Article published in:Mots nous en català / New words in Catalan: Una panoràmica geolectal / A diatopic view
Edited by M. Teresa Cabré Castellví, Ona Domènech Bagaria and Rosa Estopà
[IVITRA Research in Linguistics and Literature 7] 2014
► pp. 133–144
Manlleus de l’anglès / English loanwords
A very productive mechanism to create neologisms in Catalan is that of borrowing from other languages, especially from English, due to its condition of lingua franca. In this chapter we analyze the neologisms created by English loanwords, detected between 2008 and 2010 in general written media, which total 2,322. We present a diatopic study of this morphological process, focusing on the differences and similarities between the different Catalan dialectal modalities. Although there were few differences in the neologisms created from English loanwords among the different nodes of the NEOXOC network, we found some noteworthy similarities and particularities of this type of words among territories, especially regarding frequency and thematic areas. Loanwords were about 10–15% of total neologisms in each node, with the exception of Girona and Lleida, where the percentages were above 20%. Regarding repetition and frequency, most English loanwords were hapaxes, and territorial differences in this sense were scarce. More specifically, blog was the most frequent neologism created by borrowing from English, and was found in every node, as well as play-off, lobby, ska and spa, which were also between the most frequent ones in every node. It was in thematic areas where most differences between the nodes arose, which showed that denominative needs were greatly affected by the circumstances relevant to each zone. Although sports was the thematic area to which the majority of the most frequent neologisms belonged, in Andorra this area reached 80%, where most of these words were related to snow sports. ICT and music were also very productive overall. It is clear that the huge presence of the English language in these thematic areas is the reason why they were the most frequent in the case of English loanwords. Surprisingly, we found very few instances of expressive English loanwords, which may be accounted for by the fact that the publications analyzed used a standard model of language. To sum up, this preliminary study on neologisms created by English loanwords allows us to observe some tendencies that should be confirmed in future research by conducting a more profound analysis with a bigger corpus, especially by focusing on the hapaxes of each territory, since they form the majority of the data.
Keywords: borrowing, Catalan, diatopic variation, English as a lingua franca, language of the media, language variation, loanwords, neology
Published online: 24 October 2014
Bardagil, Bernat et al. (
Observatori de Neologia (
2004a) Metodologia del treball en neologia: criteris, materials i processos. Barcelona: Institut Universitari de Lingüística Aplicada. Versió en línia disponible a: www.iula.upf.edu/repositori/04mon008.pdf.