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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


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Academic Paper


Title: Testing the nonce borrowing hypothesis: Counter-evidence from English-origin verbs in Welsh
Author: Jonathan Roy Stammers
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Bangor University
Author: Margaret Deuchar
Homepage: http://www.bangor.ac.uk/linguistics/about/margaret_deuchar.php.en
Institution: Bangor University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: English
Welsh
Abstract: According to the nonce borrowing hypothesis (NBH), “[n]once borrowings pattern exactly like their native counterparts in the (unmixed) recipient language” (Poplack & Meechan, 1998a, p. 137). Nonce borrowings (Sankoff, Poplack & Vanniarajan, 1990, p. 74) are “lone other-language items” which differ from established borrowings in terms of frequency of use and recognition. Lone other-language items are singly occurring words from the “donor” language which are preceded and followed by words or phrases from the “recipient” language. Whether such other-language words belong only to the donor language (and are classed as codeswitches) or to both the donor and the recipient language (and are classed as borrowings) is both a theoretical and a practical issue. Poplack & Meechan (1998a) suggest that this question can be settled by measuring the linguistic integration of donor-language words, so that infrequent donor-language words which behave like their recipient-language counterparts are categorised as (nonce) borrowings. This suggests that frequency of use need play no role in the extent to which other-language items are linguistically integrated into the recipient language. We challenge this hypothesis with an analysis of soft mutation on English-origin verbs in Welsh, which shows that integration is related to frequency.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 15, Issue 3, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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