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Type: Journal article
Title: Ibridazione Culturale: Neologizzazione a Fonte Multipla in Lingue 'Reinventate' e in Lingue a Scrittura 'Fono-Logografica'
Author: Zuckermann, G.
Citation: Ethnorema: lingue, popoli e culture, 2010; 6:1-32
Publisher: Associazione Ethnorema
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 1826-8803
Statement of
Ghil'ad Zuckermann
Abstract: This article analyses a fascinating and multifaceted mechanism of lexical expansion. It introduces the term 'phono-semantic matching' to refer to the phenomenon in which a foreign lexical item is reproduced in the host language, using pre-existent native elements that are similar to the foreign word both in meaning and in sound. Such multisourced neologization constitutes a culturally-loaded camouflaged borrowing. The article explores this camouflaged borrowing in two key language categories: 1. ‘Reinvented’, standardized and puristically-oriented languages, in which language planners attempt to replace undesirable loanwords, e.g. Israeli and Revolutionized Turkish (and Icelandic). 2. Languages using ‘phono-logographic’ script, e.g. Chinese and Japanese (in the latter – to the extent that kanji are used). For puristic language planners, such multisourced neologization of 'one word, two parents', is an ideal means of lexical expansion because it conceals foreign influence from the future native speakers, ensuring lexicographic acceptability of the coinage, recycles obsolete autochthonous roots and words (a delight for purists) and aids initial learning among contemporary learners and speakers. This article constitutes towards the establishment of Revival Linguistics, a new linguistic discipline and paradigm. Zuckermann's term Revival Linguistics is modelled upon 'Contact Linguistics' (<language contact). Revival linguistics inter alia explores the universal mechanisms and constraints involved in language reclamation, renewal and revitalization. It draws perspicacious comparative insights from one revival attempt to another, thus acting as an epistemological bridge between parallel discourses in various local attempts to revive sleeping tongues all over the globe. Furthermore, the article has two important conclusions with regard to the second key language category: (1) Chinese script is multifunctional: pleremic ('full' of meaning, e.g. logographic), cenemic ('empty' of meaning, e.g. phonographic, just like a syllabary), and, as phonosemantic matching demonstrates, simultaneously cenemic and pleremic (phonologographic). (2) Bloomfield's assertion that 'a language is the same no matter what system of writing may be used' (1933:21), which echoes Saussure (1916:46), is inaccurate. It might be the case that generally speaking, a language is – generally – speaking. However, if Chinese had been written using roman letters, hundreds of Chinese words would have been coined with completely different forms. The analysis of multisourced neologization has important implications not only for contact linguistics, lexicology and comparative historical linguistics, but also for revival linguistics, sociolinguistics and cultural studies.
Rights: © Ethnorêma, 2010
RMID: 0020110621
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Appears in Collections:Linguistics publications

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