Chapter 2. Proposing a pragmatic distinction for lexical Anglicisms

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While certain Anglicisms (e.g. Event and Kids in German) typically appear as marked lexical choices, such effects are absent in other Anglicisms (e.g. Film and PC in German). In order to investigate these different pragmatic interpretations, we consider the criterion of whether an Anglicism exists alongside a semantically-close equivalent in the recipient language or not. Based on this criterion, we introduce a distinction into two types of loans or, more generally, into two types of lexical innovation: catachrestic and non-catachrestic innovation. These are linked to two different types of implicatures as proposed in Levinson’s (2000) theory of presumptive meanings. The distinction between the two types of loans will be exemplified by data drawn from a corpus analysis of Anglicisms in German. The discussion will particularly focus on frequency effects and on the importance of specific discourse traditions, which both underline the dynamic pragmatic nature of Anglicisms.


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