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Borrowing is the transfer of linguistic components from one language to another. Words that arise in this way are called loanwords . Linguistic borrowing is one of the three main methods of acquiring new words for a language if necessary , in addition to word formation and a change in meaning . Borrowing is therefore an important factor in language change and an object of the theory of designations ( onomasiology ).

In connection with academic text work , borrowing refers to the analogous (not literal) adoption of text from a source, in contrast to quotations , the literal adoption.

Forms of borrowings in the language system

Linguistic borrowing can be differentiated into lexical , semantic and syntactic borrowing.

In lexical borrowing, a word body with its meaning or part of this meaning is transferred from a contact language (source language) into a recipient language and forms a loan word in the narrower sense (with adaptation to inflection , pronunciation and writing habits of the recipient language) or a foreign word ( with little or no such adaptation). The term borrowing is mostly used as a generic term for the formation of foreign words, but sometimes also as an opposite term.

With semantic borrowing, also called loan coinage, only the meaning is transferred to an existing word in the recipient language as a new or additional meaning, or a new word is formed using the linguistic means of the recipient language to reproduce this meaning.

Example: The verb “Realize” was used in the German language in the original sense as “Realize book profits”. However, through the semantic borrowing of the English verb to realize, it got the meaning that a fact comes into full consciousness. “I still can't really realize that I've won.” The Duden now lists both meanings.

Syntactic borrowing occurs when a language, under the influence of a contact language, uses certain already given syntactic possibilities more often or develops new syntactic possibilities.

A special case is the bogus loan , in which a word from components of the donor language or from foreign words that are already established in the recipient language is newly formed in the recipient language that does not exist in this form or meaning in the donor language.

Since lexical borrowings (loanwords in the narrower sense, foreign words) and semantic borrowings (loan coins) as well as sham loans are usually assigned to loanwords in the broader sense, they are dealt with in context in the article loanword .

In the area of phonology and prosody , mainly phonemes, but also patterns, intonations or aspects of phonotactics of a language are imitated. With prosodic patterns, this can be the case at a very early stage of contact.

In morphology , rules and analogies are transferred. In extreme cases, such developments even affect the pronouns .

Influences of borrowings on language use

There are situations in which one can speak of transference as indirect language contact ; for example, when a language L1, which is in contact with another language L2, is used less often due to this contact than in a monolingual environment. So u. U. The structures of the language do not solidify and word combinations and collocations occur that do not exist in either L1 or L2.

The forms of discourse are also regulated differently in different languages. The language rituals of a language community A can also be implemented in language B. If rituals of a language L2 are adopted in L1, one speaks of language contact in the sense of cultural contact.

Changes in language use based on language or cultural contact can be observed in the forms of address . Through contact and exchange with the English-speaking world, the informal form “you” is used more and more. Learners of an L2 language transfer the forms of courtesy customary in their usage to the language to be learned. Further examples of such cultural contact can be found when using the thank you formulas, when accepting or declining invitations or requests, or when giving compliments.

In the case of speakers of several languages, the situation can arise in which communication patterns that are common for L1 are adopted in L2. Such transfers can lead to misunderstandings. It is therefore important to learn the implicit rules of discourse and cultural customs of the new language when acquiring L2 language. Such culture-specific, behavior-determining parameters are called behavioremes and can be verbal, non-verbal, paraverbal (i.e. facial expressions and gestures) as well as extraverbal.

Course and predictability of loan processes

In Quantitative Linguistics many data were collected on how the borrowings from one language to develop into another. It has been shown time and again that these processes take place legally in accordance with Piotrowski's law . From these findings, one can develop the question of whether the course of borrowings can possibly be forecast. Computer experiments with English, French and Latin data have shown that, at least for those processes that have passed their tipping point, such predictions seem to be possible with some confidence.

See also


  • Karl-Heinz Best , Emmerich Kelih (editor): Borrowings and foreign words: Quantitative aspects. RAM-Verlag, Lüdenscheid 2014, ISBN 978-3-942303-23-1 .
  • Hadumod Bußmann (Ed.) With the collaboration of Hartmut Lauffer: Lexikon der Sprachwissenschaft. 4th, revised and bibliographically supplemented edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-520-45204-7 .
  • Michael Clyne: Address in inter-cultural communication across languages. Keynote address at the International Conference on Intercultural Communicsation and Pragmatics. Stellenbosch University, January 2008.
  • Els Oksaar : Second language acquisition. Paths to multilingualism and intercultural understanding. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2003.
  • Claudia Maria Riehl: Language Contact Research: An Introduction. Gunter Narr Verlag, Tübingen 2009, ISBN 978-3-8233-6469-6 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Borrowing  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Archive link ( Memento of the original from September 10, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. ^ So Ulrich: Basic Linguistic Concepts. 5th edition. (2002) / loan
  3. ^ Riehl, Claudia Maria: Language contact research: An introduction. Narr, Tübingen 2009, pp. 21, 35-39, 91-95.
  4. ^ Clyne, 2008.
  5. ^ Oksaar, 2003: 144f.
  6. Oksaar 2003: 39f.
  7. Helle Körner: On the development of the German (loan) vocabulary. In: Glottometrics 7, 2004, pp. 25-49 (PDF full text ).
  8. ^ Katharina Ternes: Developments in the German vocabulary. In: Glottometrics 21, 2011, pp. 25–53 (PDF full text ).
  9. Karl-Heinz Best: Are prognoses possible in linguistics? In: Types of Knowledge. Conceptual differentiation and characteristics in the practice of knowledge transfer . Edited by Tilo Weber and Gerd Antos. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-631-57109-5 , pp. 164-175.