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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

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Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Academic Paper

Title: Lexical Borrowing in Arabic and English
Paper URL:
Author: Jamil Daher
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: New York University
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Arabic, Standard
Abstract: Contact between cultures leads to borrowing between languages. Borrowing may be cultural in nature, incorporating terms that denote previously unfamiliar objects or concepts, or social, incorporating what are viewed as more prestigious terms that denote familiar items or concepts for which perfectly serviceable native terms already exist. /L//L/Languages use various strategies in borrowing: perhaps adopting and preserving the form used in the donor language, sometimes adapting the borrowed word to conform more closely to their own phonological and morphological systems, and sometimes creating a new word through loan translation. Not surprisingly, the extent and nature of borrowing between two languages reflect the extent and nature of the contact between the corresponding cultures. /L//L/During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, English speakers came into contact with the prestigious intellectual centers of the Arab world. This contact led to a flow of borrowings from Arabic into English, primarily in the fields of chemistry, medicine, philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, optics, physics, botany, literature, religion (chiefly Islam), music, warfare, shipping, trade, architecture, geography, government and sovereignty. /L//L/Under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, from the fifteenth to the early twentieth centuries, Arabic culture had little contact with other foreign cultures and Classical Arabic admitted few foreign words. Colloquial Arabic, in contrast, has always been open to borrowings from other languages and dialects; the spoken Arabic of Syria includes a vast number of older loan words from Turkish and Persian, as well as more recent loan words from languages like French, Spanish, Italian and English. English has historically been open to linguistic borrowing: from Celtic during the Anglo-Saxon settlement of England in the fifth century A.D. to the flood of French borrowings under Norman rule. Since that time, English has borrowed intensively from many different languages, largely because the British Empire was so widespread. As a result, approximately sixty percent of English lexicon stems from borrowing./L//L/The nineteenth century saw the beginning of European domination of Arabic-speaking lands. This exposure to western culture and technology, particularly the rapid developments of recent years, has forced Arabic to accommodate itself to the terminology needed to participate in the modern world: Standard Arabic has become increasingly willing to adopt foreign terms. Thus, the direction of borrowing has reversed: English has come to dominate much current technological development and the flow of technology into Arabic-speaking counties has been accompanied by many English terms./L/In this work, I examine the extent and effects of lexical borrowing between American English and Syrian Arabic, focusing on 1) changes to the phonology and morphology of the borrowed words and 2) changes to the phonological structure of the borrowing language. Loan words with an unfamiliar sound structure are the most likely to go through an adaptive process, so that they will better accord with the phonological structure of the recipient language. Because of their contrasting phonological systems, Arabic is more likely to adopt English words outright - preserving the original sounds - while English is more likely to adapt certain Arabic sounds by replacing them with similar English sounds. There is no indication that Arabic loan words have had any effect on the phonological system of English. English appears, however, to be partly responsible for, not the introduction, but at least an increase in the use of the sounds /g/, /v/ and /p/ in Syrian Arabic.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
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