SEMANTIC ADAPTATION OF ITALIAN LOANWORDS IN THE SPLIT

Author:
Maja Bezić
Email:
mbezic@ffst.hr
Summary
This paper contributes to the study of the semantic aspect of Italian loanwords in the Split dialectal lexis. Italian loanwords are those loanwords that have been borrowed in the dialect of the city of Split from the northern Italian dialects, namely the Venetian and Triestine dialects, and from the standard Italian language. The corpus, which is composed of 187 Italian loanwords referring to human qualities and characteristics, is excerpted from four dictionaries of the Split dialect. The meanings of dialectal replicas are compared to the meanings of their Italian models indicated in the Italian dialectal and monolingual dictionaries. The semantic adaptation of replicas is analysed using the method proposed by the Croatian linguist Rudolf Filipović in his theory of languages in contact. According to Filipović, during the process of semantic adaptation loanwords go through three types of changes with respect to semantic extension: a) zero semantic extension, b) restriction of meaning, c) expansion of meaning. The zero-semantic extension and the restriction of meaning are parts of the first stage of adaptation or primary adaptation, while the expansion of meaning is a part of the second stage of adaptation or secondary adaptation. From the semantic point of view, Italian loanwords referring to the intimate spheres of human activity are interesting because during the process of semantic adaptation they tend not only to restrict their meaning, but also to expand it. The results of this study have revealed a high level of semantic adaptation of Italian loanwords referring to human qualities and characteristics in the Split dialect. The majority of analysed replicas have gone through the restriction in the number of their meanings when compared to their Italian models, which confirms a general tendency of loanwords towards the restriction of meaning.
Key words
Italian loanwords; Split dialect; human qualities and characteristics; primary semantic adaptation; secondary semantic adaptation
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