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all the words (the lexicon) of a language, including neologisms, dialect and slang words, and terminology. A vocabulary’s scope and composition depend on the nature and level of the speaker’s economic, social, and cultural life. A vocabulary is an organized system in which words are united or contrasted through various relationships of content, as exemplified by synonyms, homonyms, antonyms, and semantic fields.

Words in frequent and wide use constitute the active vocabulary, and specialized or rarely used words (archaisms, neologisms, and terminology) constitute the passive vocabulary. The boundaries between the active and passive vocabulary are not fixed, and over a language’s course of development words shift from one group to the other. Examples are Russian proshenie (“petition”), prisluga (“maidservant”), guverner (“tutor”), and gorodovoi (“policeman”), which have passed from the active to the passive vocabulary.

Certain words are actively used by all speakers of a language over a lengthy period of history, for example, names of parts of the body or natural phenomena, terms related to kinship, and words designating basic activities, traits, and qualities. Such words are termed the basic vocabulary and are subject to the fewest changes. Frequency dictionaries indicate the relationship between the active and passive vocabulary at a given stage of development, generally within the limits of certain styles, genres, or types of speech.

As society develops, vocabularies continually expand owing to the formation of words through derivation and the assimilation of borrowings. During various epochs words from Scandinavian, Finnish, Turkic, Church Slavonic, Greek, and later from Latin and the Romance and Germanic languages entered the Russian vocabulary, whose base consists of Common Slavic and native Russian words. The vocabulary of German has absorbed words from Latin, French, Italian, English, and several other languages. These layers of borrowed words within a language’s vocabulary reflect the cultural and historical ties between peoples and constitute a proof—sometimes the only proof—of contacts among ancient peoples. Vocabularies are recorded, although not completely, in dictionaries.


Ozhegov, S. I. “K voprosu ob izmeneniiakh slovarnogo sostava russkogo iazyka v sovetskuiu epokhu.” Voprosy iazykoznaniia, 1953, no. 2.
Borovoi, L. Ia. Put’slova, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1963.
Iakubovich, T. D. Novyeslova. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.
Ufimtseva, A. A. Slovo v leksiko-semanticheskoi sisteme iazyka. Moscow, 1968.
References in periodicals archive ?
The question that remains is what are the best ways to instruct students with limited vocabularies, considering the complexity and time involved in learning new vocabulary?
This study employed two analytic tools to observe the developing receptive and expressive vocabularies of children participating in three theme-based units of the Doors program: 1) a weekly CBM measure to monitor word learning, and 2) a compositional description of the vocabulary to be learned.
Behind the surface, systems use different metadata schemes and controlled vocabularies.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has been tasked to be the repository for nationally recommended standard vocabularies and the links between the vocabularies.
Hence, most research groups will continue to concentrate on the translation of small vocabularies restricted to a certain domain.
By providing a single source of medical vocabularies that are rapidly updated based on input from standards bodies, the LE enables healthcare applications to reference the latest terminology versions and make the most effective use of clinical information.
HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS-Related Terminology: A Means of Organizing the Body of Knowledge (Huber & Gillaspy, 1996b) was one of the test vocabularies.
0 is an inexpensive and simple desktop tool that allows IT to reconcile such data within the enterprise through the creation of common vocabularies based on semantics.
This mapping project was a part of helping meet the goals of the HL7 National Library of Medicine contract of ensuring that the HL7 Vocabulary Standards were in step with the Consolidated Health Informatics (CHI) vocabularies.
The comprehensive, solution will help BECTA create, manage and synchronize vocabularies for all U.
0 is an inexpensive and simple desktop tool that allows IT to reconcile such data within the enterprise through the automatic creation of common vocabularies based on semantics.