A Glossary of Historical Linguistics

A Glossary of Historical Linguistics

A Glossary of Historical Linguistics

A Glossary of Historical Linguistics

Synopsis

Historical Linguistics - the study of language change - is a major field in linguistics. With its long history and numerous subfields of its own, Historical Linguistics provides challenges to both beginning students and scholars not specialized in this field. This Glossary meets thesechallenges by providing accessible and widely representative definitions, discussion, and examples of key terms and concepts used in the field. It is written by two well-known authorities in this field. The book is extremely valuable to anyone wishing to understand historical linguistic terminology and concepts.

Excerpt

linguistic acculturation

Response in a language to new items that become known through cultural contact. As the speakers of a language in contact with other cultures encounter new cultural items, they may: (1) borrow (or import, transfer) the associated vocabulary from that community’s language, (2) innovate terms from resources internal to their own language, (3) shift the meaning of already existing, native vocabulary (semantic shift), including sometimes total displacing an old referent with a new one, or there may be semantic extension of an original meaning to encompass a new referent etc. A semantic shift may be combined with some innovated material, so that a borrowed term is modified by a native one. In Kiliwa (Yuman family, Baja California, Mexico), contact with Spanish led to many examples that illustrate these acculturating mechanisms. The language initially borrowed a small number of lexical items, for example Spanish fraile ‘friar’ > paa ?iy li? ‘friar’ (lit. ‘person (with) tonsured hair’). In contrast to the scarcity of borrowed terms, there is an abundant innovated vocabulary reflecting various stages of technological and cultural influence: miy kwx?aly ‘Hispanic’ (lit. ‘feet smooth’), xa?l kwñmatp ‘Anglos’ (lit. ‘water-in dwelling, sailor’). More recent innovations are: wa? kws?hin ‘automobile’ (lit. ‘house running’), wa? kwi?hiw ‘airplane’ (lit. ‘house flying’); qhaay smaa ‘money, metal’ (lit. ‘cliff root’), qhaay smaa wa? ‘bank’ (lit. ‘money house’), qhaay smaa kwxwit ‘banker’ (lit. ‘money seller’) . . .

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