English loanwords and social identity in Lithuania Cover Image

Anglų kalbos svetimžodžiai ir socialinis identitetas lietuvoje
English loanwords and social identity in Lithuania

Author(s): Loreta Vaicekauskienė
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Vytauto Didžiojo Universitetas
Keywords: English; loanwords; social; identity; Lithuania;

Summary/Abstract: The article deals with attitudes towards language speakers who consider English a part of their identity. The investigation is based on the theory of social psychology of language and aims to find out to what kind of language user people tend to relate language with a high concentration of English borrowings. The article present an experiment carried out in Vilnius in 2005 in which 113 people were asked to read two texts (one deals with IT and another with music) and to de¬scribe the authors of the texts. The respondents were told that the investigation deals with social changes in Lithuanian society - that is they were not conscious about the linguistic purposes of the investigation.The respondents in the experiment were rather unanimous about the social identity which — among other things - is expressed by English borrowings. The results of the investigation show that the user of such a language in Lithuanian society is related to a young man (not older than 35, rather much younger) living in a bigger city; he is neither considered very competent (intelligent) nor very socially attractive, but undoubtedly modern (youthful and up-to-date). To define the role of English borrowings on formation of social identity is also important in language planning: this could form the basis for language politicians while evaluating the influence of the English language on Lithuanian language as a whole. It should seem that the borrowing of English words which is due to sociopsychological reasons and serves identity marker takes place within the frame of a certain context and age and is not of universal validity.

  • Issue Year: 2006
  • Issue No: 46
  • Page Range: 65-78
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: Lithuanian