Loan words in social discourse: usage and norms

Vida Rudaitienė


The article aims at revealing the most distinctive trends regarding the usage and norms of loan words in social practical discourse. While analysing some extra linguistic and interlinguistic factors that affect the usage of loan words, the latter has been evaluated from the point of view of the norms of the Lithuanian language. A serious problem – a question whether the use of loan words is inevitable and whether they can be replaced by ordinary words or terms of the native Lithuanian language – has been considered in the article.
The analysis has been build official papers and document study. Fact and samples of language have been collected from different articles on legal issues in media. Some samples have been taken from social workers, politicians radio or TV oral presentations or speeches made in conferences, meetings, etc.
The article focuses on the lexis of foreign languages: international words and other loan words. One group of foreign words or phrases used in the form they are used in source language have been taken from the classical language, usually Latin; whereas the other group consists of words taken from the English language. The article shows that some of the loan words applied in Lithuanian have equivalents. International words develop new senses, unusual in Lithuanian, which appear to derive from the meaning of the respective English words. This is an issue of the superficial translation of official papers and documents: in the process of translation thus limited in quality, the meaning of international words current in English is treated randomly. Consequently, these words bypass translation. Random entries of international words in „The Dictionary of Contemporary Lithuanian“ and in „The Dictionary of International Words“ are the only and sole reference in explaining the consequencies. As a result, a tendency to search Lithuanian equivalents to international words fades. While giving preference to international words over the common Lithuania vocabulary, the uniqueness of Lithuanian is made suffer a damaging influence. Therefore the norms of Lithuanian language suffer and its identity.


discourse; loan words; international words; extralinguistic factors; interlinguistic factors; morphologic adaptation

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789