Adaptation of Loanwords in Chasu

Justin Msuya, Abel Y Mreta


It is generally agreed that, in a multilingual context, the incorporation of
foreign words into a native language is inevitable. However, owing to variations
in languages’ systems (phonology, morphology, syntax), each language has its
own strategies for adapting loanwords to its system. This paper presents the
strategies through which loanwords are integrated into Chasu vocabulary. The
data were obtained from Kamusi ya Chasu-Kiingereza-Kiswahili (Mreta 2008)
and the fieldwork conducted in Rundugai and Chemka villages in Kilimanjaro
Region. The paper is guided by two theoretical approaches, namely the Theory
of Constraint and Repair Strategy (TCRS) (Paradis & Lacharité, 1997) and
Assimilation Theory (McMahon, 1994; Campbell, 1998; Winford 2003). The
paper shows that loanwords are subjected to both phonological and
morphological modifications when they are borrowed by Chasu. It is posited
that the influx of loanwords in Chasu will eventually lead to the introduction of
foreign phonemes into the language’s phonemic system.
Key words: loanwords, phonological adjustments, morphological adjustments,
phonemic system, Chasu

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