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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A morphological analysis of loanwords in Russian Konya, Ilon Julianna


A language is so constructed that the speaker is able to draw out of its resources whatever he wishes to communicate, yet whenever cultural borrowing occurs he cannot altogether avoid borrowing the words which are associated with it. Russian written records indicate that the language has been exposed to numerous foreign influences from very early times. With the intense introduction of "Westernization" since the sixteenth-century both English and French have had a considerable influence on Russian and especially in the twentieth-century this has even increased. For the purpose of this study, therefore, the writer has chosen to analyse English and French loanwords that are found in use in present-day Russian; examples from other languages, especially German, will be given occasionally insofar as they support the arguments presented. This thesis attempts an overall description of the morphological assimilation of loanwords. Phonological analysis and discussion of the socio-cultural context is given consideration in order to enable the reader and the analyst to see this paper as a whole. It was necessary to abstract linguistic elements at different levels of analysis so that some problems that are not explainable at the morphological level, would not be left unsolved. To some extent future borrowings into the Russian language in connection with cultural borrowing may be predicted. The pronounciation of a loanword depends on the degree of assimilation and whether or not the speaker is aware of the fact that it is a borrowing or wants to alert the listener as well. On the whole, loanwords are subject to phonological as well as morphological adjustments. Loanwords are sometimes under the pressure of both the native and foreign morphological systems, which in turn causes fluctuation of forms. Important external factors in the assimilation of loanwords at both levels are the audio and visual means of communication involved in transferring a loanword from either English or French into Russian. An interesting feature for future investigation is the analysis of loanwords on the lexical level and the correlation of lexical patterning with morphology in the process of loanword assimilation.

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