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Prestige as explanatory factor for borrowability: A Cognitive Contact Linguistic approach.

The two most frequently listed reasons for borrowing are lexical gaps and prestige. Where one of the main goals of my PhD project was to find empirical proof for the importance of lexical gaps for borrowability, this postdoc project focuses on verifying to what extent prestige can explain variation in the borrowability of lexical items. To this end, three different and highly complementary case studies will be conducted. The first survey-based study focuses on lexical choice: when source and receptor language forms are competing lexicalizations for a concept (e.g. the English loanword soulmate vs. the Dutch alternative boezemvriend), which social groups prefer the source language form as prestigious variant? The second study uses experimental techniques to determine when Flemish children learn that English loans index a different social identity than Dutch forms. The final study relies on interactional analyses to pattern whether and to what extent Dutch teenage girls model their language on American girls English.
Date:1 Oct 2013 →  30 Sep 2014
Keywords:Experiments, Prestige, Loanwords, Contact linguistics, Borrowability, Cognitive Linguistics
Disciplines:Linguistics, Theory and methodology of linguistics, Other languages and literary studies