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Borrowing: process in which one language takes words from another language and makes
them part of its own vocabulary.
Recipient language: language which borrows;
Donor language: language which is borrowed from;
Loanword: is a word which originally was not part of the vocabulary of the recipient
language but was adopted from some other language and made part of the borrowing
languages vocabulary.
Exemple: Pork is a French loanword in English.
Languages borrow words from other languages because :
1. They need a new term to go along with the new acquisition .
Exemples: many languages have similar words for automobile, coffee, tobacco,
2. the foreign term, for some reasons of prestige, is highly esteemed; ex: pork,
beef, and other terms of cuisine from France;
3. the foreign word adopted is deregatory, it has a negative evaluation. It is much rarer.
Exemples: French habler to brag is borrowed from Spanish hablarto
speak; ex: assassin comes from Arabic where it means hashish-eater.
Adaptation or phoneme substutution: a kind of language-contact situation. Process in
which the foreign sounds introduced to recipient languge, are changed to conform to native
sounds and phonetic constraints. So, a foreign sounds which does not exist in the receiving
language will be replaced by the nearest phonetic equivalent to it in the borrowing language.
Exemples of loans borrowed from German into Finnish: German b,d,g Finnish p,t,k:
bardaz (beard) parta;
Exemples of loans borrowed from Spanish into a Sayula Popoluca: Spanish l,n>Sayula
Popoluca n knu:s (cross)>kruz.
Accomodation: a kind of language-contact situation. Process in which loanwords are
modified to fit the phonological combinations permitted in the borrowing language.
Methods used are delation, addition or recombination of certain sounds.
Exemples: Formerly Mayan languages do not permit the initial consonant clusters: Spanish
cruz>rus in Chon; cruz>kurusin Tzotzil. However through an intimate contact and the
introduction of many borrowings from other languages Finnish phonology now permits
loans with initial clusters: krokotiili crocodile, presidentii president (direct phonological
Direct phonological diffusion: a kind of intimate and extensive language-contact situation;
new phonemes can be introduced into the borrowing language together with borrowed
words which contain these new sounds, resulting in changes in the phonemic inventory of
the borrowing language.
Exemples: phonemes borrowed from French into English: French phonemic [v] vrai> very,
vale>valley. The sound [v] occurred in native English words only as the intervocalic
variant (allophone) of /f/: leaf-leaves, wife-wives.
Substitutions in borrowed words in a language are not always uniform because:
1. it can depend on the time. The older loans reflect sound substitutions before intimate contact
brought new sounds and patterns into the borrowing language, while more recent
borrowings may exhibit the newer segments or patteners acquired after amore intensive
Exemple: Sayula Populuca turu bullearlier loans would have substituted r with n.
Tzotzil palatu dishes earlier loans, when Tzotzil permitted no initial consonant clusters
and Tzotzil platu plate borrowed later from Spanish.
2. it can depend on the pronunciation: Finnish meikka to make up based on english
pronuniation of make /meik/, and on spelling pronunciation : Finnish jeeppi jeep can only
be based on a spelling pronunciation of jeep.

3.5 How do we identify Loanwords and determine the direction of borrowing?

The most important thing is to ascertain which language is the source (donor) and which the
recipient (borrower). We can identify different rules of thumb:

3.5.1 Phonological clues

The strongest evidence for loanword identification and the direction of borrowing comes from
phonological criteria.
1) Phonological patterns of the language. Words containing sounds which are not normally expected
in native words are candidates for loans.
Ex. Native Nahuatl words are not expected to begin with p, since Proto-Uto-Aztecan initial *p was
lost through regular sound change in Nahuatl (*p>h>O, for ex. Proto-Uto-Aztecan *pa: > Nahuatl a:
- water). For this reason, Nahuatl roots such as petla- woven mat, pak- to cure, violate
expectations for sounds in native forms.

2) Phonological history. In some cases where the phonological history of the languages of a family
is known, information concerning the sounds that they have undergone can be helpful for
determining loans, the direction of borrowing and what the donor language was.

Ex. In the Mayan family, a number of languages have borrowed from Cholan (Mayan). Cholan has
undergone a number of sound changes which languages of the other branches of the family did not.
For example, Cholan underwent the sound *o: >u. Yucatec, native of Cholan, did not undergo this
sound change: Ex. Yucatec kts turkey< Cholan Kuts (from *ko:ts).

3.5.2 Morphological complexity

The morphological make up of words can help to determine the direction of borrowing. When a
form of one language is morphologically complex (2 or more morphemes) or has an etymology
which is morphologically complex, but the form in the other languages has no morphological
analysis, then usually the donor language is the one with the monomorphemic form.

Ex. English alligator is borrowed from Spanish el largato the alligator, since it is
monomorphemic in English, but based on two morphemes in Spanish, el the e lagarto alligator.

3.5.3 Clues from cognates

When a word in two (or more) languages is suspected of being borrowed, if it has legitimate
cognates across sister languages of one family, but is found in only one language (or a few) of
another family, then the donor language is usually one of the languages for which the form in
question has cognates in the related languages.

Ex. Finnish tytr daughter has no cognates in the other branches of the Finno-Ugric family, while
cognates of Proto-Indo-European *dhugter is known from most Indo-European languages.
3.5.4 Geographical and ecological clues
The geographical and ecological associations of words suspected of being loans can often provide
clues helpful to determining if they are borrowed and what the identity of the donor language is.

Ex. English words such as zebra, gnu, impala, animals that can be found in Africa, makes these
words likely candidates for loanwords in English

3.5.6 Other semantic clues

Others inferences can be obtained from semantic domain of a suspected loan.

Ex. English words such as squaw, papoose powwow have paraphrases involving Indian/Native
American, that is, Indian woman, Indian baby, Indian house, and so on; this suggests
possible borrowing from American Indian languages.

3.6 Loans as Clues to linguistic changes in the past

Evidence presented in loanwords may help to document older stages of a language before later
changes took place.

Ex. Spanish contrast bilabial stop b ( which comes from Latin initial b and intervocalic p) and
fricative v ( which comes from late Latin initial v and from intervocalic v and b) although these are
merged in modern Spanish to the single /b/.
Early loanwords from Spanish into American Indian languages (hispanisms) show clearly that the
contrast persisted at least long enough to arrive in America. In the early hispanisms, /v/ was
borrowed as /w/ since most Native American languages lacked v ( Spanish jabn soap in the
sixteenth cent., borrowed as: Huastec apu:n, Chol apum), whereas the /b/ of earlier Spanish
was borrowed as /b/, // or /p/ (navaja knife, razon: Akateko nawas, Tzotzil navaa).

This loans demonstrate:

- the phonetic nature of original sounds
- the fact that this merger of /b/ and /v/ had yet taken place in the mid-sixteenth century when these
languages began to borrow from Spanish.
all the elements of a language can be borrowed by another language, like phonological structures
or morphological and syntactical elements.There are two main reasons which induce speakers to
adopt words from another language:

1)intense and important contacts with the population who speaks that language

2)the conviction that the word coming from the other language can express a concept in a better
way.the contact with other idioms leads to the loss of certain sounds which don't exist or are
uncommon in that linguistic area, or to the retention of some sounds that have disappeared in the
country where the original language was spoken but still exist in another linguistic area.

Also sounds can be affected by neighbouring languages,like stress rules or phonological rules in
general:for example sound changes affect languages spoken in the same area.Sometimes languages
don't borrow the form of a foreign word but only its meaning;this process is called calque:for
example the word for railway is in many idioms a calque of iron+road, or the word for skyscraper is
wolkenkratzer in german , gratteciel in french and rascacielo in spanish.Another phenomenon is the
foreignization of sounds included in foreign words in order to make them sound even more foreign.