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English Loan Translations in Polish

Word-formation Patterns, Lexicalization, Idiomaticity and Institutionalization


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 6. Conclusions


Chapter 6.  Conclusions

The growing linguistic influence of English on contemporary Polish is manifested not only in well-recognizable loanwords, but also in covert borrowing in the shape of semantic loans and loan translations. The latter two have been creeping almost imperceptibly into Polish over the last three decades. Their form is familiar, their new senses are interpretable in context.

It has been argued that loan translations result from the coexistence of two speech communities sharing the same geographical area or from the influence of a foreign tongue that is related structurally to the recipient language (Rybicka 1976: 97). Yet, English loan translations in Polish and in other European and non-European languages (cf. the examples of English loan translations in Chinese in 5.5.2) disprove these two assumptions. Physical proximity of two speech communities is no longer a sine qua non of linguistic influence in the era of the mass media and the World Wide Web. In this sense, English-Polish language contact is indirect. It is also unidirectional. The genetic unrelatedness and structural discrepancies between English and Polish are by no means an obstacle to the formation of loan translations. The recipient language users employ word-formation patterns available in their native tongue to form new polymorphemic expressions that are semantically equivalent to their foreign etymons. This brings to light what is crucial in loan translating and what has often been overlooked in studies on language contact, probably due to the neglect of semantics in early linguistic studies as...

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