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Emerging preoccupations, developing lexicon: How the English language lexicon expands as the priorities and concerns of speakers change

  • Brian Poole

Extract

‘There is a very close link between the life of a society and the lexicon of the language spoken by it.’ (Wierzbicka, 1997: 1).

A few decades ago it probably seemed, to proficient English language users, that if one was ‘active’ that would be sufficient to win plaudits from one's boss and to impress one's friends. After all, being active implies, amongst other things, that one's behaviour is ‘characterized by busy or lively activity’ (Oxford Dictionaries online). However, more recently it has begun to seem that activeness is not enough: one must be ‘proactive’. Cooley (2016) provides readers with ten ways in which they can be more proactive at work. The promotion of proactiveness (or should that be proactivity?) seems, at least on the evidence of this extract, to require a liberal sprinkling of exclamation marks

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References

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Baugh, A. C. & Cable, T. 2002. A History of the English Language. 5th Edition. London: Routledge.
Cooley, A. M. 2016. ‘Ten ways employees can be more proactive at work.’ Online at <http://www.careerealism.com/be-more-proactive-work/> (Accessed June 8, 2016).
Djelic, M.-L. & Ainamo, A. 1999. ‘The coevolution of new organizational forms in the fashion industry: A historical and comparative study of France, Italy, and the United States.’ Organization Science, 10(5), 622637.
Gladkova, A. 2008. ‘Tolerance: New and traditional values in Russian in comparison with English.’ In Goddard, C. (ed.), Cross-Linguistic Semantics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 301329.
Hilton, M. 2003. Consumerism in Twentieth-Century Britain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
McVeigh, T. 2000. ‘One woman in five is a shopaholic.’ The Guardian, 25th November 2000.
Monbiot, G. 2014. ‘Falling apart.’ The Guardian, 14th October 2014. Oxford Dictionaries Online. Online at <http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/> (Accessed June 8, 2016).
Sicherer, S. H., Muñoz-Furlong, A. & Sampson, H. A. 2003. ‘Prevalence of peanut and tree nut allergy in the United States determined by means of a random digit dial telephone survey: A 5-year follow-up study.’ Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 112(6), 12031207.
Stearns, P. 2001. Consumerism in World History: The Global Transformation of Desire. London: Routledge.
White, M. n.d. ‘The rise of consumerism.’ Online at <https://www.bl.uk/romantics-andvictorians/articles/the-rise-of-consumerism/> (Accessed June 8, 2016).
Wierzbicka, A. 1997. Understanding Cultures through their Key Words. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Williams, R. 1976. Keywords. London: Fontana.

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Emerging preoccupations, developing lexicon: How the English language lexicon expands as the priorities and concerns of speakers change

  • Brian Poole

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