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Review of  English in Europe

Reviewer: Marcin Kilarski
Book Title: English in Europe
Book Author: Manfred Görlach
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Anthropological Linguistics
Subject Language(s): English
Issue Number: 16.672

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Date: Tue, 08 Mar 2005 00:11:45 +0100
From: Marcin Kilarski
Subject: English in Europe

EDITOR: Görlach, Manfred
TITLE: English in Europe
PUBLISHER: Oxford University Press
YEAR: 2002

Marcin Kilarski, School of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan,

[This review was originally submitted in January 2005, but not received.
We apologize to the reviewer, editor, and publisher for the delay in
posting it. --Eds.]


The book under review is a collection of 16 chapters and constitutes a
part of a research project on the influence of English on selected
European languages. The project includes also the "Dictionary of European
anglicisms" (Görlach 2001) and the "Annotated bibliography of European
anglicisms" (Görlach 2002), together with the volume "English words
abroad" (Görlach 2003). The following languages are treated: Germanic
(German, Dutch, Norwegian and Icelandic), Romance (French, Spanish,
Italian and Romanian), Slavic (Russian, Polish, Croatian and Bulgarian)
and four other languages (Finnish, Hungarian, Albanian and Greek).

The collection consists of a List of Contributors (pp. vii-viii), and an
Introduction by the Editor (pp. 1-12), followed by 16 chapters dealing
with the individual languages, and three indexes (of subjects (pp. 331-
334), names (pp. 335-336), and anglicisms (pp. 337-339)). In addition to
some methodological issues involved in the project, the Introduction
contains an overview of the results of the volume, within the same format
as the main chapters. The 16 chapters have been written by the
contributors to the Dictionary and the Bibliography; they have the same
structure, with the chapter on German serving as a model. An overview is
first presented of the chronology, origins and types of English influence.
Sociolinguistic and political aspects are then considered, including a
chronology of purist phases, regional and stylistic differences, the rate
of innovation and obsolescence, the role of mediating languages and
finally the status of English in education. The contents are as follows:

Görlach, Manfred. Introduction (pp. 1-12)
Busse, Ulrich and Manfred Görlach. German (pp. 13-36)
Berteloot, Amand and Nicoline van der Sijs. Dutch (pp. 37-56)
Graedler, Anne-Line. Norwegian (pp. 57-81)
Kvaran, Guðrún and Ásta Svavarsdóttir. Icelandic (pp. 82-107)
Humbley, John. French (pp. 108-127)
Rodríguez González, Félix. Spanish (pp. 128-150)
Pulcini, Virginia. Italian (pp. 151-167)
Constantinescu, Ilinca, Victoria Popovici and Ariadna Stefanescu. Romanian
(pp. 168-194)
Maximova, Tamara. Russian (pp. 195-212)
Manczak-Wohlfeld, Elzbieta. Polish (pp. 213-228)
Filipovic, Rudolf. Croatian (pp. 229-240)
Alexieva, Nevena. Bulgarian (pp. 241-260)
Battarbee, Keith. Finnish (pp. 261-276)
Farkas, Judit and Veronika Kniezsa. Hungarian (pp. 277-290)
Ködderitzsch, Rolf and Manfred Görlach. Albanian (pp. 291-300)
Stathi, Ekaterini. Modern Greek (pp. 301-329)

The subsequent three sections of the chapters deal with the four types of
integration of English loanwords and are preceded with contrastive
analyses of English and the given borrowing language. The analysis of
phonological assimilation focuses on substitutions in cases of missing
equivalent phonemes or contrasts, and distributional differences.
Graphemic integration poses a problem in languages using a non-Latin
script (Russian, Bulgarian, Greek) but also in the case of missing
graphemes or different phoneme-grapheme correspondences. The next section
deals with the morphology of anglicisms, including the inflection of the
individual lexical categories, the derivation of selected types of nouns,
verbs and adjectives, and the word-formation processes in compounds,
combining forms and calques. Finally, semantic changes are considered such
as narrowing or the development of new semantic features in the borrowing

Two further sections deal with related sociolinguistic and stylistic
aspects, as well as the documentation of three forms of lexical influence -
- by way of borrowing, replacement (including calques, hybrids and
semantic loans) and pseudo-anglicisms. This section includes examples of
different types of calques, arranged with respect to the degree of
acceptance, as a supplement to the material collected in the Dictionary.
Each chapter is concluded with an attempt at predicting the future of
anglicisms in the given language, as well as an overview of previous
research with a bibliography.


This collection is extremely valuable as it makes easily accessible a
large amount of data that has so far been available only in publications
on the individual languages or has not been available at all, as in the
account of English influence on Albanian. This allows us to compare the
influence of English on the 16 European languages with respect to several
aspects, e.g., the degree and length of English influence, tendencies in
the adaptation of English loanwords, status of the borrowing languages,
degree of restrictive attitudes or presence of dialectal differences.
While the study is not concerned with non-lexical influence, examples are
also given of developments in phonology and the writing system (new
phonemes, graphemes, phoneme-grapheme correspondences), and morphology and
syntax (retention of the English plural and derivational affixes as well
as new word-formation patterns). In addition, the volume makes an
important contribution to future research on English influence, as it
provides an ideal starting point for further studies, including BA and MA
theses, articles, dissertations and monographs, as well as more systematic
large-scale projects.

However, it should be noted at this point that the information given on
the cover and in the Introduction, according to which "[t]here has never
been a survey of the type presented here" (p. 2), is misleading, since a
comparable study, albeit less complete and systematic, was attempted in
Filipovic (1982) (which is notably missing as a separate entry in the
bibliographies in the whole volume).

The following comments concern a number of methodological and technical
problems which should be taken care of before the publication of the 2nd
edition of the collection planned for 2008-9.

a) Structure

The section "Pronunciation" might have been divided into subsections for
consonants, vowels, etc., as has been done in some chapters (Dutch,
Norwegian, Romanian, Greek). In addition, the contrastive analysis of
inventories could have been illustrated with tables and charts in all
chapters, and not only for Norwegian, Icelandic, Italian (for consonants),
Russian and Greek. No attempt at a comparison has been made in the chapter
on Croatian and only types of substitution are mentioned, together with
examples. Likewise, the section in the chapter on Polish largely consists
of a list of substitutions for vowels and consonants. As regards the
section "Graphemic integration", tables with the transliteration of
graphemes might have been given for all three languages using a non-Latin
script (Russian, Bulgarian, Greek), and not only for Greek. A comparison
of graphemic systems is missing for Croatian. Finally, several parts of
the chapters are missing, including whole sections (Finnish) and examples
of individual types of anglicisms (Dutch, Icelandic, Polish, Greek);
irrelevant information is provided in some sections (Bulgarian, Finnish).

b) Description

To begin with, no explicit statement is given in the Introduction about
the structural differences between the 16 languages. The Editor does not
mention the fact that these "European" languages include in fact two non-
Indo-European languages (Finnish, Hungarian), and this contrast underlines
several structural differences. In this connection, some of the statements
in the book are unclear or misleading, e.g., the use of the
terms "European" and "Indo-European", as in "European languages tend to
have two or three grammatical genders" (p. 7), which is problematic with
respect to Finnish and Hungarian, and in "English and Russian are from
different language families" (p. 200). As regards regional differences,
there is a certain imbalance in the treatment of dialects spoken in Europe
and the Americas. For example, both varieties are treated in the French
chapter, while the chapter on Spanish discusses differences between the
Spanish-speaking areas closer and away from the US but does not refer to
dialectal differences within Spain. Further, no reference is made to other
languages spoken in Spain. Likewise, while American English is regarded by
most authors as the primary source of influence, British English is chosen
instead as the model in pronunciation (cf. however the references to
English regional differences in pronunciation in the Greek chapter).

Several problems appear in the sections "Calques" and "Forms of linguistic
borrowing", which provide examples of borrowings, replacements (calques,
hybrids and semantic loans) and pseudo-anglicisms. First, if the
terms "unadapted borrowings", "quotation words", "code-switching" are used
throughout the volume, the basis for the distinction might have been
provided in the Introduction; the only arguments given in the chapter on
Romanian remain unclear. Otherwise, the terms are largely redundant since
they are not illustrated with any examples in most chapters (only isolated
examples are provided for French, Italian, Romanian, Russian and
Croatian). Second, an inconsistency between the Introduction and the model
chapter on German in the use of terms concerning translations has resulted
in further inconsistencies in the other chapters. In the Introduction
three types of translations are given, i.e. loan translations, loan
renditions and loan creations, together with semantic calques for semantic
extensions of native simple and compound words. It is explicitly stated
that loan translations constitute "perfect rendering of constituents" (p.
9), while loan renditions involve change in meaning or word order, as in
Romance forms of the type N+Adj or N+de+N. However, in the German chapter
we learn that (loan) translations reflect "the morphologic structure of
the English complex item as closely as the structure of the receiving
language permits" (p. 29). This suggests that the above-mentioned Romance
forms should not be classified as renditions but translations. Most
chapters follow the terminology in the German chapter; thus examples of
translations include also loan renditions according to the terms in the
Introduction (e.g., French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Croatian,
Albanian). In addition, further classifications or terms have been
proposed which are absent in the Introduction and the German chapter: a
classification based on etymology (Dutch, Italian), and the term "free
translation" used for "loan creation" (Dutch) or "loan rendition"
(French). The terms "loan translation" and "calque" are used generically
in the chapter on Icelandic with no further classification provided.
Finally, no attempt at a classification of calques is made in the chapters
on Polish and Finnish.

c) Arguments/Conclusions

It seems that considering the amount of material collected and analysed,
in places the argumentation could have been taken further, especially
since this is encouraged in the opening remarks in the Introduction (p.
1). One might thus question the validity of accounts such as the
following, dealing with stylistic and sociolinguistic aspects of
anglicisms in Polish: "Results from the Dictionary of European Anglicisms
have only confirmed what had been known impressionistically before and is
typical of other languages as well; most of the Anglicisms in Polish are
either technical or colloquial." (p. 226). More seriously, the volume does
not allow the reader to formulate any quantitative comparisons since no
figures are given on the incidence of anglicisms in the Dictionary (with
the exception of a single figure given for Bulgarian). The figures which
are otherwise given from other sources are not comparable.

Apart from that, a number of misleading, erroneous or vague statements are
made in the individual chapters. For example, the different realization
of /r/ and the lack of aspiration and the velar nasal in Russian are
described as "peculiarities [which] are important for language teaching
but irrelevant for the borrowing process" (p. 202); likewise, we learn
that the presence of vocalic differences between English and
Bulgarian "presents a problem mainly for language teaching, whereas in
lexical borrowing it leads only to doublet forms." (p. 245). Even if we
disregard the obvious need for substitutions, such statements conflict
with accounts of changes in the phonology of the borrowing languages which
can be attributed to English (as in Bulgarian, p. 245). With respect to
morphological adaptation, it is unclear why in Russian only uninflected
animates are assigned on the basis of "[n]atural or semantic gender" (p.
203); likewise, no arguments are given why in Greek "[l]oanwords are
assigned gender according to a series of rules which apply in a fixed
order." (p. 317).

d) Formal Details

In the following, examples are given of errors and inconsistencies which
occur in the volume; abbreviations are used for language names, while
numbers in parentheses indicate the number of occurrences. Several of
these problems also concern the Dictionary (see Ptaszynski and Kilarski
2002/2003). Standard two-letter abbreviations are used for language names.

i) Translation: Generally no translation is given if anglicisms are
similar to the source; however, it is difficult to say whether examples of
calques or native compounds in Hungarian and Albanian are properly
classified without literal translation. Missing or inconsistent
translation is given for anglicisms (assimilated, hybrids, pseudo-
anglicisms) in Ro, Ru, Po, and for native words in Ge, Sp, Ro, Ru, Po, Cr,
Hu, Al; translations of examples appear in the native language instead of
English in Sp.

ii) Use of terms: predicative (postpositive) (It); Ur-Germanic (Proto-
Germanic) (Fi);

iii) Erroneous or unclear examples chosen (e.g., erroneous source language
or lack of features suggested): Ge (2), Du (1), Po (3), Cr (1), Fi (1);

iv) Problems with grammar/style: Introduction (1), Ic (2), It (1), Ro (1);

v) Spelling: in the List of contributors (2), Ge (3), Ic (3) (e.g., drills
for trills), Sp (1), Ru (1) (honophthongs for monophthongs), Gr (2); the
Editor's name in the blurb is given as 'Gölach';

vi) References: Problems in the reference sections include missing or
unclear references (Ge (1), Du (4), No (1), Ic (1), Fr (2), Sp (3), Ro
(3), Ru (1), Po (3), Fi (2)); only last names given in citations (Sp, Ro
(several)); inconsistent use of full first names in the bibliographies,
given for most authors in most chapters but largely missing in No, Po, Ru;
missing publishers (similarly, largely missing in Ru, Po); lack of
translation of titles (Ic (2)); and occasional spelling errors.

vii) Phonetic Symbols: Greater care might have been taken in phonetic
transcription and the use of phonetic symbols. Problems include: erroneous
symbols for English and native sounds (Ge (1), Du (1), Nw (2), It (3), Ro
(5), Ru (5), Po (6), Bu (3), Fi (1), Hu (1), Al (7), Gr (16));
inconsistent use of symbols for English and native sounds (Ge (3), Ru (3),
Po (2), Al (2), Gr (8)); erroneous transcription of anglicisms, English
words and native words (Fi (1), Gr (3)); inconsistent transcription of
anglicisms, English words and native words (Ge (2), Po (9), Cr (1), Bu
(1), Fi (1), Gr (1), Al (1)); erroneous formatting, with the English
voiceless interdental fricative in italics (Ge, Du, Fr, Sp, It, Po, Cr,
Hu); use of slashes for phonetic transcription (e.g., Po, Bu, Gr); lack of
slashes in phonemic transcription (Gr); and inconsistent marking of stress
by way of accents or double underline (Fi, Hu, Al, Gr), with single
underline also used in transcription for emphasis (e.g., Ro).

viii) Other Symbols and Formatting: unclear use of asterisks (Ge, Ru, Po,
Index); examples unclear due to formatting (use of spaces and backslashes)
(It, Ro, Po); typographic errors (Po, Bu, Gr); occasional smaller type for
phonetic characters; the character edh without italics (Ic);

In conclusion, these problems do not detract from the overall value of the
collection. The volume edited by Görlach is a must for anyone with an
interest in English influence and language contact generally, and more
specifically in the developments in the 16 European languages included in
the project. Since in several countries most of the research on anglicisms
has been done by those who specialize in English, potential readers of the
volume include also scholars, students and professionals who have
primarily dealt with the borrowing languages and who may have missed
important generalizations concerning other languages under English


Filipovic, Rudolf ed. 1982. The English element in European languages.
vol. 2. Zagreb: University of Zagreb.

Görlach, Manfred. 2003. English words abroad. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Görlach, Manfred ed. 2001. A dictionary of European anglicisms. A usage
dictionary of anglicisms in sixteen European languages. Oxford: OUP.

Görlach, Manfred ed. 2002. An annotated bibliography of European
anglicisms. Oxford: OUP.

Ptaszynski, Marcin, and Kilarski, Marcin. 2002-2003. Do they
have 'autoscooters' in Poland? Investigating anglicisms. [Review article
of A dictionary of European anglicisms. A usage dictionary of anglicisms
in sixteen European languages and An annotated bibliography of European
anglicisms edited by Manfred Görlach]. Poznan Studies in Contemporary
Linguistics 38:273-305. URL:


Marcin Kilarski is an assistant professor at the School of English, Adam
Mickiewicz University in Poznan. His work has primarily dealt with
language contact (Phd on English loanwords in the Scandinavian languages),
and typology and historiography of linguistics (Habilitationsschrift in
progress on nominal classification systems).

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