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date: 23 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The transmission from one language to another of a label with which to name a concept is known as ‘lexical borrowing’, and it constitutes the commonest form of contact-induced linguistic change. The items in question are often referred to as ‘loanwords’ and are said to be ‘borrowed’; both terms are erroneous. Although the recorded lexica of some languages (including English) contain loanwords amounting to more than 50 per cent, cultural borrowings (which name previously unfamiliar concepts) chronologically precede borrowings which replace or supplement elements which were already present in the language. It can be shown that, although items on the Swadesh lists are less prone to borrowing, it is nonetheless true that labels for any concepts can be borrowed from one language to another. Moreover, loanwords can (but need not) also act as conduits for the transmission and subsequent integration of new phonemes or inflectional and derivational morphemes into the recipient language.

Keywords: borrowing, transmission, loanwords, contact-induced linguistic change, donor language, recipient language, Swadesh list, phonemes, derivational morphology, inflectional morphology

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