Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 12-2018


Lexical borrowing is a natural outcome of language contact and one source of neologisms. The traditional view of lexical borrowing explains it as motivated mainly by lexical need or prestige where loans in the recipient language have more or less similar if not identical meanings with the borrowing language. Linguistic adaptation has been often seen grammatically based where grammarians or linguists assume the major task of nativizing foreign terms. This is typical in many studies on linguistic borrowing in Arabic while a secondary attention is given to semantic, sociolinguistic, and educational perspectives. The present study approached lexical borrowing as more language users’ task emphasizing their role in meaning construction. Three English loanwords in Arabic (agenda, liberal, lobby) were studied in naturally occurring language to see if their meanings and co-occurrence patterns correspond to their equivalents in English and, thus, agree with the notion of lexical need to linguistic borrowing. Some of the meanings of the loans fall under the domain of sociopolitics which is a fertile site believed to show ideological impact. Using two analytical frameworks of Sinclair (2005, 1998) and Van Dijk (2014, 2016b, 2016a), the three loanwords were investigated from corpus linguistics and CDA angles. The findings revealed different co-occurrence patterns in Arabic characterized by negative associations than in English. Negative associations were motivated by (religious, political, linguistic) ideological stances often implied in the connotations and attitudinal meanings of real language use. Ideological influence was also reproduced in Arabic dictionaries where some loanwords or their meanings are vi absent or excluded though used in formal settings. The connection between dictionary making and learning as influenced by dominant ideology was also explored.


Lexical borrowing, linguistic borrowing, loanwords, foreign words, borrowed words, ideology, language ideologies, language and ideology, Arabic, corpus linguistics, semantic prosody, CDA, sociocognitive studies.

Document Type




Degree Name

Educational Linguistics

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Melissa Axelrod

Second Committee Member

Carlos Lopez Leiva

Third Committee Member

Holly Jacobson

Fourth Committee Member

Paul Edmunds