Archive for the ‘Language’ Category

ANGLICISMS IN FRENCH AND SPANISH

LANGUAGE BORROWINGS IN A CONTEXT OF UNEQUAL SYSTEMS:
ANGLICISMS IN FRENCH AND SPANISH by Dr Christopher Rollason

ABSTRACT

This article examines a number of aspects of the phenomenon of anglicisms in contemporary French and Spanish. The discussion is confined to the written language (essentially in its journalistic, technical and business registers; reference is not made to the literary register); and to the French of France and the Spanish of Spain only. The issue of anglicisms is placed in a wider international context, taking account of such phenomena as globalisation and the Internet. Reference is also made to theoretical perspectives that regard individual languages as systems in their own right.

NOTE

This is the text of a paper given at the University of Surrey, England, in June 2004. It incorporates some material from two earlier texts by the author: ‘The Use of Anglicisms in Contemporary French’, in: Crossing Barriers and Bridging Cultures: The Challenges of Multilingual Translation for the European Union, ed. Arturo Tosi (Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters, 2003); and ‘Unequal Systems: On the Problem of Anglicisms in Contemporary French Usage’, in In and Out of English: For Better, for Worse? (Translating Europe), eds. Gunilla Anderman and Margaret Rogers (Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters, publication forthcoming). Neither of the two earlier texts deals with anglicisms in Spanish.

Essentialy, I argue that espite the higher profile attached in France to resisting anglicisms, (European) Spanish is actually succeeding better than French in stemming the flood.

It was published Lingua Franca (Brussels), 2004-2005, in 3 parts: part 1, Vol 7. No. 7 (2004), pp. 4-7, part 2, Vol. 8, No. 1 (2005), pp. 9-15 and part 3, Vol. 8, No. 2 (2005).

The full text can be read on-line at:

http://yatrarollason.info/files/AnglicismsSurreyPaper.pdf

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A NEW LETTER IN THE SPANISH ALPHABET: THE CYBERFEMINIST @

I would like to draw attention to an interesting new development in the writing of (essentially so far) peninsular Spanish, which arrestingly combines the discourses of cyberutopia and equal opportunities. It is now quite frequent in academic, feminist and even some mainstream circles (e.g. bookshop websites) to use a new, gender-neutral graphic convention for certain nouns, adjectives and even articles (wherever the endings -o/-a and -os/-as apply). Where a gender-neutral or gender-indeterminate referent is implied, the terminations -o (masculine) and -a (feminine) are both replaced by the graphic neologism @ (in other words, the ‘at’ sign’ familiar from email addresses), so that ‘amigo y/o amiga’ (male and/or female friend) becomes ‘amig@’. Similarly, in the plural ‘los/las amigos/amigas’ (‘the male friends and/or the female friends’) becomes ‘l@s amig@s’, i.e. friends of either gender, both genders or non-specified gender. In at least some people’s usage, then, a new letter has been added to the Spanish alphabet. In a further curious twist, this usage is not transferable to speech and remains confined to page and screen, thus serving in the cyber age to call in question the orthodox notion of the absolute primacy of speech over writing.

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This is an extract from my paper ‘Why the Internet age will not accept simplified English spelling’, given at the University of Mannheim, Germany in July 2005). The full text is at: http://yatrarollason.info/files/Mannheim.pdf , and considers aspects of English, Spanish and Portuguese spelling.
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I should add that I have recently encountered the cyberfeminist @ in Portuguese as well, but so far only in friends’ emails. Further information would be welcome!