What Loanwords Tell Us about Spanish (and Spain)

Frequencies of loanwords per language group in HathiTrust corpus.

Using one lexicographical tool, the Diccionario Crítico Etimológico Castellano e Hispánico (DECH), and two corpora, the HathiTrust’s digital library and the Google Books Ngrams, we tracked the occurrence of thousands of loanwords in Spanish to describe their use, origin, and historical context. In doing so, we used computational methodologies to parse, lemmatize, group, count, and extract the information of all these tools. Results from parsing the etymologies of the DECH dictionary reveal a strong influence of Greek and French on the Spanish lexicon. The results from tracking the occurrence of loanwords in Spanish reveal a clear trend in the use of loanwords over time and support the hypothesis that the lexicon of a language reflects the sociopolitical and sociocultural change that their speakers undergo.

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