Borrowing: the Synchrony of Integration
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The notion of loanword assimilation is operationalized in a number of different ways, focusing on both linguistic and social aspects. The indices of integration thus constructed are applied to a set of lexical data elicited from Puerto Rican children and adults from East Harlem, New York. The results of this survey are analyzed statistically using the method of principal components. We interpret the output in terms of the social and linguistic trajectory of words during the borrowing and integration process. Of particular importance are the relatively close relationship between increase in usage frequencies and the processes of phonological integration, the transient nature of inconsistencies in gender assignment, and the fates of competing lexical items for a single referent.
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