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Modem Spanish-based Lexical Items in English Garland Cannon¡Since the Renaissance, English speakers have adopted large numbers of lexical items from Spanish; and the voluminous scholarship has included Bentley's dated, booklength dictionary (1932). Following the voyages of Columbus to the New World and the subsequent Hispanicization of almost all of what is now Central and South America plus parts of the Antilles, items from the vocabularies of the peoples living there predictably were adopted into the American English that was also soon established in the New World. The magnitude of the total Spanish contribution to English is suggested by the fact that CD/ROM retrieval of the OED2 (1989) turned up almost 6,000 main entries with a Spanish etymology, beside 150 others with an etymology of American Spanish or Mexican Spanish. Proof that this extensive borrowing is continuing into recent decades was not definitively and conveniently available until the publication of new-word dictionaries by the Barnharts (1980, 1990), incorporation of the various addenda sections of Merriam-Webster's reprints of W3 under successive titles leading to the cumulative 12,000 Words (1986), the Barnhart Dictionary Companion (BDC [1982-]), and the primarily British collections of Mort (1986), Ayto (1989, 1990), and Tulloch (1990). In this celebratory period of Columbus's epochal feat 500 years ago, scholars are interested to know whether these innovational newword dictionaries contain many items of Spanish provenience as a continuing, indirect lexical effect of that venture. Actually, these collections provide for analysis a corpus of 227 post-1949 written items. Evidently W3 includes few Spanish borrowings that have a first printed appearance later than 1949, as a considerable search of this dictionary turned up only 12 such items—anu, bandoneón, cha-cha, churro, Habanero , mammee, manoletina, mará, Mimbres, paiche, rejoneo, and tapa. So 1950 was selected as the starting date for a modern Spanishbased set of borrowings divided into two corpora: 118Garland Cannon Corpus A includes 74 productive items appearing after 1949 and built upon an ultimate Spanish etymon or etyma that predates 1950 (this corpus consists of naturalized items that have undergone derivation, compounding, shortening, blending, and the like); Corpus B comprises 153 new borrowings for which there is no evidence of previous existence in English, except when there has been a reborrowing to convey a new meaning of a previously borrowed form. (A description of this corpus will appear in a celebratory volume edited by Félix Rodríguez.) Because dictionaries can commit errors of nonfeasance and misfeasance , each of the 227 etymologies was verified, and the very number of dictionaries consulted (eight) argue against the possibility of significant omissions. This entire corpus indicates that Spanish is adding slightly more than twice as many new words to English as anglicized pre-1950 Spanish etyma are providing new items as English creations. An example of an item (from Corpus B) that supposedly has no previous attestation in English is adobo (c. 1951) 'a marinated meat or chicken dish, especially in the Philippines'. As Spanish adobo dates at least from the 15th century and spread widely through the New World, it is odd that it was not borrowed into American English long ago and that the new-word citations principally refer to a Filipino dish rather than, say, to a Mexican one. This paper will analyze Corpus A, the 74 productive items. This set can be generally exemplified by bolo tie (1964, altered from bola) 'a cord or leather necktie worn in the western U.S., probably from its supposed resemblance to a South American cowboy's bola', which was evidently created as a hybrid compound from the Spanish loanword bola (in English writing at least by 1901) + the English word tie. It is of course possible that such a tie was originally worn on the pampas, and that a Spanish compound containing a word like corbata has been translated into English to provide what would be the partial translation bolo tie. In that hypothetical case, the item would have to be analyzed as a loanword and thus be placed in Corpus B, but such evidence has not been found. Conceivably this commercially manufactured tie might be exported to Argentina, sold there...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 117-131
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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