Lexical Parallelism: Are There Unnecessary Loanwords (Of English Origin)?

Author:
Branka Drljača Margić; Filozofski fakultet, Rijeka
Email:
bdrljaca@ffri.hr
Summary
The paper discusses the category of necessity in borrowing, primarily from English, examining whether (English) loanwords can really be classed as either necessary or unnecessary. Employing the example of a recent attempt (Prćić 2005) to classify loanwords of English origin by how justified it is to use them in the recipient language, the author aims to show such classifications to be imprecise and oversimplified. The primary goal of the paper is to give and analyse the reasons for using loanwords. It argues that the speakers are motivated to use loanwords by an array of linguistic and socio-psychological needs and desires - from the need to fill a lexical gap, to the desire to express themselves economically, precisely and creatively, to the need to express their subcultural identity through the use of borrowings. The author concludes that both loanwords and their native equivalents make up what Bourdieu (1991) terms linguistic capital, and that lexical choice depends on the nature of linguistic markets. Thus the loanword will fare better on one market, and its native equivalent on another. The parallel use of loanwords and their native equivalents greatly enhances the layered nature of language use - that is, the semantic, stylistic, and functional diversification of language.
Key words
(English) loanword; necessity in linguistic borrowing; reasons for using loanwords
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