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Chapter 1

Table of Contents

The Impact of Borrowings upon the English Language in British Song Lyrics.

1.1 The Historical Background of Borrowings
1.1.1 Definition of the Borrowings in English
1.1.2 The Classification of Borrowings in English
1.2 Functional Aspect of the Borrowings
1.2.1 The Contribution of Borrowings in English Vocabulary.
1.2.2 Foreign Languages and Borrowings in Music.

The Historical Background of Borrowings
This chapter addresses the theoretical issues relevant to the analysis and
interpretation of the data on borrowings. It represents the theoretical research
based on leading one to perceive the importance and the efficiency of using
borrowings in song lyrics. It is aimed to give an explanation and a classification of
the borrowings taking into account the functional properties of these.
1.1.1 Definition of Borrowing in English.
It becomes a habit to use in ones creation word which are not familiar to the
authors language from the point of view of their originality. This fact instigates
the use of borrowings more and more either in literary works or in the song lyrics.
Many linguists analyzed the concept of borrowings and gave some definitions .
One of them is given by I.V. Arnold in whose opinion
a borrowing is a word from one language introduced into another.[Arnold.pag.
Another linguist who defined borrowings is S.Kemmer, he stands for the
definition in which borrowings are perceived as adopted words which raise the
expressivity in creations.
It can be noticed that this two opinions are not so different from each other but the
Kemmers opinion is much motivated and precise than Arnolds however the
necessity of borrowing can be deduced easily from both definitions.
There is no transfer from one language to another, and no "returning" words to
the source language. They simply come to be used by a speech community that
speaks a different language from the one they originated in. [Arnold pag.253]
The linguists also think that borrowing is a consequence of cultural contact
between two language communities. If one were to make a deeper research about
causes of borrowings it can be noticed that a great influence has the historical
background and also the social context.

Another source points to the fact that it is part of the cultural history of English
speakers that they have always adopted loanwords from the languages of whatever
cultures they have come in contact with. There have been few periods when
borrowing became unfashionable, and there has never been a national academy in
Britain, the U.S., or other English-speaking countries to attempt to restrict new
loanwords, as there has been in many continental European countries.[Kemmer
parag. 4]
As Arnold says , the cause of borrowings is the rate of change in technology,
political, social and artistic life he argues that this has accelerated the process of
borrowing.[Arnold pag.260]
From the point of view of these linguists borrowings are necessary elements
in creation either for raising the expressivity or to prove a flexible vocabulary
incorporating words from another languages. Borrowings also could make the
process of understanding a creation easily and in the same time giving an original
aspect to that creation.

The given chapter make a classification of borrowings according to some lexical
criteria . It will also present the classification in accordance with the borrowed
aspect. In this chapter one would be able to figure out the more appropriate
criteria using borrowings in song lyrics.

1.1.2 The Classification of Borrowings in English

The linguist E.M Dubenetz classified borrowings according to following criteria:
1.according to the aspect which is borrowed;
2. according to the degree of assimilation
Reffering to the first criteria , Dubenetz points that there are such groups of
borrowings as: phonetic borrowings, translation loans, semantic borrowings,
morphemic borrowings and he argues that phonetic borrowings are most
characteristic in all languages and hes right because when words are borrowed
they are borrowed with their spelling, pronunciation and meaning. However every
borrowed word undergoes the process of assimilation which substitues the
borrowed sound by the corresponding sound of the borrowing language.[
Dubenetz.pag 23]
The second criteria is defined by Arnold and he says that the term of translation-
loans is equivalent to borrowing .The linguist also mentions that they are not
taken into the vocabulary of another language more or less in the same phonetic
shape in which they have been functioning in their own language, but undergo the
process of translation.[Arnold pag.260]

If these two criteria are more or less simples , there is another one which is more
complex and more collective- the semantic borrowing. It happens when there are
two relative languages which have common words with different meanings .[
http://www.ranez.ru/article/id/388] Arnold even gives an example and makes
reference to the English language when an English word was borrowed into some
other language, developed , e.g. brigade was borrowed into Russian and
formed the meaning a working collective,. This meaning was
borrowed back into English as a Russian borrowing here a new meaning and this
new meaning was borrowed back into English [Arnold pag.262]
Another criteria of classification is that of the degree of assimilation and again
according to this criteria Dubenetz classifies borrowings as : completely
assimilated, partly assimilated and non-assimilated.
Completely assimilated words follow all morphological, phonetically and
orthographic standards of the English language. Regarding partly assimilated
borrowings they are divided in borrowings non-assimilated: semantically,
phonetically and grammatically. [Dubenetz pag.25]

The classification of borrowings through its differences requires a special
attention which would be transferred later into successful borrowed words. Also it
is obvious that the linguists stress some specific moments to help one in using a
correct form of word being borrowed from another language and introducing it into
its own language.

Functional Aspect of the Borrowings

This given chapter represents the information which refers to the functional aspect
of the borrowings. The purpose of the analysis is to show the influence of
borrowings used in song lyrics. This research gives a series of arguments to prove
the efficiency of borrowings and also introduces the role of borrowings as being
an important one .

1.2.1 The Contribution of Borrowings in English Vocabulary
Borrowings became a usual activity of writers because their contribution is
manifold. The linguist Katamba remarks in this context that there is no purely
linguistic reason for borrowing. According to him no limit exists to the number of
words that can be generated in any language [Katamba,pag. 195]. One reason for
borrowing a suitable word from another language is the need to find a term for an
unfamiliar thing, animal, or cultural device and in this case borrowings helps in
solving this problem. Also Katamba says that another reason of borrowing could
be the need of individual perception and expression because many times people
by using a foreign element in their speech, make a statement about their own self-
perception.[ http://www.um.es/glosasdidacticas/doc-es/19guijarro.pdf]
When speaking about the functions of borrowings it could be said that the main
function of borrowings is communicating the new object/action/idea. Then,
after finding more definitions for one borrowed-word one can choose the suitable
variant and use that one so that in his own perception that word would signify
something different from others visions. It is also a key element of the
individuality that people appeal to borrowings. In the research of Dubenetz it is
mentioned another function of borrowings which is called fashionable function.
The scientist affirms that borrowings are part of the fashion manner of people
because some people use borrowings and consider that this is a special way of
communicate and of showing the fashionable aspect of them. [ Dubenetz pag.27]

In comparison with the first function which is communicative , this second
function is not perceived as a simple communication function but also as a
demonstrative one.
According to Bates L.Hoffer the most complex and efficient function of
borrowings is that of prestige. Making an analogy to the French language , Hoffer
argues that French culture always represented a classical model in everything. Due
to this people who consider themselves as high society class borrow from French
words and use them for expressing their class and prestige.[Hoffer pag.20] It is
possible to make such a assimilation to the English language too especially when
others countries borrow English words to express the prestige.

The importance of the borrowings functions depends on the character of a certain
piece of writing. According to these functions one could focus its attention in
borrowing words having in the same time a firm purpose , to express something in
a very special manner.

The Integration of Borrowings in British Song Lyrics

This research deals with some practical data focusing more on showing the
foreign languages from which were borrowed most of the words into the English
Language. It also analysis the part referring to the process of integration of
borrowings into the songs lyrics.

1.2.2 Foreign Languages and Borrowings in Music.

One of the most popular domain of borrowings is Music. Many writers think
about the originality of their potential world hit. That instigates them to borrow
some special words to reproduce the meaning of that song in the most successful
way. Some of them choose the criterion of prestige to give the singer an high
attitude . Thus writers borrow words from French including them not so often in
the lyrics but they arrange the words so that the aspect of the song would have an
English aspect.[ http://www.eva.nunnemann.com/wp-content/borrowing-in-

According to http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemmer/Words04/structure/borrowed.html the
most borrowed French words in song lyrics are: chaise longue, champagne, chic
rouge, roulette..etc.
Some modern scientists as Elisabeth Honn declared that French borrowings are
the most gentle one. This is caused by the fact of their classical origin which
always gives to the song lyrics a positive aspect.
The British song writers also borrows words from Spanish language. As
example it could be mentioned the words: desperado, mosquito, tornado. The same
source tells that Spanish language doesnt have so big influence upon the British
Music but still has its contribution to the expressive aspect of the lyrics. It should
be mentioned that there is no specific language from which British writers borrow
words, generally they adopt words from different languages but in this chapter are

mentioned only those which has the biggest influence upon English vocabulary .
There are also the Italian, German and a little part of Latin language encountered
in British song lyrics.

To sum up this research it would be necessary to make reference to the criteria of
classification of borrowings to say that the process of borrowing is relatively
connected with these criteria. Firstly people borrow for their own satisfaction, then
they classify their borrowings so that they fit one group with some specific way of
Another feature of the process of borrowing is that referring to the functions. It is
the most important feature because according to their functions, borrowings
became visible clear and they expresses precisely the meaning they should express.

Moldova State University
Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures

Year Project:

The I mpact of Borrowings upon the English Language in
British Song Lyrics

Submited by : Cazacu Maria
Group: 212L
Scientific Adviser: A.Sudnitina

Chisinau 2014

1. Arnold I.V- Lexicology in Modern English.
2. [http://www.ruf.rice.edu~kemmer/Words/loanwords.html]
3. Katherina Kemmer Lexicology and Lexicography
4. Katamba Lexicology (part1) 1993
5. Dubenetz E.M English Lexicology
6. http://www.eva.nunnemann.com/wp-content/borrowing-