Styles of Communication, Vol 6, No 1 (2014)

From Poule de Luxe to Geisha: Source Languages behind the Present-Day English Synonyms of Prostitute

Bożena Duda


This paper aims at drawing a picture, as complete as possible, of an anthropocentric reality hidden in the synonyms of prostitute which have been incorporated into the English lexico-semantic system from other languages since the beginning of the 19th century. The body of Present-day English synonyms of prostitute to be analysed includes horizontal, geisha, shawl and poule de luxe. Apart from providing the source languages from which English borrowed the afore-mentioned synonyms of prostitute, an attempt will be made at discovering the plausible cultural and sociological justification for the lexical borrowings to have taken place. In order to make the onomasiological picture of the sense ‘prostitute’ as complete as it can be within the limits of this paper, a mention will be made of the lexical heritage within the range of the synonyms of prostitute which were incorporated into the English language in the course of Middle English, Early Modern English and Late Modern English.


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