Lexical borrowing from English into Danish in the sciences: an empirical investigation of 'domain loss'

Hultgren, Anna Kristina (2013). Lexical borrowing from English into Danish in the sciences: an empirical investigation of 'domain loss'. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 23(2) pp. 166–182.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1473-4192.2012.00324.x

Abstract

The emergence of English as an international language of science has generated prolific debates in the Nordic countries about ‘domain loss’, here defined as the national Nordic languages failing to develop adequate scientific terminology. This paper sheds some much needed empirical light on domain loss by examining the language practices of 10 scientists delivering undergraduate courses in chemistry, physics and computer science at the University of Copenhagen. Focusing on lexical borrowing from English into Danish, it is found that there is considerable variation within the scientific domain, with the sub-domain computer science exhibiting significantly more lexical borrowing than physics and chemistry. The paper discusses the findings in relation to the concept of domain loss, and offers some alternative reasons for the concern that has been expressed.

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