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2012 | 1 | 13-24

Article title

Language Contact in New Zealand: A Focus on English Lexical Borrowings in Māori



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In New Zealand a peculiar language contact scenario has emerged from the mutual influence between the indigenous Māori language and English (cf. Benton 1985). Sharing the fate of many indigenous languages, Māori was overwhelmed by an imperial power but it was not eradicated. What remained of Māori was indisputably affected by English, but Māori also left its traces on the variety of English that developed in New Zealand. While the lexical influence of Māori on English has already been the subject of various studies, the impact of English on Māori still remains to be accounted for to a large extent (cf. Harlow 2004). This paper explores the presence of English lexical borrowings in Māori by analyzing the one thousand most frequent Māori words in the Māori Broadcast Corpus (Boyce 2006). In particular, the study will consider which types of English loans emerge among the core vocabulary of Māori and how these loans have been integrated in the language.


  • University of Verona


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