Archaism is a word that disappears from language because it is no longer needed and is commonly regarded as old-fashioned. If archaisms are deliberately used in rhetoric, they are regarded as stylistic means. Archaism can be used as a distancing, ironic or even pathetic, that is, exaggerated and imposed.
The term can be derived from Ancient Greek (ἀρχαῖος ~ archaĩos) and translated with old or even former, with the ending mus having a Latin origin. As a result, the translation shows us what is basically related to the stylistic figure: namely something old or former, which is related to words. Let’s look at an example.
My uncle has fled with child and cones.
The above example unites two archaisms, namely, Oheim and Kegel. Both terms are rather old-fashioned in modern language usage. Here, Oheim is an old word for uncle, where the cone is an illegitimate child, and in the modern language only exists in the use of child and cone. Accordingly, cone is a subdued word.
Note: Archaism is therefore a term which no longer belongs to the current vocabulary of the language. The use of such words appears old-fashioned, antiquated, and is sometimes no longer understood by some speakers, or only in connection with them.
When is an archaism a stylistic device?
Not every old-fashioned word can be interpreted as archaism. After all, in ancient writings, we are literally dealing with ancient words. Nevertheless, not every old-fashioned term is an archaism, since it depends on whether the term is intended to sound purposely old-fashioned.
This means that archaisms must be consciously used by the author as stylistic means, in order to be regarded as such at all. Thus, they are already considered as old-fashioned when writing a text and are used to unfold a certain effect. When Walther von Vogelweide, a poet of the Middle Ages, used words that seem old-fashioned to us, they were not necessarily for him either.
If, therefore, a word is not antiquated to the writer or the speaker himself, that is, it is old-fashioned, it can not be interpreted as archaism in the written article, but belongs to the active vocabulary of the author. Only when this is no longer true, we speak of archaism as a style-figure (→ literaturepochen).
Note: As a result, it is hardly possible to recognize such archaisms in an examination situation. This is only possible when modern literature is discussed and used in these terms, which can be recognized more precisely as extinct. Everything else is usually speculative.
Formation of Archaisms
Words come and disappear, since our language is always subject to change. This means that new words are formed, what is called neologism, and others disappear. Usually there are causes for the emergence and disappearance of words.
Internal Reasons: An internal reason is the fact that the reason for the disappearance lies in the language itself. This can either be due to the fact that the word is replaced by a modern expression, as in the case of uncle and uncle, or of displacement by homonymy. Homonymy is a word which stands for different concepts. Thus, for example, concepts which, by means of what follows, vanish from the language (for example, after-speech), because of homonymy to anus (anus, opening of the intestine).
External reasons: The reasoning is outside the language. This means that a word disappears, since the term no longer exists in everyday life (example: feudal lord). It is important that these words are regarded as histori- cisms and not as archaisms. This means that they no longer occur in the use of language, but we always fall back upon the word when we speak of what is meant. The word is therefore not old-fashioned, but merely displaced because it is no longer used.
The effect and function of archaisms
In principle, it is very difficult to attribute to a stylist an effect which is always true. For example, we quickly run the risk of reducing the stylistic effect to this effect every time and do not check whether it actually does so. Nevertheless we would like to give some hints.
Overview on the meaning, function and function of archaism ‘
Archaism is defined as concepts that no longer appear in the active vocabulary of a language and thus appear antiquated and old-fashioned. To designate an archaism as a stylistic figure, the person who uses such a word must be aware of the old-fashioned effect. Thus ancient texts do not exist directly from archaisms.
Archaism is used as a stylistic device, so conscious of speaking.