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Sociolinguistics - 2015 glossary

Terms in this set (78)

This term is used in comparative and historical linguistics to refer to words or phrases which have spread from one language or dialect and are used in another. Although less evidently and less frequently, borrowings can also occur at a different linguistic level such as syntactic. The borrowing language may have various ways of incorporating the foreign form into the recipient language's phonology, morphology and syntax. Borrowing can be originated by a wide range of different causes including:
a) Close contact between two or more language codes in multilingual situations which favors the transfer of elements.
b) The domination of some languages by others due to cultural, economic, political, religious or other reasons.
c) A sense of need because technology or culture advances more rapidly in countries speaking certain languages.
d) A sense of prestige associated with words or expressions coming from other languages.
There is a clear difference between the concepts of code-switching and borrowing. There is no doubt in the case of historically transferred forms which have settled in the target language (e.g. words like 'castle', 'forest' and 'tempest' come from French, and words like 'call', 'egg', and 'law' come from Norse). Code-switching, however, is spontaneous, affects all levels of linguistic structure simultaneously and is unstable as it depends on the context and the relationship between the speakers (e.g., the Spanglish that is often heard in places such as Gibraltar or Texas). On some other occasions, borrowings may resemble code-switches because they maintain a foreign status and retain another languages' syntax (e.g., fixed phrases from Latin: 'ad hoc', 'sine qua non', etc.)