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Foreign words in the Russian lexical system

Foreign words in the Russian lexical system
Dolgaleva Ekaterina, senior lecturer, candidate of education

Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Russia

Conference participant

81(045)=111

The article is devoted to the concept of borrowing in the Russian language. It gives an overview of main theories and terms given by well-known Russian and foreign linguists. There is information on the types and causes of borrowings as well as the stages the borrowing process takes in a language.

Keywords: borrowing, language interaction, loan, assimilation, receptive language.

 

As all know, the language vocabulary is the most moving language component in the process of constant change. Vocabulary of a language changes getting enriched and reflecting its development in terms of a certain historical period in the evolution of the society. These phenomena are not directly related to the system of a language, here may be related the processes of changing the meanings of words and vocabulary enrichment by borrowing words from other languages.

The problem of linguistic borrowing has actualized in recent decades due to the active development of various aspects of language interaction. The growing number of studies has shown a contradiction between the traditional explanation of borrowing schemes, mainly prevailing in the nineteenth century, and new ideas about the language processes and the structure of a language, common for the second half of the twentieth century. Different views on key aspects of borrowing presented in the national and foreign literature are covered in the work by T.G. Linnik [9, p. 320]. The author, however, has not defined and analyzed long existing in linguistics polar approaches to understanding the core content of the process of borrowing. Investigation of the processes and results of lexical borrowing in the last few decades has been conducted in two ways: some linguists have focused on the aspect of intra-entry of foreign language elements in the borrowing language (Amosova, Bloomfield, Krysin, Mayorov [10]), while others are considering borrowing in the context of bilingualism and intersystem language interaction (Aristova, Weinreich, Haugen). Widespread traditional understanding of borrowing as transition, transfer, penetration of elements of one language into another language is opposed to its explanation of the creation by their own means of language elements through creative imitation, rough copy or structural modeling by analogy with the non-native specimen.

The first approach took shape in the nineteenth century and continues to dominate today. It, in particular, was given in the famous monograph by L.P. Krysin [7], relied on by many subsequent national works. This approach dominates in the scientific and educational literature, in modern linguistic encyclopedias.

The Linguistic encyclopedia of 1990 gives the following definition: 'Borrowing is an element of a foreign language (word, morpheme, syntax, etc.) transferred from one language to another as a result of a language contact, as well as the process of transition elements of the same language in another' [14, p.158].

O.S. Akhmanova under the borrowing understands 'turning to the lexical fund of other languages ​​to express new concepts, further differentiation of existing and designations of previously unknown objects' [3, p.150-151]. Thus, the author formulates the main aspects necessary for disclosing the concepts.

Bloomfield [15, p. 455] under the borrowing understands a certain kind of language change and distinguishes: 1) borrowing the concept of culture , and 2) 'internal borrowing' that result in the immediate language contact due to territorial or political proximity 3) dialect borrowing penetrating into literary language of the dialects.

The essence of the borrowing drawn by E. Haugen, consists in reproducing the language models in the other one, the nature of the reproduction may be different at different levels [13, p. 212]. Based on the degree of morphemic and phonemic substitution (zero, partial, full ) of a foreign language model by means of another language, Haugen groups all borrowings according their structural features: 1) borrowed words (loan words), i.e. a fully reproduced foreign language morpheme with zero, partial or complete phonemic substitution 2) borrowed morphemes (loan blends), i.e. partial reproduction of foreign language models, and 3) borrowed meanings (loan translations, semantic loans) with a zero morphemic and  phonetic reproduction of a foreign language model.

U. Weinreich considers the borrowing as the initial form of interference of languages ​​in bilinguistics [4, 16].

Expanding the concept of borrowing in terms of its structural composition, some linguists, in particular B.I. Zabavnikov [6], suggest considering not only the possibility of penetration in the native language of the foreign word or its internal form, but also the nature of borrowing on the phonetic, phonological, graphic, syntactic and other levels, i.e. analyze them in terms of structural and typological correspondences or discrepancies. In this regard, the findings reflect the views of Zabavnikov and Krysin considering it appropriate to call the borrowing process of moving various items from one language to another [7, p. 104-116].

According to V.M. Aristova, divergent views on the concept of borrowing are explained by different methodological settings representatives of various schools and trends in linguistics [1, p. 4].

In the study of a borrowing as a process rather than as a combination of various elements in the foreign-language language in a certain period of its existence, Aristova indicates the need to differentiate primary elements capable of independent movement from the language into the language, and secondary, that are not capable of independent movement. The primary elements, according to the author, include lexical, semantic, syntactic, stylistic elements that have relative independence and support specific speech information. The secondary elements are phonetic, phonological and morphological elements on the grounds that these elements are able to move from a language to a language, but in the content of foreign words. Probability of this borrowing depends on the internal needs of the borrowing language system [1, p. 6-7].

Many linguists studied the causes of borrowing foreign words in the early twentieth century.

It should be noted that there are different backgrounds and reasons for borrowing [8, 12]. The prerequisites for borrowings are certain conditions for the development of the society and the language in which it is possible to activate the process of borrowing.

Among the prerequisites for borrowings today can be:

  • 1) Formation of an open society.
  • 2) Intensification of communication contacts of native speakers of Russian with speakers of other languages;
  • 3) Expansion of bilingualism;
  • 4) The willingness of society to accept foreign language means of expression.

There are a lot of reasons why one language borrows from another language. Following the leading linguists (Lotte, Krysin, Erenkov, Breiter), there are extra linguistic, external and proper language, intra linguistic, internal causes of borrowing.

Extra linguistic reasons include:

  • · The impact of one culture on another culture;
  • · Increasing interest in the study of a language;
  • · Implementation of measures in the field of language policy aimed at promoting and improving the process of learning foreign languages, on the formation of active bilingualism;
  • · Authority of the source language, which leads to borrowing many words from one language and the emergence of internationalisms, for example, computer and sports terminology are borrowed from the English language: scanner, joystick, overtime, arm wrestling, bodybuilding, etc.
  • ·  Historically conditioned interest of certain social culture in the culture of another country.

Intra linguistic borrowing reasons include the following:

  • · The absence of the native language an equivalent word for a new concept or object (computer, pager, fax, printer, copier). This is considered the main reason for borrowing.
  • · Tendency to use one borrowed word instead of a native descriptive clause, i.e. longing for concision, the law of economy, for example, inauguration, impeachment, etc.
  • · Tendency to detailing certain concepts, demarcating some of their connotations, by 'fixing' them with different words, i.e. striving for accuracy, for example, a grant, an image, a killer, etc.
  • · Furthermore, we can distinguish socio-psychological reasons:
  • · The tendency to expressivity, prestige of foreign words gives rise to foreign-language stylistic synonyms, for example, a teenager, publicity, etc.
  • · Communicative relevance. For example, before the elections the more commonly used words are electorate, rating, impeachment.
  • · Formation of international jargon: highlife, single label, blazer.

Most linguists rightly believe that the borrowing process is a complex phenomenon that takes 3 main stages:

  • 1. Penetration of the foreign word in a new language.
  • All foreign words go through this stage, but, as indicated by Aristova, the entry period may be different. The shortest period is the occasional use of words that have, as a rule, in the Russian language equivalents - absolute synonyms. The longest – the words that do not have equivalents in the Russian reality on the semantic content (a cop, Quakers, gin, etc.) [1, p. 9]. At the first stage, the word is repeated on the speech level with the subsequent entry into the recipient language system.
  • 2. Partial assimilation of the word, or 'borrowing period' [1, p. 9].
  • At this stage there is a strong semantic impact of the source language on the loanword. Aristova explains this phenomenon by expansion of use of the word in relation to reality of the language-receptor. Moreover, the word can sometimes get a different interpretation of the explanatory (dictionaries) or contextual (literature) character.
  • 3. The final stage of assimilation: the complete assimilation of words of the receptive language, full formal and semantic assimilation of a foreign language material.

It is important to emphasize that not all the words that fall into one or another language, go through three stages of assimilation. Some linger in the initial stage and speaking perceived as foreign. In this sense, we can divide all loans into unassimilated, partially assimilated and fully assimilated.

Not assimilated words stand out sharply against the background of the vocabulary of the language. Many linguists define such a vocabulary as exotic. Exotic vocabulary is 'words and expressions borrowed from the little-known languages, usually non-Indo-European, and are used to give a special color to the speech' [2, p. 215]. D.E. Rosenthal believes that 'exotisms' are words that characterize the specific features of the lives of different peoples and are used to describe a foreign language reality [11, p. 134]. So to depict the life of the Caucasus peoples in the Russian language there are such words as: 'aul', 'saclya', 'gighit', etc. Exotisms have no synonyms in the language-receptor, so reference to them when describing the national specificity is explained by necessity.

In another group there are barbarisms, i.e. foreign words transferred to the language-receptor, the use of which has an individual character. Barbarisms are not fixed by dictionaries of foreign words. They are not assimilated by the language, although with time it can be fixed. Thus, almost all loans before entering into a permanent part of the vocabulary for some time were barbarisms. For example, in the Russian language to the barbarisms may refer 'ok', 'merci', 'happy end'. Many of them remain of un-Russian spelling.

According to the method of assimilation borrowings can be oral and written.

Oral borrowings are typical for older eras – before the widespread of writing, and in modern times they are marked where there are massive household contacts between speakers of different languages ​​without the systematic use of written forms of communication. When borrowed orally, a word undergoes more changes in its appearance than the written one and easy to assimilate. If the word is included in the language of the people, while borrowing a new subject, the meaning of this loan does not change [14, p. 159].

A 'book borrowing' is a 'word or phrase penetrated into the language through literature; such borrowings have different book speech coloring' [3, p. 151]. Book borrowings are closer to the original both in meaning, and in appearance, however, they are harder to assimilate in the language, retaining some features that are alien to its grammar and phonetics.

Borrowings represent one of the fundamental phenomena of the language life: it is an international exchange in the field of languages ​caused by the totality of relations between nations.

Assimilation of borrowings deserves to be studied in respect of both form and meaning. Earlier the word used to become a part of the language by hearing and to quickly assimilate phonetically. The main trend in this type of borrowing is to approximate expression plan of the borrowed oral unit to the requirements of phonetics and language phonotactical receptor. This trend is realized in two ways: either unacceptable sounds of a foreign language are replaced by more intimate quality sounds of the borrowing language with the retention of the number of phonemes and their order (the basis of this phenomenon is a process that can be defined as cross-language phoneme identification), or foreign language sounds complex is replaced by neoplasm of ancestral sounds based on acoustic impression of a native speaker.

A. Dosa [5, p. 156] suggests that adapting to new phonetics a borrowing is often subjected to a strong change. Assimilation happens sometimes by eliminating one or two elements of a compound word, bringing the word divorced from its mother tongue, becoming incomprehensible to it. Borrowing gets the final right of citizenship in the language when it starts to create derivatives by derivation or by changing the meaning.

No less interesting is the assimilation of meanings. Once in the Russian language, a foreign word often changes its meaning or converts it, acquiring new connotations, additional meanings ​​that were not characteristic of him in its native language.

Society usually adopts a new word when it does not contradict the norms of the language, i.e. becomes meaningful and communicative and actively used by native speakers. An important role in the analysis of borrowings should be given to such factors as fashion, prestige.

If there are no such factors, a foreign word either quickly leaves the language, or remains in its passive vocabulary, professional terminology systems, limiting its use to functional and stylistic components as 'special' , 'professional', 'book', etc.

In everyday Russian speech borrowings penetrate through the media. Since the main borrowing areas are politics, economy, popular culture (showbiz, entertainment, fashion), i.e. most popular media topic areas, newspapers, magazines, radio and television programs abound with foreign words .

Use of foreign words is considered fashionable, because it demonstrates not only broad mind of the author, foreign language knowledge, but also the prospects for the adoption of international contacts, the formation of an open society. But it should be taken into account that the frequent occurrence of foreign words in the media does not ensure a proper understanding by native language speakers.

The meaning of many foreign words remains unknown to many native speakers or inaccurately understood, often erroneously. Typically, this is a consequence of ignorance of foreign languages; the lack of quality of comments, explanations by journalists of the meanings of foreign words ​​used in the media, the lack of attention to the problem of understanding of commonly used foreign words by native Russian language speakers. The result is the formation of an inadequate word meaning in the mind of a native speaker, the ignorance of the system components of the meaning, distortion of meanings. The improper usage can lead to communicative failures. Therefore, it is necessary to examine how different categories of Russian speakers understand the meaning of the most commonly used foreign words.

 

References:

  • 1. Аристова В.М. Англо-русские языковые контакты / англицизмы в русском языке. – Л.: Изд-во Ленинградс. Ун-та, 1978. – 152с.
  • 2. Ахманова О.С. О психолингвистике. – М.: «Наука», 1956. – 367с.
  • 3. Ахманова О.С. Словарь лингвистических терминов. – М.: Сов.энц., 1969.
  • 4. Вайнрайх У. Одноязычие и многоязычие // Новое в лингвистике. – М.: Изд-во иностранная литература, 1972.
  • 5. Доза А. История французского языка. – М.: Изд-во иностр. лит-ры, 1956. – 472с.
  • 6. Забавников Б.Н. Об аспектной классификации французских заимствований в немецком языке. – Воронеж: Изд-во Воронеж. Ун-та, 1966. – 113с.
  • 7. Крысин Л.П. К определению терминов «заимствование» и «заимствованное слово» // Развитие лексики современного русского языка. – М., 1965. – С.104-116
  • 8. Крысин Л.П. О русском языке наших дней // Изменяющийся языковой мир: Пермь, 2002
  • 9. Линник Т.Г. Проблемы языкового заимствования // Языковые ситуации и взаимодействие языков. – Киев, 1989.
  • 10. Майоров А.П. Социальные аспекты взаимодействия языков в билингвистическом коммуникативном пространстве. – Уфа: БГМУ, 1997. – 137с.
  • 11. Розенталь Д.Э., Теленкова М.А. Словарь лингвистических терминов. – М.: «Просвещение», 1976. – 357с.
  • 12. Стернин И.А. Лексическое значение слова в речи. – Воронеж: Изд-во Воронеж. Ун-та, 1985. – 171с.
  • 13. Хауген Э. Процесс заимствования // Новое в лингвистике. – М.: Прогресс, 1972. – Т. VI– С.344-382
  • 14. Ярцева В.Н. Лингвистический энциклопедический словарь. – М.: «Наука», 1990.- 346с.
  • 15. Bloomfield, Leonard. Linguistic aspects of science // Philosophy of science. – 2/4. – 1965. – P. 499-517
  • 16. Weinreich, U. Languages in contact: N.Y., 1953
Comments: 1

Loshchenova Iryna

Dear Ekaterina, the review of FOREIGN WORDS IN LEXICAL SYSTEM of a language is thoroughly done. But very few examples can hardly bear witness to their role in the Russian language. Disputable seems the statement of foreign words usage in native speakers' communication which you believe fashionable. But your personal comment which finalizes the thesis is persuading. Good luck in your scientific research!
Comments: 1

Loshchenova Iryna

Dear Ekaterina, the review of FOREIGN WORDS IN LEXICAL SYSTEM of a language is thoroughly done. But very few examples can hardly bear witness to their role in the Russian language. Disputable seems the statement of foreign words usage in native speakers' communication which you believe fashionable. But your personal comment which finalizes the thesis is persuading. Good luck in your scientific research!
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