Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 209
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Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.
 

Page 209
 
influences, could not maintain themselves in the language. Latin-German words like kredibel “credible” and French-German words like reussieren “to succeed” offered nothing that the unconscious mind could assimilate to its customary method of feeling and handling words. It is as though this unconscious mind said: “I am perfectly willing to accept kredibel if you will just tell me what you mean by kred-.” Hence German has generally found it easier to create new words out of its own resources, as the necessity for them arose.
  The psychological contrast between English and German as regards the treatment of foreign material is a contrast that may be studied in all parts of the world. The Athabaskan languages of America are spoken by peoples that have had astonishingly varied cultural contacts, yet nowhere do we find that an Athabaskan dialect has borrowed at all freely 3 from a neighboring language. These languages have always found it easier to create new words by compounding afresh elements ready to hand. They have for this reason been highly resistant to receiving the linguistic impress of the external cultural experiences of their speakers. Cambodgian and Tibetan offer a highly instructive contrast in their reaction to Sanskrit influence. Both are analytic languages, each totally different from the highly-wrought, inflective language of India. Cambodgian is isolating, but, unlike Chinese, it contains many polysyllabic words whose etymological analysis does not matter. Like English, therefore, in its relation to French and Latin, it welcomed immense numbers of Sanskrit loan-words, many of which are in common use to-day. There was no psychological resistance to them. Classical Tibetan literature was a slavish adaptation of Hindu
Note 3.  One might all but say, “has borrowed at all.” [back]

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