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Turay, Abdul Karim (1971) Loanwords in Temne : A study of the sources and processes of lexical borrowing in a Sierra Leonean language. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Loanwords from other African as well as non-African languages form a substantial part of the Temne lexicon. Despite the importance of loanwords in historical and comparative linguistics however, the study of loanwords in African languages has received inadequate attention in the past, and there has been a lack of comprehensive case-studies into the sources and processes of borrowing within individual African languages, involving inter-African loanwords as well as loanwords from European languages and/or Arabic. The present thesis is designed to provide such a comprehensive case-study, based on Temne, the major language of northern Sierra Leone and the writer's mother-tongue. The first chapter is an introduction to Temne language and society. A majority of words borrowed into Temne from other African languages relate to the cultural institutions of the Temne and it has been necessary to provide cultural as well as linguistic data in examining the assimilation of these loanwords. The following methodological introduction discusses the problems of the historical study of an unwritten language, together with a proposed methodology for the identification of loanwords in Temne. The source languages are discussed under chapters with introductory sections on the phonology of each language and on the historical and cultural contacts between the Temne and speakers of each language. Loanwords are arranged and discussed under separate semantic categories, demonstrating the areas of culture where each source language has had its greatest impact. Items from Manding, Susu and Fula (and from Arabic via these languages) illustrate the impact of Islam on traditional Temne culture, while items from Mende relate largely to the major Temne 'secret' societies. Limba and Bullom are dealt with briefly. The final chapters cover non-Sierra Leonean sources, i.e. English/Krie and Portuguese, involving mainly trade and technology, but having little impact on indigenous culture, together with Yoruba, introduced via Krio, involving 'secret' society terminology.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:01

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