“Describing the process of lexical borrowing: intend and other related words in late Middle English”

Bibliographical details

Yoko Iyeiri and Mitsumi Uchida. 2020. “Describing the process of lexical borrowing: intend and other related words in late Middle English”. Kwansei Gakuin University School of Sociology Journal 135: 57-69.

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Abstract

This paper proposes that more light should be thrown to the “process” of lexical borrowing and discusses, as an illustrative case, the use of four INTEND words, namely INTENT, INTEND, INTENTION, and INTENDMENT, in William Caxton’s writings. The Oxford English Dictionary states that they are all loans from French and came to be attested in the above order in the history of English. The present study shows that this order was retained in Caxton’s vocabulary, in that INTENT and probably INTEND were well established, while INTENTION and INTENDMENT, which were late-comers in English, were less established. This contrast is particularly transparent between Paris and Vienne, which Caxton translated from French and which yields all four lexical items, and Reynard the Fox, which he translated from Dutch and which includes INTENT only. It has been concluded that INTENTION and INTENDMENT were less active than INTENT in his vocabulary, and were employed particularly when he faced their prompts in the French original. This has largely been corroborated in the analysis of Caxton’s own prose, which again shows a common use of INTENT and INTEND but gives INTENTION and INTENDMENT only sparingly.