The extraction, introduction, transfer, diffusion and integration of loanwords in Japan : loanwords in a literate society
This doctoral thesis seeks primarily to establish a model which shows how loanwords in Japanese evolve through a stepwise process. The process starts well before the actual borrowing itself, when Japanese school children acquire a stratum of English morphemes to which conventional pronunciations have been ascribed. This stratum could be said to be composed of a large set of orthography-pronunciation analogies. Foreign words are then extracted from foreign word stocks by agents of introduction, typically advertising copywriters or magazine journalists. However, since these words are unsuitable for use in Japanese as is, the agents then proceed to domesticate them according to Japanese rules of phonology, orthography, morphology, syntax and semantics. The next step involves transference into the public zone, crucially via the written word, before being disseminated and finally integrated. A few researchers have hinted that such a process exists but have taken it no further. Here, proof is evinced by interviews with the agents themselves and together with documentary and quantitative corpus analyses it is shown that lexical borrowing of western words in Japanese proceeds in accordance with such a model. It is furthermore shown that these agents adhere to one of three broad cultural environments and borrow/domesticate words within this genre. They then pass along channels of tran,~ference, dissemination and integration in accordance with genre specific patterns. Investigation of these genre-specific channels of evolution constitutes the second research objective. Three other research objectives are addressed within the framework of this model, namely genre-specific patterns of transference and dissemination, when a word changes from being a foreign word to being an integrated loanword, and factors governing the displacement of native words by loanwords.