Edited by Teresa Cabré, Ona Domènech Bagaria and Rosa Estopà
[IVITRA Research in Linguistics and Literature 7] 2014
► pp. 115–131
Loanwords are a strategy to expand the vocabulary of a language, by which a word is borrowed from a donor language and directly incorporated into a recipient language. In written language, these borrowed units can go through a process of graphic adaptation to the recipient language, or they can preserve their original orthography. The use of loanwords may be motivated by the need to describe a new reality or just by linguistic creativity and expressivity. One of the languages that most frequently lends lexical units to Catalan is, after English, Spanish (32% of all loanwords, and 9.2% of all neologisms). Within Spanish loanwords we find a high percentage of (graphically) adapted neologisms. Overall, the adapted loanwords represent 48.9% of all Spanish loanwords. This high proportion of adapted loanwords reflects the degree of assimilation of certain lexical units to the Catalan orthographic system. Some lexical units show great formal variation (pelotazo, pelotaso, pelotasso), due to fluctuation between the normative form in Spanish and different degrees of graphic adaptation to Catalan, and also great productivity (apijar, pijada, pijerío…). The typological proximity and the contact between both languages result in speakers using words in Catalan that they do not perceive as loanwords from a psychological perspective. This phenomenon is known as interference. In our data, approximately 60% of all loanwords may be the result of this phenomenon. This proportion is fairly high if we bear in mind that our extraction sources undergo several editing filters. Regarding the thematic aspects, the most outstanding feature is the large number of derogatory nouns and adjectives, used mostly as personal qualifiers. We also find numerous units related to Spanish and Latin American cultural expressions. In regards to the occurrence of Spanish loanwords across the different territories, the data show great variability. The scarce coincidence of lexical units across regions leads us to the conclusion that there is a high degree of idiosyncrasy regarding the use of Spanish loanwords in each territory. Most units recorded in a specific region are not found in the rest of territories. The analysis of Spanish loanwords shows that, due mostly to cultural proximity and typological similarity of the Spanish and Catalan languages, they are one of the most frequent strategies to incorporate new words into written Catalan language.
Article language: Spanish