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Ways of the World’s Words

Hoffmann, Zsuzsa

Ways of the World’s Words

Language Contact in the Age of Globalization

Series: Linguistic Insights - Volume 135

Year of Publication: 2011

Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2011. 334 pp., num. tables
ISBN 978-3-0343-0673-7 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.490 kg, 1.080 lbs

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Book synopsis

This book investigates lexical borrowing processes of our era in a sociolinguistic context. Innovatively, it seeks to examine language contact in a comprehensive way, taking into account socio- and psycholinguistic aspects as well as implications for language politics.
As the sociolinguistic focus is primary, the volume also discusses how technology influences languages and to what extent it creates new conditions for language contact. As a result, it is proposed that the term language contact needs to be reevaluated, since the context of globalization has changed its very essence.
As the increase in the importance of English has been the most significant global geolinguistic event in the past fifty years, the role of English as an international lingua franca in modern borrowing is analyzed in detail. Two case studies are also given, one on the role of English in the EU and another on the linguistic situation of multilingual Switzerland. The characteristic features of lexical borrowing are illustrated in a complex way on linguistic material of a total of over 5000 recent loans in English, Spanish, German and Hungarian.


Contents: English as a global language/lingua franca – The presence of English in the world – The influence of English in various domains of life – International English as a new variety – The linguistic situation of the European Union: international and intranational communication – Language contact – Societal bi- and multilingualism vs. diglossia – Phonological, grammatical, semantic, lexical transfer – The situation of English in multilingual Switzerland – Communication between the linguistic regions of Switzerland – The analysis of recent borrowings and transfer strategies in English, Spanish, German and Hungarian.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Zsuzsa Hoffmann is a linguist and language teacher with an MA (English and German Linguistics and Literature, Hungarian Linguistics) and a PhD (English Linguistics) from the University of Debrecen, Hungary. Her research focuses on sociolinguistics and language contact, more specifically, borrowing processes.


Linguistic Insights. Studies in Language and Communication. Vol. 135
Edited by Maurizio Gotti