Write short notes on the following  (i) Borrowings  (ii) Langue and Parole

Write short notes on the following

 (i) Borrowings

 (ii) Langue and Parole


In linguistics, borrowing (also known as lexical borrowing) is the process by which a word from one language is adapted for use in another. The word that is borrowed is called a borrowing, a borrowed word, or a loanword.

The English language has been described by David Crystal as an “insatiable borrower.” More than 120 other languages have served as sources for the contemporary vocabulary of English. Borrowings

Present-day English is also a major donor language–the leading source of borrowings for many other languages.


From Old English, “becoming”

Examples and Observations

“English has freely appropriated the major parts of its vocabulary from Greek, Latin, French, and dozens of other languages. Even though The official’s automobile functioned erratically consists entirely of borrowed words, with the single exception of the, it is uniquely an English sentence.” Borrowings

“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.” Borrowings

Exploration and           Borrowing
“The vocabulary of English based on exploration and trade [was] often brought to England in spoken form or in popular printed books and pamphlets. An early example is assassin (eater of hashish), which appears in English about 1531 as a loanword from Arabic, probably borrowed during the Crusades. Many of the other words borrowed from eastern countries during the Middle Ages were the names of products (Arabic lemon, Persian musk, Semitic cinnamon, Chinese silk) and place names (like damask, from Damascus). These were the most direct examples of the axiom that a new referent requires a new word.”

Enthusiastic        Borrowers
“English speakers have long been globally among the most enthusiastic borrowers of other people’s words and many, many thousands of English words have been acquired in just this way. We get kayak from an Eskimo language, whisky from Scottish Gaelic, ukulele from Hawaiian, yoghurt from Turkish, mayonnaise from French, algebra from Arabic, sherry from Spanish, ski from Norwegian, waltz from German, and kangaroo from the Guugu-Yimidhirr language of Australia. Indeed, if you leaf through the pages of an English dictionary that provide the sources of words, you will discover that well over half the words in it are taken from other languages in one way or another (although not always by the sort of straightforward borrowing we are considering here).”

Reasons for Language          Borrowing
“One language may possess words for which there are no equivalents in the other language. There may be words for objects, social, political, and cultural institutions and events or abstract concepts which are not found in the culture of the other language. We can take some examples from the English language throughout the ages. English has borrowed words for types of houses (e.g. castle, mansion, teepee, wigwam, igloo, bungalow). It has borrowed words for cultural institutions (e.g. opera, ballet). It has borrowed words for political concepts (e.g. perestroika, glasnost, apartheid). It often happens that one culture borrows from the language of another culture words or phrases to express technological, social or cultural innovations.”

Contemporary   Borrowing
“Today only about five percent of our new words are taken from other languages. They are especially prevalent in the names of foods: focaccia, salsa, vindaloo, ramen.”

Borrowings From English

“English borrowings are entering languages everywhere, and in more domains than just science and technology. Not surprisingly, the reported reaction of a Paris disk jockey to the French Academy’s latest pronouncements against English borrowings was to use an English borrowing to call the pronouncement ‘pas très cool’ (‘not very cool’).”

Langue and Parole

Referring to two aspects of language examined by Ferdinand de Saussure at the beginning of the twentieth century, langue denotes a system of internalized, shared rules governing a national language’s vocabulary, grammar, and sound system; parole designates actual oral and written communication by a member or members of a particular speech community. Saussure’s understanding of the nature of language and his belief that scholarship should focus on investigating the abstract systematic principles of language instead of researching etymologies and language philosophy led to a revolution in the field of linguistics.

The discussion concerning langue and parole was first suggested by Ferdinand de Saussure and popularized in his Cours de Linguistique Générale (Course in General Linguistics), a series of Saussure’s university lectures collected by his students and published posthumously in 1916. Abandoning the mindset, goals and objectives of historical linguistics, Saussure advocated a synchronic examination of language. Not interested in studying a particular language or the linguistic habits of any one member of a given speech community, Saussure sought to examine language in general and to identify the systems or rules and conventions according to which language functions. Saussure’s views on language influenced linguistics during the twentieth century, and his imprint can be found in theoretical works discussing phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, pragmatics and especially semantics. Indeed, the distinction between langue and parole forms an important part of the theoretical basis of structuralism.

A popular lecturer at the University of Geneva, Saussure suggested ideas and concepts that fascinated his students, yet he did not personally write an authoritative guide to his views. Two colleagues of his, Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye, collected and edited student notes from three occasions during 1906–11 when he delivered his lectures, publishing the assembled remarks under the title Cours de Linguistique Générale in 1916. In the 1990s newly-edited versions of student notes based on Saussure’s lectures, along with translations into English, appeared. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, there is still disagreement about a number of Saussure’s statements, and problems surrounding the fragmented nature of some of the student notes have not been fully resolved.

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