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Changing of Language

In: Historical Events

Submitted By imbored911
Words 375
Pages 2
Ever since the very beginning of language, it has been changing. Each and every day, there are changes made to language. These changes can range anywhere from the rules that individual languages are based off of or even the definition and use of a word. This is possible because there are so many words and each language is so versatile that over time, words can begin to take on new meanings based on the context that they are used in. An example of this would be the word “brave.” Stemming from the Old Spanish and Old Italian word “bravo,” the use of brave was first recorded in the early sixteenth century by Henry VII in State Papers (Merriam 3). After its evolution from Old Spanish, the original meaning of brave was “to defy or to challenge (Photo 1).” Shortly after making its entry into language, brave became a word that was often used in the fine arts. Less than fifty years later, brave was being used in plays written by Shakespeare and many other English playwrights. Once again though, the meaning of the word had changed and was no longer intended to be used when challenging or threatening somebody. First seen in Shakespeare’s play Henry VI, the word’s definition had once again evolved and was now being used as an adjective. At this point in time, the use of brave had completely changed and was used to describe a person who was courageous, daring, or intrepid (Photo 1). Although there are many rules in every language, it is still constantly changing. The way that the use of brave has changed over the last five hundred years is just one small example of how much language can change over a large period of time. There is no way to tell when or how the use of a word is going to change, but when the use of a word does change, it is usually due to the use of slang. The use of slang varies greatly throughout the use of language. The use of slang is so different throughout language because there is such a vast amount of cultures and different languages. This is how many words develop different meanings from one language to another.

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