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The wanderlust of German words - and their pragmatic adaptation in English

Schroeter, M. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9636-245X (2021) The wanderlust of German words - and their pragmatic adaptation in English. Journal of Pragmatics, 182. pp. 63-75. ISSN 0378-2166

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2021.06.005

Abstract/Summary

This article explores pragmatic aspects of lexical borrowing, based on examples of borrowing from German into British English. While borrowing from English is widely studied, the focus on German sheds light on a more unlikely source language. A cross-linguistic, corpus-based comparative analysis focuses on contrasts in the use of post-1900 loans in the German source language and the British English recipient language. Contrasts in the uses of a number of these loans as well as a detailed analysis of the borrowed prefix uber-/über- in English and German show that a recipient language may adopt specific uses that are marginal in the source language and that it can also put the loan to different uses than evident in the source language. Such contrasts are discussed as a result of pragmatic adaptation of the loan into the recipient language. The loan is de-contextualized from its use in the source language and becomes re-contextualised into different uses in the recipient language which reflect the communicative needs and hence the pragmatic interest in the loan from within the recipient language, partly or even entirely irrespective of its uses in the source language.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Modern Languages and European Studies > German
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:98629
Publisher:Elsevier

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