Lexical borrowings from the New World

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:
                   Lexical borrowings from the New World

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This chapter examines the entry and subsequent diffusion and incorporation of New World vocabulary from the native languages of the New World into early modern Spanish. In the New World, speakers of Spanish encountered languages with which they had not even a minimum degree of familiarity. At the outset communication was at best rudimentary. Early borrowings from these languages entered Peninsular Spanish via written reports from the New World. The overwhelming majority of indigenous lexical items that entered Peninsular and New World Spanish are nouns designating realities of the local physical terrain, flora, fauna, foods, dress, customs, indigenous social organization, etc. Only a relatively small number of words from the New World took root in Spain. The proposed New World origin of some items (e.g. tabaco, poncho) remains controversial.

Keywords: New World loanwords; etymological controversies; lexical transmission; loanword incorporation

Chapter.  4292 words. 

Subjects: Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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