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Ways of the World’s Words

Language Contact in the Age of Globalization


Zsuzsa Hoffmann

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.


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5. The analysis of recent borrowings 189


189 5. The analysis of recent borrowings In order to be able to examine the international role of English in con- tact situations between certain languages, either as a source or a recipi- ent language, specific linguistic material must be looked at. The influ- ence can be measured in two different ways. One aspect is the analysis of words which were transferred into English from other languages, with the aim of understanding to what extent English accepts and is en- riched by elements of foreign origin. On the other hand, English also plays an important role as a source language in contact situations. The degree to which it gives lexical items to other languages can only be meaningfully measured if we also investigate which other languages act as source languages for the recipient ones in question, that is, whether English behaves differently compared to other source languages. In this context, our analysis must also address the question whether Interna- tional English plays a role in the enrichment of certain languages with elements from a third language and, if it does, in what form. Thus, an examination of the transfer strategies of English is needed, along with another analysis looking into the influence of Eng- lish on other languages. In the present work, three languages have been chosen for analysis from the point of view of how they were af- fected by English, as well as by other languages in the chosen period of time: Spanish, German and Hungarian. The two...

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