neologisms; loanwords; host language; Spanish; English
The creation of neologisms through linguistic borrowing is a complex process. For donor language models to be transformed into host language replicas, phonological and morphological adaptation must take place. Part and parcel of that adaptation is the assignment of gender to loanwords in a host language like Spanish. The present article examines gender assignment in two corpora of loanwords (New Mexican and Southern Colorado Spanish: N=212 and General Chicano Spanish: N=595). Through the application of variable rule methodology (GoldVarb 2), five factors are posited as significant. Two of these categorically determine gender assignment when present: (1) the biological sex of the referent and (2) the presence of a derivational suffix (or a sequence which can be interpreted as such), additionally, gender assignment for these Anglicisms responds variably to three other factors: (3) the terminal phoneme(s) of the loanword, (4) the gender of a common Spanish synonym, and (5) the gender of the Spanish hyperonym.