The hybrid compound noun A result of language change in Sri Lanka

Authors Chamindi Dilkushi Senaratne


Mixing between the Sinhala and English languages reveals two manifestations: it not only adds new vocabulary to the repertoire of the speaker but also initiates structural changes in the emerging mixed variety. The mixed variety contains hybrid nouns, hybrid modifiers and hybrid verbs. The hybrid compound noun can be described as a bilingual noun similar to the hybrid or bilingual verb in mixed discourse. The strategy or the morphological process of compounding is used by the bilingual speaker in Sri Lanka to create hybrid compound nouns in a variety of domains from cultural and political to the religious in Sinhala-English mixed discourse. For teachers of English as a Second Language, it is imperative to understand the mechanism of processing these hybrids which reflect language change in Sri Lanka. A mixed form or a hybrid is described as one which is composed of elements from two or more different languages. Hence, a hybrid comprises two or more elements and at least one element will be from a local language. These hybrid forms are also referred to as Indianisms (Kachru 1983: 138). This paper presents an analysis of the hybrid compound noun using Kachru’s (1983) theory on hybrids and Muysken’s (2000) theory of Code Mixing. Data collected through informal conversations with 20 Sinhala-English bilingual speakers from a variety of domains and a newspaper survey will be used for the analysis. In this analysis of hybrids, a result of mixing, it is apparent that single words as well as extended linguistic units that are mixed in bilingual data are socially significant. This study reveals that the birth of the hybrid compound noun along with many other hybrids is due to the extensive contact between the Sinhala and English languages. The hybrids are a result of language change in Sri Lanka. The findings also reveal the creativity of the competent bilingual and the new words that have enetered Sri Lankan English as a result of language contact. The study reiterates findings by Senaratne (2009)1


Hybrid, Compounding, Mixed code

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