PATTERNS OF LEXICAL BORROWING IN CHICHEWA

Alfred J. Matiki

Abstract


Lexical borrowing is an important aspect of language change. The study of loanwords can give important insights into the cultural and socio-historical circumstances of a language. This paper examines lexical borrowing patterns in Chichewa/Chinyanja. Using data from the Chinyanja monolingual dictionary, the paper attempts to determine the kinds of borrowings that are common, the degree of lexical borrowability, and the common source languages for the loanwords, and how these borrowings compare with borrowing patterns in other languages. The paper also shows that words are borrowed even when native equivalents are available in the target language. This leads to semantic narrowing for some of the words.

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