of a written work, a part of its structure, but not necessarily part of the interpretive process. The author's name "indicates the status of the discourse within a society and culture", and at one time was used as an anchor for interpreting a text, a practice which Barthes would argue is not a particularly relevant or valid endeavor.[4]

There are many different types of authors; novelists, poets, journalists,screenwriters, playwrights, copywriters, and so on. There are also many genres of writing; academic, creative, business, professional, and journalistic. For as many different types of books and published writings there are in the world, there are as many different types of authors that write them.

1. Magill, Frank N. (1974). Cyclopedia of World Authors

2. Barthes, Roland (1968), "The Death of the Author",


What does an Author do?

Authors use their voice in the form of text to express ideas, thoughts, images and information. There are various types of writers and many paths to choose from. Here are just a few:

Story Writer -
is someone that is typically a freelancer and specializes in writing short fiction stories for a variety of magazines. Many well-known authors started out as story writers.

Author (or Novelist) -
is someone who writes long stories. Depending on the genre, a fiction book can have between 80,000 to 200,000 words, so this type of writer needs to be able to plan and execute his work. This requires dedication and patience.

Non-Fiction Writer -
is someone who writes in a specialized field. This may include technical writers and academic writers. They are able to take a large amount of information and break it down so it is readable text. This type of writing requires fact and research checking.

Journalist -
is someone whose writing is published in newspapers and magazines and read by thousands if not millions of people. This type of writer is typically a freelancer and is always working to a deadline. Quality of work is extremely important as is making a name for yourself, as this will help to earn a respectable income.

Article Writer -
is someone who writes a short piece, for example a food article or travel article. He or she will write for a variety of magazines, using crisp and concise language to make the article informative and fun to read. Having specialized knowledge is excellent, as article writers are always needed for medical, technical or commercial magazines.

Online Writer -
is someone who is typically a freelancer and writes articles or short stories for websites and blogs. The internet is a great way to provide amateur writers an outlet for their creative work, enabling them to learn and progress in their skill level as they climb upwards in their writing career.

Ghostwriter -
is an anonymous writer who writes books, articles, stories and other texts that are officially credited to another person. He or she needs to keep the voice consistent with that of the official “author.” This type of writing is challenging, as there is a lot of planning, communication, re-writing and patience needed in order to satisfy the client.

Copywriter -
is someone who writes good marketing text (or copy) in order to sell something. A good copywriter will get paid well, as good copy sells more products. The key to this type of writing is being able to garner the trust of the reader while evoking interest and enthusiasm in the product.

Business Writer -
is someone who generally writes for cutting-edge professional magazines and newspapers. Business magazines and newspapers need writers that have relevant business knowledge, excellent language skills and who are on the same, if not better level, than the reader.

Columnist -
is someone who writes for newspapers, magazines and newsletters. Some columnists are syndicated; their articles are seen in hundreds of newspapers, and a new article needs to be written every week.

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