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Evolution of the English-derived word ‘karā’ in contemporary Japanese

Inagawa, Mayuko 2012. Evolution of the English-derived word ‘karā’ in contemporary Japanese. Japanese Studies 32 (3) , pp. 377-397. 10.1080/10371397.2012.732542

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Language is not static, but is constantly changing. This study explores the linguistic evolution of one loanword in contemporary Japanese over place and time using a corpus-driven approach, with special reference to word usage and frequency. Taking the English-derived word karā, which corresponds to ‘colour’ in English, as an example, it aims to identify how and to what extent (a) the application and implications of karā in Japanese have diverged from its counterpart in English (i.e., over space) and (b) the frequency and usage of English-derived words in the Japanese language changed over the 15-year period between 1991 and 2006 (i.e., over time). These goals are achieved through an analysis of corpora consisting of Mainichi shimbun articles published in 1991 and 2006. The study’s main argument is that both place and time are significant factors in language change and dynamic mechanisms involving both the donor and receiver languages are at work in creating culturally-specific usages of the word. The study also discusses that such change involves both linguistic and extra-linguistic factors.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 08:08

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