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Bookmark and Share Paper 1346

Latin Forms in Vernacular Scientific Writing: Code-Switching or Borrowing?
Begoña Crespo and Isabel Moskowich
51-59 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The vernacularization process which began in the last quarter of the 14th century (Voights 1996, Taavitsainen 2000, 2001a, 2001b, 2004) did not completely undermine the use of Latin in scientific writings. The gradual loss of classical patterns despite the still pervasive influence of classical culture can be observed in the adoption of Latin expressions and the alternating use of both English and Latin. Borrowing and code-switching are frequently to be found in scientific scholarship down through the history of English. Although it is thought by many authors (Rothwell 2000, Schendl 2000, Wright 2000) that distinguishing borrowing from code-switching or code-mixing is very problematic, this paper explores the characteristics of these phenomena and how they developed in scientific texts other than medical. To this end, we will work with samples of mathematical texts from the 19th century as contained in the Coruña Corpus, focusing on individual lexical units and fixed expressions, and will attempt to ascertain some of the conditions which may influence the phenomena being surveyed. Stemming from the idea that the scientific discourse community switched from English to Latin because 'scientists were bilingual' and this made language interference unavoidable, we will also look at the external conditions and different scientific movements to help explain why some linguistic expressions were incorporated from one language into another or two language varieties simply combined in a particular communicative situation.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 2005 Symposium on New Approaches in English Historical Lexis (HEL-LEX)
edited by R. W. McConchie, Olga Timofeeva, Heli Tissari, and Tanja Säily
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Printed edition: $210.00