LING 2049 - Languages in C21: Cultural Contact & New Words

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

The study of words may be tedious to the school-boy, as breaking of stones is to the wayside labourer, but to the thoughtful eye of the geologist these stones are full of interest - he sees miracles on the high road, and reads chronicles in every ditch. (Max Muller 1871, Lectures on the Science of Language, London: Longman, Green; Vol. I, p. 2) This multifaceted course will introduce students to a range of mechanisms through which new words and meanings are concocted in the modern world. It will explore borrowing ('stealing', or more accurately 'copying'), word-formation, neologization, calquing (loan translation), phono-semantic matching, lexical engineering, semantic shifting of pre-existent words, descriptiveness, purism and etymythology (popular etymology). It will focus on phenomena of lexical expansion and semantic enrichment that are based on contact between cultures and languages. The course will combine sociolinguistic insight with philological expertise, thus being polychronic, i.e. simultaneously diachronic and synchronic. We shall integrate innovative etymological, morphological, ecological and cultural analyses of words in various languages such as English, Mandarin Chinese, Israeli (a.k.a. Modern Hebrew), Japanese, Icelandic, Turkish, Estonian, Yiddish, Australian Aboriginal languages, Italian, German, French, Spanish, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Hebrew, Creoles, minority and endangered languages. (No prior knowledge of any language other than English is required.)

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LING 2049
    Course Languages in C21: Cultural Contact & New Words
    Coordinating Unit Linguistics
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of Level I undergraduate study
    Assessment 500 word mid-point assignment (20%), contribution (10%), oral presentation (25%), 4000 word post-presentational paper (45%)
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Afifa Eve Ferro

    COURSE FOUNDER AND COORDINATOR: Professor Ghil‘ad ZUCKERMANN, D.Phil. (Oxford); Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages; School of Humanities; The University of Adelaide; Adelaide SA 5005;,,,,


    There is a good collection of linguistics books and journals in the Barr Smith Library. Almost all the readings for this course are available online. Professor Zuckermann’s 2003 book is available in the Reserve Collection at the Barr Smith Library.
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    After successfully undertaking the course, students will:

    1 locate accurate, reliable and up-to-date information on language contact and lexical expansion.
    2 analyse contact between cultures as manifested in lexical items such as words and phrases.
    3 apply linguistic, polychronic (both synchronic and diachronic) analytical techniques to lexical data.
    4 demonstrate linguistic foundations for historical linguistics, contact linguistics, lexicology, lexicography (dictionary making), phonetics, morphology, semantics, revival linguistics and endangered languages.
    5 write coherently about a range of issues concerning word biographies across languages.
    6 analyse words morphologically, semantically and culturally.
    7 recognize the power of hybridity, etymythology (popular etymology), language and identity.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Zuckermann, Ghil‘ad 2003. Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew. Palgrave Macmillan.

    1. in the Reserve Collection at the Barr Smith Library
    2. As an e-book:

    Haugen, Einar 1950. "The Analysis of Linguistic Borrowing". Language 26 (2): 210–231.
    Available online:

    Kheir, Afifa Eve. 2022. Passing the test of split: Israbic-a new mixed language. Journal of Language Contact 15 (1).

    Kheir, Afifa Eve. 2019. The Matrix Language Turnover Hypothesis: the case of the Druze language in Israel. Journal of Language Contact 12(2): 483-516.

    Sapir, Yair and Zuckermann, Ghil‘ad 2008. ‘Icelandic: Phonosemantic Matching’, pp. 19-43 (Chapter 2) of Judith Rosenhouse and Rotem Kowner (eds), Globally Speaking: Motives for Adopting English Vocabulary in Other Languages. Clevedon – Buffalo – Toronto: Multilingual Matters.
    Available Online:

    Zuckermann, Ghil‘ad 2003. ‘Language Contact and Globalisation: The Camouflaged Influence of English on the World’s Languages – with special attention to Israeli (sic) and Mandarin’. Cambridge Review of International Affairs 16.2: 287-307.
    Available online:

    Zuckermann, Ghil‘ad 2004. ‘Cultural Hybridity: Multisourced Neologization in “Reinvented” Languages and in Languages with “Phono-Logographic” Script’. Languages in Contrast 4.2: 281-318.
    Available online (TWO LINKS TO THE SAME PAPER):

    Recommended Resources
    Harlow, Ray 1993. ‘Lexical expansion in Maori’, The Journal of Polynesian Society 102.1: 99-107.,_No._1/Shorter_communication%3A_Lexical_expansion_in_Maori,_by_Ray_Harlow,_p_99-107/p1

    Hartmann, R. R. and Gregory James. 1998. Dictionary of Lexicography. London – New York: Routledge.

    Haugen, Einar (Ingvald) 1950. ‘The Analysis of Linguistic Borrowing’. Language 26: 210-31. Baltimore: Waverly.

    Jackson, Howard 2002. Lexicography – An Introduction. London – New York: Routledge.

    Jyh, Wee Sew 2007. ‘Sound Strategy for a Shifting Malay?’, California Linguistic Notes XXXII.2: 1-12.

    Kuczkiewicz-Fras, Agnieszka 2003. Perso-Arabic Hybrids in Hindi: The Socio-Linguistic and Structural Analysis. New Delhi: Manohar.

    Lewis, Geoffrey L. 1999. The Turkish Language Reform: A Catastrophic Success. Oxford University Press.

    McMahon, April M. S. 1994. Understanding Language Change. Cambridge University Press.

    Matisoff, James A. 2000. Blessings, Curses, Hopes, and Fears. Psycho-Ostensive Expressions in Yiddish. Stanford (California): Stanford University Press.

    Matthews, Peter H. 1997. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Modern Hawaiian Vocabulary (Maamaka Kaiao) 2003. University of Hawaii at Hilo.

    Mugglestone, Lynda (ed.) 2000. Lexicography and the OED. Oxford University Press.

    Simpson, John A. and Edmund Simon Christopher Weiner (eds) 1989. The Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (2nd Edition)

    Swadesh, Morris 1952. ‘Lexico-Statistical Dating of Prehistoric Ethnic Contacts: with Special Reference to North American Indians and Eskimos’. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 96: 452-63.

    Weinreich, Uriel 1963. Languages in Contact: Findings and Problems. The Hague – Paris: Mouton. (Originally published as Number 1 in the series Publications of the Linguistic Circle of New York, New York, 1953).

    Wex, Michael 2005. Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All Its Moods. New York: St. Martin's Press.

    Wierzbicka, Anna 2001. ‘Australian Culture and Australian English: A Response to William Ramson’. Australian Journal of Linguistics 21: 195-214.

    Winchester, Simon 1998. The Professor and the Madman. New York: HarperCollins.

    Whorf, Benjamin Lee 1997 [1956] (edited by Carroll, John B. Carroll). Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf. Cambridge, Mass.: Technology Press of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ISBN 0-262-73006-5.

    Zuckermann, Ghil‘ad 1999. Review Article of Nakdimon Shabbethay Doniach and Ahuvia Kahane (eds), The Oxford English-Hebrew Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1998. International Journal of Lexicography 12: 325-46. AVAILABLE AT

    Zuckermann, Ghil‘ad 2004. Review of Ya’acov Levy, Oxford Pocket Dictionary – English-Hebrew / Hebrew-English. Jerusalem: Kernerman – Lonnie Kahn, 2002. Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 3.2: 225-33. AVAILABLE AT

    Zuckermann, Ghil‘ad 2004. Review of Agnieszka Kuczkiewicz-Fras, Perso-Arabic Hybrids in Hindi: The Socio-Linguistic and Structural Analysis. New Delhi: Manohar, 2003. Yearbook of South-Asian Languages and Linguistics, Ranjendra Singh (ed.), Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 239-44.

    Zuckermann, Ghil‘ad 2004. ‘Cultural Hybridity: Multisourced Neologization in ‘Reinvented’ Languages and in Languages with ‘Phono-Logographic’ Script. Languages in Contrast 4.2: 281-318.

    Zuckermann, Ghil‘ad 2006. ‘“Etymythological Othering” and the Power of “Lexical Engineering” in Judaism, Islam and Christianity. A Socio-Philo(sopho)logical Perspective’, pp. 237-58 (Chapter 16) of ‘Tope Omoniyi and Joshua A. Fishman (eds), Explorations in the Sociology of Language and Religion (Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture series). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Zuckermann, Ghil‘ad 2008. ‘“Realistic Prescriptivism”: The Academy of the Hebrew Language, its Campaign of “Good Grammar” and Lexpionage, and the Native Israeli Speakers’. Israel Studies in Language and Society 1.1: 135-154.

    Zuckermann, Ghil‘ad 2010. ‘Toponymy and Monopoly: One Toponym, Two Parents – Ideological Hebraization of Arabic Place Names in the Israeli Language’, Onoma 41: 163-184.

    Zuckermann, Ghil‘ad 2020. Revivalistics: From the Genesis of Israeli to Language Reclamation in Australia and Beyond. Oxford University Press, 2020, ISBN 9780199812790 (pbk), ISBN 9780199812776 (hbk), (Special 30% Discount Promo Code: AAFLYG6)

    诸葛漫 (=Zuckermann, Ghil‘ad) 2021. 多源造词研究 (A Study of Multisourced Neologization). East China Normal University Press, 2021, ISBN 9787567598935,

    Online Learning
    Additional course-related material will be posted on MyUni, including Lecture Content, Announcements and other resources.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course is delivered through a two-hour online lecture and one-hour tutorial each week. Lectures will provide much of the content, but will also provide opportunity for discussion of issues from time to time. Tutorials will be more focussed on practical engagement with language data, problem-solving and discussion. Formative work will be undertaken in tutorials to prepare students for the completion of summative assessment tasks.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    1 x 2-hour lecture per week (x12) 24 hours
    1x 1-hour tutorial per week (x10) 10 hours
    6 hours Reading per week (x12) 72 hours
    2.5 hours Research per week (x12) 30 hours
    2 hours Assignment Preparation per week (x10) 20 hours
    Total 156 hours

    Learning Activities Summary

    No information currently available.

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    500-word Mid-Point Assignment 20% 1, 2, 3, 6, 7
    Tutorial Oral Presentation 25% 1, 2, 4, 6, 7
    3500-word post-presentational paper 45% 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7
    Attendance & Contribution (Positive Participation) 10% 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7

    Assessment Related Requirements
    Attendance of tutorials is compulsory. Students will be expected to complete additional exercises and small-scale investigations between tutorials. Application to these tasks will contribute to the 10% awarded to attendance and contribution (positive participation).
    Assessment Detail
    Students should submit a 500-word essay (with examples) on

    1. One of the following topics:
    Grammatical gender
    Cultural hybridity
    Calquing (loan translation)
    Phono-semantic matching
    Multiple causation
    Lexical engineering
    Semantic shifting of pre-existent words
    Etymythology (popular etymology)
    Polychronic linguistic analysis
    Minority language
    Endangered language
    Neologization ex nihilo
    Semantic Narrowing
    Morphemic adaptation
    Foreign word
    Phonetic adaptation
    Guest word
    Ad hoc neologization
    Congruence Principle
    Camouflaged borrowing
    Multisourced neologization


    2. Any topic or article or book related to contact linguistics / lexical enrichment / lexicology / lexicography. The topic can be selected from the ones covered in class. The article/book can be selected from the List of Learning Resources. The professor will be happy to provide you with assistance in selecting the topic. Please feel free to raise any question about the assignment in the tutorials.

    Presentation Date: various, after the semester break
    Students are required to give an oral presentation (with handouts), (1) either making an in-depth polychronic analysis of five lexical items in any language (The words can have a common motif, e.g. all being phono-semantic matches or calques), (2) or conducting a critical review of a dictionary or a book/article on contact linguistics / lexical enrichment / lexicology / lexicography (The article/book can be selected from the List of Learning Resources). The professor will be happy to provide you with assistance in selecting the topic. Please feel free to raise any question about the presentation in the tutorials.
    Please note: Students are expected to contribute feedback on other students’ presentations.

    Word Count; 3,500 words
    Students should submit a 3,500-word post-presentation paper – further analysing the 5 lexical items or the topic chosen, incorporating the feedback received on the presentation.

    1. All assignments are to be submitted through MyUni.
    2. All assignments must be in grammatical English.
    3. Always keep a copy of your work. (Just occasionally things do go astray!)
    4. Assignments submitted late require a doctor’s certificate, counsellor’s certificate or similar proof/documentation.
    5. Extensions (normally up to one week) may be negotiated through the tutor, but this MUST be organised prior to the due date.

    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

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    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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