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Modelling loanword success – a sociolinguistic quantitative study of Māori loanwords in New Zealand English

Calude, A. S., Miller, S. and Pagel, M. ORCID: (2020) Modelling loanword success – a sociolinguistic quantitative study of Māori loanwords in New Zealand English. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, 16 (1). pp. 29-66. ISSN 1613-7027

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1515/cllt-2017-0010


Loanword use has dominated the literature on language contact and its salient nature continues to draw interest from linguists and non-linguists. Traditionally, loanwords were investigated by means of raw frequencies, which are at best uninformative and at worst misleading. Following a new wave of studies which look at loans from a quantitatively more informed standpoint, modelling “success” by taking into account frequency of the counterparts available in the language adopting the loanwords, we propose a similar model of loan-use and demonstrate its benefits in a case study of loanwords from Māori into (New Zealand) English. Our model contributes to previous work in this area by combining both the success measure mentioned above with a rich range of linguistic characteristics of the loanwords (such as loan length and word class), as well as a similarly detailed group of sociolinguistic characteristics of the speakers using them (gender, age and ethnicity of both, speakers and addresses). Our model is unique in bringing together of all these factors at the same time. The findings presented here illustrate the benefit of a quantitatively balanced approach to modelling loanword use. Furthermore, they illustrate the complex interaction between linguistic and sociolinguistic factors in such language contact scenarios.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:76113
Publisher:De Gruyter


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