An overview of the phenomenon of doublets in English
Sesterhenn, Karen Elizabeth
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As a language rich in vocabulary items, English contains a great number of borrowed word-forms. One result of this propensity to accept foreign words is cognates known as “doublets.” Doublets are varying word-forms from the same original source existing in a single language at a given point in time. They typically occur in pairs but can also form larger groups of cognate word-forms, which may be native and foreign cognates, repeated borrowings from a single language, or cognates from different languages. Every doublet in this thesis contains at least one borrowed word-form. Doublets exist if the forms differ in meaning or in phonological shape, so that speakers avoid synonymy, which is generally avoided in languages. This study aims to separate English doublets from phenomena that show systematic alternation and group them according to phonological correspondences while also revealing the true etymologies of forms that are believed to be doublets.