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Review of  An Annotated Bibliography of European Anglicisms

Reviewer: Lelija Socanac
Book Title: An Annotated Bibliography of European Anglicisms
Book Author: Manfred Görlach
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Anthropological Linguistics
Subject Language(s): English
Issue Number: 14.2343

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Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2003 05:31:59 -0700 (PDT)
From: branko socanac
Subject: An Annotated Bibliography of European Anglicisms

Görlach, Manfred (2002) An Annotated Bibliography of
European Anglicisms, Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Reviewed by Lelija Socanac, The Linguistic Research Institute,
Zagreb, Croatia. e-mail address:


It has already been widely acknowledged that English
has become the lingua franca of Europe as the language
of international communication, the language of the
media and the Internet, popular culture, entertainment
and fashion that is enthusiastically embraced by young
people all over Europe. English is also widely used as
one of the working languages of international
organizations; it is commonly spoken at international
conferences and it is the language of the largest
number of scientific publications today.

The first waves of interest in the English language
and culture in Europe can be traced back to the 18th
century, but the massive impact began to be felt after
the World War II. It can be said that English in
Europe spread from the north to the south, which is
reflected in the levels of language proficiency and
frequency of use. After the fall of the Berlin Wall
English is spreading very fast throughout Eastern
Europe. It should be noted, however, that even during
the communist period the impact of English was not
held up by the Iron Curtain. In East European
countries, English loanwords were often used with a
higher degree of intentionality than in the West.
Generally speaking, purist efforts of different
ideological persuasions have only had a limited effect
in trying to stop the spread of English.

The ways in which English loanwords have entered
European languages could be quite intricate: languages
in closer contact with English, such as French and
German often took on the role of intermediaries, with
French transferring the English borrowings to other
Romance languages and German to languages of Central
Europe. Today, due to the wide access to English and
the growing language proficiency, the role of
intermediary languages has sharply diminished.

As a result of massive lexical borrowing, a large
number of European anglicisms have acquired the status
of internationalisms. Once adopted in a language,
English loanwords often start life of their own,
sometimes becoming unintelligible to native speakers
of English due to various changes in form or meaning.

In a world of rapid change and unprecedented
technological progress, new words have to be coined on
an almost daily basis, most of them coming into being
in English-speaking countries, primarily the U.S.A. It
is often the case that general dictionaries and even
dictionaries of anglicisms or neologisms can hardly
follow this pace, so that new editions have to be
published within short spans of time in an attempt to
keep up to date.

In addition, a number of popular and scholarly
articles and books have appeared discussing various
aspects of the English influence on individual
European languages. Bibliographies recording these
developments exist for some European languages. Apart
from the annotated bibliography edited by late Rudolf
Filipovic (1996) recording the research results of
numerous contributors at his international project
"The English Element in European Languages" there has
been no comprehensive bibliography containing the data
for a large number of European languages. The best
approximation are references included in books and
articles (such as the impressive list for German in
Carstensen and Busse (1993-6).

"An Annotated Bibliography of European Anglicisms"
edited by Manfred Gorlach, certainly fills this gap.
It is a companion volume to "A Dictionary of European
Anglicisms" and "English in Europe", also edited by M.
Görlach and published by the Oxford University Press.
It covers roughly the same range of languages as the
two companion volumes: Albanian, Bulgarian, Croatian,
Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek,
Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Polish,
Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Catalan. The selection
comprises four Germanic languages (Icelandic,
Norwegian, Dutch, and German), four Slavic (Russian,
Polish, Croatian, and Bulgarian), four Romance
(French, Spanish, Italian, and Romanian) and four
other languages (Finnish, Hungarian, Albanian, and
Greek) This selection allows the analysis of a number
of contrasts, such as purist vs. open speech
communities, Western vs. Eastern countries, regional
comparisons (Scandinavia, the Balkans), and the impact
of mediating languages (French and German in

The bibliography records an international range of
foreign-word dictionaries, etymological dictionaries,
and general dictionaries, books and articles devoted
to the influence of English on the language in
question, works restricted to individual levels of
influence (e.g. phonology, morphology, graphemes,
etc.), works dealing with English in specific fields,
in individual styles, regions, or social classes,
corpus-oriented studies, such as major studies of
anglicisms in newspaper or advertising language and
major works documenting earlier influences of English
and the cultural background. References which have not
been taken into consideration comprise ephemeral
articles in newspapers and magazines or discussions of
individual words, entries in general encyclopaedias,
papers written in languages neither easily understood
nor accessible to the general user, and papers devoted
to related topics whose focus is outside the proper
field (etymology, language contact, pidginization,
historical linguistics, non European languages,
general aspects of cultural history, the development
of individual disciplines and general dictionaries)
since they do not belong in a specialized

In addition, the selection of bibliographical items
was rigorous for languages such as German which has a
large number of titles to choose from, whereas for
languages lacking an extensive scholarly tradition,
the admission of titles was more liberal, which means
that the criteria of inclusion could not be the same
for all the languages. All chapters were written by "A
Dictionary of European Anglicisms" (DEA) contributors
or scholars closely associated with the project. Some
languages, however, do not correspond to those
included in the DEA volume. Thus, since the
literature for Albanian was very scarce, a section on
Danish was additionally included. (To my knowledge,
some additional articles and MA theses could be found
for the English influence on Albanian related to late
R. Filipovic^Òs project "The English Element in
European Languages"). Swedish, Czech and Portuguese
have not been included either, although I must say I
find it difficult to believe that "there is not enough
evidence available to justify a separate section on
these languages" (These languages, however, were not
included in "A Dictionary of European Anglicisms"

The active collection of titles for the bibliography
ended in 1995 (as for the dictionary data in "A
Dictionary of European Anglicisms"); as a result, only
a small number of more recent entries have been

The first section is devoted to general discussions
and monographs comparing the English influence in more
than one language. The sections that follow are
devoted to anglicisms in individual languages listed
in the alphabetical order. The annotations provide
very useful information about the contents of the
included bibliographical items.They are of varying
length and structure, probably due to the fact that
they were written by a large number of contributors.
Regrettably, annotations are completely lacking for
some of the items.

A system of cross- references is used for collections
of papers comprising several articles on different
languages. The same system is used for general
discussions comparing the influence in more than one
language, with cross-references from the chapters
devoted to the individual language.

The Bibliography is supplemented by an "Index of
Topics" and an "Index of Words", quoted by page and
entry number. The former is a very useful indicator
of the fields of interest concerning the English
influence on European languages. Among the topics with
the largest number of bibliographical items are those
on dictionaries and lexicography, which indicates that
the focus of interest of most publications has been
the lexical impact of English on individual languages.
A large number of titles is devoted to morphology,
phonology, spelling and meaning showing the interest
in the adaptation of loanwords on the main linguistic
levels. Historical studies are also prominent, as well
as those dealing with different aspects of purism. It
can be noted that most works are devoted to borrowing,
with only two studies focusing on code switching, for
instance. Sociolinguistics is not represented very
extensively in terms of the number of bibliographical
items. A number of units are devoted to topics such
as journalese and sports as the fields traditionally
exposed to English influence. "The Index of Words"
lists frequent individual anglicisms discussed in the
included items, such as baby, budget, design,
handicap, jeans etc.

To conclude: with its wealth of information, the
bibliography is an invaluable research tool for
scholars interested in various aspects of the English
influence on European languages, as well as for
lexicographers, language planners and anyone
interested in the topic. Since new publications on the
topic appear in large numbers on an almost daily
basis, it is to be hoped that new updated and revised
editions of this important work will be published in
years to come.


Carstensen, Broder; Busse, Ulrich (1993-1996),
Anglicismen-Wörterbuch. Der Einfluss des Englischen
aufden deutschen Wortschatz nach 1945 (3 vols) .-
Berlin: de Gruyter.

Filipovic, Rudolf (ed.); Muhvic-Dimanovski, Vesna;
Prohaska-Kragovic, Miljenka, Socanac, Lelija (1996),
Engleski element u europskim jezicima (The English
Element in European Languages), vol. 4, Anotirana
bibliografija (An Annotated Bibliography) (1958-1995)

ABOUT THE REVIEWER Lelija Socanac is a researcher at the Linguistic Research Institute, Zagreb, Croatia. She has a PhD in linguistics. She has worked on the project "The English Element in European Languages" which was directed by late Rudolf Filipovic. She is currently directing the project "Croatian in Contact with European Languages". Her research interests include contact linguistics, sociolinguistics and lexicography.

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