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The traveller in Europe is often struck by the different anglicisms which are current in the various countries visited. French speakers who cross the Rhine are surprised to see hoarding with cigarette advertisements entirely in English, whereas observant Germans are amazed by the survival in French of loans long assimilated in German, such as weekend. In a word, Europeans trend to notice the anglicisms which are not used in their own language. It is only in the last few years, however, that it has been possible to compare just how anglicisation has advanced in the various European languages, thanks almost exclusively to the extensive efforts of Manfred Görlach.

Manfred Görlach is well known amongst anglicists, in Germany and abroad, especially for his long-standing editorship of English world wide (John Benjamins) and more recently for the Dictionary of European Anglicisms (DEA)[1] and the accompanying history and bibliographies which followed.[2]English Words Abroad can be considered a third companion volume, as it sets forward an analysis of the various elements that went into the making of the dictionary. It should be pointed out that the author of this review was the contributor of the French input of both the dictionary and two other works, and is thus implicated in the corpus analysed, though in no way associated with the volume now under review.

English Words Aboard is thus an analysis of the different components of the Dictionary of European Anglicisms and is divided into twelve chapters and a postscript, covering the various aims and features involved in the lexicographical work. Chapters 4 to 8 were written specially for this publication, whereas the seven other chapters are adaptations of articles which have already appeared in Festschrifts, in congress proceedings or in scholarly journals. The difficulty of accessing this sort of publication is justification enough to include these articles, particularly as they have been thoroughly revised in hindsight. Most of these are greatly modified so as to ensure a minimum of coherence in the flow of the chapters and, by and large, the editing is efficient.

The first chapters give an overview of the aims and methods involved in making the dictionary and were originally published well before the dictionary. “A usage dictionary of anglicisms” presents the state of the art of anglicism studies in the various European languages at the time, and the reasons that lead to the vast enterprise of the DEA. It pleads the case for a focus on those anglicisms which are actually used in the languages concerned, rather than those appearing in secondary literature and analysed from a purely etymological viewpoint, and proposes concrete means of measuring loan word integration. It justifies choices made concerning the form of the marcostructure and – in rather more detail – the microstructure of the dictionary and justifies the methodological choices. This chapter was originally written in 1994, and contains many footnotes added to point out in how far the predictions made at the time were actually fulfilled. The second chapter, “The fleeting vocabulary” examines problems involved with fixing in dictionary form a part of the vocabulary (loan words) which, as neologisms, are notoriously unstable. Many of the points made here, often as questions or subjects for further research, are taken up again and developed in the following chapters. The impact of English on native morphology is one such point, as is the treatment of individual loan word series. To the question as to whether “the peculiar clippings of English compounds in French […] by which dancing(-hall), parking(-site), sleeping(-car) and smoking(-jacket) were reduced to their first element –is this principle still universally valid in new loans?” (p. 41), the short answer is yes (see sweat(-shirt), etc.) but Görlach is quite right to claim that more research is needed to muster the necessary evidence. In this chapter too, the reaction to the anglicisation of the various languages is described, with inevitable emphasis on the French policy on replacing loans from English. Here some points could have been more detailed. Although some official substitutes have indeed remained as so many dead letters, it is a slightly sweeping statement to say “official measures taken by the French proved largely ineffective,” p. 35. The success of French computer terminology is proof of the contrary: most of the terms from the first list of official substitutes, dating back to 1973, have in fact been adopted, and a comparison of any French and German popular computer magazine, the sort that can be bought at a country railway station, will demonstrate this conclusively. Again, to say that the supreme court (in fact the Cour constitutionnelle) ruled that the law was not constitutional is only partly true, as the court upheld most of the articles of the law, including the obligatory nature of the substitutes in official writing. As in many of the chapters, there is a fascinating side research – here a poll on the estimated integration of French anglicisms in German, performed on a group of German students. And, importantly for the reviewer, this chapter also contains the only reference to the difficult conditions under which the dictionary was actually produced. It is much to the credit of Professor Görlach that it came out as well as it did.

The third chapter, “Progress Report,” is perhaps the one which has become the most outdated, but it does present original aspects of the methodology, in particular the schematic representations of the degree of penetration into the various European languages. This contrastive approach will be a feature of the coming chapters.

“Etymology,” the fourth chapter, is the first of the series written expressly for the publication in hand, and which has perhaps better focus than the preceding ones. The thrust of the chapter is a justification of the exclusion of internationalisms in the form of neoclassical words from the dictionary, and the demonstration is very convincing: eucalyptus was forged in French, platypus in English, morphology in German. The role of English in transmitting many internationalisms is evident in many cases, though several cases are not as clearcut as often claimed, kangaroo and ketchup being cases in point. Chapter 5, “Marginal Lexis,” deals with the representation of quotation words, foreignisms, technical terms and archaisms, all vital issues in both language description in general and decisions for inclusion in a dictionary. One of the advances in loan word studies has been the study of code switching (also analysed in Chapter 1), though it is obvious that this is too close to parole and too far from langue to be included in the lexicon, and thus in a dictionary, but the discussion of criteria which can justify inclusion is most useful in this light. It may be felt that terminology is given short shrift, with barely a page (66-67); after all, this is the source of many anglicisms which eventually join the general language. Two separate issues could well have been distinguished here. One is how much technical vocabulary should be included in a dictionary which concentrates on the elusive “general language”; the other is what currency anglicisms actually have within the various specialised fields. This last aspect is not really addressed here, and yet it is precisely here that French language planning is concentrated.

Chapter 6, “Graphic and phonetic/phonological integration,” one of the two shortest in the book, concentrates on spelling and to a lesser extent on pronunciation. Eastern European languages are characterised by continuing orthographic adaptation, whereas those of Western Europe by the trend to retain original English forms. The issue of the pronunciation is reduced to a series of questions, some are not readily comprehensible: “Which English allophones are kept distinct, levelled out or which new allophonic sets are introduced on the basis of the receptor language?,” p. 74. Is this a reference to, say, the difference between dark and light “l,” or is it in fact a question of phonological differences (say dill and deal pronounced with the same vowel when borrowed into French)? As usual with paper-based dictionaries, pronunciation is relatively marginal; the advent of mutlimedia dictionaries could well shift emphases to the spoken language.

“Morphology and word formation,” concerns inflexion and gender attribution on the one hand, and derivation, in particular with –ing and –er, on the other. Gender attribution of anglicisms has been investigated in depth in theses in some of the languages, and the treatment given here is necessarily much more succinct, but the advantage of the book is the comparison, which shows, for example, that of a selection made of 30 words, 100% are masculine in French, 96% in Spanish, but only 47% in German and 10% in Rumanian. The integration of anglicisms ending in –ing and –er is dealt with much more thoroughly, with individual treatment of babysitting, bodybuilding, box(ing) camping, dribbling, jogging, kidnapping, timing, and training in the sixteen languages. Chapter 8, “Semantic problems” deals very succinctly with the occurrence of well-known semantic modifications of specialisation, generalisation, shift and reduction, accompanied by a table of 30 polysemic loans with the number of senses included in an English language dictionary and those given, language by language, in the DEA. “Calques and purism” addresses the related though separate issues of replacement of loans and their translation. Loan translations are only included in the macrostructure of the DEA if at least one of the languages included uses a direct loan. This chapter ends with suggestions for follow-up work, including investigations into the acceptability of anglicisms in Wallony and French-speaking Switzerland for French, and in Austria and German-speaking Switzerland for German. Chapter 10, “Usage,” focuses on one of the primary aims of the DEA: to provide an overview of anglicisms actually used, and analyses the degrees of acceptability and the scale used in the dictionary to characterise them. The option taken for the DEA was, for reasons explicitly given, not to rely on text corpora, but on the 16 or 17 contributors’ language feeling. Though this may seem questionable, the results at least for German have been confirmed by sociolinguistic inquiry. On the other hand, as the different contributors have different language feeling, the results between languages are perhaps more subject to caution in this respect than in others.

“Recent dictionaries of anglicisms” reviews publications which came out while the DEA was being prepared. Languages concerned are German, Danish (a language not included in the DEA), Norwegian, French, Spanish, Russian, Polish and Serbo-Croat. The evidence presented by these dictionaries goes a long way towards confirming the choices made for the DEA.

Chapter 12, “Wanted? Dictionaries of gallicisms, germanisms and neo-classic diction,” is an appeal for follow-up work. It assesses the feasibility of a dictionary similar to the DEA devoted to French influence in the various European languages, and German influence on a lesser number of languages. The neo-classic element mentioned in the chapter title is sketched in rather than treated in depth. As usual for Görlach, all suggestions for research are backed up by pilot studies, which represent significant research in their own right. The French section concerns no less than 261 words borrowed into twenty-two languages (English obviously figuring prominently) with degree of integration systematically indicated. These are followed by the typical DEA grids (a selection of sixteen languages here), which reveal striking differences in the seventeen cases thus presented. For German the results are no less impressive, though they concern fewer words borrowed into fewer languages. Chapter 13 is a postscript, an update of comparative statistics made available thanks to the function of a CD-ROM version of the DEA. These do not fundamentally throw into doubt the reliability of the data of the dictionary, though it does show great differences in, say, dating, which is only to be expected, given the very different lexicographical traditions in the countries involved as far as this is concerned.

The book is generally well produced, and a pleasure to read: the wealth of detail invites the reader to dip in and out and gives many leads for complementary investigation. It has many tables and graphics to exemplify and illustrate the text. The counterpart of the detail is the propensity to errors, which all lexicographer know only too well: the odd typographical mistake (e.g. lable for lable p.66 ), but these are reduced to a minimum. Similarly, the heterogeneous nature of the texts results in the same examples being used several times. But these are minor quibbles compared with the achievement of the work. The DEA now has a third companion volume: when may we expect a fourth?