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Borrowed Words: Using the Words of Others to Express What We Want to Say
Elizabeth Knowles
14-22 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


When we learn to speak we acquire a vocabulary: nouns and verbs, phrases and idioms. As part of this process, we also build up a further collection of quotations, proverbs, and sayings, which we deploy consciously or unconsciously to add authority or support to an argument, or colour and emphasis to just what we want to say. Quotations and sayings become part of our personal vocabulary, and our use of them ranges from the conscious reference, explicitly attributed to the original author, to the partial and unacknowledged allusion. As particular quotations become established in the language, or are found to be especially appropriate to a person or situation, they may become subject to language change: a 'misquotation' often tells us something important about how a person or event is remembered or perceived. Drawing on work done in editing the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations and other collections, and on research into the history of dictionaries of quotations, 'Borrowed Words' looks at quotations as a linguistic resource: how they have been regarded in the past, and how we are likely to use them today.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 2008 Symposium on New Approaches in English Historical Lexis (HEL-LEX 2)
edited by R. W. McConchie, Alpo Honkapohja, and Jukka Tyrkkö
Table of contents
Printed edition: $220.00