Last updated: 2015-06-17

[Lecture] One Word, Two Parents, 25 Jun.

Topic: One Word, Two Parents: Phono-Semantic Matching in Israeli (Reclaimed Hebrew), Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Revolutionized Turkish, Icelandic, Arabic and Creoles
Speaker: Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann, University of Adelaide

Time: 10:00-11:30AM, Thursday, June 25, 2015
Venue: Room 210, School of Foreign Languages Building, South Campus, SYSU

ABSTRACT
'Phono-semantic matching' (PSM) is a technique by which a foreign word is reproduced in the target language, using pre-existing native elements that are similar to the foreign word both in meaning and in sound. Thus, the English word DUBBING was transformed into Israeli (Reclaimed Hebrew) as DIBÚV, adding a new sense to the pre-existent Hebrew DIBBUV 'speech', which is etymologically unrelated to DUBBING but which serendipitously has a similar meaning and sound.
Such multi-sourced neologization is an ideal means of lexical expansion because it conceals foreign influence from the future native speakers, ensures lexicographic acceptability of the coinage, recycles obsolete autochthonous roots and words (a delight for purists), and facilitates initial learning among contemporary learners and speakers. This talk will focus on multisourced neologization in (1) reclaimed (e.g. Revived Hebrew, henceforth Israeli), revolutionized (e.g. Republican Turkish) and puristically-oriented (e.g. Icelandic) languages, in which language-planners attempt to replace undesirable foreignisms or loanwords. and (2) languages using a phono-logographic script that does not allow mere phonetic adaptation, e.g. Chinese and Japanese (the latter only to the extent that kanji are used).
Traditional classifications of borrowing, e.g. Einar Haugen's, ignore such cross-fertilizations and categorize borrowing into either substitution or importation. However, PSM is a distinct phenomenon, which operates through simultaneous substitution and importation. Yet, PSM ought not to be confused with calquing as the latter lacks the phonetic matching component. Recognizing PSM carries significant implications of hybridity and multiple causation not only for lexicology and comparative historical linguistics, but also for sociolinguistics, cultural studies and Revivalistics.