2006 | 63 | 45-84
Article title

Gallicisms in 'Slownik jezyka polskiego XVII i 1. polowy XVIII wieku' (Dictionary of Polish of the 17th and the First Half of the 18th Century). (Remarks after Reading Volume I of the Dictionary)

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In the only volume of the Dictionary that has been published so far (including entries beginning with letter A and being almost exclusively loanwords or derivatives of loanwords) 79 lexeme entries were presented, considered by the authors of the Dictionary as Gallicisms, as well as 30 derivatives formed from them. They have been extracted from an imposing canon of sources (276 rudimentary texts and 298 supplementary texts); loanwords were used in them 576 times and derivatives 109 times. The analysis of this isolated pool of Gallicisms proved, among others, that a significant group of them had appeared in the texts even up to two centuries before they were actually entered into dictionaries for the first time. A real breakthrough, as regards the influence of the French language upon Polish, took place already in the second half of the 17th c. (48% of the Gallicisms that had not been registered before appeared in the texts of this period). Moreover, unexpectedly broad is the extent of texts and variation in meaning of the Gallicisms of that time. As early as the 17th century, they were confirmed by numerous poetical texts as well as prose works of different purpose (from private texts, such as diaries and letters through official ones to the most prominent at that time - artistic texts), subject matter and genre. Quite often, their authors did not belong to the circle of the contemporary court and aristocratic elites, which manifests a rapidly increasing popularity of the French language in Poland and the formation of a group of bilingual speakers. Clearly noticeable is also the group of Gallicisms popular and fashionable at that time, used in various texts with high frequency, e.g.: atakowac (attack) 74 times, aprosza 39 t., awantaz (advantage) 37 t., akord (accord) 32 t., apartyment, apartament 29 t., asamble (only in plural.) 29 t., afront (affront) 27 t., azard, hazard 24 t. etc., although simultaneously, many other (43 Gallicisms) can only be confirmed in the texts of one author, thus still having - at that time - the status of idiolect lexemes (the greatest number of them, as many as 15 such borrowings, can be found in the letters of king Jan Sobieski to his wife). Very rapidly growing prestige and an ever stronger influence of the French language upon Polish led to the situation, in which - in the wake of Latin, unrivalled in this respect - as early as in the second half of the 17th century, in the group of languages that exerted the strongest impact upon Polish, the French language advanced to the second place, despite the fact that in the 16th c. such contacts were barely noticeable.
  • W. R. Rzepka, Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza, Instytut Filologii Polskiej, al. Niepodleglosci 4, 61-875 Poznan, Poland
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