Cultural hybridization: multiple source neologization in reinvented and phono-logographic script languages

Zuckermann, Ghil'ad (2010) Cultural hybridization: multiple source neologization in reinvented and phono-logographic script languages. Ethnorema, 6 3: 1-32.

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Author Zuckermann, Ghil'ad
Title Cultural hybridization: multiple source neologization in reinvented and phono-logographic script languages
Formatted title
Ibridazione Culturale: Neologizzazione a Fonte Multipla in Lingue
‘Reinventate’ e in Lingue a Scrittura ‘Fono-Logografica'
Journal name Ethnorema   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1826-8803
Publication date 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 6
Issue 3
Start page 1
End page 32
Total pages 32
Collection year 2011
Language ita
Abstract This article analyses a fascinating and multifaceted mechanism of lexical expansion. It introduces the term "phono-semantic matching" to refer to the phenomenon in which a foreign lexical item is reproduced in the host language, using pre-existent native elements that are similar to the foreign word both in meaning and in sound. Such multi-sourced neologization constitutes a culturally-loaded camouflaged borrowing. The article explores this camouflaged borrowing in two key language categories: 1. 'Reinvented', standardized and puristically-oriented languages, in which language-planners attempt to replace undesirable loanwords, e.g. Israeli and Revolutionized Turkish (and Icelandic). 2. Languages using 'phono-logographic' script, e.g. Chinese and Japanese (in the latter – to the extent that kanji are used). For puristic language planners, such multisourced neologization of "one word, two parents", is an ideal means of lexical expansion because it conceals foreign influence from the future native speakers, ensuring lexicographic acceptability of the coinage, recycles obsolete autochthonous roots and words (a delight for purists) and aids initial learning among contemporary learners and speakers. This article constitutes towards the establishment of Revival Linguistic's term Revival Linguistics is modelled upon "Contact Linguistics" (language contact). Revival linguistics inter alia explores the universal mechanisms and constraints involved in language reclamation, renewal and revitalization. It draws perspicacious comparative insights from one revival attempt to another, thus acting as an epistemological bridge between parallel discourses in various local attempts to revive sleeping tongues all over the globe. Furthermore, the article has two important conclusions with regard to the second key language category: (1) Chinese script is multifunctional: pleremic ("full" of meaning, e.g. logographic), cenemic ("empty" of meaning, e.g. phonographic, just like a syllabary), and, as phono-semantic matching demonstrates, simultaneously cenemic and pleremic (phono-logographic). (2) Bloomfield‟s assertion that "a language is the same no matter what system of writing may be used" (1933:21), which echoes Saussure (1916:46), is inaccurate. It might be the case that generally speaking, a language is – generally – speaking. However, if Chinese had been written using roman letters, hundreds of Chinese words would have been coined with completely different forms. The analysis of multisourced neologization has important implications not only for contact linguistics, lexicology and comparative historical linguistics, but also for revival linguistics, sociolinguistics and cultural studies.
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Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Non HERDC
School of Communication and Arts Publications
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Created: Wed, 16 Feb 2011, 10:14:09 EST by Ms Stormy Wehi on behalf of School of Communication and Arts