Full Text

loan words

Subject Linguistics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214816.1999.x


In the history and development of writing, loan words have played an important role in shaping writing systems and conventions. The adoption of a writing for another language often led to an influx of loan words from the donor language into the recipient language which continued to be written as they were in the donor language. For example, many Sumerian words were incorporated into other languages which adopted cuneiform writing, such as Akkadian, Elamite and Hittite. They are known as Sumerograms because their written representation was not altered. Similarly, Chinese loans continued to be written with Chinese characters in Korean and Japanese even after phonetic writing systems had been developed for these languages, giving rise to hybrid systems. Similarly, in the process of adapting the Arabic alphabet to other languages no letters were ever dropped, because the Arabic script served as a channel for the introduction of Arabic loan words which again are usually spelled in the receiving languages as they are spelled in Arabic. Many orthographies thus mark loan words by applying conventions which deviate from the rest of the spelling system. This can also be observed in English. Usually the phoneme /f/ is written <f> but in words of Greek origin, such as philistine, philosopher and phenotype , /f/ is expressed by <ph>. Sometimes retaining the spelling of another ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top