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A comparison of French loanwords in 19th-century English Dictionaries

Wörterbücher sind eine Institution in unserem heutigen Umgang. Egal, ob off- oder online. Im 19. Jahrhundert war dies allerdings noch nicht so und das Konzept eines Wörterbuches vermischte sich gerne noch mit Lexika. Außerdem fügten die sogenannten Lexikographen gerne noch Tipps, Ratschläge oder sogar Vorschriften hinzu, welche Wörter, wann, wie und überhaupt zu benutzen seien. Bei französischen Lehnwörtern war dies auch so. Diese Arbeit untersucht empirisch die Auswirkungen auf ausgesuchte Wörterbücher.


The English language has been influenced by different cultures and their tongues permanently. Most of the impact came from Latin, Greek, French or Germanic people throughout the centuries and is still visible today. The French language on its side was most prominent because of the reign of King Louis XIV of France who was able to set his dominion as a role model. Nevertheless, the Norman conquest of 1066 brought more severe changes to the English vocabulary as well as grammar. In consequence, French was the leading language at all the courts in Europe. During the 19th century, however, England got into a more powerful position and was not only the founder of industrialisation, but also the most successful coloniser. Therefore, the 19th century can also be described as ”an era of new English“ (Bailey 1996, 139). These changes in the English tongue have been observed by the contemporaries, too, and evoked discussions about its purity as well as openness. Although the Norman conquest of 1066 brought more crucial changes to the English vocabulary as well as grammar, many contemporaries did not consider this. In fact, prescriptive lexicographers were in favour of a purer English language, which should try to defend its status and character against foreign effects. These people, most importantly Samuel Johnson, upheld their position up to the middle of the 19th century. In 1828, however, the American lexicographer Noah Webster published his American Dictionary of the English Language and its impact reached the English island soon after. It was the first dictionary to give a comprehensive coverage of the American usage of the(ir) English language. Thus, the second half of the 19th century is marked by people who intended to accomplish the same for the British English language. At the end of this development stands the Oxford English Dictionary, whose first volume was published in 1888.
According to this historical framework, this paper is aimed at an analysis of French loanwords based on Manfred Görlach‘s list of 383 French loanwords in Aspects of the History of English. Görlach ascribes to these gallicisms their first time of appearance and combines it with their intended meaning though does not clarify the concepts behind them. Due to the publication of the new, third Oxford English Dictionary, Görlach‘s list and their dates have been compared to the OED 3. It turned out that a few words could be dated at an earlier as well as later point of time. This is fairly important because in a second step these 383 words were looked up in four English dictionaries of the 19th century: 1) Samuel Johnson‘s Dictionary of the English Language with a revision by John Walker published in 1813, 2) Charles Richardson‘s New Dictionary of the English Language from 1838, 3) John Ogilvie‘s Imperial Dictionary taken from 1855 and, 4) Charles Annandale‘s Concise English Dictionary from 1886. The hypothesis is that the entries of French loanwords do not only unveil the different approach of prescriptive and descriptive lexicographers, but also an answer to the question whether 19th-century borrowings from French are not integrated, i.e. remain ‘aliens’.
The theoretical part of this paper relies its content mainly on publications by Richard Baily and Hans Aarsleff. Both accomplished important insights into society and culture of the Victorian Era. The second part of this paper which presents the findings of the empirical work looks back at results of Mary S. Serjeantson and Thomas Finkenstaedt as well as Manfred Görlach who bases his findings on both authors.

French Influence on 19th-Century English

The first third of the 19th century is a continuation of the 18th century despite of the Industrial Revolution. Social, cultural and last but not least economical changes did not result in a different attitude towards French. The English society of the 18th and 19th century was torn between the high prestige of French in educated circles and the allergic reaction that the impact of French produced in Johnson and others. Although the influence of French loanwords has been noticeable long before the start of the 19th century, the Victorian Age paid special attention to foreign interferences as well as a distinction of lower an upper classes. The self-understanding of the upper classes, for example, included that they talked about serious and important matters, whereas the others did not, but they only talked about people and other irrelevant things. Concerning French loanwords, these were less accepted, but moreover ridiculed when there were plain and ordinary English equivalents. Nonetheless, this disapproval is comparable to Greek and Latin words which were not accepted in the higher ranks, too (Görlach 1999b, 165-67). Interestingly, a tendency can be observed that plain English words are more frequently in use in the higher ranks than cultivated ones. One reason might be that middle classes were able to gather more money than certain aristocratic groups and replaced them. However, there was still a high degree of restricted usage of established coinages which were rather applied by the higher ranks. Also prudery played a huge role in this spheres where inappropriate words could not be used. This procedure of allowing and forbidding unacceptable words shares many characteristics with purist and descriptive grammarians and lexicographers who will be dealt with later on (Phillipps 1984, 51-57).
On the other side, French was fairly useless for the lower ranks. Not until 1870 board schools were introduced and extended public education also on the rural working classes (Phillipps 1984, 85-93). French was the most important second language and it kept this position throughout the 19th century, even though German was catching up. However, there are also accounts of how poorly French was taught in schools. One recorded example are the Brontë sisters who only had rudimentary knowledge of French . Before board schools could reach the rural working classes, the public examination by universities affected the teaching of French. From 1857/58 onwards the Oxford and Cambridge Local Examinations took over the teaching of French and it managed to establish (also overseas) English on a position next to Latin and Greek. Thus, French lost influence and was degraded as a ”soft option“ (Görlach 1999a, 182).
As addressed earlier on, there were many critics which were not in favour of the French impact on the English language. They denounced it to be unpatriotic, betraying, a polluter and many more. Not surprisingly, gallicisms, especially those which have been adopted by speakers of another language, were used in literature and journalism to ridicule persons, e.g. to make fun out of an overtly refined education. But the criticism also turned towards the fellow Englishmen and their attitude to include many languages to the English. Those who thought French influence would not endanger the English language regarded French mainly as an elegant tongue and welcomed its opportunity to enrich English. This was not only because of the fact that French was the language of the European aristocracy, but also because it delivered special vocabulary, e.g. weapons clothes, occupations, cookery and fashion (Görlach 1999a, 195).
In conclusion, it can be observed that the upper classes, on the one hand, preserve conventions and formalities. On the other, they oppose against innovations and so-called informalities. The newly rich who entered better society from lower classes with its peak around 1830 to 1865 might have brought in new names and
times for meals (Phillipps 1984, 168-173). This restriction to cookery, clothes and fashion as well as the declining influence of French as a whole leaves the criticisms against the French influence in a controversial position. If the impact is limited to a very special and distinctive area, many reactions by objectors of gallicisms are rather exaggerated than reasonable.

19th-Century Dictionaries

Dictionaries are a fairly new invention and received more attention with the publication of Samuel Johnson‘s Dictionary of the English Language. Before its printing, dictionaries did not orientate on a common structure and were not highly regarded by the academic world. Up to the middle of the 15th century 75% of the 20,000 most frequent words were already in use and new printing methods allowed mass production of pamphlets and small volume books, but dictionaries did not profit from it.
Foremost, the 19th century marks the century of change in the English language. Compared to the 18th century, the 19th century was very creative: from 1730 to 1739, 577 new words are listed; from 1830 to 1839, 2,521 new words are recorded (Finkenstaedt & Leisi 1970, xiii). Most of these new words go back to new developments in sciences, arts and similar branches. For instance, many new coinages of medicine are based on Latin and Grecian words. For those who did not know any Greek and/or Latin these new words were seen with bewilderment. This group of people often stated that many interfering languages make a chaos out of the English tongue. Especially French words were presented in a negative way because it was feared that they would ruin English by intruding it. Famous figures like Daniel Defoe claimed that the French influence was bad and John Dryden declared that it would turn English into French. It would not refine English but turn English into French and lose its characteristic identity. On the other side, there was a group which thought that the introduction of foreign words was a proof of the anglophone cosmopolitan superiority. Nowadays, however, these dictionaries have to be judged with care because many of them were taken without a lot of review as a proof of the vitality of the English language. A couple of their entries contain questionable entries and define them with disputable concepts (Bailey 1996, 161-168).

Johnson and his fellow Lexicographers

The beginning of 19th-century lexicography was still characterised by Samuel Johnson. His dictionary was the first to set up a structured framework on gathering and listing words in a volume. However, he is also well-known as the leader of prescriptive attitudes towards the usage of the English tongue. He made two major decisions: 1) he limited of what is included and what is not; 2) he set the authority of which words can be included. The latter decision is mainly based on the principle that proper English focused on definitions of proper people: he quotes from important literary figures and makes them his authorities. Throughout his academic life ideas of inaccuracy and impropriety are visible as well as among his fellow scholars. For instance, they refused to combine Greek and Latin to form new words, which means that a combination of a Latin root and a Greek suffix was not accepted. The critics held the opinion that word combinations should be of the same origin. Thus, they denied the creative aspect of morphology and constrained the English language to its current position. In fact, they believed that the root of a word can be traced back to its true, original meaning, which is known as the etymological fallacy. Nevertheless, many terms in sciences have been formed without paying too much attention to original spelling and therefore weakened arguments of people who sticked to etymology and its ”truth”. For example, gramophone, which should have been spelled grammophone to match to the Greek spelling. Concerning pronunciation, however, purists supported the original, native pronunciations in order to sustain its character. Johnson himself did not deny foreign words in general, but they had to be useful for common life and his view of that was distinct. In the end, Johnson and his colleagues disputed that these new terms could enrich English because these new words did not get into the sphere of literature but only represented things or inventions. Eventually, Johnson‘s saying that ”our language is our own“ evokes the impression that he regarded language too synchronically and not diachronically (Crowley 1991, 42-62).
There are a couple of lexicographers who followed in Johnson‘s shadow. One of them was Horne Tooke whose influence was strong and lasting. It took a long time until new thoughts on philology were established although Tooke is famous for being the father of the etymological fallacy. Tooke‘s intention was to combine philology with philosophy. With the rise of sciences, philology adopted several terminological definitions, e.g. from chemistry, and benefitted from their success. Due to the support of the utilitarians and their powerful position at that time Tooke‘s position was strengthened, too. His a priori method included mental categories and their exemplification in language, such as universal grammar. He based etymology on conjectures about the origin of language and his results are sometimes amusing, but at the end simply wrong. Thus, most criticism was uttered against the arbitrary exchange of letters to show kinship between words, languages and nations. In opposition to his a priori method, is the posteriori one which is still the fundament of etymological research today. It tries to detect facts, evidences and wants to demonstrate etymological relations upon their interpretations. Furthermore, there are no intended relations between language and philosophy but a distinctions between both of them.
A new approach towards a new lexicography could not have been accomplished without the appropriation of continental European scholarship and the rejection of Tooke‘s ideas. In spite of that, the next important lexicographer is Charles Richardson, a disciple of Tooke. Richardson studied Tooke and contributed a lot to his fame. He underlined the view on etymology that it is not derived from the usage as the most decisive feature. He kept up that this perspective is too narrow and bound to the context where it is found. Richardson‘s dictionary is remembered because he put a lot of emphasis on definition and quotation. He commented on each entry with a short notice and followed the example of Tooke and his claim that each word has one original meaning. Apart from that, he also went back in history and used authorities like Chaucer, Gower and others to underline the meaning of the entry. In his opinion, quotations are more important than a mere explanation of the meaning. Thus, after a short notice of each words‘ concept follows a long and extensive list of various authors. The reader should be able to elicit the meaning(s) of each entry with the help of these authors independently. But due to incorrect etymological distinctions entries were depicted in a wrong light. Furthermore, an immense listing of quotations sometimes tends to blur a clear-cut definition of the entries. On the opposite, there are entries whose meaning is to manifold because they do not include sufficient quotations and thus, do not deliver a complete picture. Richardson‘s etymological foundation turns out to inherit another difficulty as well. Several entries are summed up among derivative reasons into a single entry. However, this means that they are also abridged under inadequate quotations (Hausmann 1990, 1957). Nevertheless, Richardson‘s work was an improvement,
although he did not plan to publish a history of English but a history of thought and mind. It was one step forward because it supported the view that the historical method gained more insight and indirectly proved that Tooke‘s arbitrariness led into a dead end. He could show how words developed new meanings over the centuries and promoted the view that it is the use of words which determines their meaning (Aarsleff 1967, 73-252).

Webster‘s Influence and the new Lexicographers

When Noah Webster published his dictionary for American English, it turned out quickly that it would change British English lexicography, too. In comparison to Webster‘s achievement, Johnson‘s and Richardson‘s dictionaries are quite incomplete. In contrast to the purist‘s claim, many creative scientists and authors used the new wave of terminologies to play with it, such as George Bernard Shaw, who described a fondness of the music of Richard Wagner as ”Wagneritis”. Such coinages, of course, were an affront or insult for the purists, also because traditional labels were pushed back and words from France and Germany gained more influence. Fears of ruining the English language were not shared by the descriptive lexicographers most of the time because they insisted on the permanent and historical changes which English and every other language underwent. For instance, ”to sail“ originally meant the action of moving a ship with the help of wind; later and still today, however, also steam ships sail across the oceans without using a sail at all (Bailey 1996, 139-76).
In 1850, John Ogilvie‘s Imperial Dictionary was one of the first publications which was based on the authority of Webster. It is multi-volumed and encyclopaedic, but recognises that Webster leaves out words which are not yet common and familiar to British English. Furthermore, he bears in mind that Webster is less concerned with the sciences which is of higher importance for Ogilvie. Concerning sciences, the encyclopaedic method of his dictionary is most apparent. He supports his definitions with illustrations and underlines the growing relevance of encyclopaedias during that time. His high reputation was also maintained by his etymological work. On the contrary to Richardson, he summarised each word and granted them main-entry status. In his succession followed Charles Annandale who kept features of Ogilvie‘s work, e.g. original etymology, illustrations and references to sciences. One of his new additions to Ogilvie‘s outline was the use of bold typed entries, also among main entries, which was copied by coming lexicographers later on. Furthermore, he attached compounds, phrases and illustrative examples, but limited outdated words to those from the Bible, Shakespeare, Milton and other famous authors. Annandale‘s achievement, nevertheless, was not restricted to contemporary lexicography, but can be regarded as the best and closest framework for the first and following publication of the Oxford English Dictionary as well as similarly popular dictionaries (Hausmann 1990, 1960).

Comparison of French Loanwords in selected Dictionaries

The changes during Middle English, which have been brought to the the British Isles, brought a lot new features such as phonological and morphological ones. But also on a lexical basis English received many new coinages after the Norman conquest and their substitution of the English aristocracy with the Norman French-speaking nobility. Mary S. Serjeantson remarks that the lexical field, however, is difficult. There might be instances of borrowings, losses, re-borrowings or (re-)borrowings with a different form or different meaning. This code-switching and extension of meaning also referred to as generalisation, narrowing of meaning also known as degeneration and regeneration will be of crucial importance in the analysis later on. Nevertheless, it is well known that more French words have been introduced during the 19th century than in any other era since the period of Middle English from 1100 to 1450. Most prominent groups are art and literature, dress and textiles including furniture. Similarly important are groups which contain food and cooking as well as general political terms. The peak can be spotted around the years from 1830 to 1860 (Serjeantson 1968 [1935], 156-69). This assessment is shared by Thomas Finkenstaedt who fathoms that there is a steady growth from the beginning of the 19th century up to the middle of the century and a sharp decrease until the end of the century tending almost to zero (Finkenstaedt 1973, 29). A look at the foreign loanwords presents an ambivalent image, however. On the one hand, there are alien words which are gradually anglicised and integrated into the common language. But there are also examples which do not show that process or even the complete opposite. Finkenstaedt claims that extrinsic parameters are decisive, first of all cultural characteristics:

”The probability of a word‘s survival depends on the cultural significance of the denotatum (signifié, significate), not on the linguistic structure of the word, nor on the structure of the lexicon at the moment of introducing the word. Words of this type are usually ‘isolated‘ words in the receiving language; they are neither members of a semantic field, nor are they self-explanatory from the etymological point of view: they are neither ‘consociated’ nor ‘dissociated’ etymologically“ (Finkenstaedt 1973, 58).

Thus, speed and extent of adaption to the phonology and morphology depends on the corresponding relevance for the receiving language. The SOED includes following foreign entries: Latin (Neolatin coinings included) 28.24%; French (Old French, Anglo-French) 28.30%, Germanic (Old English, ME, Old Norse, Dutch) 25.00% (Finkenstaedt 1973, 125-6) . Only after a long period a word can be claimed to be a must for the lexicon of an educated speaker.

Problems and Results

When a word is seen as a must of an educated speaker, however, is not easily established. Therefore, this paper concentrates on tendencies among the dictionaries under analysis. As a result, it can establish trends among the listed gallicisms and present increasing, decreasing, vanishing and again appearing gallicisms as well as loanwords which were not integrated at all. However, there is also a group of words which either was traced back further back or forward concerning their first appearance in Görlach‘s list. The whole list with new first time appearances is presented chronologically after the new OED 3 (cf. appendix, Revised List in Chronological Order of the OED 3). The new findings are highlighted in orange and Görlach‘s first time appearances are presented for the purpose of comparison. The difference varies from a single year up to several centuries. Alongside this difficulty exists the determination of their meaning. Already the OED 2 is not clear enough concerning words with a ”French provenance”. For instance, words which have been coined in a certain speech community like telephone in American English, morphology in German and eucalyptus in French can be ascribed to neo-Greek all together. In general, French gave a lot of neo-classical words to the European languages from the 18th century onwards. Therefore, distinctions have to be made between neo-classical words and gallicisms because the reactions differed apparently. Nonetheless, a comparison of the first time appearance of Görlach‘s list and the date of the OED 3 reveals similar results. Although 47 gallicisms have been antedated before 1800 and one gallicism after 1899 the course of the graphs are similar and still indicate the same peaks and lows over the decades (cf. appendix, First time appearance of Görlach‘s list compared to OED 3).
If these questions are put aside, the following results can be noted. All of the dictionaries have examples which refer to English words and do not integrate the French equivalent. For example, the French noun ”abandon” is not mentioned in any dictionary and instead remains with the English ”abandon” or ”abandonment”. However, there are also examples of a final inclusion in Annandale‘s dictionary, such as ”gigantesque” and ”physique”. Both of them are listed in Johnson‘s, Richardson‘s as well as Ogilvie‘s dictionary with an equivalent English word, e.g. ”gigantic” or ”physick”. Only Annandale‘s dictionary records both as French and with the identical description. In juxtaposition to different English words, there are different French words listed which might also differ in another concept. ”Coiffeur” for head-dresser, for example, is not registered in any dictionary, whereas ”coiffure” for head-dress is noted in all of them. Another difference to the original list can be seen in divergences concerning grammar, as in the French verb ”arcade”. It is documented as French throughout all of the dictionaries but as the long existing noun. Most importantly, however, are the numbers of correctly written and defined gallicisms. The amount increases from six in Johnson‘s, eight in Richardson‘s, 49 in Ogilvie‘s and finally 175 in Annandale‘s. In order to give a fair report, however, it has to be kept in mind that most of the gallicisms are dated after the publication of the dictionaries by Johnson and Richardson. So, all gallicisms were recorded up to the dictionaries publication date and the amounting percentage resembles the frequency of gallicisms in the dictionary. It turned out that Johnson‘s and Richardson‘s dictionaries have a fairly low percentage of 3.81% and 1.96%. Ogilvie‘s and Annandale‘s dictionaries, on the other
side, show an increase of gallicisms from 16.25% up to 48.08%. There are also certain gallicisms which are written down in the dictionaries, although the date of publication is before the date of the gallicism‘s first arrival. (Fig. 1).

Interpretations of the Results

The selection of the four dictionaries was mainly chosen because they can be divided into two groups of prescriptive and descriptive volumes. Although Johnson‘s dictionary was originally published in the middle of the 18th century, it still had so much influence upon 19th-century lexicographers. Moreover, a look at the entries which are listed in Johnson‘s dictionary reveal that they are dated after 1755. In conclusion, they must have been added to the original volume. This might have happened due to a free concept in the lexicon whereas a gradual acceptance and integration to it seems less probable because most of the gallicisms are fairly close to the publication date. On the other side, most of the gallicisms are not represented in Johnson‘s dictionary, but have similar English or French entries. This supports the assumption that new loanwords have to undergo a certain time of acceptance. In addition, they have to inherit a new concept which is not existent in the English lexicon yet (cf. appendix, Gallicisms in selected Dictionaries of the 19th century).
Gallicisms which are included in Johnson‘s, Richardson‘s and Ogilvie‘s dictionaries but are dated after their publishing date (Fig. 1) have to be dated at an earlier time of arrival. Three entries in Johnson‘s and Richardson‘s dictionaries are hard to establish due to various possibilities in the meaning of the entries. Nonetheless, Johnson offers a close definition of ”négligé” with ”a sort of gown once in fashion for a female dress“, although it is dated both by Görlach and OED 3 at 1835 while Johnson‘s dictionary was published in 1813. Concerning Richardson, ”fiancé“ is dated to 1853 also in both lists, although his dictionary was brought out in
1838 and sums it up under the noun the French verb ”Fiancer“ as ”to affiance […] to betroth“. In Ogilvie‘s list are also four words whose arrival is dated after the dictionaries publication. For instance, ”lamasery” is defined as a ”Buddhist religious society“ and dated at 1867 and ”ampère” as an electrodynamic theory established by the French scientist André-Amrie Ampère.
According to Johnson, Richardson follows his example and includes equally less gallicisms, which leads to the conclusion that both have a similar anti-French attitude and are less likely to accept them in their dictionary. On the contrary are Ogilvie‘s and Annandale‘s dictionaries concerning Görlach‘s French loanwords. While Ogilvie lists already 49 gallicisms, Annandale is at the peak with 175 (cf. appendix, Gallicisms in selected Dictionaries of the 19th century).
If single entries are compared among the dictionaries, it can be discovered that certain entries are not integrated at all and remain ‘aliens’. The French word ”comédienne” refers to a female comedian and is not introduced to Annandale, for instance. The word is dated at 1860 and dictionaries which have been introduced before speaking of ”comedian”. Annandale still remains with the same entries and does not offer an addition for a female counterpart. The French word ”employé“, however, is mentioned in Annandale‘s volume, but does not receive main entry status. It is subsumed under the English entry ”employee” and defines it as somebody ”who works for an employer”. Johnson, on the contrary, does not offer such a concept and only lists ”employer” as ”one who sets others to work”. Richardson joins the French verb ”employer” to the English equivalent ”employ” and defines it as ”to occupy”. Thus, a complete integration of ”employé” is not fulfilled, but rather results in a distinct English word. The gallicism ”ridicule”, on the other side, stands as an example of a difficult determination of its concept in Görlach‘s list. The definition of ”a women‘s small handbag […]“ in the OED 3 comes closest to Görlach‘s date of arrival, but is not included in any of the concepts which are found in the dictionaries. Johnson determines it from a Latin root with the meaning ”to expose to laughter“. Richardson, then, describes that it stems from a French word, but still keeps Johnson‘s meaning. Ogilvie‘s entry offers the English noun ”ridiculousness”, whereas Annandale looks back to Richardson again and refers to the French word ”ridicule” and defines it as ”mockery [or] excite laughter”. These examples underline that the concept of a small handbag is not established in the dictionaries because another concept has been constituted lang before.

Nevertheless, there are also incidents of gallicisms which are integrated in the end. ”Reconnaissance” is predated to 1779, but not listed in Johnson‘s and Richardson‘s dictionaries. Instead both note the French verb ”reconnaitre” with the definition ”to take a review of” or ”to take notice of”. Ogilvie is the first one to mention it but without an explanation. Annandale in the end says that it has a French provenance and presents the same definition like the OED 3 with the ”preliminary examination or survey of a territory or of an enemy‘s position”. A similar case, but with an English word can be seen in the French word ”gigantesque“. Johnson, Richardson and also Ogilvie do not mention the French word, but an equivalent English one, e.g. ”gigantick”, ”gigantical” and ”gigantic“. Again Annandale is the one who covers both the French spelling and its meaning. Nevertheless, the fact that all entries differ in suffixes, might signify that the French word is not finally integrated but that the concept of ”having the characteristics of a giant“ is settled and only the spelling is still a matter of discussion.
On the opposite, there are also French coinages which disappear and do not show up in Annandale‘s dictionary anymore. ”Confiture“, for instance, is mentioned in Johnson‘s as well as Richardson‘s work as a ”sweetmeat“ or ”confection”, but is gone in both Ogilvie‘s and Annandale‘s. The OED 3 offers a possible explanation for this decrease and says that it is an obsolete form for ”comfiture”. This, however, appears for the first time a lot before, namely either in the 14th or 16th century, and is defined as ”a preparation for drugs” or ”a preparation of preserved fruits”. Although according to the OED 3 ”confiture” was introduced in 1802 for the first time, it has been adopted quickly by opponents of gallicisms, but neglected by descriptive lexicographers.
In between decreasing and increasing gallicisms is a group which show s features of both disappearance and re-appearance. Both Görlach‘s list and the OED 3 select the first time arrival of ”gelatin” at 1800. Although Johnson mentions it and simply refers to ”gelatine”, Richardson and Ogilvie do not. Annandale again gives it an entry as ”a substance obtained from various animal tissues […]“, though he states that it comes from the French ”gélatine”.
Eventually, there is a longer list of words which are not included in Johnson‘s and Richardson‘s dictionaries, but later on in Ogilvie‘s and Annandale‘s records. It might be said that this is due to the different dates of publication but already up to 1813 there are fourteen entries which are not accounted by the two prescriptive writers, whereas both descriptive authors do take account of them. Till the end of the
year 1838, when Richardson published his dictionary, the number rises to 27. According to the total possible gallicisms both numbers result in a percentage of 13%. Though the number is not high, it shows a distinction between prescriptive and descriptive approaches towards lexicography. Moreover, the curve from Ogilvie to Annandale (cf. appendix, Gallicisms in selected Dictionaries of the 19th century) and the percentage of the listed gallicisms (Fig. 1) clearly proof that most French loanwords are found in the dictionaries by Ogilvie and Annandale.


If the few difficulties and uncertainties along this analysis are subsided, many conclusions can be drawn from the results. Earlier mentioned scholars have already established that French was mainly influential on a limited scale. First, the impact did not involve morphology, phonology or any other fields of grammatical rules. The outcome was reduced to lexis and the usage of certain words which existed before. This included mainly specialist fields of cookery, furniture, fashion and lifestyle. Therefore, allergic reactions are hard to justify if the following is considered: words which are both French in form and reasonably common result in a total percentage of 2.02% (Görlacha 1999a, 193). The common fear among purists that the English language would turn into a international and chaotic mixture does not bear a lot of convincing evidence. From the point of view of this paper and other academics English remained dominant; even in these French fields where an impact of gallicisms is visible.
Secondly, Finkenstaedt‘s remark that synchronic observations should also include diachronic considerations can be supported due to the comparison between the selected dictionaries (Finkenstaedt 1973, 55). Serjeantson‘s thought that there are instances of generalisation, degeneration and regeneration could be underlined by several French words which shared features of increase, decrease or both of them. Furthermore, systematic word formations led to other coinages which referred to the original word. However, also the private sector might have given impulses to the upper classes and led to the consequence that words also entered the lexicon of non-specialists. Though Görlach‘s list does not include a lot of technical terms which were founded during the 19th century, it does cover the field of cookery and elegant lifestyle. Probably, these terms have been introduced by social climbers, or parvenus, and entered society until they were accepted and used again.
Thirdly and most importantly, the leading question whether 19th-century borrowings are not integrated and remain aliens can be denied. Annandale‘s Concise English Dictionary includes half of the gallicisms and hereby, gives the fullest record of all the dictionaries in comparison. Although the OED 3 offers a more reliable and actual mirror of the English language, one of my initial ideas to find out whether the French influence was a cultural one or only coincidence is too hard to elaborate. It can be concluded, however, that the purist‘s approach to preserve the English language, failed at its very first moment because changes in languages do occur always and everywhere.


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