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English Loan Translations in Polish

Word-formation Patterns, Lexicalization, Idiomaticity and Institutionalization

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Alicja Witalisz

This volume on language contact is a corpus-based descriptive and theoretical study of the Polish translations of English one- and multi-word polymorphemic expressions. The formation of loan translations is unique among strategies in lexical development as it involves three processes: borrowing, word-formation and semantic change. The study explores morphosyntactic, semantic and extralinguistic issues in the context of set expressions that are loan translated from a foreign language. It offers a typology of loan translations, loan identification criteria as well as a dictionary of over 500 loan translations from the English language.
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Chapter 2. Loan translation as a linguistic phenomenon

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Chapter 2.  Loan translation as a linguistic phenomenon

In the course of the 20th century, language-contact scholars proposed a series of new terminologies in different languages and attempted to establish typologies of loans, taking account of the new discoveries they made while analyzing their research material. While one cannot overestimate the huge German contribution to the development of language contact studies (see 2.1.1), which, on the one hand, was appreciated by some Russian scholars, e.g. Jefremov (1974 qtd. in Obara 1989a), on the other, criticized for not dealing satisfactorily with the theoretical aspects of the calquing process and for the insufficiency of the then current typologies (Oksaar 1972: 494, 1996: 5), it is the American mid-twentieth-century works by Haugen (1950, 1953) and Weinreich (1953) that have remained canonical reference readings in the field up to date. Observing the evolution of theoretical and empirical research on language contact in more than a hundred years, one may note a shift from historical and prescriptive to synchronic and descriptive studies (Clyne 2004: 803). Also, language contact research became, especially in the second half of the 20th century, more interdisciplinary and was carried out against the background of other disciplines such as sociology, anthropology and psychology (Hoffer 1996: 541).

2.1 Terminology – theoretical background

A discussion of the theoretical background for the study of loan translations must begin with a broader category, i.e. calque. The many studies on the borrowing process in general and on loan translations in particular,...

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