Language contact substantiating gender realization and loan-noun integration in Heptanesian, Italiot and Cretan

Vasiliki Makri


This paper deals with the congruities in the main mechanisms governing nominal loanword integration, drawing data from three contact-induced dialectal systems of Greek, i.e. (a) Grekaniko (Griko and Bovese spoken in Southern Italy), which has been influenced by the local Romance varieties and Italian, (b) Heptanesian (spoken on the Ionian islands) and (c) Cretan (spoken on the island of Crete), which have been both affected by Venetian and Italian. It is shown that semantic, morphological and phonological factors conjointly regulate gender assignment to Romance loanwords in the dialects in question. I claim that the recipient systems resort to the available word-formation mechanisms in order to effect loanword accommodation. I argue that nouns of Romance origin are adopted by the three dialects in a uniform manner, i.e. through congruent strategies. Overall, this paper demonstrates that the integration of loans in a recipient linguistic system, which bears an overtly marked gender, may offer invaluable insights into grammatical gender assignment and the process of loan-noun integration.

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