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Görlach, Manfred, ed. (2001) A Dictionary of European Anglicisms: A Usage Dictionary of Anglicisms in Sixteen European Languages. Oxford University Press, xxv+352pp, hardback ISBN 0-19-823519-4.
Lelija Socanac, The Linguistic Research Institute, Zagreb, Croatia
INTRODUCTION European languages have influenced one another in a number of ways throughout their history. In discussing the present-day influence of English on other languages, one should keep in mind that English has always been open to foreign influences. From its beginnings and during its spread over the British Isles, English has borrowed extensively from other languages, notably Latin, Scandinavian, and Norman French. Since the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the establishment of English-speaking colonies in North America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and elsewhere has led to the emergence of numerous ''world Englishes''. The enormous spread of English was accompanied by extensive borrowing of many indigenous terms, which were integrated into its lexicon to be passed on to other European languages. Today, the influence of English as the global language has grown on an unprecedented scale. Since no language in history has been so widely used, it is difficult to foresee the linguistic consequences. In any case, it is a phenomenon of central importance, offering vast possibilities of study. :
The influence of English as an international language today is immense, in fields ranging from electronic communication to pop music. Some countries, especially those with strong purist traditions, have tried to stop the inflow of anglicisms, but the results have not been very impressive. Due to the prestige of the Anglo-American civilization, the English impact is noticeable in most European languages.
During the various stages of integration of English loanwords, the resources of the borrowing language come to the fore in the process in which they are adapted to its morphological and phonological structure. It is interesting to follow the development of word meanings in borrowing languages, which sometimes considerably diverge from the meanings of the model. Besides, many new words are formed from English elements in European languages which do not exist in the donor language (pseudoanglicisms). Some of the pseudoanglicisms can pass the boundaries of the language in which they were coined and spread into other languages. In this way, the English elements acquire a life of their own in their new linguistic surroundings.
DESCRIPTION A Dictionary of European Anglicisms documents the spread of English in Europe, providing an exhaustive account of English loanwords in sixteen European languages: Icelandic, Norwegian, Dutch, German, Russian, Polish, Croatian, Bulgarian, French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Finnish, Hungarian, Albanian, and Greek. So far, a number of dictionaries have been published recording anglicisms in individual national languages. This dictionary, however, is the first lexicographical work giving a comparative overview of English loanwords in several European languages. The Dictionary of European Anglicisms provides a systematic description of the lexical input of English into sixteen European languages from different language families, excluding those in close contact with English (e.g. Irish, Welsh, and Maltese). Data have been collected for 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 '' purist vs. open speech communities, Western vs. Eastern countries, regional comparisons (Scandinavia, the Balkans), and the impact of mediating languages (French and German in particular). Since the influx of Anglicisms into European languages is constantly growing, it is important to set the time limits. Thus the dictionary documents the lexical input of English into European languages up to the early 1990's. Earlier loans are included, but contributors have focused on the modern lexis imported after World War II.
Criteria for determining the status of an anglicisms are not always easy to establish. A word is included in the dictionary if it is recognizably English in form (spelling, pronunciation, morphology) in at least one of the languages tested. This excludes most internationalisms coined with Latin or Greek elements (administration) and many words from other languages transmitted through English (avocado, anorak). The principle allows the inclusion of words which, although clearly derived from English, are not themselves English words, or which are used in a non- English way as a member of a different word class (assembling) or in un-English, compounds (antibaby pill). Words not known to the general educated reader, such as various specialized terms, have been omitted.
Each entry includes a variety of information in a fixed sequence and in a greatly condensed form. The English etymon, as a headword, is followed by appropriate part-of-speech labels and all the meanings recorded for loanwords in the various languages, which is very important for additional, non-English meanings which a word has acquired in the course of its semantic adaptation. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (9th ed., 1995) is used as a point of departure for definitions. For the more significant items, the data on the word's history and its spread across Europe are summarized in a few sentences, providing very interesting socio-cultural information. Grids showing distribution patterns across Europe accompany many of the entries. A complete grid thus provides the reader with an instant visual summary of the degree of acceptability of a particular anglicism in individual languages, language-group specific patterns, and regional clustering of traits.
The final section gives information for each individual language in which the loanword occurs, including spelling and pronunciation, gender and pluralization (in nouns), approximate date of adoption, and, where relevant, the mediating language. Each entry also provides data on the degree of integration in terms of currency, style value and acceptability. A native equivalent is given especially for loan translations or other forms of a calque. Non-English derivatives are included in the same entry; derivatives which are also English words have separate entries.
The information concerning the pronunciation of anglicisms in various languages is especially valuable, especially since it is rarely found in national dictionaries. As a rule, pronunciations of English loanwords are difficult to record because of their variability. The information on gender offers ample opportunities for comparative analysis, since the English natural gender has to be adapted to the grammatical gender in most of the borrowing languages involved.
A list of abbreviations and symbols used in the Dictionary is included, as well as a map of languages covered within the Dictionary. I must admit that the map is not quite clear in some respects, since some of the borders (notably, those of Croatia) do not correspond either to the state or language borders. A list of references containing at least the most important national dictionaries of anglicisms would be useful, but it is not provided in the book.
CRITICAL EVALUATION A Dictionary of European Anglicisms is the result of an impressive research effort across Europe. This dictionary, meticulously recording the forms, meanings, usage and history of individual Anglicisms in various European languages offers a wealth of information and is a valuable tool for further research on the subject. It is an important resource for comparative analysis and the study of linguistic variation and change. The data will also be of interest to the compilers of bilingual dictionaries for the evidence they contain about faux amis, for instance. Besides, the dictionary will certainly be of interest to linguists and all those who are interested in the new development trends in European languages resulting from their extensive contact with English.
However, I must disagree with the author's introductory remarks that although ''the influence of English on other languages has been noticed (...) there has never been an exhaustive treatment of the phenomenon'' and that ''no dictionary of the type has ever been attempted''. I would like to mention that a similar project, entitled ''The English Element in European Languages'', was launched in 1970's by Rudolf Filipovic in Zagreb, Croatia. The aim of the project was to provide a theoretical basis for the study of language contact phenomena, and apply the results in compiling a large dictionary of anglicisms in twenty European languages. Methods for the analysis of anglicisms in European languages have been elaborated and a large multilingual corpus of anglicisms has been collected. Since this ambitious project has not been brought to completion yet, Gï¿½rlach's dictionary is a pioneer in this relatively little-studied area of lexicography.
Since new anglicisms enter European languages almost daily, while some fall out of use, it is to be hoped that the work on this valuable dictionary will continue and that new editions will be produced in years to come.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Lelija Socanac is a research assistant at the Linguistic Research
Institute, The Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb, Croatia.
Her research interests include contact linguistics, sociolinguistics