Some problems of borrowing in the Russian language

Let me introduce my system worked out on their base. It includes four ways of borrowing: 1)translation; 2)transplantation (according to

Some problems of borrowing in the Russian language



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Some problems of borrowing in the Russian language

S.B. Nevejina, Омский государственный университет, кафедра общего языкознания

This article concerns borrowings from European languages. Although the study of foreign lexics and, wider, language borrowing has its own history over a long period of time in linguistics both in Russia and abroad (one can mention the names of great scholars who dealt with this problem: Bloomfield, Scherba, Grot. Haugen) the problem of borrowing by the Russian language hasn't been solved yet. The least investigated aspect is the graphic and orthographic one.

Spelling of loans contains complex of theoretical problems: principals of spelling borrowings and ways of reproducing foreign words in the Russian language; description of phonetic and morphological adaptive processes in the foreign lexics; forming orthographic standard, correlation of norm and codification of borrowings.

Ways of transmission of loans and processes of adaptation are examined in the paper. They are considered as applied to the material of foreign words from "Vesty-Kuranty. 1600-1639." - a business written language monument of the XVII century.

Up to now the active borrowing from European languages was believed to begin in Peter I epoch. However the period just precedent was significant too. A lot of words fixed in dictionaries for the beginning of the XVIII century penetrated into the Russian written language in the XVII century. Thus examination of "Vesty-Kuranty. 1600-1639." permits us to correct some data connected with foreign word appearance. According to "Этимологический словарь русского языка " by M. Fasmer the word "галера" penetrated into Russian in 1665. But it was mentioned in the "Kuranty" in 1620. It also concerns the following words: "герб"(1644) - 1620, "коруна"(1613) - 1600, "карета"(XVII - XVIII) - 1636, "миля"(1702) - 1620, "мызник"(1701) - 1600, "персона"(1633) - 1620, "пистолет"(1689) - 1630-31, "рота"(1701) - 1600, "секретарь"(1720) - 1621.[1]

As for the Russian spelling the XVII century was the period of standardizing. Then analyzing orthographical monuments of that time allows us both to retrace orthographical norm forming and to realise phenomena of modern language.

Let me make clear what I mean by borrowing. This concept is used in a variety of senses. I shall use it to mean 1) the element of an alien language which is carried from one language to another as a result of language contacts and also 2) the process of element transition.

It may be said there is some tradition to call the words less adapted in the Russian language "foreign words". Though it is fair that the division of words depending on their adaptation is correct in a certain historical moment only. I suppose the foreign word is more preferable for this work because most of the words presented in the "Kuranty" are at the stage of penetration. But the fact of strange word penetration can't be the evidence of its borrowing yet.[2]

1. Ways of reproducing foreign words

Spelling of foreign words is a pressing and undecided problem in the Russian which is explained by several ways of introducing borrowings into the Russian text. The ways depend upon languages and loans. At present there are various classifications of borrowing ways Russian scholars offer.[4,5,6]

Let me introduce my system worked out on their base. It includes four ways of borrowing: 1)translation; 2)transplantation (according to G.G. Tymofeeva presupposes a mechanical transportation of lexical unit graphemes from one language to another without any changes in borrowed word spelling. E. g.: 'ad libitum' ); 3)transliteration (when graphemes are reproduced by equivalent graphemes of another standardized written language. E.g.:'Диест - German: Diest [i:]'); 4)transphoning (this term from the classification by Tymofeeva should take the place of the conventional (but not very correct and convenient) practical transcription first used by A.M. Suhotyn. So transphoning is a reproduction of a word written form on script. E. g.: 'Киль - German: Kiel [i:]'. It is necessary to divide it into codified transphoning coming through the written language, concordant with accepted rules of transcribing by means of the Russian alphabet and uncodified transphoning coming through the spoken language, unnormatively, where influence of dialects, speaker's individual peculiarities is possible).

"Vesty-Kuranty. 1600-1639." contains a great deal of foreign lexics so long as it is the translation of foreign press reports mainly. The language which the foreign words have come from directly having been defined, word forms in it should be restored. Then, it is necessary to find out the spelling and pronunciation of borrowings in that time. For our work all mass of the foreign words is limited to borrowings from German (Ger.), French(Fr.), Italian (It.), Polish, Greek, Latin.

After the restoration of word forms in foreign languages and their analysis it is observed the absence of transplantated forms in the "Vesty - Kuranty" at all. A series of words is introduced by translation both total (f.e.: Теплый колодезь - Warmbrunn) and partial (Eизеннов городок - Eisenstadt).

It should be noticed there is an obvious tendency to borrow words by transliteration. E. g.: Арбоис - Fr. Arbois [a:rbwa], Анор - Fr. Anor [ano:], Полигна - Fr. Poligny [polin'i], etc.

There is a great number of words demonstrating combination of transliteration and transphoning. E.g.: Монпелир - Fr. Montpellier [mõpeje], Меисен - Ger. Meissen, etc.

2. Phonetic and morphological adaptive processes in the foreign lexics from the material of "Vesty-Kuranty. 1600-1639."

After being taken into a borrowing language system a foreign word begins to interact it immediately. Therefore the borrowing is allowed to be considered as the process of gradual adaptаtion into space and time i. e. the accommodation of the foreign word to different parts of the recipient language system. Adaptаtions may be various and cover all tiers of the language structure. The process of adaptаtion has complex nature. The base for observation of adaptаtion ways is vocal and consonant substitutions. (Substitutions are the Russian sounds represented in a written fixed form which correspond to the foreign language sounds being initial for them). Phonetic and morphological adaptаtions were described by V.G. Demyanov.[3] You could see the following adaptations in the "Vesty-Kuranty".

1. Simplification of vocal groups. Since combinations of vowels inside a morpheme are not natural for the Russian words the language tries to get rid of unusual combinations. There are some ways to realize this simplification tendency: by a single vowel (Fr. ua: Мantua - Манту), by intervocalic [j] appearance (It. ia: Bolognia - Бологнея, Pavia - Павия), by appearance of semivowel -в- (Ger. au: Pillau - Пилоyв, It. ia: Savigliano - Савиглевано), and by consonantization of one of vowels (Ger. au: Aurich - Аврик, Torgau - Торгав).

But sometimes there is retaining vowel combinations. (Ger. Hildesheim - Гилдесгеим, Ger. Naumburg - Наумбург, It. Cuneo - Кунео, It. Savigliano - Савиглиано).

2. Contamination is an interaction of the language units contacting either in associative (paradigmatic) or in syntagmatic relations. This interaction leads to semantic or formal alteration of language units and frequently a new language unit аppears. Contaminated form acquires traits of both interacting forms.

At first contaminated phenomenon is always a departure from language norms. But in time it can become standard.

It is accepted to distinguish the contamination proceeding within one language system and the contamination connected with the interaction of various language systems. The last takes place first of all in the part of vocabulary which is the least common use in speech where regulating action of norms is minimal but influence of different languages and multicontactivity are great. (Just that very language situation is presented in the foreign word material of the "Vesty - Kuranty".) It is not easy to recognize this process because it presupposes knowlege of standard, ascertainment of foreign models. Besides there are final results of this process in the texts.

Contaminated forms may reflect: 1)reading (or pronunciation) of different languages. E. g.: Fr. LaRochelle - Рошхелле showing mixture of French reading ch [ ∫ ] with German that [h]; 2)various pronunciation in a language-origin. E. g.: Ger. Steiermark - Шстирмарская земля. (German dialects vary in pronunciation of combination st: [st] and [ ∫t ] ); 3)combination of different ways of reproduction (transcription and transliteration). Fr. Marseille [marsej] - Марсеили.

3. Assimilation and dissimilation are combinatorial sound changes caused by syntagmatic position of a sound in a word. Given as final results (sound substitutions) they can be: vocal and consonant according to participation in word-formation (а - а > а - е: Fr. Kalmar [а:] - Калмер; mb > нб: Ger. Wirtemberg - Виртенбурх), contact and distant according to the level of positional conditionality (sb > cn: Ger. Dinkelsbubl - в Дункелспиле; v - v > в - б: Fr. Vervins - Верберъ), progressive and regressive according to the direction in word phonetic structure (у - е > у - у: Ger. Ukermark - в Укурмарке; е - о > о - о: Fr. Mentone - в Монтону), total and partial according to the level of sound resemblance (а - е > а - а: Ger. Magdeburg - Магдабур; е - а > у - а: It. Bergamo - из Бургама).

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