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BorrowingLoanwords in the Speech Community and in the Grammar$
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Shana Poplack

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190256388

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190256388.001.0001

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How nonce borrowings become loanwords

How nonce borrowings become loanwords

(p.122) 8 How nonce borrowings become loanwords

Shana Poplack

Oxford University Press

Making use of a unique series of speech corpora collected between the 1940s and 2007, this chapter traces for the first time the diachronic trajectory of nonce forms in bilingual production over a real-time period of 61 years and nearly a century and a half in apparent time. It tests and refutes two standard assumptions about nonce borrowings: (1) they increase in frequency and diffusion, and (2) they originate as code-switches and are gradually converted to loanwords. Results show that nonce forms generally do not go on to become established loanwords: few persist, let alone increase over time. Based on several diagnostics, analysis of the linguistic trajectory of those that diffuse and increase in frequency shows that they are not integrated gradually; instead they assume recipient-language grammatical structure abruptly. Code-switches are not converted into borrowings; the decision to code-switch or borrow is made at the moment the other-language item is accessed.

Keywords:   nonce borrowing trajectory, diachronic, diagnostics, frequency, diffusion, nonce borrowings, code-switches, loanword persistence, gradual loanword integration, abrupt loanword integration

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