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zompist bboard • View topic - How to make a language with a profound foreign influence

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 2:05 am 
Lebom
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Below are my personal opinions, they can be incorrect.

It is well known that there are natural languages that are not creoles or mixed languages with heavy foreign influences, like Japanes and English; however, these languages don't simply borrow words from other languages, even linguistic purism never gained popularity among speakers of a language, the speakers don't borrow words in an arbitrary manner.

Words related to concepts that are foreign to the native speakers are most likely to be borrowed,then words related to more complex ideas like academic and legal terms; on the contrary, grammatical affixes, functional words and words related to everyday life(like those listed on the Swadesh list or the Leipzig-Jakarta list) are very unlikely to be borrowed, even Japanese, a language that is notorious for its tendency to borrow English and Chinese words, don't borrow English and Chinese adpositions and particles.

Besides, if a category of vocabulary is full of loanwords, it is likely that loanwords belonging to the same category are from the same language, for example, many non-native academic terms in English are from Latin, many non-native medical terms in English are from Ancient Greek, many non-native musical terms in English are from Italian, etc.

There's another way to judge if a concept is likely to be expressed with loanwords: you can check the etymology of English words, and the pronunciation of Japanese words written Kanji, in Wiktionary. If the related English word is from Old English, or the pronunciation of the related Japanese word is kun'yomi, then speakers are less likely to use loanwords to express such a concept and are more likely to use native words; if the related English word is from Old English, AND the pronunciation of the related Japanese word is kun'yomi, then it is almost for certain that the speakers will use a native word for that concept.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 4:46 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 4:48 am 
Lebom
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:16 am 
Avisaru
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Whilst I agree that derivational morphology, high-register terminology and words for new concepts or objects are probably more likely to be borrowed, it is much less true to say that other stuff is 'highly unlikely' to be borrowed. It's true that it's relatively rare for something like pronouns to be borrowed into languages where they're a closed class (although in languages where there's a fuzzy noun-pronoun distinction and where using new pronominal-style expressions is easier it is much more possible). However, low-register vocabulary, certain types of inflectional morphology, prepositions and function words of all kinds are very frequently borrowed by different languages.

You can see this with English - whilst the prototypical French words are indeed high-register ones, you'll notice that lots of colloquial and everyday vocabulary is also derived from French borrowings - 'notice', for example, or 'example', or perhaps even more strikingly stuff like 'perhaps' or 'because'. Likewise, we use at least some non-Germanic inflectional morphology - most obviously plural forms in largely high-register vocabulary, but still.

The penetration of the vocabulary of a language (and its structures and everything else) will depend hugely on the type of contact. I actually don't know enough about the sociolinguistics of early Norman England to explain the English situation (although a lot of our French and Latinate vocabulary actually came in later via intellectuals I think). But I can give you some examples from different contact situations.

One example is Welsh. Welsh has been in a situation of intense, pervasive contact with the prestige language English for a very, very long time. Knowledge of English has been common in Wales for a long time, and especially in the areas closer to England English speakers and Welsh speakers have lived alongside one another and interacted forever. The important dynamics here are English's position of prestige and, more importantly, very dense contact at all levels of society (not simply for example a bilingual class of intellectuals or something). As a result, Welsh is absolutely chock full of English vocabulary, especially on the level of everyday words, as well as calqued English expressions. We have some borrowed morphology (infinitive endings dating back to Middle English or further, and plural endings), and English words for all sorts of everyday stuff (albeit sometimes borrowed long enough ago that they reflect older English forms, like giât 'gate').

Another example is Persian. Persian started out as a relatively boring classical IE language, but for a very long time has been in close contact with Turkic languages. Perhaps as a result, we can identify all sorts of sweeping typological similarities between Turkic and standard Iranian Persian - its inflectional system has been basically reworked by massive analogy to be agglutinative (if not hugely synthetic) and consist of several sets of similar but slightly distinct personal affixes, it's verb-final, it has no gender marking (even in pronouns), it has (a limited) kind of evidentiality, etc etc. The list goes on. There's also quite a lot of everyday vocabulary derived from Turkic languages. Other dialects - especially Tajik, which is still in a very intense contact situation with Uzbek - show even more Turkic features, with Tajik + Uzbek apparently having almost identical phonologies.

However, Persian is interesting in that as well as this long-term close-contact situation, it has also been in a quite distinct kind of contact with another language: Arabic. Arabic was of course the prestige language in Iran for hundreds of years following the Islamic conquests - and in fact some of the rulers of Persia were native Arabic speakers. Even once Persian-speaking rulers were in the ascendancy again Arabic was still the 'international' language of Persian intellectuals alongside Persian. This relationship is more analogous to English, and here we see a similar pattern of borrowing - huge amounts of high-register vocabulary and derivational morphology, relatively simple inflectional borrowing (especially plural endings, but also some vestigial gender agreement and so on), and also quite a lot of creep even into everyday vocabulary. It is possible of course that as in English, many of these words began as high-register terms which ended up displacing their native equivalents.

None of these languages have particularly high-level borrowing of other languages' inflectional morphology, which requires I think a very specific situation of regular code-switching and quite similar grammars to begin with. For what it's worth though, this is something that happens. If I remember correctly, the Baltic languages borrowed some Estonian case endings (at least in limited contexts). The appearance of a dental formant for the past across lots of (apparently) unrelated languages suggests that this may have been borrowed at some point too. Syrian Arabic appears to have borrowed some of its pronouns from the local Aramaic dialect. Etc, etc.

Basically I guess the answer to your question is 'it depends on the details of the contact situation you envision'.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:07 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:38 am 
Sumerul
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Japanese has borrowed a few English prepositions and uses them limitedly
"in" is used in advertisements as a hip way to show the location http://www.ks-cinema.com/movie/dds2016/
オブ (of) is used mainly in katakana-english, but i've seen it other places too
ザ (the) is used in some names like ザ・ダイソウ

以前 and 以降 and other postpositions like that are from chinese. iunno it's difficult to tell because i don't speak chinese and looking up mandarin won't be much help because japanese did its main borrowing from chinese in the middle period or from wu.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:55 pm 
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One thing that might be relevant is what you might call (for want of a better term) the field richness of a given word - how many other potential meanings are there in that field? Particularly higher and lower levels of meaning. Because it's very common for words for specific things to develop a more general meaning, and for ones with a general meaning to develop a more specific meaning. This opens up spaces for loanwords to fill.

For instance, English and Irish both originally had a word for 'dog' that was cognate to canis (broadly speaking, although the English terms comes from an extended form) - English 'hound' and Irish cú. But in both languages, this word has narrowed from general to specific, referring only to (or at least primarily, outside of poetic and archaic usage) hunting dogs. And apparently the Irish word has now gained an even more specific implication: 'greyhound'. [Similarly, 'greyhound' in English used to be much more general].

Now, as it happens, both the replacement words - English 'dog' and Irish madra (or madadh) are of uncertain etymology, but the Irish at least may ultimately be either a borrowing or a calque, related to English 'mastiff', Latin mansatinus etc (or it may be native and related to the Irish word for a bear and the Welsh word for a fox). A rarer Irish word for a dog is indeed a borrowing from Norse (and originally meant a beagle). And from English we have the example of "deer", which has become more specific in meaning so the original meaning is now met by the loanwords "beast" and "animal".

My point is that semantic areas that allow this kind of drifting are areas that will allow loanwords in more easily, even if they're daily items. For instance, both Irish and English made their term for 'dog' more specific at a time when a greater variety of dogs were becoming relevant. By contrast, words that are more, as it were, isolated semantically might be more stable. So words for dogs and birds and such like change relatively easily, but the word for 'louse' has remained since PIE times.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:13 pm 
Avisaru
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As previously mentioned, it's useful to distinguish between derivational and inflectional morphology (even though the boundary can be a little fuzzy in some cases, particularly when dealing with deverbals/verbal forms that occupy a non-verbal grammatical role, such as gerunds, agent nouns, "-able" words in English). Furthermore, I think when discussing borrowing of inflectional terminology, it's useful to distinguish between borrowing foreign words as a whole with their foreign inflectional morphology retained (i.e. "radius, radii" in English) and borrowing foreign inflectional morphology and applying it to native words. The former is not that rare at all, as far as I know, especially not for nouns or adjectives and especially not if both languages share the conditioning factor for inflection (i.e. English already uses distinct plural forms for native nouns; foreign nouns inflect for plurality in the same situations as native nouns, they just use a different pattern). The latter is rarer because it requires the borrowing language to either replace an existing system of inflection with a non-native one, or gain a new condition for inflection.

It does seem to be possible to gain entirely new conditions of inflection through borrowing (i.e. there have been discussions before on this board about possible marginal cases of gender agreement in borrowed English adjectives, such as Latino/Latina) but languages seem to be "reluctant" to do this, and very selective about what they do borrow. It seems completely impossible to me to inflect an English adjective, even a borrowed one, for number (we can't say "Latinas teachers"). Another example: English could marginally be said to have case inflection, based on the two-way distinction in its pronoun system, but no actual English nouns inflect for case, and English has not borrowed any of the non-nominative forms of Latin nouns.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:13 am 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:01 pm 
Sanci
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:43 am 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:19 am 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:20 pm 
Sanci
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:34 am 
Smeric
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:05 pm 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:47 pm 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:42 pm 
Smeric
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Synchronically it is a 'contraction' or reduction of "them".


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:41 am 
Sumerul
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:31 pm 
Lebom
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:28 am 
Sanci
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As for verbs:

I heard yesterday katmotivini (refering to a female speaker), you motivate me. Or another one, tlebt mennek trecomendi liya (I asked you to recommend me something). You slap MA prefixes and suffixes on and you have a Moroccan verb.

Some nouns, quite basic, are well integrated and follow MA pluralisation. See blasa (< Fr. place), plural blays, like a normal Arabic word.

God I love Moroccan Arabic.

Speaking of my own language, Korean, we have two systems of counting like a lot of other languages in the Sinitic sphere of influence, one native Korean and the other one Sinitic, and both are used in specific domains. I really don't think we can generalise too much about basic stuff not getting borrowed.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:36 pm 
Lebom
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Duuuuude, blayṣ is one my favorite words in MA


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:54 am 
Lebom
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Another memory, I remember that greengrocers would quote prices to me in French. This would mildly annoy me because after pleasantries and chatting about the produce in Moroccan Arabic, I thought that they thought I couldn't understand prices in French. But I realized after some weeks that they were just counting the prices in French. This point was hammered further home when I heard a woman, who was calling into a health radio talk show, give her age (24) as quatre wa 3ašrīn 3ām.

- - -

This situation mirrors what happened with the Amazigh (Berber) languages following the Arab conquests. Speaking for numbers above 3 have Arabic etymologies and common function words (WH- words, coordinators) are borrowed from Moroccan Arabic forms.


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