Detecting language change
Māori loanwords in a diachronic topic-constrained corpus of New Zealand English newspapers
The borrowing of words from one language into another is most likely as ancient as language itself. While ample linguistic attention has focused on various linguistic contact scenarios in which words from one language enter productive use into another, their aim has been largely restricted to documenting the words which are borrowed, their frequency, and other situation-specific information. In this paper, we propose new methods for studying loanwords, namely a combination of statistical testing techniques which can be used together to increase knowledge in this area. We illustrate these tools with a case-study of loanwords from an indigenous language (Māori) into a world dominant language (New Zealand English). Using a topic-constrained newspaper corpus in conjunction with quantitative methods, we explore the use of loanwords diachronically and analyse variation in loanword use across newspapers and across writers.
Keywords: loanwords, corpus linguistics, diachronic analysis, New Zealand English, Māori
Published online: 02 March 2020
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