Language contact and the history of the Spanish lexicon: General and methodological questions

Steven N. Dworkin

in A History of the Spanish Lexicon

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199541140
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741395 | DOI:
                   Language contact and the history of the Spanish lexicon: General and methodological questions

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This chapter stresses the need to study the introduction and incorporation of loanwords from a linguistic rather than a cultural perspective. This approach to loanwords in Spanish must deal with several issues. They include the extralinguistic relationship between the donor and recipient languages, donor-language- versus recipient-language-initiated borrowing, genetic relationship and typological affinities between the donor language and Spanish, transmission through speech or written texts, the legitimacy of the concepts of “necessary” and “luxury” loans, the semantics of loanwords, and the impact of loanwords on the phonology and derivational morphology of Spanish. The study of loanwords must rest on a base of accurate etymologies. Cross-linguistic tendencies observable in the grammatical categories and semantic fields of borrowings may help evaluate etymological proposals concerning possible loanwords. The chapter concludes with some observations on the recently completed Loanword Typology Project.

Keywords: contact-induced language change; loanwords; donor language; recipient language; grammatical categories; semantic fields; etymology

Chapter.  6494 words. 

Subjects: Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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