Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Loan words vs. Code-mixing in the shanghai dialect

Dan Lu


Code-mixing is a common linguistic phenomenon in bilingual societies. However, code-mixing is not a “patented product” of bilingual societies. When two languages come into contact, people may think that one of the two languages has more appropriate lexical items for something they want to express in a particular situation; then these lexical items will be mixed into another language for effective communication. This paper reports on some observations about ideograph-based code-mixing in the Shanghai dialect. Expressions of this kind appeared in the late 19th century and the early 20th century. Some of them disappeared while some others survived and entered into the standard Chinese vocabulary. The paper gives a brief analysis of this special kind of code-mixing and treats it as a stepping stone to many loan words in the Chinese language.

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