LINGUIST List 29.3927

Wed Oct 10 2018

Sum: Contactemes which Develop a Productive Pattern

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 03-Oct-2018
From: Marin Kežić <>
Subject: Contactemes which Develop a Productive Pattern
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I'm in the process of finishing my Master's theses where I'm examining the features of light verb constructions in Croatian and English (e.g. take a nap = baciti spavanac). What I've discovered, through a corpus search, is that Croatian light verb constructions with the verb ''baciti'' (throw) are an emergent property of the conversational style and that they are on their way of becoming a very productive group. The most attested among these constructions are arguably ''baciti pogled'' (take a look, lit. throw a look) and ''baciti đir'' (take a stroll, lit. throw a circle).

Now, my hypothesis is that the first attested construction of this type was indeed ''baciti pogled'', which might very well be a calque from the German expression ''einen Blick werfen'' (take a look, lit. throw a look). I once stumbled upon an article by a Croatian scholar who argued that some contactemes (linguistic units borrowed through language contact) can over time become very productive in the L2, thus surpassing their limited use in the L1. I think this is what happened in Croatian. Croatian took over the German structure ''throw'' + N and later extended its use to a whole variety of nouns (baciti ples, baciti drijemku, baciti kupanac...), whereas German did not take in any new members of this category.

Sadly, I can't find the article I've read. Does anybody know how this process is called in contact linguistics?

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
                            Linguistic Theories

Subject Language(s): Croatian (hrv)
                            German (deu)
Language Family(ies): Indo-European

Page Updated: 10-Oct-2018